Monday, June 18, 2007

Never Again! Really! I Mean It!

I've made it through to check out line and thank goodness they have installed a self -service checkout system so that I can avoid any contact with the cashiers. In my experience, the cashiers usually put the ugly icing on the nasty cake that is the Wal-Mart experience.

So I'm on my way out with my daughter in the cart and I get a phone call. I've only purchased a couple of yogurt smoothies (my daughter likes them) so I'm surprised when as I start to walk through the door I'm detained by an old woman holding out her hand. Again, I'm on the phone having barely said hello when the old Wal-Mart woman shoves her open hand in front of me. I look her in the eye as I say, "Hello" to the caller on the phone. The old woman shoves her hand at my chest as if she wants me to give her my phone. To that I say, "What?"
-"Give me your receipt."
- Oh. Why didn't you say that instead of jabbing your hand at my chest?
-"Oh. I THOUGHT you had been here before and that you would KNOW what that meant."
- Well, you know you shouldn't assume because that only makes an ass out of U and me, and I'm not an ass.

And then she said as I was walking away and began talking on the phone.

-"Well you SOUND like one!"

I took a couple of strides and started to talk on the phone before it hit me that I'd been verbally assaulted by a...a...well, a Wal-Mart employee.

-WHAT did you say? Did you just say I "sounded like an ass?" (to the caller) I'll call you back.

What ensued was the classic example of primal preservation of status that happens with so many over-the-hill, wild pack dogs. I located the manager (futile) and explained the situation (futile). She feigned interest (typical) and escorted me to the old offender. When confronted by her manager with the facts as I'd presented them, she proceeded to deny my version and asserted that I had called HER an asshole while walking out of the store and that SHE started to look for a manager herself, but couldn't leave her post.

At this point, I was satisfied that I had good blog fodder. I explained to the thespian Wal-Mart crew that I hoped that they might work it out as I could no longer be bothered (was that a British accent?) and headed off to my vehicle with my daughter who seemed equally as bewildered.

Never again. Really. I mean it.

Crisis? Is it Mid-Life Yet?

Today I had a conversation with a good friend about a lot of different things. The topics varied from the brilliance of our youth, to how great it would be to take a trip to Puerto Vallarta...Aruba. We talked about the latest in computer gadgetry and cool guys we knew in the past. And then it hit me. I was talking as if my days were long past. 37 years old and I'm practically dead. Is this it? Is this my mid-life crisis that Id been hearing so much about during my 20s. Does this mean that I only have 37 more years left? Whoa!

I remember making a promise to myself when I was 19 years old that I would live life to its fullest, never to regret. 18 years later I wonder about that 19 year-old kid. How much of him still remains hidden behind the continuously-postponed dreams and the downward-adjusted life expectations?

Yes, at 19 I was unstoppable. But who stopped me?

Invariably the answer is me. Me, me, me.

I have 37 more years.

What am I waiting for?


Sunday, June 03, 2007

Allison Stokke: The Problem With Being Good and Looking Good

Today, much is made of the speed in which information is attained. Billion dollar corporations base their business models on the very thing. We take it for granted that we have access to ticket prices, movie show times, airfares, Super Bowl results, and world news in as little time as it takes for our computers to start up - if they are not already on (topic for another day).
An unfortunate effect of the "instant information era" is that it is also the instant unwanted attention era, as recent high-school graduate and top high-school pole vaulter Allison Stokke recently discovered.
Stokke was just standing there with her, uh, pole when a photographer snapped a shot. The photograph showed up on a sports page and got a little attention. Another site posted her picture in reference to her stellar physique. Gangbusters.
Poor Allison was an Internet sensation, although not in the annoying way that Dancing Baby spread around the Net. Nor was it with the train wreck-pity that Star Wars Kid was eaten up. No, Allison Stokke was just being good at what she does, and looking good while doing it. And that my friends is the original recipe for fame and fortune. You can't blame people for noticing.