Thursday, August 30, 2012

"C" is for "Cookie".....

Cookie Monster knows what the letter "C" is for, but I think he just found out what the letter "B" stands for.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sexually Suggestive Fortune Cookie

I think this fortune cookie just encouraged someone to try an "alternative" sexual position.  That's my take on it anyway...

Monday, August 27, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 31

The Time Mookie Went For A Run And Nature Came Calling

As I approached my 30’s, I started running as a way to lose weight and generally get in shape.  While I have been “off-the-wagon” in terms of running the last 2 or 3 years, I’m trying to coax myself back into it.  In thinking back about all the places running has taken me and the experiences I have had doing it, there is one that pops up in my mind from time to time.  It is not one of my “prouder” moments, but I’m sure it could have ended up a LOT worse than it did.  I don’t even think my wife has heard this one…so enjoy.

The one thing I hate when I’m out on a run is having to stop.  Whether it’s due to traffic, fatigue, pain, or even someone asking for directions…I hate to stop for anything.  This is not because I’m a dick, but because I struggle to keep going once I’ve stopped.  If I completely stop or start walking just once, I usually end up starting/stopping several times through a run and it pisses me.  So I do my best to make sure nothing will stop or hinder my forward running motion – and this includes bodily functions. 

Running can put a hurt on the digestive tract.  Because of this, if I am heading out for a run of more than 3 miles, I try to make sure I have “vacated” all bodily waste whether I need to or not.  The body of course does not always want to “go” when you want it to, so I have had many runs where I have had to circle back and head home, find an open gas station, or nearby park with appropriate “facilities” to take care of business.  It is frustrating.  When I head out on my early morning “training” runs that take me farther than 8 miles (or out into the country ), as a precautionary matter I always stick close to a nearby “porcelain convenience” for the first 3 miles to make sure everything is “OK” as far as the intestinal things are concerned.  Well……almost always.

My car was due for an oil change and servicing, so I decided one Saturday morning to take it in to the dealership where we had purchased it.  A great perk of this particular dealership was its proximity to the Cedar Valley Nature Trail.  I enjoy running this trail from time to time, and decided I would take a nice run while the grease-monkeys oiled up my car.  The weather was cool that morning, so I put on my full-length tights, a junky plain white t-shirt, and two long-sleeve thermal shirts over that.  I had my gloves and hat if need be too.

Once I got to the dealership, I took care of any car service issues with the Service Manager, and made my “prerequisite” visit to the bathroom before I headed out for my run.  As it turns out, I did not have to "go.” But in wanting to get my run in and make it home in a timely manner, I felt like I’d be “OK” and headed outside.  The plan was a 6 mile run – 3 miles out from the dealership and 3 miles back.  The nearest access point to the Nature Trail was about a mile down the road from the dealership, so if anything “went wrong” after I left the dealership, I’d have to go back.

I plugged in my iPod, set my GPS, and took off.  It was a brisk morning, but it felt good trudging along the highway.  About 9 minutes later I got to the Nature Trail, and set off up the trail and the nature-filled surroundings.  It was then that the lower regions of my stomach began to feel a bit unpleasant.  I have had this happen before, and sometimes it would go away if I kept going.  I hoped this was the case, and pressed on up the trail.  After another mile, much to my dismay - my discomfort did not subside.  I was like “Oh shit.”  I was two miles from the dealership (20 min of running or 30 min of walking), and had the very certain thought that even if I did turn around – I was NOT going to make it.  It was about then that my intestines decided that I needed to go NOW – whether I wanted to or not.  I consider myself a well-rounded individual, but I honestly had never had to stop somewhere and vacate my bowels in the middle of nowhere.  That was about to change. 

I began looking up and down the trail to see if anyone was in proximity to me.  I didn’t see anyone running or walking, but feared that someone on a bike would come out of nowhere and see me.  SO. I needed to find somewhere out of viewing range - quick.  I jumped down into the ditch-like ravine that was next to the trail, and waded through as much brush and foliage as I could to hide my activities. 

I quickly found a downed tree laying on the ground, dropped my pants, sat down with my butt hanging over the back of the log and......let nature explosively take its course.

A word of advice:  Do not wander off the trail.
As I sat there sweating (from the run and the urgency of it all), I continually scanned up and down the trail for possible spectators to my event.  Thankfully...I was still alone.

Then it hit me that I would somehow need to “clean up” after all of this.  “What to do, what to do?”  It was “fall,” so I was not about to use any fallen crispy crumbly leaves off the ground.  I then remembered that I was wearing a junky plain white t-shirt, and quickly and smartly surmised that was my best option.  So I began peeling my layers, and briefly was sitting there shirtless and had my pants around my knees while sitting on a log.  This was NOT one of my prouder moments in my life.

I quickly put my long-sleeve thermal shirts back on, and then used the t-shirt to “freshen up.” It was at that point I happened to look down and noticed my shoe laces and pants (inside and out) were covered in cockle burs.  COCKLE BURS!  I hate these things.  Mother Nature created these things just to EFF UP your day, and she was succeeding here like a champ.  So there I sat, half-naked and picking cockle burs out of my pants and shoes, and cursing like a sailor.  After a few minutes of cockle bur removal, I pulled up my pants, and discreetly shoved the soiled t-shirt under the log I was sitting on.  I actually felt bad leaving my shirt there because I was technically littering.  However, there was NO WAY IN HELL I was going to carry that back to the dealership.

I climbed out of the ditch and was very relieved and thankful that there were no witnesses to my bodily issues.  Even though I had just endured a personally embarrassing moment, I decided I should probably continue my run.  So I trudged on up the trail to the 3-mile point, turned around and then headed back to the dealership.  

Amazingly, I did not feel the need to stop and walk on the way back - even though I had to “take a break” mid-run.  So while I certainly lost the battle with my intestines, I definitely won the usual battle with my brain and overcame the feeling of continually needing to stop and walk after previously stopping.

I also learned you should never ever ever ever pick up a stray t-shirt if you should see one laying somewhere.  It may be a discarded for a reason.

Friday, August 24, 2012

Disappointment In Lance

I just read the news release about how Lance Armstrong decided he was "done" fighting the "doping" charges people have leveled against him for almost his entire career.  He was currently fighting charges the USADA (U.S Anti-Doping Agency) was making towards him and said they had "definite" proof he had cheated as far back as 1996.  To his credit, Armstrong has defeated every previous charge thrown at him by every sporting authority in the world.  They are the very same charges the USADA is hitting him with as well.

Wrongly prosecuted hero or proven cheater?
Naturally upon word of Armstrong's refusal to fight any further, the USADA quickly labeled Armstrong a cheater, and said they will take the measures to nullify all 7 of his Tour De France victories, his Bronze Medal at the 2000 Olympics, and ban him for life from the sport.

I read all of this and was disappointed.

Over the years, several people affiliated with Armstrong's teams have been convicted of doping, and have leveled charges at Armstrong for doing the same.  While every one of his blood/urine tests has shown "negative," the speculation loomed.  As more and more people came forward and said he was doping, my opinion of his truthfulness was "iffy" at best.  Doing what he did:  Going from having a 50% chance of living due to prostate/brain cancer, to being the most awesome person EVER that rode a bike. and won the grueling Tour De France SEVEN times....I had a hunch "something" may have helped him.  So had he been proven, and convicted...I wouldn't have been surprised.  But he wasn't convicted....

What really disappoints me is his "throwing in the towel."  Lance Armstrong never quits, even when the odds are stacked against him.  Cancer?  Phhhfff.  Bring it.  The Pyrenees Alps in France?  Pshaw.  A days work.  By quitting, is he saving face and not letting them actually convict him?  Even though they will probably take away every record and victory he achieved, he will claim he was never convicted of any wrongdoing.

He said he is going to focus on his family and foundation, which is what is most important to him.  You have to wonder if the deck was really stacked against him this time, and he quit so his foundation didn't fall apart because it was led by a "liar" and a cheater.

While I personally do not idolize Armstrong, I do admire his dedication to his foundation, and the message he has long spoken of: Livestrong.  He has certainly served as a champion to helping fund cancer research, and making people aware that help is needed.  He has also served as a champion to those who have cancer, that you have to fight to win - even if it looks like you can't.

So I guess that is why I'm disappointed in Lance Armstrong.  Not because he may have lied about doping, but because the guy who has led the charge to fight everything that gets in your way - is quitting.


As It Turns Out...

I love Wayne's World. I need to go back and watch that one...

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Dark Side Swagger

Boba Fett and Darth Vader have got swagger.  Of course you already knew that.

Wednesday, August 22, 2012

Hi Tiffani

Hey it's Wednesday.  Do you know what makes Wednesday great?  Tiffani does.  Tiffani makes every day great.  Have a good Wednesday.

Monday, August 20, 2012

Monday Morning Stories with Mookie - Episode 30

The Time Mookie Painted The Buildings On Grandpa's Farm

Back in July I was visiting with my Dad, and he was telling me about what parts of the buildings on his farm he had painted so far this summer.  My parents now live on the farm where my grandparents lived (and where my Dad grew up).  In recalling all the times he had painted the buildings, and the times they have been painted otherwise, Dad asked me how long ago it was when Grandpa had me paint them for him.  I thought for a moment, and realized it was pretty much exactly twenty years ago to the month.  The memories easily flowed back as Dad and I re-shared our stories (I'm sure we've told each other the same story several times).  Right then, I decided I needed to write down my story.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and always will.

It was the summer after I had just graduated high school, and my Grandpa Glenn asked me if I would help him paint all the buildings on his farm.  I had never done any extensive painting of....well...anything really, but I thought it would be fun.  Plus, I had never helped my Grandpa with any big project like this before - so that was exciting too.  So with no hesitation, I say I will do it.

After I agreed to do it, Grandpa told me to make sure I "kept track of my hours."  I had a feeling that maybe that meant that he was going to pay me for my work, but I didn't ask because I didn't want to be greedy or unappreciative.  And if he didn't pay me... well..I got to help my Grandpa for several days - which in hindsight was the most rewarding part of it all.

Grandpa had 4 buildings to paint: a corn crib, a hog house, a machine shed, and a barn.  All of it was "barn red" with white trim.  It was a mildly daunting task as both the barn and the corn crib were not small buildings by any means, and required high ladder work.  While the idea of getting up on a rickety old 30-foot high ladder was intimidating, the biggest intimidation was that I knew my Grandpa liked things done a "certain way."  So really.....I just wanted to make sure I did a good job so that my grandfather didn't think his grandson was a dumbass.

Those high spots don't paint themselves....
I showed up my first day, dressed in clothes I know are going to get trashed: Old t-shirt, cut-off shorts made from old weight lifting pants, and old high top sneakers.  I'm sure Grandpa thought "What the hell?"  But I was ready.  First we started with the white trim around the hog house, most of which was reachable with little to no ladder work.  Grandpa said to make sure I do my "best work" on the front of the buildings and the parts that could be seen from the road.  Grandpa liked his farm to look neat and presentable, so I did the best I could even though my only real painting experience to that point was on model cars and planes.  After that, I did the white parts under the eaves and all of the trim on the corn crib.  This took a bit longer because it took me up a ladder about 10-15 feet minimum.  Paint paint paint.  Get down.  Move ladder 3 feet.  Climb ladder.  Paint paint paint.  The north and south ends of the corn crib were the tallest, and went up 25-30 feet.  While I am not afraid of heights, standing on a bouncy old wooden rung extension ladder that high in the air and reaching up painting over your head is not what I would call a walk in the park.  It took some getting used to.

I finished the white trim on all the buildings in a few days, and was ready to move to a new color - RED.  Grandpa had went and bought a five-gallon bucket of red barn paint, and a gallon of "boiled linseed oil."  Apparently the linseed oil helps make the paint "look better and last longer".  I had no idea about any of it, so I was in no place to ask questions.  He showed me how to pour the red paint into my bucket, pour in an approximate amount of the linseed oil, and then mix it.  His method of mixing was a two-foot long pole with a "T" end on it - attached to a drill.  So I had to make sure I mixed my paint with this little electric helicopter every time I got a new bucket of paint.  For the first day, Grandpa was watching to make sure I "got enough linseed in there."  After awhile, I wondered why he didn't just pour all the linseed oil into the five gallon bucket after I had taken a couple buckets of red paint out of it.  But again, I didn't feel like I was in a place to question the old guy.  I'm sure he learned this "technique" from his Dad, and I KNOW my Dad had heard it too in his years on the farm.  Grandpa had a way to go about everything, and that was the way we did it.

Over the next few days, I knocked out the hog house and the machine shed due to their low-to-the-ground nature.  The paint that was already on the buildings was old, cracked, and flaky.  Grandpa told me to swipe the brush a few times across the boards before really painting them, and knock off the loose flakes.  The end result of this action usually resulted in me being covered in paint and paint chips because the flaky chips would fly everywhere.  Once I finished those two buildings, then I tackled the barn.  While it was a big building, it was a fairly easy paint job and only took me a few days to do.  The barn was out in the middle of the cattle lot, and received no mid-day sun shade on the south or west side.  I was already sporting a good sunburn on the back of my neck and legs from facing the other buildings, but the south side work fried me pretty good.

The last building we tackled, was the corn crib.  This building was by far the tallest.  Plus, on top of the crib was a cupola.  Grandpa had already told me that he wasn't going to let me paint it, and that my Dad could do it.  This led to a funny exchange when Grandpa told Dad that he wanted him to paint the cupola instead of having me do it.  Dad of course asked "why" because he must have thought I was able to do it.  Grandpa's response was "I don't know what I would do if he fell off of there and got hurt."  To which my Dad responded with an exasperated "What about me??  What if I fall off???"  Grandpa's logic was that my Dad had done it before, so he'd be OK.

Grandpa decided he "needed" to help me do the north and south ends of the crib as they were the high parts.  He must have felt uncomfortable having me up that high, and likewise, I was pretty uncomfortable with the old guy that high up on a ladder.  On the 2nd day of painting north end (the high part), it was apparent Grandpa had done some painting after I had left the previous day.  When I was ready to pick up where I left off, I noticed that sections of the higher parts were miraculously "done." When I told him he shouldn't be up on the ladder painting that high, he dismissed my concerns with an "Aww I'll be alright."  He also said it with a smile that told me he was going to do it no matter what anyone said about it.

What made his work even more difficult was that he had chronically horrible knees from all his years of working on the farm.  He had gone to the doctor one particular morning about them, and then was on the ladder painting with me as soon as he got home.  It was getting close to Noon and my lovely "Grandma Mary" walked out to let us know it was time for lunch.  Seeing him up on the ladder - which she didn't approve of - she began to "pick" at my Grandpa like she always did.  He would return her nitpicking with his classic ornery behavior.  She had this priceless scoffing "Oh" noise she would make when she was perturbed about something - which most of the time was something Grandpa was stubbornly doing.

GMA:  "(Scoff) Gleeeennnn!  Get down from there.  You shouldn't be up there!  Listen, what did the doctor say about your leg?

GPA:  "He told me to get back up on that ladder and finish painting."

GMA:  "(Scoff) Oh he did not!"

Looking back at it, their bickering was high comedy.  I remember one time they both went a whole day calling each other an "ass" for some reason.  It of course was all out of love, and they were married almost 66 years before Grandma passed.  Every one of my immediate relatives has a classic story of their priceless bickering.

We eventually finished up all the buildings, and Dad "got" to paint the cupola shortly thereafter.  Grandpa asked me if I had been keeping track of my hours, to which I had.  He took my "time sheet" into his den, did some quick math and presented me a check with an amount that represented a very kind hourly rate.  While it was much more difficult work, it was easily better than working the Hardee's drive-thru.  Plus there was the reward of spending time with my Grandpa, and a job-well done.  Well, at least I hope it was. I always figured he would have told me if he thought otherwise, but then again he was a nice guy and may have just enjoyed our time like I did.

"Grandpa Glenn" passed away two years ago today (08/20/2010).  He was quite a guy, and truly one-of-a-kind.  While I have multiple stories about him, painting with him that summer will always stand out for me as one of my favorites.

Grandpa watching the ballgame (at volume of 9 on a 10 scale) and telling me about the Cubs game from last night.
This is the last picture I took of him - on 06/23/2010 - less than two months before he died.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

Garbage Day Advice

Here is a little Public Service Announcement from your friends at Breathtaking and Inappropriate....

Saturday, August 18, 2012

Back To School Problems

As my kids attend a parochial school, this one especially hits home for me....

Friday, August 17, 2012

School Is Starting!

If you are like this guy, and you are moving your kids to college...just remember.

Two trips are for sissies.  You can do it in one trip.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

What Is Kobe Describing?

What is he telling these girls?

How big his "member" is?
How big the backside of the girl he raped in Colorado was?
How much more talent Shaq had than he does?
How big the ring was he bought for his (now ex) wife when he got caught "cheating?"

Personally, I think its how much bigger of a douche he is than most people.

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

I Don't Think She Regrets Her Actions

Latonja:  "Yeah I stabbed him.  What are you going to do about it?"

Monday, August 13, 2012

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 29

The Time Mookie and Megan Hired Home Town Restyling
(And It Was A Nightmare) Part I

Disclaimer:  The following story is 100% true.  I must say this because I don’t need someone coming out of the woodwork and suing me for defamation, slander, or libel.  Everything stated here is matter of fact, and indisputable.

Let me start by introducing the characters in my story:

Me:  Yours truly, Mookie.
"Megan(*)":  My hot wife.
Home Town Restyling (HTR):  The company we hired for various home improvements.
HTR Sales Guy:  The guy that sold us the job we hired HTR to do.
Foreman Guy:  The guy responsible for the workers who did the job.
Two Dudes:  The guys who did the window/trim job on our house.
Tim:  The guy who put in windows one day when the “Two  Dudes” were on another job.

Back in 2007, the wife thought we needed to look into getting new windows for our house.  Our home was built in 1920, and still had the original windows.  The frames and sills around them were definitely showing their age, and when the wind would kick up you could watch the curtains move - with the windows shut.  Needless to say that while our worries about radon poisoning were minimal, our heating bills certainly reflected how unsealed our home was.

Megan called Home Town Restyling in Hiawatha, Iowa to see if they could give us an estimate, and perhaps show us what they have.  One Saturday morning, “HTR Sales Guy” showed up and gave us a little demonstration with a display window, and touted the various benefits of using the “HTR” business for our updates.  The biggest “plus” of his entire pitch was that the cost of the job was “all inclusive.”  The cost included all parts and labor, and any extra work that needed to be done to complete the job.  If they found that termites had eaten away all the window sills, they would rebuild them.  If something was structurally bad, they would fix it.  While the cost was probably higher due to this contingency pricing, we had a feeling we’d get our money’s worth given our own personal experiences while doing home improvements.  Our house is pushing 100 years old, and has had several owners who have had their own ideas about “home improvement."  Because of this, we have uncovered more than one “surprise” over the years.  "HTR Sales Guy" also told us explicitly that when the workers left each and every day, they would clean up their mess and it would look like no one was there that day.    Upon review of the estimate he gave us and approval from the bank to help fund this project, we signed them up to do the job. 

The task was:
Install/replace the 25 windows on our house  (3 of which were large plate glass)
Remove/Replace all of the blue aluminum trim around said windows
Remove/Replace all of the blue trim around front porch windows (these windows were not being replaced).

The “timeframe” we were told it would take:  3-4 days.

The “Two Dudes” they assigned to do the job showed up on the designated day, and that was about all they did right.  They were lazy, and their attention to detail was worse than mine (that’s bad).  They were incompetent from the get-go, and because of this we made sure that at least one of us was home at all times while they were here.  Most days they would roll in after 9AM, and be gone by 2PM.  However this was only on the days where they actually showed up.  I guess you could say that when "HTR Sales Guy" told us that it would look like "no one was there" at the end of each day, he was right.  I'm going to go out on a limb and say that is not what he meant though.

When it came to cleaning up their mess like they were supposed to do, the "Two Dudes" registered a big fail on that task as well.  We often had to clean up their mess after they would leave each day, picking up scraps and vacuuming behind them.

If there was a hint of rain on a given day, you can bet your ass they tried to get out working.  One day Megan was like “Nuh uh.  It’s sprinkling, and you are working from inside the house.  You can do it.”  I must add that Megan was pushing 9 month pregnant with our 2nd child, and was in no mood for their shenanigans.  There were times we would notice that they  hadn't put any insulation around the frames of the windows.  Megan would ask "Um, did you insulate that window?"  The "Two Dudes" would say yes, or they would say they were going to do it.  These guys were zeros.

After a good five days of this, and being nowhere near done, Megan called “Foreman Guy,” the boss of the “Two Dudes” and let him know his workers suck.  To add insult to injury, they had to leave our job one day to go and finish their previous jobs.  In hindsight, I wonder if they had to go back and “fix” whatever they did somewhere else, because that is what they eventually had to do on our house. 

To try to smooth over the matter a bit, HTR sent up another guy by himself, “Tim,” to put in a few windows in the meantime.  This guy put in 3 or 4 windows (and trim) in the time it took the “Two Dudes” to do one window - and his craftsmanship was better!  Just sad.  Sadly he only came the one day.  When the "Two Dudes” showed up the next day, they seemed amazed at how much work the one guy had done by himself in an afternoon.

So after what was over 3 weeks, they decided that they were “done.”  Megan and I never had contracted anything of this magnitude out to someone else, so we were unsure what we should be feeling.  The work in simple terms was shoddy looking - Poorly cut/installed aluminum, and badly insulated/installed windows.  Some of the windows didn’t slide properly, and appeared to be installed crooked.  It was just terrible.  AND we paid a shitload for this.  So we call “HTR Sales Guy” and say we aren’t sure how we should feel about the work that was done.  He told Megan that we should be “100% satisfied.“  Megan said:  “Yeah.  Ok.  We’re not. At all.

So “Foreman Guy” gets involved, and he comes up and sees the monkey work the “Two Dudes” did.  We show him the numerous sections of bowed aluminum trim, poorly cut edges, horrible caulking jobs, and unnecessary nail usage.  In looking at these defects, we found even more.  He agrees that the work is not satisfactory, and tells us that they (the “Two Dudes”) will be back to fix it.  Seriously?  We asked if we could get anyone more "competent" to do it, but they said these guys would have to fix it.  In the meantime, he sent up another HTR flunkie to fix some screens that were damaged, insulate some of the windows that were totally missed (or not done at all), and readjust the windows themselves so they would slide.

A few weeks later, the "Two Dudes" showed up to fix the exterior issues with all of the aluminum trim around the windows.  Thankfully “Foreman Guy” is with them to provide on-site supervision and help to make sure the work was completed “satisfactorily.”  We still were not 100% happy, but we were afraid to have them do anything else in fear of them messing it up.  Other than the work “Tim” did the one day, the only other bright point in the job was when a guy came up and had to re-plaster a section underneath our bedroom window, and another guy had to re-do the trim around the window.  That part was great and actually went as it was “supposed to.”

So, did we get our money’s worth?  I dunno.  While they eventually finished the work they set out to do, we were understandably frustrated by having workers doing a half-assed job and taking three times as long to do it.

Did it stop us from using Home Town Restyling?  Unfortunately no.  Our home suffered some substantial damage during a storm in July 2011, and due to various reasons we again gave them a call to help with our home repair needs.

What happened?

Check back soon for Part II of The Time Mookie and Megan Hired Home Town Restyling (And It Was A Nightmare)

Thursday, August 09, 2012

The Look On Her Face....

It's like you can hear angels singing in her head.  "AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!"

Wednesday, August 08, 2012

10,000 Page Views!

I looked at the stats for my little website this morning, and noticed that as of today I have had 10,000 page views on my site.  In the scope of the entire internet world, this is a microscopic number compared to the "big boys" who get this in an hour.  But this is just me, a lame-ass guy that likes to share funny pics and stupid stories from my life.  So to have my site viewed 10,000 times (so far), that is pretty exciting.  When told of this minor milestone in the history of the internet, Mr. and Mrs. Obama seemed impressed.

Thanks for reading and viewing!

Best Lie Ever Told

I just read a quick story about NBC's "The Office," and how various characters are not going to be on as much, or not at all.  I still miss Michael. He made that show.  His hatred for Toby in H.R. is classic stuff.

Monday, August 06, 2012

Definition of the Day

Monday Morning Stories With Mookie - Episode 28

The Time Mookie Watched Dollar Don Get Someone Fired

This reportedly came from a Burger King.  I guarantee
this is nothing compared to things I've seen.
As I have previously noted in a past story, I used to jockey the front counter and drive-thru at the local Hardee’s during high school and part of college.  Most of the people I worked with were a lot of fun, and we had a lot of laughs.  Fast food is not all fun and games though.  The customers are assholes, and the employees can only take so much abuse from these people.  You know all those stories you hear in the news about someone doing something to the food of particular customers?  I can vouch for those stories and say that the odds are VERY high they are all true.  A cook spitting on a burger?  Seen it.  Stuff dropped on the floor and then served?  Seen it.  Makes you want to run out to Mickey D’s right now doesn’t it???

This story is fortunately not about tampering with the customer’s food.  However it is about what someone did to the burger container of a particular customer.  I’m sure you are going “Huh?”  That’s OK.  It will make perfect sense in a minute.

If you are a regular reader of my Monday Morning Stories, you probably can remember Episode 11:  “TheTime Mookie Had His First “Run-In” With Dollar Don.”  The central character in that story was a guy in my hometown that we called “Dollar Don.”  This guy and his posse of losers endured endless harassment from a good majority of the high school crowd.  People would yell things at him from the Hardee’s parking lot while he was parked over at the Coastal Mart gas station across the highway.  Middle fingers, “F you!” exclamations, and threats of kicking each other’s asses were the standard communication between the parties.  I have numerous stories about the various “battles” we all endured with Dollar Don.  This is yet another one of those tales.

One night I was working the front counter at Hardee’s, and one of my fellow employees – “Calvin” was working the grill.  It escapes me who was working the drive-thru window, but I know she was an unknowing participant to what was about to happen.  Let’s call her “Pat.” The manager on duty – “Betty” was in the back office doing the nightly accounting.  It was during a lull in business that Calvin and I were talking when we noticed a very familiar van pull into the parking lot, and drive around the building to the drive-thru menu board.  Calvin goes “Was that Dollar (Don)?” 

The “beeper” that signaled someone was at the menu board went off, and Pat went over and pushed the speaker button and gave out her friendly “Welcome to Hardee’s, how can I help you?”  The voice that came back was unmistakably Dollar’s voice.  “Yep.  That’s him.” I said.  Calvin smiled, raised his eyebrows and turned to his grill and food prep station.  I didn’t want to know what he was going to do.  Calvin previously had several run-ins with Dollar outside of Hardee’s, usually in the parking lot or over the CB radios they communicated on.  So there was no love between the two.

Upon completion of giving his food order, Dollar drove the van around the building and parked at the drive-up window.  I looked over and I could see him and his greasy hair, and noticed the van was full of the usual suspects:  Claude-head, Cracker Jack, Slim Jim, and a Dollar Jr or two.  I continued my front counter duties while Pat bagged up Dollar’s food that Calvin had made and slid into the heated transfer area.  Pat completed the transaction with Dollar, and he drove away out of the parking lot.  I looked back at Calvin, and said “What did you do?”  His reply was “Me?  I didn’t do anything.”  Then he smiled.  Oh no.

A few minutes went by, and then I witnessed the Dollar Van flying back into the parking lot and into a parking space.  The entire crowd gets out of the van and is making their way to the building with apparent anger.  Oh God.

Dollar arrives at the counter and says “You guys think you are real f*ckin’ funny don’t you??”  I try to be the calm helpful employee, and I say “What is the problem sir?”  (Yeah I called him sir.  It was funny.)  He proceeds to pull out the quarter pound cheese burger he ordered out of the bag, and opens the Styrofoam box it was in.  There on inside lid of the box was a red dollar sign ($) written with a red grease pencil.  I honestly had no words.  I wanted to laugh like hell, but somehow held that back.  Dollar and Claude-head continued their diatribe (rightly so) over this form of harassment, and wanted to speak to the manager.  Betty had already overheard the commotion and was on her way to the front counter.

“Sir, how can I help you?  What is the problem?”  Dollar repeated his irate comments and showed Betty the box.  She looked at me and Pat with a surprised  “did you do this?” kind of look.  I shook my head “no,” (as did Pat) and Betty’s shoulders sunk.  She knew who did it.  “CALVIN!”  she called to the back.  Calvin came to the front with an expression that I would describe as though he appeared “cluelessly innocent but curious” as to what was going on up front here. 

“Did you do this?” Betty asked him.  Calvin couldn’t restrain himself and smiled.  “Yeah.  Yeah I did it.”

Betty of course was as apologetic as can be, but then made Calvin apologize to Dollar like he was a 4 year old kid.  The idea of this to me was HILARIOUS, but to his credit -  he actually did it.  The best part was that he sounded sincere.  It was truly an Academy Award performance because I knew that if Calvin was going to be apologetic to someone and mean it, Dollar Don was NOT that person.

Betty then sent him to the back and told him to sit down and wait for her.  She then refunded Dollar’s money and personally made Dollar and family all new food.  This seemed to appease the Dollar Clan to an extent, but I’m sure they were still bitter when they left.

The whole scene was amazing to watch.  I wanted to laugh, but didn’t want to end up with Calvin sitting in the back.  Plus I was impressed with the balls Calvin had to do such a thing.  Then again, he could have just been stupid.  It’s a fine line sometimes.  I was also afraid Dollar and the gang would come over the counter and resort to fisticuffs – as they were known to do to “settle” things from time to time.  Especially with smart-mouth high school kids.

Pat and I stayed up at the front while Betty went to the back to deal with Calvin.  A few minutes later, due to his “gross negligence” and “poor conduct,” good old Calvin was relieved of his duties there and forevermore from the local eatery.

In the ethical sense, Dollar won this round against the local youth.  He ended up with free food, and he got one of his harassers fired.  However I have to raise my glass to Calvin on this one.  He took a shot that few people would have attempted in his situation.  This took a significant amount of bravery/stupidity on his part, and he paid the price for his deed in the fight against Dollar Don.  Then again, he got fired from HARDEE’S.  They probably did him a favor, and he still got to screw with Dollar.  Win-Win for him.

Definitely a "win" for us all.

* - Names changed to protect the guilty/innocent

Have you missed a previous episode of Monday Morning Stories With Mookie?  Click HERE!

Friday, August 03, 2012

Olympic Volleyball


Wednesday, August 01, 2012

Best Van EVER

Tell me you don't want a van like this.  If I would have had this in high school, it would have been epic.