As I begin typing this log entry it is May 1st . Happy May Day! I just got back from a little errand-running jaunt in L5P, and on the way I saw a terrible automobile accident at Glenwood and I-20. It had just happened, maybe five minutes ago. A little car t-boned a big pickup truck. The airbags deployed. There were kids in the car. Plenty of people had their cell phones out and others were offering aid, so I didn’t stop. But I sure couldn’t stop thinking about it as I continued on to L5P.
That is exactly where I, Gino, ran the red light a few years ago in my little car and t-boned a big pickup truck. It gave me plenty of food for thought as I continued my errand-run and headed toward home twenty minutes later. By that time the police and paramedics were on the scene and traffic was snarled for a mile in either direction. It was 5pm, the height of rush hour, so I had more time to reminisce about my own experience as I watched the officers directing traffic around the wreck. I was reminiscing when an old man in a big pick up truck rear-ended me. Almost immediately traffic eased forward a few yards, and I eased up with it. My catalytic converter, which rattles like a tin can full of shaken rocks, was beautifully silent. I watched in my rear-view mirror as the old man behind me got out of his truck and slowly shuffled up to my window. He didn’t look much like a millionaire I could sue the pants off of.
“Everybody else was moving, and so I reckoned you would too,” he said. I liked his tone. He sounded apologetic and mystified. I decided to let it go because it was such a dumb thing to say, and I could tell he sort of knew it. “Don’t worry about it,” I said. “We could be those people.” I pointed to the bad wreck with the kids thirty yards ahead of us.
“I reckon that’s so,” he conceded. “Do you want to get out and look at it?” I knew he meant my tailgate, but, again, it came out embarrassingly awkward as I was still pointing at the terrible wreck.
“Not really,” I admitted, hoping he wouldn’t insist.
“OK. Well, I’ll leave when you leave,” he said. At that moment the police officer motioned our queue of cars to proceed down Glenwood, so I told the old man to be careful and left him standing in the road. I could hear people honking and I felt sorry for him.
That all happened about 45 minutes ago, and in the mean time, of course, I’ve been thinking about traffic-related incidents. Last week a young lady pulled out in front of Scottie while he was on his scooter, causing him to wreck and hurt himself. Then some nut changed lanes right into Meredith while she was driving to work.
None of these things will you see coming. Minimize the mayhem by driving carefully and vigilantly, but never forget, you can’t control the way other people drive. It just isn’t satisfying to be right when your leg is dangling from your torso by a couple slender strands of ganglia.
So, Wednesday, the 2nd of May, I thought I would give my sore neck and tired brain a break from combustion engine-related mishaps and call SPRINT (my phone company) to straighten out the $281.39 bill I got for the month of March. I have been procrastinating about dealing with it because the exact same thing happened to me in September of 2011, at which time my bill was $321.11. Back in October of last year it took me about an hour of rigmarole and being cut off and having to start over again with a new operator. I shouldn’t have to do that. My time is valuable, at least to me, and as far as I can tell, the people who are most vehement about my “staying on top of it” don’t have these things happen to them. If these were legitimate charges I wouldn’t be airing them out for all to scrutinize.
My phone bill should be very simple to figure out. It is called the “Everything Data Plan”.
*Any Mobile, Anytime
It’s like my timecard here at the Yacht Club. I usually just fill it out at the beginning of the week to make everyone’s life easier (it’s why God made me after all.) It’s exactly the same, week after week, month after month, and year after year.
Anyway, my point is that the first time it happened I was eventually able to talk to a “nice cop” at Sprint, who fixed the problem for me. This time I started off with the good cop who figured everything out and told me my bill should have been $102.00, and that he would “be right back” after he confirmed everything with his supervisor. I was pretty happy, even though it had taken 45 minutes already. Ten minutes later, while still waiting, someone entirely different picked up the phone and asked me for my name and phone number. Thinking this must be the supervisor, I told her. Then she asked me for my PIN and I realized I was back to square one! I thanked her and explained that I was in the final stages of straightening everything out with another representative who I had already told my long story to. I kept my tone light and hoped I could somehow just get back to where I had been fifteen minutes ago by giving her the other representatives name. I realize now the entire hour had been a charade, because she got angry with me.
I know I can’t win against the giant, faceless corporation, so I’m not even going to try. I’m just going to pay my $102.00 and then throw all their other bills and threatening letters and collection agency statements in the trash without even reading them, until my service is cut off, at which time I will stop paying them anything and not care one bit. Then I will declare victory, take a five-year hiatus and try again in 2017.
When you can’t win, it’s silly to waste your time trying.
That’s why I consider my Crohn’s Disease to be a perfectly tailored illness for my temperament. Nothing causes it. Nothing will ever make it go away. And best of all, there are a million different people who insist that a million different things will make it better or worse. And those million people are a million drops of water on a duck’s back to me.
Maybe I’m so paranoid, all my fears are self fulfilling. I’ll give you fifty dollars. I know I come out the same, but I just don’t want them to get it. I’ll give you my notes with names, times, dates.
In Related News
There is a phenomenon I have been studying lately that, as far as I know, doesn’t have a name. It occurs when someone learns something that may be pushing the boundaries of their intelligence, and it feels very exciting to them. My favorite example is when an adolescent first conceives of the possibility that there isn’t a God. (I’m not saying “when they discover there isn’t a God, mind you.) The discovery I deal with most frequently these days is that the human digestive system has all kinds of flora and fauna in it, and is a veritable Amazon Jungle of life. People fall all over themselves in their genuine enthusiasm to educate me on this point, convinced that it is the missing piece of arcanum I need to “beat” Chrohn’s disease. These people are well meaning; every last one of them.
Unfortunately, I learned about the digestive-system jungle in college, and so did all my doctors. But thanks anyway! And if you ever discover why my immune system is hell-bent on attacking me, let me know! (And seriously, no more suggestions about boosting my immune system. It is literally my mortal enemy.)
Lately I have been perceived by various people as a “cat person.” If, five years ago, I had been sitting in bed on a cold rainy day reading A Wrinkle In Time and a cute little dog had walked into my bedroom and said, “I live here now. You are my boy.” I would have a house full of dogs and puppies right now.
Cats are animals that can be explained with Darwinian jargon and minimal research into ancient Egyptian methods of domestication. They are little, cute, soft creatures begging to be snuggled, with razor sharp fangs and claws begging to rip your face off. A paradox that not everyone is entirely comfortable with. (See Crazy Mike 7:15)
Than there is the way dogs kill things. It’s pretty simple and straightforward. They kill the hell out of them. But as far as I can find, there is no satisfying research to explain why cats kill the way they do, albeit as slowly, and seemingly as cruelly as possible. It’s as if they try to inflict the minimum possible damage on their prey, and then study the effects before inflicting a tiny bit more. The process ends up looking for all the world as if they are sadistically enjoying themselves.
I have tried so hard to get some of my friends who have the basic “chops” of conversation to construct bigger windows into their dark little houses.
It is nice to be able to say, when James Joyce comes up in conversation, that “he spoke nine languages”, then look around and nod, because it is unarguably true. But why does he come up so often in conversation? It’s like if someone were to sit down, and someone else mentioned last night’s Braves game, and you were to say, “Hank Aaron hit 744 homeruns, then look around and nod knowingly. That’s how it looks from where I’m standing, behind the bar.
I mean, did everybody graduate from Father Guido Sarducci’s One Hour University?
James Joyce spoke 9 languages.
Beethoven composed his 9th symphony when he was deaf.
Einstein came up with relativity.
Hitler started WWII.
C’mon! up the ante already. YOU WILL FEEL GOOD ABOUT YOURSELF!
I suppose it’s like having a chicken wing with only one good bite of meat on it. A non-Yacht Club chicken wing. *Shudder*.
Legend has it that one of our star customers (I won’t mention any names, but his initials are Ross), years ago, taught himself the German language so that he could read Einstein’s theory of relativity in the language it was written. Yes, that’s two monumental achievements wrapped into one. But it makes me wonder if we, each one of us, have only one wad of that magnitude to shoot, or if, having done something so demanding we feel that our lives are complete. Noone I know with a monumental achievement under their belt acts like their lives are complete. In fact, come to think of it, they seem even more dissatisfied than us average schmoes. Maybe you can out-achieve your own temperament. A handy study group would be professional athletes. Some retire and raise families and get jobs as insurance salesmen. Some just can’t seem to shake that ecstasy of the white-hot spotlight and are constantly (and sometimes embarrassingly and desperately) trying to get their faces back in front of a camera in any way possible. I don’t know that these two phenomena are related. On the one hand the satisfaction when one does something above the average accomplishments of one’s peers, and on the other hand the inability to endure the abrupt withdrawal of fame and recognition. But I suspect there is some connection. Well, I am available to talk to anyone, anywhere along this continuum. I’m not claiming to be a trained psychiatrist, but I am claiming to be a hell of a lot cheaper, and I am licensed to dispense beer and liquor! A-yand, I operate inside a major accomplishment, created by a trinity who may never fully comprehend the greatness of their endeavor! Getting a little too post-modern for you? Me too! Ptui!
Come artists, musicians, physicists, clergy, athletes, actors and astronauts, (please, no writers) and let’s hash out this pesky little issue of your thwarted, innate greatness.
Hem hem. I probably shouldn’t include this next observation from behind the bar, and before I begin schlepping it onto the page I am going to review my voluminous source materials (but not cite them) and then roll around in the cat-nip ecstasy of my knowledge that you cannot respond to me, except by snail mail. Ha ha ha ha ha, ha ha ha ha ha ha. (sung to the tune of Kindergarten baby, stick your head in gravy.)
The New York Times has a science section on Tuesdays, and so I buy the New York Times on Tuesdays. (I find that, in addition to getting the science, once a week is enough to keep up with the regular news, the economy, the middle east and the major sports standings (though I may have to up to two or even three issues a week for the election.).
The science of your personal data.
I have no idea what that means. It is May 31st and I am getting this abortion out of my computer and into yours. May it be full of immature worms.
Oh and a parting image. As Hurricane Hugo approached Charleston, SC in late September, 1989, a few ballsy employees at the Holiday Inn (You know, that cylinder) changed the marquis. It said;
FUCK IT ALL