Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Letters from Home - Gerald Wayne's Pit Stop

I am always amazed at how seemingly harmless events can, in an instant, truly make or break someone’s day. The latest letter from home is a perfect example…

Dear son,

It’s been awhile since I wrote you last. How have you been lately? We’re doing pretty fair here. Daddy’s doing real well and I’m feeling pretty good, too. We even went to a Sunday school potluck reunion at Maynard Park last Sunday. It sure was a lot of fun. We saw folks we haven’t seen in years. Some of them we thought were already dead. I’m trying to remember who all was there… well, we saw Frank and Selma Jean Burgess, Jo Lynn Carney (she’s 58 and still single, poor thing), Chester McCarthy and his new wife Clara, Virgil Stutes, Raymond and Earlene Betts – oh, and Mary Beth Sizemore was there showing off her new artificial hip. She was prancing around in the ugliest mumu-looking thing, bragging about how it was some kind of fancy Italian silk (Dupont, I think she said) and how her son bought it for her in Milan. I don’t know what she thinks the big deal is. We’ve been to Milan a hundred times or more. Your daddy and me go to the flea market next to the Tennessee National Guard armory up there almost every weekend. Anyway, she hugs everybody she meets whether she knows them or not so they’ll feel like they have to stay and talk. But they don’t ever get a chance to talk. They just have to stand there and listen to her tell that awful story about how long her hip operation was and how she had to go through all that physical therapy and then find out that her female therapist Jolene was a Lebanese (you know, she likes women instead of men). Norma Faye Sprague was doing her best to avoid her but Mary Beth just loves her to death. Norma Faye can’t stand Mary Beth but she doesn’t have the heart to tell her. You know how she hates conflict. Norma Faye would walk a mile to avoid an argument. She said to tell you hello, by the way. She’s still teaching piano up at the community center. Bless her heart, I don’t know how in the world she does it with half a liver.

Anyway, she had her nephew Cleavon and his boy Gerald Wayne with her. Cleavon is Norma Faye’s brother Harland’s middle boy. He works in his daddy’s septic business, but he can’t drive on account of he’s got that necrophilia, where you just fall asleep all of a sudden. Anyway, Gerald Wayne’s a cute little thing. He’s about four and he had just gotten one of those play tattoos to match his daddy’s NASCAR tattoo. Lord have mercy, that boy loves NASCAR. Knows every single driver and everything about them. Well, we were standing there talking and Gerald Wayne started pulling on his daddy’s jeans saying, “Pit stop, daddy, pit stop!” Well Maynard Park tore down all their bathrooms years ago after those high school kids got in there and wrote nasty words on the walls in poop. Norma Faye told Cleavon to take him across the way to the Pic Pac Grocery. But Gerald Wayne was hollering, “I got to go pit stop now!!” So Cleavon pulled a 7-11 cup out of the bed of Norma Faye’s truck for him to go in and stood him up right there on the tailgate. Let me tell you what, that boy did need a pit stop. We kept hearing the cup getting fuller and fuller (and it’s real hard to have a conversation when that’s going on) and Cleavon started saying, “Son, stop… stop, now… stop, stop, STOP!!”

The next thing we heard was a great big splash. Cleavon hollered like he’d been shot, came staggering around the side of the truck, and said some words I don’t care to repeat. Apparently he panicked and tried to back up and let go of the cup, but it hit the edge of the tailgate, splashed up and covered him from head to toe in pee. His shirt was wet, his jeans were wet, and he was white as a ghost. You’d think a fellow that traipses around and other folks’ poop all day wouldn’t be bothered by a little pee, but just between you and me, Cleavon’s a few sandwiches short of a picnic. Anyhow, poor little Gerald Wayne was still standing there peeing off the edge of the tailgate with his britches down around his ankles. He looked like one of those fountains you see in fancy hotel lobbies. Norma Faye told Cleavon to go over and get some paper towels from the end of the food line while she took care of Gerald Wayne. He went stomping off and I helped Norma Faye get Gerald Wayne cleaned up and get his little britches pulled back up. We were washing his hands when we heard a scream. We turned and saw Mary Beth standing in front of Cleavon and she was wet all down her front. She figured she’d tell him about her new hip and her Lebanese therapist, so as soon as he got close enough she grabbed him and gave him a big old hug. I reckon she didn’t notice he was covered in pee until it had soaked into her fancy new Dupont mumu. Let me tell you, Mary Beth like to have come unglued right there on the spot. She was hollering and fussing at Cleavon, then she came over and hollered and fussed at Norma Faye, and then she just busted into tears, got in her car, and took off like the dickens. I was glad because I figured this meant Norma Faye would finally be shed of her, but do you know she’s already wanting to buy Mary Beth another one of them mumus since the pee smell wouldn’t come out? I guess we’ll take her and Cleavon and Gerald Wayne with us next weekend when we go to Milan and see if we can find her one up at the flea market. Well, I’ve about talked your ear off so I’ll say bye for now. You take care, and we’ll see you later on.


Mom and Dad

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Shut Up and Pee

I really am an advocate of cell phones. Really. I believe that, not unlike computers or lawn darts, cell phones are intrinsically good but often misused. Or maybe overused is the term I’m searching for. At any given point in your day, you can look around and see people talking and driving. Talking and shopping. Talking and eating. Have we, as a society, really gotten so busy that we’re forced to multi-task all the freakin’ time? If this is indeed the case, we need some boundaries as to what activities may be conducted simultaneously. I submit the following for your amusement:

I stopped by Wal-Mart yesterday to pick up a few things and made a quick stop in the restroom because I had to pee like Seabiscuit. As I was washing my hands afterward, a really skeevy-looking guy in a Motley Crue tee shirt, ratty jeans, and flip flops came flapping in and sidled up to the urinal. As he was, um, “conducting his business”, he pulled out his cell phone to make a one-handed call and then began talking so loudly that I nearly soiled myself.


In the bathroom. Talking to you while I urinate.


I hope he washes his hands first...


Ah, redneck nuptials are afoot.


They’ve consciously chosen to let him hold the ring? Now I really hope he washes his hands.


Yeah. Pretty sure that’s just what God had in mind when he created the institution of marriage. One man. One woman. And an open bar.


With that, he slipped the phone back into his pocket, finished up, and walked right past the sink and out the door. I wish I knew how to warn Dean…


Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Mixed Emotions

Wow. It's been way too long since I posted on here. My new work schedule is taking some getting used to. Actually, the fact that I'm working at all is taking some getting used to. I've gone from not working at all to working a 7 to 4 job, plus some half Saturdays. But, that said, I love my job. I love having a job. I love the people I work with and the work that I do. I just never realized how free my time was. I could go to Barnes & Noble or the library and read for hours at a time, work in my studio composing music or doing voiceover work, or catch up on stuff around the house. Now, though? I'm finding it tough to fall into a routine. I have yet to manage my time well enough to make a lunch in the morning, and that's a real problem because the prices in my employer's cafeteria border on obscene. It sounds terribly whiny, I know, especially to those who are still searching for a job. Hang in there. Do NOT give up. And if there's something you really want to accomplish in your life—learning a new language, rearranging all the furniture in your home, etc.—do it now while you have time. Otherwise, when you do land a job you may be like me, looking back with a bit of regret. But the other side of the new-job coin, though, is being able to look forward with a glimmer of hope.


Saturday, May 2, 2009

What a Relief it is...

I did something this week I haven't done in more than a year. I went to work. I found a job posting online for a proofreader and, like most of the other two-hundred-and-something jobs I've looked at in the past year, I applied for it. Unlike the other jobs, I got this one. It seemed funny to me that after searching for more than a year, I applied for, interviewed for, and was offered a job over the span of just a few days. I started this past Monday, working for, um, let's just say a large retailer located here in Northwest Arkansas. The team I work with is proofing packaging changes to certain products, so there's a lot of making sure that the packages and labels match the database and adhere to the company's packaging standards. The work isn't difficult, but it can be tedious and time-consuming. I work with a team of about a half-dozen women, all of whom are funnier and, I fear, infinitely smarter than me (for instance, they would correct that last word to "I"). But they seem to have accepted me as a teammate, and that makes me happy.

The brevity of this post is due to the fact that I'm typing on my wife's laptop, and with my huge hands, it's not unlike watching a monkey type with boxing gloves on. My computer's been in the shop this week. I had gotten it back once, but was unable to reload Windows for some reason (I suspect it has to do with the whole monkey/boxing glove thing), so I took it back and let the professionals do it. That way, I'm free to do other things like, say, eat bananas and work on the speedbag.