Mon., April 16, 42 A.B.

Too Big To Cry, Too Small To Stomp On Tokyo

"Finish your brownie!  Yes, it IS a mile wide - but it's only an inch thick!"

That's the sort of parental admonition I've always hated to hear first thing in the morning.  The fact that this one actually was delivered to me at the tail end of a dream by some parent I've never seen before did little to reduce its sting....

I've found that days that begin with a sting rarely get better, and today was no exception. I mean to say, today was no exception.  I'm sorry - did I say that today was no exception already?  Sorry.  Days that begin with a sting quite often leave me a tad jello-brained.

As if the above admonition from the tail end of my dream wasn't warning enough, today's "Blondie" comic strip amounted to a honking huge
foghorn warning me that I'd somehow drifted overnight dangerously close to unforgiving shoals.  If you saw the strip yourself, then you know what
I'm talking about: Dagwood's mailman got an earring!  A diamond- studded earring!  In his left ear!  You know when a decadent post-modern punk rock craze penetrates the formerly safe harbor of Blondie's 4-panel world, time has entered a whole new and dangerous phase....

A trip to ABC Warehouse confirmed it.

ABC Warehouse is one of those places where newborn appliances are abandoned by their irresponsible manufactures in hopes that someone
will soon come along and adopt the poor, innocent products of the long, hard assembly lines the manufacturers obviously don't know how to control.  My wife got it into her head that maybe we ought to adopt a little clock radio/CD player so that she could be awakened in the morning by something other than the unbearably happy chatter of obviously lobotomized DJs or the screams of a man being admonished by a parent he's never seen before.  One thing led to another, and as soon as the swelling went down I agreed to go with her to ABC Warehouse to see
what we could see.

I've always hated places like ABC Warehouse.  I'm one of those old-fashioned guys who believe that heavy white goods ought to be enjoyed in the privacy of one's own home and not displayed on a showroom floor like so many steaks in a meat case.  I'm also one of
those old-fashioned guys who thinks murder ought to be against the law except when sale people working on commission come within 50 paces
of my wallet.  I swear, it's like going to visit someone in the hospital and having a different nurse stop you in the hallway every few feet and ask if you'd like to give blood.  You'd think my shirt with the big red "NO BLOOD ON-BOARD!" on its front and back would tip them off to what my answer would be, but I guess they're so low on blood their optic nerves aren't working as they should be.  Which, come to think of it, is just one more reason not to agree to let them try to suck blood from me with a tube and \a needle that I understand must more or less hit a vein to be effective.  

Today's visit to ABC Warehouse was different, however.  Today instead of the sales people annoying me every few seconds for the length of my visit, they annoyed me all at once by clipping a heavy numbered red tag
on my ear the moment I walked through the doors.

"You're Jim's," a greeter informed me.  "And you're Carl's," he told my wife after swiftly introducing her ear to a heavy numbered blue tag.  "If you need any help as you look around, just shake your head a few times and someone will be right to bag - I mean, to help you."

"Huh?" I demanded to know.

"These tags contain electronic homing devices which allow your movements to be followed in our main office.  Shaking your head causes the signal to cut in and out - our cue to radio dispatch a sales person to bag - umm, help you.  Any more questions?"

I shook my head no and was immediately accosted by a gentleman who introduced himself as Carl.

"It still has a few bugs to be worked out," the greeter admitted to me after he'd convinced an obviously disappointed Carl that some idiot I couldn't see had triggered a false alarm.

"Riiiight," I humored the guy, then followed my wife to the clock radio section with my hands on both sides of my head to keep it steady.

$60.  That's how much the CD-playing clock radio she liked cost.  I was shocked.  For that kind of money, I promised to get up early and sing whatever she wanted to hear.

"And what will get you up?" she demanded to know.

I promised to stay up all night and wake her whatever time she wanted if only we could leave right then and there.

It worked!  Within minutes we were happily on the way home.  Well, until
we hit this one notoriously long light.  I decided to get out of the car and
run in a nearby drugstore while we waited for it to change.

Bad move.

Unable to immediately find what I was looking for, I marched right over to the pharmacy counter and asked the guy working there, "Hey - where do you keep the undroppable vitamin E tablets?"

"Right next to the unspillable cough syrup," he rather unhelpfully informed me then went back to waiting on the woman who had rather rudely
failed to step aside when she saw me coming with my question.

I wandered the aisles for some time before spotting a stock boy and asking him where I might find the unspillable cough syrup.

"Search me," he replied.

I sadly shook my head no, having fallen for that old ploy of those starved for physical affection before.

Almost immediately, Carl was at my side.  Poor guy - when he found out that he wasn't going to make any commission off a sale to me for the second time that day, he almost broke his foot kicking me right in the ass.

POSTSCRIPT:  The woman who had treated my needs so cavalierly at
the pharmacy counter mercifully did not get in my way as I left the building without my pills.  By the time I got back to the car, my wife and I had a
mere 13 minutes to wait until the light changed.  Once home, I tried to remove my ear tag by taking a long, hot shower with a bar of Lava hand soap.  Alas, I only succeeded in rubbing off all my natural sparkle.

Despite the promise I made to my wife, I'm going to bed now.  After a day like this, staying up half the night is about the best I can do.

If the inevitable tossing and turning I'm sure to soon experience brings
Carl to my bedside, he better be prepared to eat a mile-wide brownie all
by himself - that's all I've got to say.

                              Back            Home            Next

        (©Now by DJ Birtcher using a remote-controlled toy crane to
       activate  the appropriate keyboard keys after getting high off the
         codeine in a certain unspillable bottle of cough syrup he found
           abandoned by its owner on the shelf of a certain drugstore)