Monday, April 28, 2008


I just realized that I overpaid my waterbill last month by $491.00. I wanted you to know in case any of you had any sort of reservations about going on a date with someone WHO IS STUPID.

I (apparently) need to be shepherded around like a small child or my entire financial empire comes tumbling down. Don’t mind me - I’ll just be over here buying fishing lures and playing the fiddle while my financial Rome burns to a smoldering crust.

It’s not my fault, really. It’s the decimal point. Sure, I work in finance, but I can’t be expected to get the DECIMAL point right EVERY TIME. Correct? They're pretty stubborn.

It’s so tiny. Look at it : “.”. Easy mistake to make in online banking, if you ask me.

Unfortunately, YOU asked me; but the water authority DIDN’T. All they wanted to know was my account information so they could send me the money back… 3-6 months.

No kidding.

Based on the volume of my correspondence with “Martina” at the Water Authority over the last few years I’m guessing I’ll be getting a Christmas card from them again in 2008. I also suspect I may have been assigned my very own case-worker. That fact is comforting on some level I guess, because now if I have a problem I have someone specific to call about it. Unfortunately, now that someone has absolutely no faith in my cognitive abilities and no longer sees the humor in my constant water predicaments.

I don’t even understand them myself to be honest with you. I STILL don’t know where $681.59 worth of water went last summer, and why the entire DudeRanch hasn’t floated off its foundation on the 70ft column of water that dollar value represents. I swear to you - I don’t have it hidden in an underground lair or anything. Even if I DID have an underground lair, would I store 40,000 gallons of water in it? NO. I’d store guns and ancient artifacts in it and perhaps the ark of the covenant (which is currently in my attic); but certainly not 40,000 gallons of water.

Had I know earlier that stockpiling illegally-pirated water could bring the City of Atlanta to its very knees; I MIGHT have built myself an underground lair, hijacked all your water, and attempted to gain control of the city; but I did I see it coming in time?

NO - I can’t even get a decimal point right, much less focus on world domination.

We Have a Bleeder!

Generally I don’t like nosebleeds.

As a kid they were fairly entertaining; due at least in part to a general sense of amazement over the sheer volume of blood that could suddenly spout out of your snoot without a moment’s notice. But nowadays – they’re really not that great. I especially don’t like them in any sort of date-ish situation. Were I to pick a great first impression; it would not be “HI!!!!! GUESS WHAT?? I JUST GUTTED A DEER IN THE BATHROOM!!”

I think I’ll draw the curtain of good taste around the remainder of that story and say only this: practice good nasal health - your future progeny may depend on it.

Friday, April 25, 2008

You Have Meredith To Thank For This One

So, on the heels of my last blog post Meredith Quarrelitia Jollay, my fabulous ex-girlfriend, brought this fun little story to my attention. Check it out:

OLDSMAR, Florida — A Florida woman found an 8-foot long alligator prowling in her kitchen late Monday night, authorities said. Sandra Frosti, 69, said the alligator must have pushed through the screen door on the back porch and then walked through an open sliding glass door at her home in Oldsmar, just north of Tampa. The alligator apparently then strolled through the living room, down a hall and into the kitchen.

A trapper removed the alligator, which was cut by a plate that was knocked to the ground during the chaos. But no one inside the house was injured. (FOX News Online).

I can only assume Meredith was at work googling "alligators" and "pop tarts" and accidentally combined the two. Regardless, something strange is DEFINITELY afoot. I've got deer and zebras trying to kill me in Atlanta, THERE MIGHT BE LIONS IN MY BATHTUB, and this lady has an 8ft reptile perusing her pantry? Are you kidding me?

First of all: lets face it - the plate didn't just get "knocked to the ground." Sandra definitely broke it over that alligator's head; of that I am confident. She's scrappy....and old - a winning combination. That having been said: this story also indicates an alligator trapper somehow became involved too which, to me, indicates great presence of mind on the part of wily ol' Sandra.

I doubt I'd have the presence of mind to thumb the yellow pages for "alligator trapper" while an 8ft specimen makes free with my Fruit Loops. For roaches - sure, I'd immediately think "ok well - lets call Chemical Technologies. They'll send Clifford out to spray and he'll stay for a beer and watch some football on the couch like usual. No big deal."

Key difference: that roach isn't likely to eat my refridgerator.

The only way I'd get Clifford in there with an alligator is if he thought the beer in the fridge was in real danger. Otherwise - I promise you'd find us both standing in the front yard in our boxers. I dont know what it is with me and life-threatening situations, but somehow I nearly always end up standing around afterwards with no pants on.

Even speaking as an Outdoorsman I'm not really sure what I'd do in this situation. It definitely wouldn't involve the telephone up until the point where I made the "Uncle Buster, can you help me?" call; and normally that call doesn't get made until there is real potential for a Department of Fish & Wildlife violation.

THAT call is normally followed by the gradual accumulation of burly steel workers and crane-trucks at my location. For some reason Uncle Buster accesses crane-trucks like you or I use duct tape. He has an overly-elaborate way to fix nearly anything using three (3) steel workers, two (2) cherry pickers, and a megaphone. It works, but someone nearly always gets hurt.

Uncle Buster aside; the best way for you to know if there has ever been an 8ft alligator in my kitchen is to walk inside and look up. If there is a me-shaped hole in the kitchen ceiling, then yes, there was an alligator in the kitchen.

While you're in there: see if you can find my pants.

Ungulate Death Squad

I was headed down GA400 on my way to work this morning when I noticed a dead deer on the shoulder just south of the Lennox road exit. Now, before the chorus of “AWWWWWWW”s drowns out my thoughts here, let’s think a moment: what was that deer doing on Lennox road after midnight? Hmmmm? Are we really supposed to believe that was an innocent little deer out for a midnight stroll who just happened to sneak a bit too far out of its lane? NO. C’mon. Not me. I see what is really going on here.

Deer don’t shop at Phipps folks.

The truth is: that deer was on a mission of some sort, I’m certain of it. The only conclusion I can draw is simply this: the deer have finally found out where I live; and they are coming to kill me. I've feared this day since the early '80s.

Oh right, you laugh. Sure, but all this just on the heels of a gigantic news story in which a LIVE ZEBRA was found wandering around in the Atlanta interstate TWO DAYS AFTER I BOOK MY TRIP TO HUNT IN NAMIBIA FOR…ZEBRA (among other things)??!??!

What’s next? Lions in my bathroom? If I come home and there is a lion in my tub I can absolutely guarantee you I’ll never be right again. YOU spend the rest of your life wondering a full-grown male lion is going to come out of your shower drain and tell me how normal you feel.

Something ain’t right here, I don’t need a diagram to point that out for you. So, listen if you find me splayed out on the bathroom floor with little cloven hoofprint bruises all over my body – you know who to blame.

They’re not deer. They’re four-footed ungulate killers…and you could be next.

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

Sometimes You're the Shar-Pei

I was standing in the line at Kroger some time ago when I noticed the lady in front of me was giving me the eyeball. You know – sneaking a quick peek now and again when she thought I wasn’t looking.

I love that.

As a guy - catching a woman looking is always a lot of fun because we automatically assume that, clearly, this person is eyeballing me because she would love to make out.

With me.

Right this second.

She’s not staring because I’ve just cut her off in the parking lot, accidentally knocked over the display of gefilte fish, I’m riding on the back of the buggy like it’s a skateboard, or because I’m pushing a cart full of nothing but dried meat snacks, Pringles, and toilet paper. None of those reasons are legitimate – it MUST be something else, and it MUST somehow directly relate to my innate virility.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not apologizing. I’m single and it’s a fun thought – like winning the lottery or somebody giving me a Porsche.

I’m also not saying I’d engage in anything smooch-related right there in Kroger – or near the Kroger for that matter. In fact, I’d say the likelihood that I’d so much as brush cheeks with a checkout-line-companion is slim because (even beyond the obvious moral implications) what about cold sores? That’s enough incentive for me - I don’t want ‘em and maybe she’s got ‘em, but you don’t know until it’s too late because cold sores are the silent killer. Say what you will, but that’s an STD stuck right to your face – and everybody knows it. They’re like the creatures in that ALIEN movie with Sigourney Weaver; everything feels fine - then you wake up one morning and WHOA! WHAT IS THAT THING ON YOUR FACE!!??? Then you die.

So, I’m standing in line thinking about all this when the full import of the situation hits me: I’m staring blankly ahead into this woman’s checkout basket (as if carefully studying its contents), my lips are moving and I’m gently smiling to myself. When I come to my senses I realize: the only two items in her basket are the largest package of Maximum-Strength Midol Cramp Relief I have ever seen and a bottle of red wine.

She is looking at me quite firmly and it slowly dawns on me: I am one buggy-length away from the beating of my life. This woman does not want to make out with me...Ever...and I know of 96 blister-packed reasons why.

That changed my entire perspective on things.

I think a key part of the male maturation process is realizing early in life that, despite what your mother thinks: not everyone is going to want to go out with you. It’s just that simple and there are myriad reasons why that’s the case. Moreover - it's ok! If everybody DID want to go out with you – you’d never get anything done.

There are so many legitimate reasons why NOT to date someone, but everybody always gets so up-in-arms when they get cut for their looks. I just don’t get that at all. What bothers ME is when I get sent down the shaft for my PERSONALITY – think about THAT next time the door opens and there’s no elevator.

Looks you're born with, but personality was all YOUR fault.

Looks bias I can understand – I don’t like shar-peis, but maybe you do – you know? If you don’t like the way I look – fair enough. You drive an ugly car. So, you're stupid and I win.

This thought will probably ruin your life, but listen here - what gets me is: if its not how you look – it must be something much more sinister that you can’t comb-over.

Like cold sores, for instance.

Wednesday, April 09, 2008

The Wrong Stuff

I realized tonight that my mind spins in so many directions at once; its a miracle I can successfully get the cap off a ball point pen without losing interest midway through.

I didn’t come to that realization until I was laid out underneath the remains of a solid oak table I initially intended to modify into a workbench, covered in woodchips and sweat (and sweaty woodchips), and realized: I bought THE WRONG BOLTS.

That wouldn’t be a huge deal, except that I just went to Lowe’s to get bolts – because I bought the wrong bolts the day before.

The same wrong bolts.

The Lowes metal fastener section may as well have a gigantic bin in it with a huge “GET THE WRONG BOLTS HERE” sign over it. That would help me a lot. I could just go straight to that bin, GET THE WRONG BOLTS, pay, and leave – and not have to go to the trouble of looking through every tiny drawer of bolts in the place to find THE WRONG BOLTS, buy them, go home, and realize they’re useless (and I don’t have the receipt).

From now on I’m just going to drive over there, walk in, walk right back out, drive home, get out, go inside, drive back to Lowe’s, go in and GET THE RIGHT BOLTS. I figure that’s the only way to outsmart myself – I average about 2-3 visits per successful, useful, item; and at least this way I don’t have to go through the checkout and return lane twice.

I think maybe I’m easily distracted.

I saw a very bright-colored new circular saw on the way in that I couldn’t quite get to because of how the entryway works – so I went straight to the bolts.

I came for bolts, but in all honesty the only question pressing on my mind at that moment was whether the green stripes on that circular saw contained a vibration-dampening gel substance. I don’t know why they would (and they don’t) – but they looked like maybe they COULD contain a gel-substance, and I figure anything with an unidentifiable gel squeezed into it has to be high-tech and necessary. So, I sort of skimmed my way through the bolt-selection process.

I rummaged around with my big ham-hands and dug up some bolts, then plodded on over to the saw section; drawn like a moth to a bug zapper. I’ve never seen a circular saw with gel baked into it – so, that’s worth a quick gander, right?

I was disappointed to find a lack of vibration-reducing gel. Fortunately, there was a dead-blow hammer with loose BBs built into it nearby and I thought I might need that sort of a hammer (for something). It also was very brightly-colored, so I worked my way on down past the drill bits (got one in 5/16” but I set it down someplace and can’t find it), and located a suitable dead-blow hammer.

In short: now I’ve got a big plastic hammer with BBs in it, 8 of THE WRONG BOLTS, 7 of THE RIGHT NUTS, and two different sizes of washers that fit neither THE RIGHT BOLTS nor THE WRONG BOLTS….and I can’t find my drill bits.

And now I’ve been thinking about how I think for so long, it’s time to go to bed.

I need some rest so I can get up and go to Lowes.....

For bolts..I think.

Sunday, April 06, 2008


I was in the Deer Camp (TDC) bathroom studiously engaged in currycombing my (rapidly-spreading) pelt of chest hair with Dad’s favorite brush and, generally, I don’t appreciate being interrupted during this important evening man ritual. However, mid-way through the process I heard raucous laughter pealing out across the adjoining bedroom and, as there are few things I dislike more than missing the joke, I opened the door and stuck my head into the bunk room.

The door swung open to reveal Tommy Statham, clad only in his aging Fruit of the Looms, flopping, stranded, across the highest bar of a top bunk; just a smidge shy of making it into bed; George and Thomas Benton, literally, rolling on the floor in merriment.

Tommy, looking for all the world like a giant naked turtle, with big hound dog eyes soulfully locked in mine, bravely announced, “Jimmy you know I got cerebral palsy! I cain’t get up into this top bunk,” and immediately slid off onto the floor in a blinding flash of white, hairy, Statham.

What could I do? I said, “TOMMY! YOU BETTER GET YOUR BUTT UP THERE!!” and collapsed in an uncontrollable fit of laughter.

I haven’t laughed that hard in two years. Tommy howled so hard he cried, Thomas fell out of bed, and George convulsed for so long he had to brush his teeth again.

We gave Tommy the double bed.


Mom always said there are few things in this world worth more than a great friend. I say there are even fewer things in this world worth more than a great friend with a handicap sticker, which I’ve often told Tommy is the main reason we’re great friends: good parking.

He laughs.

Which, to me, is another reason we’re great friends: he thinks I’m funny; a sentiment often not shared by various members of the female set, a whole host of state troopers, and on, on occasion, Emily Jones after I’ve tripped her in public (which is funny, I don’t care what she says).

Tommy , my friend, weighed 2.2lbs at birth – that’s less than a “keeper” bass. Trust me – I know, because I’ve never caught a “keeper” bass in a tournament. He spent the first three months of a life hard-clung-to in an incubator at Grady Hospital. Typically he reminds me of that birth weight figure when there’s some question of sleeping arrangement (one bed, one couch), who drives (he doesn’t want to), or what time we meet for church (he likes the 11AM, I prefer the 6PM). It’s one of the few times in life when my high birth weight ( 8.11lbs) doesn’t stand me in good stead, but I’ve taken to suggesting that maybe when his Mom said “incubator” at “Grady Hospital” she really meant a “shoebox” in an “oven” set on “warm” for a few days.

It worked for Simon Birch.

Tommy does not appreciate that line of argument so, generally, I end up driving him to the 6PM and he sleeps in my bed while I take the couch.

As I write this Tommy is seated next to me on the couch in my Uncle John’s “little cabin” (mansion) overlooking Sky Valley, Georgia, as the fog rolls in on a cool April night. He’s sleeping in the master bedroom; I’m staying in the maid’s quarters downstairs.

Tommy is staring with rapt attention at some nameless basketball game on television. I don’t even know the score, but you could run a freight train through the living room and he’d just lean in a little closer to the neon glow. He likes that basketball stuff; so does Stewart Grace who is asleep in the adjoining brown leather chair and has been, off and on, since Friday afternoon.

Good times.

I see people on a daily basis that I would bet don’t have great friends like Tommy Statham. I feel very sorry for them. Well, sort of sorry. Mostly I just wish they’d get on through the drive-up window so Tommy and I can get our Krystal hamburgers (onions, pickle, mustard).

My favorite Tommy story goes something like this:

One day Tommy was in New York City. He hailed a cab and was approaching the vehicle when a spry young lady with two children sprung out of nowhere, slung her children into the backseat, turned to Tommy and triumphantly crowed “HA!!! I BEAT YOU!!!”

Tommy leaned back, smiled, and said, “That’s no big deal. I’m crippled.”

Tommy Wins Again!

Friday, April 04, 2008

Sudden Realization

Have you ever realized you were naked?

And by "realized you were naked" I mean - it came as a bit of a shock?

Knowing you're naked is one thing, realizing it is something else altogether. Normally, when you realize you're naked - its because someone else pointed it out; generally because they weren't expecting it either, so they're like - whoa! There's a naked guy!

As I understand it - generally, if TWO or more people are naked (and near enough one another to converse) there's sort of a general understanding that "hey - we're all naked here and nobody's surprised." The understanding being: there is a reason for this nakedness - an implied covenant of nudity, if you will.

I'm talking about situations like locker rooms, Matt Dunn's house (any day), or Weekly Naked TV Day at the DudeRanch. Naked? Ok. Sure. No big deal and while you're up - get everybody a beer.

Nobody in the locker room points out "hey buddy, you aint got a stitch on." Why? Because they saw it coming.

BUT, when you REALIZE you're naked - you've got problems....and buddy, it happend to me.

In the not-so-distant past I was wakeboarding on the lake (first mistake). My second was not cinching up the 'ol board shorts tight enough.

The first wipe-out took my breath away and my shorts right along with it; and I quickly realized: Hey, wait. I'm naked....

At noon.

On the 4th of July.

In the middle of a crowded lake.