Thursday, April 19, 2007

The Importance of Signaling

I wake up in the morning most days with a general sense of curiousity about what sort of adventure I might run into. Typically: none, but that’s the thing about adventure - you can't nail it down to a regular pattern or there wouldn't be much to look forward to, now would there? So you always just have to wonder about it a tiny bit - not enough to be genuinely disappointed when nothing of consequence happens; just enough to keep your wits about you in the event your adventure requires the application of some form of skill. You may or may not possess this skill.

My experience with deeply memorable adventures indicates that, more often than not, this skill deserts you at an inopportune time.*

Most of the time I go to work and sit down, then when I get ready to leave work I stand back up and go home. My window for adventure is roughly 24-43 minutes in length on an average day and encompasses the time I spend walking to and/or from the truck and driving to and/or from work. Quite regularly: there is no adventure. Oftentimes there is an adventure and it kicks in when I stand up from my desk, realize my right leg has betrayed me by going to sleep whilst I labored, and I crash into the stack of papers on my desk; upsetting my coffee cup into my water cup into my telephone while I fall backwards across the arms of my chair - the chair that rolls.

That happens sometimes. But not today.

Today I dressed myself (harder than you might think), and set sail for work. I ate a stick of beef jerky somewhere between Mt. Paran Road and Northside Drive. It was really tasty, but that’s not part of the adventure.

Halfway down Courtland I swung hard into the right lane (without signaling) once I passed the usual intersection construction; and accelerated through the next yellow light. I noticed, idly, that a pidgeon (we'll call him "Thornton") on the sidewalk a half-block ahead was suspiciously eyeballing an approaching pedestrian. I glanced at my rearview and began to swing into the left lane (again, no signal). I looked back up just in time to see Thornton's tailfeathers at roughly eye-level in extreme closeup. He was merging into my lane and shifting gears, but not fast enough I'm afraid. Had he taken Harris or Baker (or even Dobbs if traffic is bad) he would have been fine; but he didn't.

Through the ensuing explosion of feathers, windshield wipers, and general chaos I managed to catch one last glimpse of him in the rearview as he climbed for the sun; five remaining tail feathers fanned briefly in that ubiquitous hand signal we commuters know so well.

Today Thornton the pidgeon made his last illegal turn and I can't help but think: if he had only signaled, he might have made it.

*If the "The Goonies" really happened (a possibility I occasionally mull over) and Mozart and I were in that cave with Mouth, Mikey, and Data trying to bang out a tune on the skull piano - I'd look at Mozart expectantly and he'd be like "what? me?" and he'd have probably hit a high note and killed us all. Thats what can happen when your skill deserts you. Don't let it be you.

Friday, April 13, 2007

Happy Birthday!

I occasionally engage in creating my very own birthday cards for good friends and relatives. For some reason I've gotten what I'd characterize as "semi-negative feedback" on a few of them. See below.

Feeling flabby? Wrinkled? Past your prime? Smelling vaguely of mothballs and lavendar lotion? WAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!!!! THATS BECAUSE YOURE SO MUCH OLDER THAN ME!!!! OH MAN!!!!

I know this is a special day for you, so I asked all your friends what I should get you for your birthday; and let me tell you - they had some great ideas. Unfortunately, I couldn't afford to pay for liposuction, dental veneers, and an MRI this week - so instead I made you this little card.


The Adventurous Mr. Young

So, it turns out: in a letter identifying me as "Mr. Young"; Atlanta's Watershed Services (based on a cursory examination of my water meter) maintained their original stance that the dudes of the DudeRanch did indeed use 40,000+ gallons of water in the month of August.

Not to be thwarted, I immediately began a new series of inquiries into the innerworkings of DudeRanch plumbing and the inhabitants' water usage.

What I found was: nothing. But friends, that water is out there somewhere.

Somewhere in the deepest recessess of my [small brick ranch] house I have hidden away 40,000 gallons of water - perhaps in a little-used closet or possibly in the dark corner of that over-the-stove cabinet with all the coozies and solo cups. My water reserves could be in the attic keeping my turkey feathers company; I really couldn't say.

One day in a not-so-distant future you may well drive past the Duderanch only to find that it is simply not there - it has floated away in the night: set sail to parts unknown on its private sea of expensive water reserves. You may receive Crimmus cards from Duderanch locations far and wide bearing exotic stamps and smelling of frankincense, myrrh, and warthog. You may hear tales of the Duderanch and its 4 inhabitants that are strange and wonderful to behold. Then, you may well ask yourself - how can they afford to sail that house around the world??

But friends - don't worry: we paid for it in advance. $502.47 to be exact.

Tuesday, April 10, 2007

Naked and Angry

I saw a newborn today which is rare for me. You don't typically see great roving herds of newborns out toddling the halls of your average consulting firm on a normal business day, so I won't lie to you - it threw me off. Now, I'm generally not opposed to the concept of children in the workplace (small hands are great for cleaning coffee mugs); but I draw the line at newborns - mostly just because it has been my experience that newborns spend a great deal of time naked and angry. And friends, there is no room for naked and angry in the workplace.

In my opinion naked and angry is no way to go through life, so it’s a nice bonus that most of us essentially grow through that stage fairly quickly (hopefully never to return). Growing up is tough though. Its hard to go from not walking to walking; not talking to talking…to talking too much….Its even a little tough to go from not driving to driving. When I was that age I went from driving to not driving fairly regularly as well - mostly depending on the good humor of my parents and the fickle mechanical state of my 1978 Bronco (may it rattle in peace).

Don't get me wrong - I know of fairly popular people who have forged successful careers either naked, or angry; but never a combination of the two. Naked and angry is a tough sell.

I can think of many dissimilar things that go marvellously well together - marshmallows coolwhup and pistachios, steak and potatoes, syringes and butts, my cousin Martin and button-up shirts, wood and fire, chocolate and icecream; but I'm betting you won't see Ben & Jerry roll out "Naked and Angry" in their 2008 summer lineup.

Take your average cabdriver for instance: angry? You bet. Do you get in his cab? Sure. So he's an angry cabbie - big deal. Compulsively jiggle the door handle en route, then stiff him on the tip as payback if he's rude.

Now, on the other hand - do you get in with an angry, naked cabbie? Not a chance. That’s one cab you let cruise right on by. There is just too much that can happen at 60mph that you might need clothes for to warrant putting yourself at the mercy of an angry naked man. Naked and angry just don't mix.

Typically the transition away from angry nakedness starts with solid foods - you move on from there and before you know it; you're standing in the driveway as your Dad pulls up in a brand-new 1973 Gremlin that he bought you because he heard your girlfriend say she thought it was "cute." Its your first car.

You're not naked (you've come a long way), but you're definitely angry…at least that’s how my uncle Buster tells it.

So maybe the issue is - the act of removing the outer clothing cancels out anger. Its tough to be angry and naked at the same time - you feel a tad too exposed to muster up a really fierce look - (the key to a proper rampage). So, the answer to anger management might be just 6 buttons and a zipper away, because I think you'd feel better if you took your clothes off.