The Backstory

This is a fictional writing challenge accepted by my writing friend.  Hope you like it.

As a teenager, I learned to sew.  Not just buttons and repairs mind you, but I could sew entire outfits, costumes, jackets and other clothing, from scratch.  I loved it and got quite good at it.  By my junior year in high school, I had created the uniforms for the entire Varsity Drill Team.

Here’s the rub, my Dad hated it.  He was so embarrassed by it that it kept him up nights. He didn’t think it was manly and went out of his way to divert my attention from it.  It didn’t matter to him that I had a girlfriend, he was way more concerned that my girlfriend bought me a sewing machine.  That absolutely flew all over him, almost as much as my first project with that sewing machine; my Prom tuxedo.  I made it from scratch and wore it proudly.  My girlfriend loved it.

My Dad was so angry that he forbid me from even going to the prom.  Instead, I would be riding with him on his UPS route.  I couldn’t believe it.  There I was on Prom day, watching my Prom-bound friends through the windshield of a UPS truck.  I was seething.  I think my dad realized he had gone to far and so he offered to let me drive the UPS truck for a few stops.  I was still pissed, but at least I got to drive.

The UPS truck turned out to be a little trickier than I thought.  While making a stop on Canal Street, I accidentally shoved it into reverse instead of park.  The thing jumped off the curb and down a ravine.  I thought it was going to roll over before it came to a rest on a tree stump and a chain-link fence.  I though my dad was going to have a stroke.

“Holy crap! Holy crap!” he hollered!  “I’m gonna lose my job!  What the hell have you done!”

By the time he scurried out the rear door, the police had already arrived.  It was at that moment that I realized I was less than a half a block from my girlfriend’s house.  He was so busy trying to explain what happened to the police that he didn’t even see me run to my girlfriend’s house.  I put on my tux, grabbed the sewing machine and handed her the camera.

She snapped this photo:

Laundry Sorting Enforced by Glock

Spring is such a happy time in Atlanta.  15 shootings in one weekend.  Really?  People just don’t hit each other anymore, that’s the problem.  Anyway, this story caught my attention in the paper; I just had to read about all these shootings.  Just what are people shooting each other for?  I gotta know.

Four of them were shot by the same guy, apparently pissed off about something unknown, but clearly significant.  After shooting two, he drove across town and shot two more.

A few of them were over run-of-the-mill drug deals gone bad.  That seems to be a growing problem that needs to be addressed.  It’s getting to the point where these poor drug dealers can’t go anywhere without getting shot at anymore.  If it continues, the price of street drugs will just continue to sky-rocket and then everybody loses.

One shooting took place during an argument on an escalator in Underground Atlanta. Next time your buddy asks you to pick up an Orange Julius on your way back from Foot Locker, you might think twice about blowing him off.

A couple more shootings were just random drive-byes, and those are just to be expected.

This is the one that really grabbed my attention:

4 p.m. SaturdayA 66-year-old man shot his adult son, Cobb County police said, after an argument between the son and his mother over “putting his whites in the laundry.” The father joined in and got his handgun to make a point, police said.

Holy crap. I remember how mad I was when my mom told me I couldn’t go to a Foghat concert with my friends because I refused to clean my room. Looking back, I am really grateful that my dad didn’t march down the stairs and shoot me in the head.  Thanks Dad.

On Being Stripped of Ones Coolness

I was reminded of an incident that happened many years ago that underscored the power of moms.  I was 13 or 14 years old and living in the countryside outside of Appleton Wisconsin.  That summer I made friends with Bernie Hamlin.  Bernie was at least 2 years older than me and was the neighborhood bad boy.  All mothers feared him.  He only befriended me because there was no one else closer to him in age. Being his friend made me cool among my own friends.  This phenomenon only added to my cockiness among my friends, “Sorry, can’t hang with you guys, I am going up to Bernies.”  My parents of course did not know I was hanging out with Bernie Hamlin.

A very popular thing for those of us living in farm communities was 4H; we were all involved.  One hot summer night we were all leaving a monthly 4H meeting held at the elementary school. I climbed into the Balck’s station wagon along with the Balck boys, Karen who was my little sister’s friend, and my mom in the front seat next to Mrs. Balck.  Us boys were in the backseat of the station wagon facing rearward with the rear window open.  We were cool.  As we hollered out to our friends so they would notice our coolness, I, in my infinite wisdom, decided to yell out, “Hey, why don’t you go back off in your own jack yard!”

I thought my mother was going to instantly vaporize and reappear in the backseat with me.  She was livid and speaking in paragraph long sentences about my vile mouth and how I may still be grounded by the time I am married and having children. Oh man, it was not pretty. Thank God I had the safety of the middle seats between us.

The scolding turned to silence that lasted just long enough for one of the Balck boys to say, “Mom, what does go back off in your own jack yard mean?”  I tried to kill him with my eyes. Mrs. Balck told him to never mind and shut it and the silence returned.  It was broken by my mom who swung around and said, “Where on earth did you learn a thing like that?”  to which Karen promptly responded, “Bernie Haaaamliiiiiin….” Oh man, wanted to snatch the hair out of her head.

The scolding began anew.  Now I’m grounded through retirement! It was my own personal lesson on the speed and precision with which your mother can strip you of your coolness.

Mail Evolution

How did we get from this:

To this:

When did this happen?  Shouldn’t there have been a step in between this?  Like bicycles or scooters or something?  What is the next step?  Isn’t there less mail now than there was before email?  This just looks really sad to me.

Let it go Cracker Jack

Ok, enough is enough.  If it is no longer possible for Frito Lay to maintain the quality of a product, then it’s time to let that product go.  My grandfather used to buy me boxes of Cracker Jack.  I remember tearing open the prize before I even started eating the caramel popcorn & peanuts.  There was always some fun little trinket in there; a little plastic ring, a very inaccurate, but working compass, lick-on tatoos, tiny comic books, tiny snap-together cardboard planes that didn’t really fly but were fun anyway, little whistles, plastic magnifying lens.  I used to like to eat all the popcorn first so I would end up with a handful of candy coated peanuts that I would pop into my mouth all at once – the happy ending!

I bit my tongue when they came out with Cracker Jack in a bag instead of a box.  I understood. Maybe not economically feasible, hard to load into vending machines.  Okay.  But then the prizes started getting shittier and shittier.  Now it’s nothing but printed pieces of paper.  If you fold the corners the picture of a founding father becomes a picture of a different founding father.  Wow, how fun is THAT?!  I just can’t stop doing it.  I give them to my friends as gifts.

Today, I got this:

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Really?

Is there a kid ANYWHERE who would say, “Wow, what a cool thingy on your pencil.  Where’d ya get it?”  Hell no!  This would be a death sentence for any kid!

Give it up Frito Lay.  Really.  You are ruining your legend like Brett Favre….

Ebonics II vs Ebonics I

Kroger was celebrating something the other day with a parking lot cookout.  As I walked by, I heard a customer say. “Where your prices is?”  He said this three times before being corrected by someone else, “You mean, where your prices ARE.”  Am I the only one who knows the correct grammar for this sentence is “Where your prices be at?”

Turbo SF

Recently, a co-worker mentioned he was hungry.  I offered him a can of Slim-Fast, to which he replied that Slim-Fast was too “girlie.”  Ok, no offense taken.  To each his own.  Didn’t phase me a bit although in typing this, I noticed the same undertone of bitterness that you may have noticed.  Interesting.  Anyway, a conversation ensued over the need for Slim Fast to step-up it’s marketing plan for men.  So we came up with the following packaging changes for Slim-Fast.  I’m sure the check is in the mail.

It’s not harder to get up, it just takes more space

Just got back from doing my Camp Horizon thing.  One interesting observation I made was the process of getting up off the floor.  There is a lot of sit-down-on-the-floor, get-up-off-the-floor that takes place in the course of a day at camp.  I noticed that us old guys were always the last ones to stand up.  At first notice, I just figured it was because it took longer because of our age.  Then I noticed that none of us ever started to get up at the same time everyone else did.  The time required to stand was actually about the same; it just took more space!  We were all waiting for the crowd to thin so that we would have enough room to A) extend our legs forward and arms back and B) flip over to the push up position so that we would step into the squat required to stand.

It was quite comical once I was aware of it.  First wave of young people standing straight up from where they sat.  Second wave of old folks rolling around on the floor like fish before rising at the same time.  It goes without saying that getting up for older folks is much more audible than everyone else also.

Post Election Supporters

At first, I thought it was just me.  Now I am POSITIVE it is happening.  Someone is stealing all the McCain bumper stickers and magnets!  It must be democrats; surely the proud Republicans wouldn’t strip them off that fast – many of them still show off their “W” stickers.  Democrats should be ashamed of themselves for stealing these from proud Republicans.  We should honor the right of ANYONE to proudly state their beliefs even when that belief is a proven loser.

Something even more peculiar though, is the increasing number of Obama stickers.  There are definitely way more proud supporters now than there were before the election.  How does that happen?  If you are one of those who just recently (post election) purchased, placed or uncovered weapons of mass Obama support, please let me know why by taking my exit poll below.

[Obama Poll closed]