A great way to save time is to not guess anymore. Guessing is no good. When you guess, you just aren't that invested in the outcome. Guessing implies that one answer is as good as any other. Guessing is a big fat disposable inconsequential time wasting nothing. So the next time someone comes up to you and says, Guess what?! Don't even bother. Bingo, time saved.
September 2, 2013
Overheard a couple at the gas pump next to me.
-- Edwin, how much should I put in?
-- I only have 6 bucks. Do you have any money?
-- A couple of dollars in change in my purse.
-- So I guess put in 8.
-- That won't get us to Vancouver! We'll run out of gas somewhere in the middle of nowhere. At night!
-- Gina, I have an idea.
-- Don't get mad, and yes I'm serious. Hear me out. Go into the store and offer the guy sex in exchange for a fill up. And get some Slim Jims and Mountain Dew.
She was dead silent. Without saying anything, she turned and started for the store. A voice with a lyrical Indian accent came over the outside loudspeaker.
-- I can hear everything you say in here. I will tell you that I am a married man whose wife works in here with him also. So we are not going to have sex with you. My advice is to put in your 8 dollars and move on down the road to maybe someone more inclined to accept your offer. But we cannot.
-- Jesus, Edwin!
She stormed back to their car, got in and slammed the door. Edwin followed. They drove away. The voice returned over the loudspeaker.
-- You at pump 6 (me), I hope we didn't offend you with the sex. Okay, have a nice day.
-- Yeah, sure, Ronny. Whatever you say. I was only being, you know, complimentary.
-- Yeah well...
-- Don't be mad, Ronny, I wasn't trying to take him. I can save my own victims.
-- Well then go on, save somebody, leave mine alone.
-- I'm going, I'm going. Just one more caress.
-- Aw, jeez.
September 4, 2013
Letter Of The Month
I need some advice. A cousin's kid got caught smoking pot. He came down really hard on him. I said to my cousin, "If you drank underage and smoked pot and committed petty theft when you were a youth - and you did - why wouldn't you think your kids aren't going to do the same?" Now, what I need to ask you is, is it worse to be gay or smoke pot? Because his boy is effeminate. I think the kid picked the lesser of the two evils - cop to smoking weed or come out of the closet. This is a strange world sometimes, but that is no excuse for bad parenting. I'm related to everybody in this story. Anyway, that's about it, the entire story, take it or leave it.
September 5, 2013
15 seconds in the lives of others.
I'm watching a football game at a teammates house while his wife is at the kitchen table explaining to their daughter how she should wait for a prince in shining armor to sweep her off her feet.
-- Is that what daddy was to you?
-- Hardly, dear. He was more like the guy who cleaned the boots of the prince in shining armor.
-- Heyyyy (my buddy).
-- Why didn't you wait for your prince, mommy?
-- Because where I come from, honey, princes don't grow on trees. Guys like your daddy do.
September 6, 2013
It was like being called to the principal's office. I got a phone call I was dreading from a French producer about working on a coproduction screenplay. I had tried to talk to him once before, but it went badly. He spoke alleged English, his accent was preposterous, seems I caught about every fifth word or so. So here I am on the phone with him scrambling to keep up and figure out what we're talking about when he stops abruptly and says in very plain English, "Well, are you in?" Jeez.
-- For you, I see lots of things. I see you meeting a man who will take your self esteem, control your bank account and bankrupt both - but wait, I also see you winning a lifetime supply of beef jerky, and a houseboat. To get away from your controlling boyfriend and your awful attraction to broken men in general, you take to the high seas, but the boat sinks and strands you on an island that's not even on the map. Because you have all this jerky, you don't starve, instead, you grow old there and die alone.
-- Some conjurer you are! Where's the good stuff?
-- The free beef jerky! What's not to like about that?
-- Well I don't know if I'm going to pay you for these dire and frankly suspect predictions.
-- I see you having trouble getting out of this neighborhood, coming here and insulting gifted people you don't really know like you have...
-- Are you threatening me?
-- I have a vision of my lawyer beating your lawyer, so don't even think about it.
-- You're the worst conjurer ever!
-- And you have given me such a headache.
September 8, 2013
As a regular joe, I'm walking down the street with nothing unusual happening around me. But as a writer, I see all kinds of storylines and drama being played out in the mundane and every day. How? It's the difference between looking and seeing.
September 9, 2013
A friend I had would rarely answer his phone. He had no answering machine, so if you wanted to see him, you pretty much had to go to his house. While there, if you were in conversation with him and his phone rang, he would ignore it, and it would keep ringing as long as the other party didn't hang up. After a while I'd say, Doesn't the ringing drive you nuts? And he would say, "The telephone is at my convenience. Don't be a slave to the machine, man." Some people called him a rebel. Others just said he was impossible to get a hold of.
September 10, 2013
In my 20s I knew a guy who lived off a trust fund. He got a specific amount of money each month and also had access to larger funds he could use to invest. He bought into a music studio, fancied himself a music producer, etc. but all of his investments were just excuses to get him out of the house. Otherwise, he had nothing to do all day every day. His trust fund robbed him of ambition. Ambition springs from a hunger to accomplish something. The purpose of money is to wipe out all hungers (unless it is a hungering for even more money). So the two things were at odds, and as a result, he (and his investments) never amounted to much. In the end, it's not about what you were given, it's what you do with your life, with what you were given.
September 11, 2013
I just ended a wholesale relationship with a company that I bought product from twice a month for the past 12 years. I wrote them a letter explaining that our circumstances had changed and why we would no longer be a customer. They wrote back a nice letter thanking me for my business. It was so above board, so civil, so...unusual. Know what I mean?
September 12, 2013
Outrage Of The Month
Jack and Jill go up a hill to fetch a pail of water. Wait a minute. Who goes uphill for water? Water runs downhill via gravity and mass so no one goes up a hill for a pail of water. Our children are being lied to! And water weighs 8 pounds a gallon! What is that bucket he's carrying, maybe 5 gallons? Who sends out children to lift 40 pounds of water? And who are their parents?! Where is Social Services? This is an outrage.
September 14, 2013
Unless you are a risk taker, addled, or not of this world, words to live by.
Two guys and a girl overheard at the movie theater.
-- She's hot. I'd do her.
-- Me too.
-- Me too.
September 16, 2013
Everything happens all at once. From the massive to the small to the nano, everything in this world is going on right now. Billions of people, gazillions of animals, insects, plants, fish - all existing, interacting, simultaneously, everywhere, in every corner of the planet, all day, all night, all at once, all the time. It should be madness, but it's not. Instead, it's exquisite, astounding, delicious, brilliant and compelling to the point of bewilderment. It's lovely, really.
The hardest thing in life is to know which bridge to cross and which to burn.
September 18, 2013
How bad movies get made.
The pitch meeting.
-- Ok, she gets a part in a school play, gets rave reviews from the student newspaper, it goes to her head, she decides she's an actress, quits school, moves to LA, ends up an escort.
There was a long pause.
-- And nothing. That's it.
-- Whattaya mean that's it? She becomes a hooker? That's it?
-- Yeah, that's it.
-- Damn, man. Turn her into a serial killer, make her a cannibal, do something.
-- What are you talking about? It's a great movie. The all American story about how most kids in America who wanna be actresses end up whores.
-- That's hardly the message we want to be putting out there.
-- It's gritty.
-- It's stupid. We're not making documentaries. Give her a chainsaw. Let her hack up some zombies.
-- I got a fresh faced farm girl willing to do anything to make it in the movies. Why don't we give her a movie to make it in?
-- There much sex in it?
-- Tons. It's one of her ambitions.
-- I like a girl with ambition.
-- Now you're talking!
-- But I can only spare 20 million.
September 19, 2013
The boy has an uncle who was a triple jump champion, so the kid takes his medals to school for show and tell. The other first graders can't believe there's really a sport where you get to do all the cool things a 6 year old likes to do - hop, skip and jump, so they are very excited, but the teacher doesn't for one minute believe there is a sport where grown men and women hop, skip and jump, so she is less enthused. "Frankly," she says to the class while staring down the nephew, "this sounds like a six year old boy's fantasy to me. I think someone's pranking us." The class laughs. Shamed, the boy collects his medals and slinks back to his seat. Next week he brings in his uncle for show and tell. Shamed, the teacher collects herself and thanks the uncle for "setting the record straight." Perhaps this will be the kind of story that will inspire a generation of triple jumpers to come? Or a generation of more open minded first grade teachers? Or not.
September 20, 2013
Sitting in the mall parking lot was a very expensive Italian supercar. Clustered around the canary yellow Maserati were four teens looking through the windows and remarking on the warning sign left on the windscreen that said, Look But Don't Touch, vehicle is equipped with sensitive alarm. So let's recap, shall we: a $140,000 dollar Quattroporte with no one around, a touchy alarm system, four teenage boys told not to touch something. Hmm, can you guess what happened next?
Kids as archetypes. Which are you? The kid sliding home, taking risks, going for it all, living life on the edge of success and failure, or are you the catcher, worried, defensive, padded and protected, determined to defend at all costs your domain, or are you the third kid, the batter, isolated, alone, relegated to being on the outside looking in, the observer, watching everyone else take risks and defend with their lives while you stand on the sidelines, helpless? I dunno. Did that make sense? Too much of a stretch?
September 23, 2013
We have a rogue squirrel terrorizing us. It started a month ago when a little squirrel started using the dog door to come and go onto our screened-in porch. When it commenced shredding blankets and sheets for its winter nest, I sealed up the dog door. Then it just started chewing holes in the screens to get onto the porch. I closed these up as soon as I found them and for about a week, didn't see the squirrel. I'm sitting on the couch watching TV when I catch movement out of the corner of my eye. Turning to look, I see the squirrel, inside the house, sitting on the tall stalk of a big houseplant near the open sliding door out to the porch. What a cheeky bugger! When I get up, it leaps off the plant and runs back to the porch, out the newest hole in the screen to the closest tree, where it sits on a branch and chatters at me. I wonder, if I call Homeland Security and tell them I have a terrorist in my home, would they come out?
September 24, 2013
It's my wife's birthday soon. I've decided to bake her a cake. I'm not sure why. I saw a picture of an extravagant, swirly, overwrought chocolate and caramel thing and thought that she might like that, although she's not big on caramel or posh. Unfortunately, we don't have most of the ingredients or the right pans or any experience making something this complex and serious, but I'm going to substitute freely and hope it looks just like the picture when it's done. How it tastes will be another matter entirely. Happy birthday?
Sent in all this paperwork for a sizeable rebate on a hefty purchase and then forgot about it. Two months later I remembered. I call, the company says it never received my documents. I resend copies and a month later, when I contact them again because of no rebate, they say they can't accept copies and that only the original receipt will do. Grumbling, I go the store where I bought the item, get a new duplicate receipt and send it on. More time goes by without a response. When I again ask them where my money is, they say the rebate deadline has passed, so no check for you. Seeing red, I inform them that they have just lost a customer for life. The rep says, "Like I care," and hangs up. Nice. Go corporate America.
September 27, 2013
I was told an old acquaintance was now blogging for a webzine and that I should check out his stuff. So I log on - gak! - the guy now writes a "Daddy Blog", so named because of the many new fathers out there who are so in thrall with new fatherhood that they feel compelled to blog about it, mostly to other new fathers who are themselves blogging about it. It was the usual malarkey about changing diapers and not getting to have sex with your wife again until the kid turns twenty. But after the third post dealing with puke, I logged out. Plainly, there was no point in re-establishing contact with him as his world and mine were, well, worlds apart now. C'est la vie.
September 28, 2013
There were two telephone calls back to back that were bizarre to say the least. The first asked for Benny and then told me that if I didn't put Benny on the phone they were going to turn over all the evidence to the police. When I told them they had a wrong number as there was no Benny here, they hung up with, "I warned you." An hour later the phone rings and it's someone saying they are the Hawthorn Police Department and are following up on a missing persons claim for, you guessed it, Benny. But this guy's accent is so thick I can barely understand him. Turns out he is calling from Melbourne, Australia. When I ask him if he realizes that he has called Canada, that there is not now nor has there ever been a Benny here. and that this obviously has to do with the first call which I tell him about. He concludes that someone is playing a prank, apologizes on behalf of the Hawthorn Police Department, all of Melbourne, all of Australia, and hangs up. Um, what the hell was that about?
September 29, 2013
Overheard a father and his child at the grocery store.
-- I want that!
-- You can't have that.
-- But I want it!
-- You can't have that, Zack.
-- Then I want that!
-- What is that?
-- I want it!
-- Ok, Zack, you can have that.
-- I want two!
-- No, you can take only one.
-- Mommy lets me have two!
-- No she doesn't, Zack.
-- Yes she does!
-- No she doesn't.
-- Yes she does!
-- No she doesn't.
-- I want Mommy!
-- That makes two of us, Zack.
-- We're not going down the candy aisle.
-- I want to! I'm going!
-- All right, but we're not buying anything.
-- I want that!
-- Zack, will you do me a favour? Will you remind me never to make a bet with Mommy ever again about a Seahawks game where the loser has to do the shopping for a month with Zack the sugar monster, and then watch in horror as Russell Wilson beats the spread and Mommy gloats? Can you do that for me?
-- I want that! I'm taking that!
September 30, 2013
This guy's wife wants to build a swimming pool. He refuses saying that it would cost them $50,000 and at best you can only use an outdoor pool 6 months of the year in Canada. The wife points to his motorcycle in the driveway and says you can only ride that for 6 months of the year, and it costs $50,000, so what's the diff? She got her pool. They doubled their debt load. The financial strain was too much. Twelve months later they got divorced. She got the house and pool, he got the bike. The only thing they didn't have was each other. Mission accomplished?