Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Underwear backwards scheme

I'm a Twilight Zone episode

     When I was a kid, I used to think that maybe I was the only real person on the planet. All the other “people” were aliens who were pretending to be my family, classmates, people at church, Woolworth clerks…  

And as soon as I walked out of the room, or out of the store, they’d take on their real appearance and laugh their bulbous heads off about how stupid I was. In other words, I was a Twilight Zone episode. Only it was a real.

    I just didn’t fit in. Couldn’t figure stuff out like normal people. No telling how many times I was the only kid in class who hadn’t picked up on something that was said earlier in the day. – “Mark, let’s start with you. Read your paragraph.” – “My what?”

    I was even that way in college. I had near perfect sight and hearing, but still managed to miss instructions and important stuff in lectures. I’d look all over in an attempt to make eye contact with a fellow perplexed person, but seldom found one.

    I even went to a psychiatrist once. He did nothing but reinforce my theory about the aliens. This guy didn’t even wait for me to leave the room before he started laughing. 

    Fortunately, my self-esteem has improved a bit over the years. I’m nowhere near normal, but I’m better… at least I was until I bought some boxer-briefs at an underwear store. Boxer-briefs are the best of two underwear styles fused into a single pair. It’s ingenious.

Usually I try on my underwear in the store, but this time I took them straight home. (The first part of that was a fabrication.) I like the feel of new underwear. Always have. And, that’s not a fabrication. There’s just something about the encompassing sense of security in new elastic. 

However, I felt less than secure immediately after I put on my new pair. In fact, I felt as if I was being subjected to unpleasantness. I had to flee my drawers. That’s when I saw it. It defied explanation. -- Meaning, it was normal for me.

Do you know what they did to my underwear? They sewed the tag in the front of the underwear just above the opening. I’m not joking.

The only advantage I can see is that I can now determine what my underwear are made of and where they were made by simply looking down. I no longer have to disrobe and turn them around.

Of course, you’re apparently in on the joke. Being an alien and all. I’m just glad I’m able to give everyone something to laugh at. I went along with the ruse that one of you concocted whereby basketball shorts would suddenly become monstrous and baggy.

When some of you started putting on your ball caps sideways, it got to me a little bit, but I endured. Then there was the trick with the exaggeratedly baggy pants with no belt. That almost sent me to therapy. The joke about everyone getting tattoos all over his or her arms and necks is a bit unsettling for me. But, again, I’ve been dealing with it.

Defies logic, common sense and a couple of the forces in nature, but… whatever. Hey, it’s a crazy world. I accept that. At least I used to.

 But this thing… this reversed-underwear-tag-placement thing has pretty well pushed me over the edge. The one thing I thought I could always count on was putting my underwear on without having to do much thinking. I was getting good at it, too.

Now?  Now, when I reach into my drawer, I hafta notice if I’m grabbing new underwear or old underwear. The old ones go on the old fashion way. The new ones go on backwards. That is wrong in so many ways.

It’s a cute little trick. One of hundreds that’s been aimed at me over a lifetime. It seems to never get old for the performers, but it’s the stuff of Twilight Zone for me.– Oh, and by the way, from where I’m sitting I can look down and see that my underwear are 100 percent cotton, made in China.


To watch Mark and Brad Meyer’s review of Fukuda's click on pic.

Saturday, January 19, 2013

The policeman is your friend.

Me pretending not to be afraid of guns
“Visit with the Po-po”

    Over the years I’ve always had a decent relationship with Johnny Law. You know, Cops, Fuzz, The Heat, Smokey, Po-po, Five-0… Oh yeah, we’re on good terms.

    In fact, I’ve only gotten one ticket in my 47 years of driving. Back in my college days, I was doing 60 in a 50. Had I not slapped my forehead the minute I saw Nacagodoches’ Finest, I don’t think he would’ve pulled me over. Best not to react guiltily when making eye contact.

    Almost 30 years ago, I did get stopped for speeding, but wasn’t ticketed. You wanna know what’s weird? I ran into a officer awhile back who claimed to have stopped me. And, I didn’t even bring it up. That’s weird.

    I remember he looked at my driver’s license and said, “Are you planning on writing about this?” I didn’t know the preferred answer to that, so I just stammered. He then looked up and noticed a car coming in the distance. He apparently didn’t like what he saw.

    The officer handed me my driver’s license and told me to slow it down. Then he said, “Get outta here.” You know what happened next? He walked right in the middle of the road and pointed at the car that was headed toward him. Once he got the driver’s attention, he signaled for him to pull over. The driver did, too.

I would’ve had some serious intestinal problems had I seen a Law Dawg standing in the middle of the road pointing at me. That’s an image that commands respect. One reason I didn’t attend the police academy.

By the way, Brad Meyer is responsible for introducing me to topic of law enforcement. Two restaurant reviews back, Brad told me that we needed to hurry ‘cause he had to get back in time to attend an open house at the County Sheriff facility. I doubt he called it an open house, but I only started listening when he said something about a Swat Team.

Instead of driving Bradford back to The Courier, I begged him to let me tag along. Since we were in my car, he agreed.

What a great outing. I got to handle a lot of good stuff. They let me aim a 50 caliber sniper-looking rifle that was as long as I am tall. It weighed a ton. The officer who was explaining the weaponry told me that the giant gun was not nearly as accurate as the shorter-barreled weapon setting next to it.

He said some other important sounding stuff,  but I didn’t listen ‘cause I was too busy looking through the telescopic lens, trying to find objects to pretend-shoot.

I also got to go into the big truck where the mayor and all the top-level officers meet when they’re negotiating with bank robbers. Or they’re trying to prevent a terrorist bomb from blowing up the city. Hey, I’ve seen the movies.

Let me tell you, the area inside one of those truck/trailer things is huge. Monitors and technical stuff are all over the place. I imagined being in a movie with Denzel Washington where we’re talking tough to some terrorists.

I also got the lowdown on the police motorcycles. I was listening to a sergeant with the Sheriff’s department explain about what’s involved in being a MOPO, when I noticed that the guy talking was Kevin. I taught the kid at Oak Ridge. Only he’s not so much a kid anymore. In fact, Sgt. Kevin Ray is one of those guys who could stand in the middle of the road and make you stop right in your tracks.   
Kevin Ray next to a guy asking stupid questions
With my friend Bob Berry

Kevin pointed out some of the electronic features on his motorcycle, but wouldn’t let me ride it. I could sit on it, but he wouldn’t let his old teacher ride it. Sheesh.

I also ran across Sgt. Bob Berry, The Courier’s Po-C. (Police columnist.) Either the Conroe Police work closely with the Sheriff’s Department, or Bob was there to steal some of the equipment. Just a guess.

The piece of equipment I really wanted to see was the drone. Unfortunately, I couldn’t find it. I just imagine that the Top Bull got a load of me playing around with the rifles and put the word out on me. – “Hey, Theo, keep that idiot away from the drone.”

Too soon, Brad walked up and said, “You ready to go, Kojak?” I told him I was waiting for my complimentary Sheriff’s badge. Brad didn’t even smile. – When someone calls you “dillweed” is that a bad thing? “You dillweed.” Doesn’t have a good sound to it.


Sunday, January 13, 2013

How do they do it?

    It’s almost scary the things they can do. Oh, they’re good all right. That’s why they call them “they.”

It started several weeks back with a call from my grocery store. I thought my prescription was ready. The fact that I couldn’t remember turning in a prescription failed to surprise me. So many pills, so little time.

Turns out the call had nothing to do with a prescription. They never call just to chat, so my interest was piqued. (Weird word “piqued.”)

 The automated voice on the phone said, “Don’t eat the popcorn. It’s poison.”  Didn’t use those exact words, but that’s what I heard.

I don’t get all that many contaminated corn calls, so you can see where I was a bit concerned. The mechanical voice told me not to eat the popcorn, and to return it to the store for a refund.

Return what? I bought the stuff a week before. It was gone. Eaten. I don’t store popcorn at the house. You don’t ever have to ask if I’ve got any pre-popped corn. Even if I did, I wouldn’t share.

The voice gave no advice about what to do if I had eaten the stuff. If I hadn’t eaten it, I get my money back. If I had… well, I was an idiot for buying the stuff.

While I was pleased as punch about the store computer warning me about the corrupt corn, I was really impressed at the fact that “they” not only knew what I bought, but they knew how to find me.

It’s the “rewards” card. They’re all over the place. If you get a special card with your life story on it, the store gives you a special deal on some of your purchases. Practically everyone is doing it. Even my masseur. (Don’t dwell.)

    I went to my drug store about a month ago to take advantage of a sale on nuts. It’s my favorite drug store ‘cause they don’t make me have a card, and ‘cause they have nut sales. I thought I already said that.

 Before ringing up the purchase, the cashier lady asked for my card. I screamed, “Noooooo! Not you, too!” I told her that I didn’t like cards.

    The lady said, “Oh, yeah? How do you like paying full price for cashews?” She said it in a way that I could tell she had a sense of humor. We were kindred spirits. Just a few seconds later I had my cheap nuts and a new drugstore card.

So, there’s another place that knows all about me and keeps a list of my purchases. Any day now they’ll call and tell me about a bad can of candied nuts. More likely, they’ll tell me not to use the off-brand hemmerroidal cream.

Hey, I don’t buy embarrassing creams for future use. I’ve been known to use some medications right there in the store. – “Sir, please-- Whoa! Here, let me do your other foot.” -- My next purchase at my drugstore will likely include a coupon for fungal cream.

    I saw one of those futuristic Sci-fi cop movies a few years back that I considered pure fantasy. It showed a busy city street with holographic images all over the place. As each pedestrian passed by a screen or an image, a voice would greet them BY NAME, and entice them with products they might be prone to buy.

    We’re close to that. Last time I drove through one of the EZ tag areas of the toll road, I mentioned to Kay about the technology involved in what just transpired. While we were traveling 60 plus mph, a laser managed to scan a bar code through our windshield. The info was transported to a tower that sent it to a satellite where it was bounced off a few other satellites before ending up in the netherworld for processing.

Quicker than I could blink, my identity was recognized, the time was recorded and my credit card account was lessened by $1.75. Kay said, “So what’s your point?”

My point is -- How do “they” do that? And, if “they” can do that, what will “they” be able to do by the end of the next decade? Is this a time to gloriously embrace the wonderment of technology, or is it a time to buy some automatic weaponry and move to Alaska?

Take a few minutes to ponder that. As for me and my house, we’re staying put. Alaska has too few nut sales. – Hey, what say we lighten up a bit for 2013?

You can view Mark and Brad’s latest restaurant review of McAllister's Deli, by clicking on pic below.

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