Not A Safe Way
I lifted my arm to about shoulder height, slightly bent at the elbow, fingers spread outwardly and made a sweeping rotating gesture with my hand. With a deep suggestive voice I quietly said, “You don’t want me to go to the store. You want to drop me off at the house first.”
They say the Force can have a powerful effect on the weak-minded. That doesn’t include wives. The car pulled into the grocery store lot and we parked.
While at the beach recently, my wife and I stopped at the quintessential beach town book store. It was a cute little place and exactly what you’d expect down to the requisite cat lounging in the vicinity of the kid’s books. Thanks to the damn kids loitering my petting time was limited. Worse, I was homesick for my babies left behind home alone. (With visits from the cat sitter.)
The store had limited selection of new books, mainly best sellers, and as such wasn’t too interesting. Not too surprisingly their books were offered at full cover price. Pretty standard really for homey places trying to compete with the big boys. I like supporting little local shops so I strongly considered picking up a new copy of Sycamore Row by John Grisham in hardback for only $28.95 USD. I hadn’t heard of the book before and Grisham is a no-brainer who always delivers.
Still, three Hamiltons for a single book was a little much and besides, who the hell has time to read while on vacation? I reluctantly put the book back and decided to wait.
Later, my wife decided to check out another local book store, this one a dumpy place offering used books. Lo and behold, what did she find? Yup, a copy of Sycamore Row with a hand-written price sticker of 25 cents.
Hey, that falls into my budget.
Knowing me like she does, my wife dutifully snatched it up. But when she took it to the counter the shopkeeper realized what was going on and balked. It was time for the “that’s the wrong price” game. Little did he know what a fierce contestant he was up against.
Friday morning my wife and I were in Portland, Oregon, on our way to the zoo. (More on that later.) We had ridden MAX, the light rail system, into downtown and had to transfer lines in Pioneer Square (AKA Portland’s Living Room).
While there, we saw the new Apple store. It was early in the morning and it wasn’t opened yet.
The architecture was Lego Meets Glass. It was a rectangular building with a long back wall covered with assorted goodies and three other walls consisting of giant panels of glass. The simple design spoke of transparency, projecting an airy, light, sense of come-see-what-we’ve-got. Sleek, clear, simple and white. And, although I didn’t know it at the time, there’s also a lawn on the roof.
I said to my wife, “I’ll bet there’s at least 57 iPads in there.” (Homage to Steve Martin.)
Inside one solitary worker sat at a desk feverishly clicking, thinking and doing about Apple stuff.
In front, slowly traversing the entire length of the store at a leisurely pace, were two security guards. They looked bored out of their minds. I forgot to look to see if they were armed, but we are talking about an Apple store, right? The place was obviously where riches were stored.
There’s not going to be an Oceans 7.1.1 heist here today. Not on my iWatch!
Suddenly a man approached the front of the building. The security guards sniffed him but apparently he checked out. He arrived at the front door and waved at the man inside. He was special. He measured up. He got to go inside.
I’d heard that Apple stores have something called a Genius Bar but I didn’t see a single bottle of booze. Hell if I was going there for a drink.
Unfortunately we couldn’t wait around all day. We had a train to catch. Before we turned away I saw a security guard hock up a loogie the size of an iPod Nano and launch it on the shiny white steps. The guards leisurely turned and began shuffling towards each other again. A vision of the North Korea border suddenly leapt unbidden to my mind.
I felt tingles. This portended good. Suddenly I knew the trip to the zoo was going to be something special. Things were happening. We walked a block and waited for our ride while looking at a Nike swoosh symbol the size of the Titanic.
I’m Going To The Grocery Store
To the grocery store!
They got edible cactus in a jar
Mixes and accessories for my bar
Breakfast cereal that comes in a box
Bagels, cream cheese and even the lox
Fruits thoughtfully sealed inside of wax
Winged feminine products sold in packs
Only forty-two varieties of Wheat Thins
Toilet paper with gels squirted in
Everything you ever needed and more
You’ll find it all at the grocery store!
A wise woman once said, “I learned a hard lesson this day. … [N]ever and I repeat NEVER EVER take Tom shopping again!!!” This person was my wife of two years ago. Not my wife of today. Apparently the two have never met.
Our story begins and ends in a grocery store…
Continue reading →
Because You Ask
Because you ask, the answer is no. This is a friendly cousin of an old favorite, “Because, you wish it!” which I picked up from a happy-go-lucky Klingon Commander in the movie Star Trek III: The Search For Spock.
It’s a simple policy I find to be remarkably effective.
For a limited time, I’ll explain how it works.
Step 1: Find someone to ask you for something. This usually isn’t too hard.
Step 2: Say “no.” The phrase “Because, you wish it!” is optional but provides a certain undeniable flair.
If you can’t find someone to ask for something, try going grocery shopping. 99% of the time (or so I theorize) the amount of your purchase will contain a fractional amount of dollars. (I’m in cents about that.) That’s when the happy-go-lucky clerk will loudly ask, for all to hear:
You’re not such a selfish sack of shit that you’re unwilling to “round up” for charity, are you? Huh, huh, huh? Greedo! I must be Han Solo because I’m firing first. I dare you to say no. It’s for “charity” and that’s always good, right? Am I right or am I right?
Listen, fuck face. I’m doing you a courtesy by shopping in your establishment. And you respond to that by trying to guilt me into some action that will ultimately make you look good?
I decided the best course of action is to carry an actual bottle of Roundup® Weed Killer on my belt. (Who says Monsanto can’t be handy?) When some snot nose practitioner of psychological warfare asks me if I want to “round up” I’ll happily reply, “Don’t mind if I do!” and spray that shit right in their face.
Human acute toxicity is dose related. Acute fatal toxicity has been reported in deliberate overdose. Epidemiological studies have not found associations between long term low level exposure to glyphosate and any disease.
Based on an assessment completed in 1993 and published as a Reregistration Eligibility Decision (RED) document, the EPA considers glyphosate to be noncarcinogenic and relatively low in dermal and oral acute toxicity. The EPA considered a “worst case” dietary risk model of an individual eating a lifetime of food derived entirely from glyphosate-sprayed fields with residues at their maximum levels. This model indicated that no adverse health effects would be expected under such conditions.
In June 2013, the Medical Laboratory in Bremen published a report that glyphosate was present in human urine samples from 18 European countries. Malta showed the highest test results with the chemical showing up in 90% of samples and the average for all countries was 43.9%. Diet was stated as the main source.
Thanks for the assist, Wikipedia! 🙂
It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it. “Won’t you round up that wee bit for charity?” That sounds a lot nicer than the reality: “Gimme some arbitrary amount of your cash for our cause that you know nothing about. Our admin costs are only 98%. Ha ha ha!”
Or, worse: “We’ll use this money to fight against you, your core beliefs, and every cultural warfare front on which you stand opposed.” On second thought, maybe I shouldn’t be shopping at Chick-Fil-A and/or the Boy Scouts after all.
What’s wrong with asking for a little charity? Mainly that it makes it your decision and not mine. What could possibly be wrong with that? Only that I have absolutely no idea what my money will be used to support. Duh.
Recently a dude came to my door and asked for marriage equality support. That’s one of my pet causes. I gladly told him we already signed the petition when we enjoyed a “free” concert in the park. (Ha!) He said, “That’s great. I also need $60.”
“I don’t know who the hell you are.” Worse, the dude was a paid canvasser. Bothering me in my own home was his job. Somehow that rubs me the wrong way. It’s feels like spraying Monsanto on those alleged grass roots.
Long story short, me and the dude had a 45-minute conversation on my front porch and we connected. I ended up violating my own rule and giving him the oddly specific amount of $60. It didn’t hurt that this was a cause I believe in. What can guru say? Guru is often too nice.
A few weeks later, though, come to find out there are two different groups operating in the state, ostensibly for the same overall goal, but employing differing and contradictory strategies. Holy crap. Which group did I agree with? Which strategy did I end up “voting” for with my money? Did I agree with it? Or was I on the wrong side?
This is why giving to charity should be an outgoing decision, never incoming. Ever. To choose to do so is akin to voluntarily flushing your money down a toilet. Or worse.
So sell me my groceries and shut the hell up. I got hit by enough beggars just by walking into your store. That should have been my first clue, I guess.
The App Store will set you #FREE
Boogers that are spliced and everything lice!
Oops, I let the cat out of the bag. And you thought apps were oh-so-special.
An “app” is a small bit of software that is managed by a maître d known as the “app store” so the average idiot doesn’t have to know how to download, install or update. The app’s raison d’etre is to claw it’s way into your wallet in a mad grab for your monet.
An app is similar to its desktop cousin except it has less stuff and bombs more often. There’s something satisfyingly intuitive about a-swipe-and-a-crash. So tactile! That’s Siri saying, “Touch me and I’m outta here.”
The typical app has a lifespan of 42 seconds before it is forgotten. But not forever. You still dutifully update that app on a routine basis for the rest of your life. Parting isn’t sweet sorrow. It’s impossible.
After accumulating several dozen screens of shit icons, the typical user loses interest in acquiring more apps. The thing only gets used for email, twitter, maps and browser. So developers have to escalate the game to get your attention.
This is when the word “free” elbows his way into your life like a glad-handing dandy with his devious “trust me” smile.
Continue reading →
IKEA the Light
Being new to the big city, my wife and I ran off last night and did something that officially baptized us as seasoned big city denizens. Nothing in this city will ever hold our wonder again.
Laws, yes. M-O-O-N. That’s spells IKEA. And what a sight it was to behold. In fact, I’m going to do my best to document the experience from the perspective of all five senses. Yes, all five! It’s a lofty goal. Let’s see how I do.
After consulting the texts of ancient lore (Google) we determined that we’d have to drive through about 10 miles of urban jungle in areas we had never explored before. This was going to be something new. I packed my machete just in case we saw any urbane gorillas.
At first we worried we might get lost, but while still about 42 miles away, the shape of IKEA loomed large and glowed in the distance. There was no mistaking the mountain of yellow and blue which shined bigger and brighter than Mt. Everest as seen from a distance of 12 feet.
The only close call we had on the way over was when my wife reflexively knee-jerked the car and almost pulled into the parking lot of another garishly colored blue and yellow building. But that only turned out to be the IKEA warehouse. I hate to burst any bubbles but apparently the trendy product widgets contained in the IKEA store are not actually björn there.
Continue reading →