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Monday, July 23, 2012

Religion - I Swear To God...

I was asked about my religious beliefs at a gathering this past weekend. I have no real religious beliefs, so when asked if I was an athiest, I responded "I suppose so..." From that moment on, I was trapped into trying to explain why it was difficult to believe in "God" and "heaven" and "hell", etc., despite over 2000 years of there being no real physical proof that any of these things existed. Okay...

I didn't even think to turn the tables on these folks and ask them to tell me why I should believe in such things, beyond a blind faith, for which I have little appetite, and a book of fairy tales written hundreds of years after the fact, detailing "facts" that were usually slanted to any given political need of the time. Or at least that was my understanding of the compilation of stories that would become known as "The Bible" and serve as the blueprint for the Christians, Catholics and all the other folks who believe that the Savior is a ginger-haired, blue-eyed anglo from the middle-east.


I merely stated that I have no idea about such theologian topics and prefer to base my beliefs in fact and that which can be proved or housed in logic. This does not include unicorns, leprechauns, ghosts, angels, God, Santa Claus, The Devil, Heaven, Hell, Atlantis, Bigfoot, Nessie, or The Lost Dutchman's Mine. For me, it makes more sense to believe that there are other worlds out there, circling any number of the bazillions of stars, that might support life as we know it. And if this is the case - and by all the math and logic I can muster, it should be - then the idea of a God creating our world and man in his image and watching over us with a kind, benevolent eye and all that rigmarole is no more than empty caterwauling. After all, if he created us, then he must have created them as well and who has time for that kind of babysitting? And if you don't buy the fact that amongst all those bazillions of stars, there must be at least a few that might have life, then I poo-pooh you - Steven Spielberg would never lead me wrong.

It makes sense to have such beliefs as God and heaven; it makes the idea of our imminent demise a bit easier to stomach if there is a fluffy cloud and a harp to retire to once we have shuffled off the mortal coil. I get that - the idea of throwing an ass-load of blind faith at the notion, however, seems absurd to me. Add the fact that hell and the devil seem to be a fairly recent addition to the tales and I feel even better about not burning in the ever-after for writing my thoughts on the matter. At least that's what I've been told - as in all other matters, I am lazy and not known for diligent research.

That all said, I must admit that I believe in "The Golden Rule", which seems to be a tenet of all religions and based on pure common sense - treat others as you would wish to be treated. This is sound thinking in my opinion and even if I am brought no documentable biblical rewards for doing so, I think I sleep a little better at night for my efforts and that's got to be worth something.

I hope that none of my "religious" friends get too up in arms over this, or feel the need to save my sinful soul. In fact, given the two options, I would prefer they simply get up in arms over it and de-friend me, or put me on a prayer list or something rather than trying to talk me into getting my sinful soul saved. That would save us all a bunch of uncomfortable conversation.

Either way, God bless you and I hope we all end up where we belong when our number is eventually called, preferably loudly and clearly. And I wish everyone the best - I swear to God.

Public Restroom Etiquette - A Life Lesson

One good thing – probably the only good thing – about working in a building with limited facilities space – is that one can observe the restroom-behavior of others which, believe it or not, is quite diverse and imaginative. And most of it irritates the crap out of me. It is an uncomfortable pastime, but occasionally rewarding and can take one's mind off the fact that one's bladder is about to burst.

Let me set this one up for you: There are two towel dispensers mounted on the wall of the john, adjacent to the sinks and they are operated with an electronic eye, which doles out the towels as it sees fit, which seems a little too God-like in my opinion, but this is neither here nor there. I had finished doing my business and was washing my hands at roughly the same time as another young fellow - apparently a go-getter, who swooped to the towel dispensers and waved his hand under not one, but both electric eyes and gathered in towels from both simultaneously.

This flamboyant move alone solidifies my stance that we would be better off with hand-cranked towel dispensers, because if both of the lad’s hands were engaged in the dissemination of the towels, he would not be as likely to be so frivolous with them. Also, it’s kind of a douchebag move anyhow, swooping in and doing the double-hander.

I washed my hands, got my single towel, dried my hands and followed the double-hander out the door just in time to see him use one towel to open the bathroom door (dumping the spent artillery in the garbage once the door was open), then to use the second towel on the outer door of the vestibule (dropping this towel into the small garbage can placed strategically by that door). Apparently, he had it all figured out – no flies on Frank, so to speak. I made a mental note to find out where the double-hander sat, so I could leave him voicemails later detailing the whereabouts of all the other germ-centers of the building, including his desk, where I would avow someone once had not only died, but expired over the weekend and had a couple of days to ferment – and that his fermentation had subsequently contaminated the area so badly that it would probably never be safe. That sort of message could leave a certain strain of germaphobe in a panicked, tear-soaked heap in minutes. And in my opinion, it would serve him right.

I hate this whole germ-paranoia that we as a people seem to have embraced. I remember drinking water from the garden hose and now it seems that my children turn their nose up at tap water and refuse to drink anything that isn't bottled, distilled or otherwise dispensed from a machine. A few days out in the desert and drinking muddy, gnat-infested water out of a hooveprint would do them some good, in my opinion, but again, I digress. Every desk I pass seems to have a bottle of Purell sitting there, just in case some kamikaze germs dive bomb the area. We are obsessed over germs and it is certain to come to no good end. Speaking of Purell, I am of the opinion that this magical gel is nothing more than a placebo. I am fairly certain that I could drink a bottle of it with no ill-effects, if only my questionable gag-reflex would allow me to swallow gel.

Okay, back to the restroom. Another thing - people have no couth. The sounds I hear emitting from the closed stalls of the sitting are beyond description. I have to wonder what these people eat that deprives them of the shame and pride needed to clear one's decks with a certain amount of decorum. It is my thought that folks should attempt to keep it down when using the sitting-toilets in public. It's bad enough that we cannot time our lives so we can simply take care of this business in the privacy of our own homes, we certainly do not need to entertain others with the sound of every burrito, order of chili-fries and malt liquor that we have ingested in recent history. Impossible, you say? I beg to differ. Moderate the valve, I say - as you would a fire hose or trombone.

Also, while lounging in the restroom I have noticed that the countertops around the sinks look like a lively family of sea-otters have used the area to frolick in a water-splashing, otter-type fashion. I don't know what kind of rowdy shenanigans are taking place when I am not around, but even leaning near the vicinity of the sinks to wash your hands can wet your shirt and/or britches at just the right height to make it look as if you didn't quite make it to the urinal in time. Funny, yes - but kind of a pain in the ass if it happens to you.

And these are the restrooms with which I have a passing familiarity. Using a public restroom out in the real world is always a crapshoot (so to speak) and you never know what you're going to find. I have gone into some really nice public restrooms where it has been a pleasure to do my business. On the other hand, there have been some that I have backed right the hell out of and kept on walking, damage to my internal organs be damned. And of course, nothing beats the restrooms in an old-fashioned gas station. After bearing the humility of dragging a car tire attached to the key with a chain to open the door, I have seen the interior of some of these that look as if a bomb filled with used motor oil, feces and toilet paper had recently exploded. I find that the size of the object attached to the key directly correlates with the filthiness of the restroom. Apparently, the owners of these mini-biohazards do not want anyone to steal the key that might come back later under cover of night and clean the place.

My point is this: We should have some sort of stringent guidelines in place for not only the cleanliness of our public restrooms, but behavior within its walls as well. It would make for a better experience for all involved and for me in particular. And I vow that once I have been elected King, I will put into motion legislation that will revolutionize the public restroom experience nationwide. And remember, one towel is just fine - no need to showboat - it's a restroom, for Chrissakes.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

The Olive Story

I do not like olives. Neither the black ones, nor their green, pimento-stuffed cousins. When I order a salad or any such foodstuffs, I always make certain that olives are not a part of the dish. I tell wait-folk that I am allergic and that my throat will swell shut and I will fall to the floor in a seizure if so much as an olive pit passes my lips. That usually does the trick.

Imagine my surprise when I was tucking into a salad recently and came across one of the little black devils clinging to the outer tines of my fork. “What’s this?” I asked myself, shaking the fork gently to rid it of its olivitian passenger. Normally, I would have simply pushed the offending fruit to the side and continued my meal, but the waiter had proven to be a lollygagger and had repeatedly shown the patronizing attitude that is only born of entitlement, diligent practice or love of the same sex.

Since I was feeling chippy and the waiter was in desperate need of being put through his paces, I called him over as he passed, carrying one of those oversized peppermills that could have been used as a weapon, had it been in the hands of someone who wasn’t entitled, well-practiced in the art of condescension and most likely in love with someone of the same sex.

“Excuse me, Garrett,” I said, flashing a winning smile and gesturing him over with my fork.

“And how may I help you?” he smiled back. Condescension – game on.

I want to begin by saying that I was in the restaurant business for over twenty years and wore my share of white shirts, bowties and tasteful black aprons. I can open a bottle of wine and use a crumber with the best of them. And one thing I always prided myself on was good customer service. That’s why I made good tips. That said, I am an easy-going patron for the most part, always say “please” and “thank you” and usually overtip.

Unless I am patronized.

“Remember when I ordered this salad and asked that there be no olives?” I asked. He nodded patiently. I pointed the fork at the black intruder that sat on the edge of my plate like a little turd. “What does that look like to you?”

To his credit, Garrett did not say “a little turd?”. “Looks like an olive made its way onto your plate, doesn’t it?” His tone dripped with sarcasm. “I’m sorry… I see you’ve eaten half the salad – would you like me to have the kitchen make you another using the extra-heavy-duty de-olivizer?”

I smiled, also patiently – two could play this game. “No,” I said. “Let’s leave the de-olivizer in its case for now… What you can do is ask the kitchen to kindly make me another salad and when you bring it out, also bring me a blindfold.”

“A blindfold?” His smile faltered . 15-Love.

“Yes,” I said. “I would like to eat the salad blindfolded so that if there are any olives hiding beneath the crispy bed of iceberg lettuce, I will simply ingest it and go into anaphylactic shock, at which point my throat will swell shut, I will flop around on the floor like a river trout and most likely foul my britches.”

“You were serious about the allergy-thing?” Garrett asked, eyeballing the olivette on the edge of my plate. “I figured you just didn’t like olives and that was your way of making sure none ended up in your salad…”

“Dead serious,” I said. “Oddly enough, the same thing happens when I eat strawberries and fish. And most crustaceans, especially shrimp, which are shit-eaters, you know…” Once I have a head of steam, I usually feel obligated to roll with this line of patter – I feel it gives the story 25% more believability. “It’s a treat,” I added.

The patronizing look faded from Garrett’s face and he swept the plate from the table. “Who knew?” he said, in one last attempt to remain relevant in the conversation. I shrugged. “I’ll have the kitchen make a new salad,” he said, his tone nearing that of contrition.

“Can I just get that to go?” I asked. “I have to get back to work.”

I watched Garrett hustle off to the kitchen and almost felt bad for telling him the fib about my olive allergy. Almost. I cradled my chin in my laced fingers – it was nice to know I still had the touch if I needed it. It takes a certain breed of patron to properly browbeat an entitled, gay waiter with a well-honed tone of condescension without them even realizing that their brow has been beaten. And, yes folks, I am that douchebag. It’s a good thing that this power is only used for the betterment of mankind and to improve restaurant service, otherwise I might – dare I say it? Rule the world...

And who said no good story ever started with someone eating a salad?

Remember to vote Jerry Ford for King in the upcoming election. It’s a write-in vote, so please use good penmanship.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

A Note to the Facilities Department of the Anonymous Fortune 500 Company - RE: Restrooms

To Whom It May Concern,

It appears as if this has been thus far a very restroom-centric month here at the **** building. With a set of the facilities being shut down for what I am certain will be a stunning and world-class renovation, it has been slim pickings for the 600+ teammates who are often seen scurrying from restroom to restroom in search of an open stall, in that hurried, short-stepped gait usually reserved for stereotypical Chinamen in B-movies from the 1930's and women wearing ankle-length, skin-tight dresses, like Jessica Rabbit in "Who Framed Roger Rabbit".

I would wager that if one were to have a poll, that Jessica Rabbit would be overwhelmingly voted "Most Sexy Animated Chick", over the likes of Daphne from "Scooby Doo" and Race Bannon's adventurer girlfriend "Jade" from the Jonny Quest Show.

But I digress.

I happened upon probably the only restroom in the building that didn't resemble the waiting room for a free clinic in Haight-Ashbury, circa 1967 and made my way to an open urinal. I was immediately hit in the face with the ammoniatic odor of the previous user's urine. Given my unreliable gag-reflex, this was nearly an immediate disaster. My hand reflexively reached for the flush-lever, but there was none. This was one of those futuristic urinals with the electric eye sensor that notes when there is a user, then flushes when the user moves out of the sensor's beam, or path, or swath. This one was apparentlynon-functional or simply lazy. And this is my question: Why do we need to have toilets that flush automatically, or paper-towel dispensers that dispense only when a hand is waved in front of a similar "eye"?

I believe that we are wasting technology that could be better-served elsewhere, like my car. I would much rather have a fancy electronic doo-dad that would allow me to jam cellphones within a two-mile radius of my speeding vehicle than have an electronic hand-towel valet. Plus, when these electronic bathroom devices take a dump (there is a topic-worthy metaphor, or simile - I always get those confused), we are usually in an uncomfortable or unsavory world of hurt. I have more than once stood in the bathroom waving my hands as if my fingertips were on fire, attempting to air-dry them after the towel dispensers went down. And the downside of a non-working flusher could be worthy of a Total-Bathroom Shutdown given the right combination of volume, temperature and diet.

My point is this: If everyone is supposed to wash their hands in a diligent fashion after using the restroom in any of its capacities, why would it matter if our hands touched a common flusher or a water faucet? We are washing our hands diligently afterwards, right? And if our hands are then scrubbed clean by the diligent washing, it should be safe if we all touch a common towel dispenser knob or crank, correct? After all, we're all CLEAN by then... And those who don't wash diligently never get as far as the towels anyhow, so they get what they deserve and we remain unsoiled by their filthy ways. If they acquire an infection spurred by fecal matter transference, we can just call it "thinning of the herd". So, if I may humbly suggest, could we please replace the electronic monkeyshines with the manual versions - I think it would save us money as a company in the long run, and you would hear nary a complaint.

And speaking of electronic bathroom devices, I noticed on a brief sojourn to one of our sister buildings that the toilets have a water-saving device that flushes according to the time spent sitting on the throne. I consider this another extremely inefficient use of technology. Here's why: What if some sandbagger hijacked a toilet to urinate and proceeded to sit for a half an hour, using the space to check his email or play Angry Birds on his cellphone? While he might save us money by preventing a half-dozen flushes that may have occurred to those sent jockeying off for other restrooms, he will still get the full-dump flush upon rising, which is a waste of water. Conversely, if an efficient teammate wandered in, sat down, opened the bombays and dumped the payload in 6.5 seconds (my current record), he would get the pee-flush and have to hit the emergency dump-flush button to clear the decks, thus wasting another thundering gush of water.

My suggestion here is to go to the old fashioned, manual toilets. Or, if you are bound and determined to have technology lead the way in our bathroom future, let's find a toilet that works on the principle of displacement. That would be a smart toilet indeed. It would fetter out the sandbagging urinators and give proper shrift to the efficient evacuators.

As always, we appreciate your hard work and forward thinking and personally, I cannot wait to see the unveiling of the new restrooms. I must admit that I am disappointed that I was not consulted on design, but it shall not affect my work performance, of that I ensure you.


Jerry Ford

Monday, July 9, 2012

It's elementary...

I am making my second pass at "The Complete Sherlock Holmes", which, as the title suggests, is a compilation of all the Holmes novels and short stories, written early in the last century by the esteemed Sir Arthur Conan Doyle.

The volume itself was given to me by Debbie Carrick and the inscription on the inner cover reads "Kenneth - Happy Christmas 1974 Debbie". I happen to know that Kenneth was her husband in 1974 and his last name was Howell, because her moniker was Debbie Howell in the mid-seventies, when she was my drama teacher. What the writing of this curt inscription tells me, however, is that the love had already faded from this union and the note was a cursory one at best. Opting for the British "Happy Christmas" instead of the traditional American "Merry Christmas" may have been a particularly savage dig at the recipient, who may have had virulent opinions about the English, in which case, the gifting of the the very British Holmes tales would have proven an even deeper insult indeed. The fact that she had the book to give to me thirty years later and that it was not in the hands of the afore-mentioned Kenneth Howell only serves to prove my point.

As you can see, reading Holmes makes me more observant, and hones my already keen natural ability to reason in a clear, logical fashion. When my daughter answered a simple question with a tone that was patronizing and sarcastic, I made an instant deduction and told her the following: "I see that you are angry, possibly gay, do not shower or brush your teeth regularly, live in a room of filth and I am most likely not your real father." With that, I turned sharply, lit my clay pipe and adjusted my deer stalker hat and made my way quickly to my quarters, where the cocaine and junior chemistry set were.

Other revelations soon followed. When one of the girls tracked dirt onto the carpet, I produced my over sized spyglass and examined the debris, occasionally grunting in affirmation or humming a gentle "hmmmm...". "I see that you have been gallivanting in the park, apparently with an oversexed teenage boy, who may or may not have been in possession of condoms, which may not come to a bad end, as you seem to be at your mense's heaviest flow at the moment. You obviously ignored  the 'Don't Walk' signal at the corner and have abandoned the idea of eating sensibly, opting instead for a grilled cheeseburger, large fries and a chocolate malt, with extra malt. You laughed at three bad jokes that didn't deserve it, but that can be forgiven because you were simply being kind to someone with an awful sense of comic timing." I peered through the spyglass for another short peek and nodded to no one in particular. "I am also most likely not your real father."

As I read further and expose my mind to the razor-sharp abilities of Sherlock Holmes, I expect to continue to increase my knowledge and refine my deductive reasoning to the point where no detail will slip through the cracks. Eventually, I may even be able to deduce the cowardly, sinister son of a bitch who fathered these children and bring him to swift and reckonable justice.

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Thoughts On The Lobster Roll

Color me “land-locked provincial”. I was skimming the news on the World Wide Web and came across a photograph that caught my eye. It was a picture of something called a “Lobster Roll”. It looked like vomit on a bun. Or at least what I imagine vomit would look like on a bun, if one were fortunate enough to have a bun on-hand and the accuracy and fortitude to fill the bun with one’s vomit.

The Lobster Roll (AKA, Vomit on a Bun)

The thing I have noticed about vomit and puking in general is that I have rarely had any kind of real accuracy and am usually lucky to hit the toilet bowl at all. Given its unpredictability and wide range of consistency, I recommend taking on this task out of doors whenever possible – preferably not on your own property. Car dealerships, public swimming pools and any house of worship can make for colorful and chaotic results. The back seat of a police car, Chuck E. Cheese or in a movie theater on a first date are excellent examples of places to avoid the upchuck.

But, surprisingly - though it is a fine subject - vomit is not the reason I am writing today.

I find myself intrigued with the Lobster Roll. I probably do not need to capitalize “Lobster Roll”, but I feel that whether for good or bad, the Lobster Roll needs to be referred to in a manner that mirrors my intrigue. Let me begin by stating up front that “intrigue” does not necessarily mean “like” or “enjoy”. Nor do capital letters. I am not a big fan of seafood in general, nor of the sea as a thing. I find it untrustworthy and similarly have a well-documented distrust of that which lives beneath its pretty waves. In fact, I would suggest that I enjoy looking at the sea’s pretty waves from the comfort of a shaded lounge chair on its beach way more than wading into it and instantly becoming part of its food chain. The non-gilled, floundering-around, wishing I was back on shore part of the food chain.

That said, lobster is one of the few foods snatched from the sea that I do enjoy. Lobster, crab and shrimp, which I understand to be the shit-eaters of the sea. So, though I enjoy the taste of shrimp, I do my best to avoid shit-eaters of any species whenever possible. On a side note, I dislike those who give me stink-eye when I tell them I don’t like seafood in general and canned tuna in particular. I refuse to eat anything that smells like cat food. I like to tell people that eat tuna that tuna eats shrimp, which are shit-eaters – it doesn’t usually stop them from enjoying their tuna, but it gives me the chance to have the last word, since I make it a point to mention this when their mouth is full of tuna and then walk away, and that counts for something. Anyhow, as far as the stink-eye, I have taken to claiming I am allergic to seafood instead of saying that I dislike it. People are less likely to judge my allergies than my taste and it has proven to be an adequate method of avoiding the seafood stink-eye.

Having caught the intrigue and all, I did a little research on the Lobster Roll. Apparently, the bun is buttered and toasted, which is usually a fine start to something delicious. Then, the lobster meat, which is cooked and tossed with mayonnaise, with the possible addition of diced celery or scallions (this according to Wikipedia) is served on the warm roll, much like a chicken salad, or the dreaded tuna salad sandwich. It sounds okay, I suppose, but in the valued opinion of a trusted colleague, eating lobster in such a fashion is akin to having “the Queen of England eat off the floor”. Well-stated, I thought.

I have put some thought into all the foods that would be acceptable to jazz up and serve on a buttered, toasted bun. Here are my findings (restaurateurs, feel free to post this in your kitchens):


• Chicken – chicken is the blank-slate of the non-vegetarian food-groups. It can be diced, shredded, baked, grilled, fried, mixed with a variety of items, such as hot-sauce, mayo, mustard and other condiments, jerked, pounded, ground or oiled. And in any of these scenarios, a buttered, toasted bun is only going to enhance the meal.

• Beef – See above. Same scenario, only more manly.

With this understood, let’s leave all the other stuff alone – I don’t think there is any reason to over-complicate any food that holds its own without any dandying or dolling-up. Here is another good rule to live by (restaurateurs, feel free to post this in your kitchens):


The perfect food to illustrate this fact (albeit from the untrustworthy sea) is the lobster. Keep the bun for a hot dog slathered in cheese, chili and mustard and give me some lobster with some of that artery-busting melted butter and a bib-napkin, thanks.

As another side note, can we make leaveitthefuckalone one word? In most situations where the phrase is used, it might prove useful to not have to waste the extra time putting in the spaces. Lives could be saved and it could then probably be sneaked in as a Jeopardy question.

Remember to vote Jerry Ford for King in the upcoming elections. It’s a write-in vote and apparently I do not have the qualifications to run for Pope.

Thank you.

Wednesday, July 4, 2012

Take Me Out To The Ballgame...

As we all know, because we've been told so for decades, there is more than one way to skin a cat. On a side note, I think this is one of the creepiest axioms ever. As true as this statement may be, there is a part of me that thinks the thought might be better served with a suggestion that is a little less violent and anti-pet. For instance, "there is more than one way to plow a field", or "pick a pocket", or "iron a dress shirt" or "dispose of the decomposing body of the Korean hooker in your basement, even though it was all an accident and a big misunderstanding, it might be safer to get it out of the house..." would all be less gruesome than the image of skinning the house-kitty. Except maybe the hooker-thing - that's also pretty disturbing, but after all, you barely knew her and what right did she have to argue about fees for what you considered to be a rather sub-average service?

But this is not why I'm writing.

I had tickets to the ballgame yesterday, which is always a pleasant way to spend a summer evening. The fact that the tickets were free, the seats premium and the company superb were simply positive reinforcement for the activity. And as it turns out, we were in prime foul-ball territory - a section behind home-plate - and as the balls came rocketing back and careening off the stadia above, I couldn't help but notice how many folks were still busy risking life and limb texting on their phones instead of being alert for the incoming missiles.

The ballpark should probably be another one of those places where my idea for the cellphone jamming device would likely come in handy. As with automobiles, grocery lines, restaurants and movie theaters, I am of the firm belief that there is really nothing that can't wait until you get back outside. Although all the photos of everyone holding their plastic cups drunkenly aloft with the beautiful expanse of green field in the background are cute and sometimes provoke a wistful sigh, I could probably live without them, or at least wait until you got home to download them from your telephone-less digital camera. Ah, when I am King...

But I digress.

I debated before the game about how I was going to get to the stadium. I narrowed it down to three choices:

1) I could drive downtown. Given that temperatures were in the low-100's, my car has no air-conditioning and parking would cost me ten dollars, plus rehydration fees, this option was quickly nixed. Driving to the game under such circumstances would only put me in a foul mood and elevate my core temperature to unacceptable levels, neither of which is suitable for optimum viewing pleasure.

2) I could drive the three miles to the light rail station and park there and take the train downtown to the ballpark. Though the temperature would still be over a hundred, the drive would be short and it would save me the trouble of waiting for buses as well as trains. Probably the most convenient manner with which to go.

3) I could walk across the street, catch the bus to the train and reverse the process on the way home. Likely the simplest option and the one that would provide me the maximum air-conditioned riding.

I ended up choosing a sort of hybrid variation of option #2 and option #3. I had Logan (daughter) drive me to the train and would catch the bus home. Sounded simple and easy enough to me. I was on my way. The wait at the train station was relatively short, but I run a little warm - my doctor says I should lose a couple of pounds, and I in turn have told him he should buy some new frames and it has since become a ticklish standoff - and I was hot and sweaty when I got on the train that my companion was already aboard.

We got to the stadium early enough to watch rookie pitcher Trevor Bauer warm up, doing Ninja-stretches, working with some kind of flexible, pointless spear and throwing the baseball from one outfield foul-pole to the other, which doesn't sound like much until you see it in person and realize that even on a bicycle it would probably take me ten minutes and two rest stops to get from pole to pole.

The game began with Bauer striking out the side - Gardner set the over/under at 8 strikeouts. I took the over, proclaiming that 10 strikeouts was within reach. After all, the kid was already a third of the way there and looked unstoppable. "We could be on hand to witness a no-hitter, or dare I say it - a perfect game!" I gushed. I was giddy. The next inning, Bauer was tagged for two runs and four or five more the next inning - I lost count. He had a total of four strikeouts when he was pulled in the third and I was once again inevitably bushwhacked by my own exuberance, whimsy and lack of plain common sense.

In the fifth inning, a lady came to sit in the mostly-empty row behind us. She was wearing a scruffy-looking Padres tee-shirt and shouted out support for her team, which was by now soundly drubbing the hometown boys. When Justin Upton struck out with the bases loaded, she went nuts, shrieking and screaming like the preacher at a backwoods Baptist Snake-Handling service. We turned back to give her stink-eye and I blurted out, "JESUS, LADY - WHERE DID YOU COME FROM? (in all fairness, she had just arrived, so this was not a reference to any snake-handling in her past) YOU'VE GOT AN EIGHT RUN LEAD, FOR CHRISSAKES - CALM DOWN!" She said, "The pitcher's my BOY!" Gardner snarled, "Yeah, yeah, Upton's my boy, too..." "NO," She continued, her voice going higher as she tried to explain. "HE CAME FROM MY LOINS!!!"

Once we learned that the opposing pitcher was indeed her son, we mumbled reluctant apologies and after the following pitch was jacked out of the ballpark on her boy with the bases loaded, suddenly trimming the eight-run lead in half, we spent the next inning and a half in an uncomfortable silence, until she slinked quietly away. I have always found irony to be an untrustworthy bedfellow.

After a couple of scuffling errors and with the game most likely out of reach, we made our way to the exit and the train. We observed a kid by the light rail stop playing electric guitar and singing into a cute little microphone. He turned out to be amazing and when he broke into "Jesse's Girl", his reputation was cemented in my mind. Not enough to give him a tip, mind you, but watching him take handfuls of 1's, 5's and 10's from his tip jar and stuff them into his little backpack every five minutes, I figured the two-bits I was going to toss in the jar was not going to be that helpful when it came to paying for his orthodontia, or Korean hooker, or whatever he was going to use his rucksack of nontaxable income on.

The train was crowded and several passengers insisted on bringing their bicycles aboard with them, further crowding the bystanders. I was forced to turn my body in such a manner that I am certain I resembled a portly Baryshnikov in mid-pirouette to avoid taking a pedal to the onions at every lurch of the train.

I was dropped off at the train station of my choosing, bidding Gardner adieu and saw my bus driving into the distance. "Curses," I muttered and sat on a bench to sweat. I find it less miserable to sit when I sweat. I waited and sweated for a half-hour, when the next bus arrived. "You stop at McKellips and Rural, right?" I asked. "No sir," the driver said, pleasantly. I looked at the number of the bus again to verify I hadn't read it wrong. "The 72 runs up and down Scottsdale Road, right?" He shook his head, gamely. "Not after ten..." I realized that the bus I had missed a half-hour earlier might have been my last hope. "Useful information, that," I said. He turned to me and explained, "There is one more stop of the Earth at the transportation center that will take you there, providing you get there on time..."

I stared at him, puzzled. "Wait... Stop of the earth? What?..." Was he suggesting that there was some sort of magical portal at the "transportation center" that was going to somehow halt the movement of our planet and transport me to the location of my choice?

The bus driver explained. "The 'Earth' is a free shuttle that runs from the Tempe Transportation Center - there is one more shuttle that will be leaving in a few minutes. It stops at McKellips and Rural - if you stop prattling on, get aboard and we can get this bus moving, I might be able to get you there on time..."

I shot him a rakish grin and swung aboard, suddenly Errol Flynn. "That's a good man - onward!" I paid my fee and pointed out the window. "Ahoy - get me to the Earth!"

Forty minutes later, after driving around side streets on a free shuttle full of drunken, stinky loud people, I was dropped unceremoniously at my stop, all the Errol Flynn soundly slapped out of me by the shuttle ride. I walked into a dark house, to a kid on a computer. I gave a half-hearted account of my ride to little or no interest or response. So I went to my room, to be alone with my thoughts. And this keyboard. And an hour of getting lost in a Dick Van Dyke YouTube vortex from which I was lucky to emerge alive.

All in all, a very good night.