. . . . . . . The Daily Blarf

Wednesday, November 24, 2004

after dealing with the world's immense stupidity today, i must have a beer to help unwind.

i'm not one to drown my problems in alcohol. but after today, well...

...just lemmie explain.

episode #1:

when pulling in the entrance to work, i must make a left turn off of a street with no left turn lane. therefore i must stop traffic in my lane to make the turn. what i like to do is scoot over a bit into the center yellow-lined area to make room for people to drive around me. apparently, this wasn't good enough for the SuperDick behind me, since he blasted his horn as he went around.

ben's response from inside my car: "excuse me, asshole. next time, i'll block the whole lane of traffic, like i'm supposed to, so you can wait behind me. i'm saving you time by moving over. if that's not okay, i'll gladly block your path, and the 20 cars behind you, as i wait for a break in traffic so i can turn. and until that occurs, you can continually KISS MY ASS."

episode #2:

some idiot called us up on the phone and asked for a price on brake rotors. upon hearing the price of the rotors, she said something to the effect of "damn, for that price i can just buy them at the parts store" and hung up on me.

ben's response as i slammed down the phone: "great. fine. so when you buy your own rotors, get a repair manual, take your car apart, and wedge your fat ass under your car in your muddy driveway in the rain and realize you are too stupid to do it on your own, THEN you can come back here and have us fix your brakes. and there will be a 10% Rude Bitch Bonus Surcharge."

episode #3:

a customer came in requesting that his water pump be replaced under warranty, since he just had it replaced here a couple months ago and now it was leaking coolant. so we get the car up in the air on the lift. the car was most certainly leaking coolant--and everything else too. in addition to a bad water pump, the car has (and i swear i'm not making this up): broken lug studs, a wheel falling off, no serpentine belt, blown struts, bad strut mounts, broken springs, bad shocks, blown brake lines, broken wipers, driver's seat not attached to the floor anymore, bad idler pulley, about 50 holes in what is left of the exhaust system, leaking radiator, blown head gasket, bad tie rods, broken sway bar links, new brake pads on junk rotors, bad ball joints, leaking fuel and every other fluid possible (except washer fluid--that's empty), about 16 blown light bulbs, every warning light on the dash is on, and 500 pounds of trash and random shit inside the car--enough to make Joan Harris blush. oh, and it idles at about 4,000 RPM. to make a long story short, this car was one stoplight away from the crusher.

upon receiving the ghastly news, the owner replied: "naw, man, that brake line's been blown only for a couple weeks. we're getting rid of the car anyway. i don't wanna spend a lot of money." (ben thinking: OH, REALLY??) "how long will it take to do the water pump?"

Ben's Professional Response: "i can't warranty the water pump unless you want to pay for the new serpentine belt and idler pulley. those are necessary parts and are not covered. in my opinion, this car is not worth fixing. you have too many other issues here--any money spent on this would be better spent on a newer vehicle."

Ben was thinking: a couple WEEKS?? a couple SECONDS is all it takes for a blown brake line to get you killed. and if i had a nickel for every time i heard "it's ok, we're getting rid of the car anyway" as an excuse not to fix something, i wouldn't be working here. we all know that when someone says that, they will still be driving that damn car 5 years down the road. from here on out, that excuse is OFFICIALLY RETIRED and BANNED FROM USE. just as this car should be.

after being informed that he'd actually have to PAY FOR SOMETHING, the customer declined the warranty work. so i gingerly backed the car out of the shop and promptly backed it into the wall of building next door because of the lack of brakes. apparently i was not fast enough when i slammed it into 1st gear from reverse to stop the impact, but after bouncing off the wall, i managed to get it stopped by jamming it into park.

it was then that i informed the customer that in my professional opinion, this car should not be driven down the road. at ALL. if i can't stop when going 1 mph out of the building, it should NOT be going down the road. my recommendation was a tow truck.

he said "ok" and...

...got in the car and drove away. we watched for as long as we could to see the impending accident. in the short time we watched, he managed not to wreck it or get anyone killed.

tisk tisk...typical customers

episode #4:

another phone call--a telemarketer has a new ploy. when answering the phone, i always say my name. so this guy grabs my name and says, "HEY, BENNY, buddy, how ya DOIN' TODAY? GREAT! WONDERFUL! buddy, ben old buddy, i need to talk to your store owner, pal!" (at this point the rouse is up. anyone who would know me at work would also know that the store owner owns 100 stores, and he sure as HELL isn't at this one.) he continues: "So Ben, your store is a franchise..." (holy shit, what a news flash) "... and i really need to talk to the owner!"

my response: "my store owner isn't here. he has 100 stores. he's in ohio. bye."

my after-the-call rant: "hey--BUDDY--if he was here, i wouldn't waste his time with your bullshit. as far as you and i are concerned, it's a brick wall versus a squirt of piss. and thanks for reminding me that we're a franchise. assuming i'm dumb enough not to know that is insulting enough to stop any sales pitch. if you want to try my boss, call 1 - 8 0 0 - E A T - M I D A S."

episode #5:

at closing time, this dude and his girlfriend call us up from a nearby gas station--they have a flat tire. me, being Mr. Supernice, said, "sure, bring it down. i'll see what i can do." going into this, i know i'm going to only make 15 bucks for a tire repair, and i could have told them we were closed, but i didn't. so they got there and... whipped out a coupon for a free tire repair! AHHH--stab me in the heart. oh well. i can hide my disappointment. so we brought in the car and discovered the tire couldn't be patched, but "...would you like us to put on the spare instead (a comparable service, pricewise)? yes? ok, no problem." so we put the spare on.

so the guy then says, "hey, thanks, man, you guys are great...so, uhh, can i get that coupon back?"

ben's response: no, sorry, i have to turn something in for the free service."

what i wanted to say: "look, dick. i just spent 20 minutes doing free work for you that you couldn't do for yourself in a lifetime. it's closing time on thanksgiving eve. you're lucky i bothered helping your ass at all, cuz no one else was going to, for damn sure. these damn coupons kill us as it is. it's going in the trash as soon as you leave because the more of these that are out of circulation, the better. it's people like you that never buy anything that isn't absolutely free on that goddamn coupon sheet. you, and the company, are killing us. last i checked, the sign on the building says "M I D A S Auto Service Experts "--not "M I D A S We Fix Cars And Save Your Ass For Free 24/7". piss off. and have a great holiday."

so by then then i'm stewing. but wait, there's more:

episode 6:

it's 7:30. we close at 7. the phone rings. i answer it:

"hi, how late are you open?"
"actually, we're already closed. what do you need?"
"i need to get my car inspected. it has to be done tonight or friday morning."
"well, i can't do it tonight, but i can do it friday. what time can you bring it in?"
"friday's not soon enough. i need to get it done tonight. i'll find someplace else to do it."

my response that went into thin air as i locked the door and went to my car: "well, there's nothing like waiting to the last damn minute, is there? a getting your car inspected isn't like going to mcdonalds for for f*cking Chicken Selects. this shit takes time, regardless of how much you think your car will pass inspection. you, sipping lattes from the driver's seat, do not have the insight nor the knowledge to inspect cars. the damn car could be ON FIRE and you wouldn't notice, but if we change driver's seat position on you, your day is ruined. if it was as quick, easy, and foolproof as you think it is, you could buy inspection stickers at the damn grocery store. let the inspecters decide if your car passes--that's what we do. don't tell me "oh, it will pass" because when you say that, murphy's law says it WILL fail, and i'll be inspecting it like a mofo JUST to find something that fails to prove your high-and-mighty ass wrong. and NO, i won't pass it for you just because you know someone that worked here ten years ago, or because you looked at the car yourself, or because your alcoholic brother-in-law (a self-proclaimed mechanic) says those blown brake lines are fine and it will pass, or because you just think it will pass and therefore it will.

furthermore, good freaking luck finding an inspection station that's open at 7:30 pm on thanksgiving freaking eve and is willing to do an hour-long inspection for you--and that's an hour IF it passes. if it fails, the length of time it takes to fix is inversely proportional to the time available to spend on it.

AND.... i guess friday ISN'T really early enough, now is it? seems to me that you're posing an impossible feat simply to get out of doing an inspection--but i popped your bubble and told you i could do it. so now you don't have anything to procrastinate about. and if this is not the case, and you actually DO want to get it done either tonight or friday morning, and you call every shop in the phone book and no one answers, and then you call me back, i'll already be gone and you'll aready be f*cked because i'll already be home drinking a beer and blogging about your dumb ass--and it will be too late for you to make that friday morning appointment. SUCK IT EASY."


ahhhh... this beer is tasty. i'm living the high life now.

Friday, November 19, 2004

Spaz: 1990 - 2004

My Dog Spaz.

My Best Friend.

she came to the farm from a neighbor's house--the only puppy to escape the abuse and death of her littermates. she would cross the highway to eat our garbage, never to get too close to anyone. we could tell she wanted to play and be friendly, but she wouldn't allow anyone to get near. for a shy 12-year old farm kid, she was the perfect rehab project.

at first, she'd only come to me--to grab a nibble of food and run away. she would stay longer and longer with each mouthful of food, until i was finally able to pet her and get her to play. with a grin from ear to ear, and a thump of her front paws on the ground, she was ready to run! her favorite game was tag--she'd make random laps around the yard and zing by me at top speed, just close enough to feel the wind. i remember clocking her running at 27 mph alongside the family car--she was fast for a mutt! her crazy energy, zigzag running, and rubbery antics earned the name Spastic--which was quickly shortened to Spaz. (if you remember, in the early 90's, "spaz" was the word to use-- "don't have a spaz, man!") one day, mom asked me if i had come up with a better name for the dog--a better name?? Spaz was perfect!

eventually she took up night residence on the porch, and that new years eve, i predicted that she'd be living in the house in 1991--much to mom's chagrin. i succeeded in getting her into the house, with the help of the winter weather. from that point on, she was in like flynn.

she was damaged goods for a long time until she finally accepted that humans aren't all bad. she'd rarely ever bark unless she absolutely had to, and even then it was a muted, "excuse me" style bark. i remember one time in particular when she started approaching people--one night at dinner, she nosed my sister-in-law's hand from under the table with a cold wet nose. my sis-in-law wasn't expecting it and she let out a startled shout, which also scared the dog. we joked that the episode probably set spaz back a couple years in development, but she was just fine (and so was my sis-in-law.)

Spaz initiates new dog Silkie to the farm--with gentle play

she was my buddy during those awkward early teenage years. we'd hang out together. work on the farm together. ride four wheelers together. my grandma marveled at how that dog would incessantly follow me up and down the fields as i raked hay with the tractor on those hot july days. she probably ran 10 miles a day in the hot sun--not bad for a husky/collie mix with 2" of thick white arctic fur. she would also follow me for miles on the four wheeler--running so far and so fast she'd be panting for hours after we stopped. she was never much of a swimmer, though--she'd never go into the swimming pond past her belly, no matter how hot she was.

we had a lot in common--we were both shy adolescents who didn't care much for anyone else's company but our own--but we both grew out of it over time. she mellowed, and i opened up. by the time i headed for college, we were both pretty normal teenagers.

Spaz and Flash--hunting partners

in recent years, we'd hang out whenever i came home from morrisville and cornell. and of course, i got to see her every couple weeks even now when i come home from syracuse for sunday dinners. you know how it goes--you move out, the dog stays, and you start to go in different directions. but she was always my Spazdog, my puppydog, my dawg. and whenever the family spoke to spaz in reference to me, i was "Her Boy". neither of us could ever escape the image of a 12-year old kid with a furry white dog tagging along...

...not that i wanted to.


mom called me yesterday to tell me that spaz had a stroke and was not doing well. it came as no surprise--she was now nearly 15, and has had a series of health problems over the last few years. she hadn't been able to live up to her name in quite some time. i wasn't sure what the stroke would mean--maybe it was minor; hopefully she'd be alright. but then again, she was already on borrowed time. later that night i was told that if i wanted to see her again, i'd better come now, because she was getting worse.

i went home to the farm this morning to see her. she had that familiar grin on her face when she saw me and smelled my hand, but with her head tilted and nose running, it was obvious she wasn't ok. she hadn't eaten in 2 days. she couldn't walk without going in circles and falling. she couldn't go out alone; she'd struggle to get back to the door, ending up in circles further and further away from the house. she could no longer make her body do what her mind wanted.

unfortunately, it was time--something i've been dreading for years. it time for her last trip to the vet.

fittingly, the Scrambler played the role of the hearse--the jeep, the dog, and i have been a trio for a long time. at the clinic, i simply had to be in there as the deed was done--there was no way i could walk out and wait. i had to be with my dog to the very end. i was there by her side in the vet's office, petting her, scratching her ears, calming her down, and being Her Boy--until her last breath.

she may be gone now, but her legacy lives on in layers and layers of the World's Most Stubborn White Dog Hair that covers every fabric surface of my parent's house. she'll always be there--if only in fur that will never totally go away, no matter how hard mom vacuums.

with dad's help, i buried her under the pine tree in the backyard--in a grassy area with all the other animals that have come and gone over the years. but for me, she's the best one. the best damn dog a boy could want. in the spring, she will have white flowers.

she was my best friend.

it's hard not to cry. i've done that enough today.

goodbye, spaz. i love you.

Sunday, November 14, 2004

the "Gonstermachers" rock out to "Born Under The Bad Sign" by Albert King at Shifty's bar last saturday--check out that priestly-looking fella with the washbasin bass! ROCK ON!

other musical notes:

R.I.P. Old Dirty Bastard.

the rapper, aka Russell Jones, who's hit "Got Your Money" graced the hip hop charts in 1999, collapsed and died in a recording studio yesterday. he was 35.

...and he was no doubt high on drugs at the time of his death. let this be a lesson to the kiddies: old dirty bastards who do drugs, shoot, steal, raise hell, bust shit up, and go to jail--DIE YOUNG.

am i glorifying this scumbag? nooooooo. do i like the song? yes.

next subject.


my new favorite song: "Superstition" by Stevie Wonder.

yeah, i know what you're thinking. it is indeed the same stevie wonder who did "I Just Called To Say I Love You" and who also sang "You Are The Sunshine Of My Life". blah blah blah well this song is really good. listen to it. the opening drum beat and guitar riff are so damn funky.

speaking of funky, i've rediscovered James Brown. yeah, the same james brown who beats women and hates the white man. he's a dirt bag too. well, he has a couple good songs: "Papa Don't Take No Mess" and "Payback". both great. you CANNOT sit still when listening to Payback, so don't even try.

Friday, November 05, 2004

GEORGE BUSH: The Posterchild for the Average American Idiot

the proof is in the pudding:




this is one of those "you had to be there" stories--imagine me telling it:

"so...so get this. this morning, us managers were all at the local diner eating breakfast, right? having a manager's meeting with the supervisor. as we were sitting there talking about sales & employees & mufflers & shit, one of the guys, mike, realizes a tube of super glue in his pocket has started leaking, right? the stuff is soaking into his pocket and the skin on leg is burning. so he pulls the glue out of his pocket, sets it on the table for a moment, puts it back in his pocket, and heads to the bathroom to wash his hands. friggin' guy, like he's gonna be able to wash off super glue, right?? so anyway, there's a drop of super glue left on the table. chris sees this and takes mike's coffee cup and sets it on top of the glue! keep in mind this cup is like 2/3rds full and now it's glued to the goddamn table. so then the waitress* comes along to fill our cups, grabs his, can't move it, and quickly pulls her hand away to avoid drawing attention. the whole time she's probably thinking she's lost her damn mind. so she leaves, and we're all trying not to bust out laughing--but that's not all! mike comes back from the bathroom and can't get his cup off the table, even with two hands!! we were expecting the cup to fly off the table and fling coffee all over the place. he was about ready to ask for a straw but he finally pried it off the table with a butter knife."

--ahh, freakin FUNNY!!! you had to be there.

*don't feel bad for the waitress--she's the same one who told the table next to us that all the dishes were "turd-dirty" and they'd have to wait a few minutes for silverware.