Friday, August 28, 2015

Riding Across the Country In the Back of a Pinto Station Wagon

The Ford Pinto is widely regarded as one of the worst cars ever made. According to Wikipedia (which is correct more than 64.8% of the time) the Pinto made the list of "The 50 Worst Cars of All Time," and "The Ugliest Cars of the Past 50 Years." Not a lot of love there.

The Pinto had a reputation for exploding if it got in a rear end collision. That's not a feature most people want in an automobile.

And, just in case the regular Pinto wasn't ugly enough, Ford decided to make a station wagon version of the Pinto. (For those of you too young to remember what a station wagon looks like, think of a Subaru Outback, except three feet lower to the ground and 17 times uglier.)

For some unknown reason, my grandparents bought a Ford Pinto station wagon. (Did Grandpa buy it on a dare? Did he win it at a poker game? Was his bank giving them away as a prize for opening a new savings account? I really don't know.)

What I do know is that, after owning it for a short time, Grandpa decided he didn't want to own it anymore. Unfortunately, my Mom decided that she did want to own it. I'm not sure if Grandpa sold the car to Mom or if he just gave it to her. Either way, we were getting a Pinto station wagon! (I was very enthusiastic in my indifference.)

There was one big problem with this proposed change in Pinto station wagon ownership: Grandpa lived in Virginia, and we lived in Idaho. So, Grandpa came out to Idaho for a visit in his van. (He could have saved a lot of hassle if he had brought the Pinto with him when he came. But, he had no desire to drive that car across the country.)

When his visit was over, Grandpa loaded up our family and took us back to Virginia with him in his van. (It was a nice 1970's van, with a bed, several seats, and a rockin' 8-track stereo!) We spent some time vacationing in Virginia. But, when the vacation was over, we would have to drive back across America to Idaho in the Pinto station wagon.

There were five of us that needed to make the trip back to Idaho, me, my Mom, my brother John, my sister Lynette, and a high school friend of my sister who, for some unfathomable reason, made the trip with us.

The Pinto station wagon had four seats. Let's do the math here. That's five people and four seats. Something's got to give. That would be me. As the youngest of the five of us, it was left to me to ride in the very back of the station wagon. (I wasn't the shortest of the five of us. That would have been my Mom. But, since she was the adult and I was 12 years old, she assumed that she should drive.)

Here's a picture of my family from around the time of this trip.
From left: Dad, John, Lynette, me, and Mom.
(My Dad didn't go with us; he stayed to work on the farm.)
I was surprised I couldn't find any pictures from our vacation to Virginia.
I was not surprised I couldn't find any pictures of the Pinto station wagon. (No one liked that car.)

Just to be clear, when I say "the very back of the station wagon," I don't mean the back seat. I mean the section between the back seat and the hatchback door.

Now, before you go thinking about how much room there was in the back of a station wagon, let me remind you that the Pinto was considered a compact car, and the Pinto station wagon was much more compact than most station wagons. (In this case, "compact" is another word for "small.") The "very back" section that I was relegated to was wider than it was deep. That is to say there was more room from the driver side to the passenger side than there was from back seat to back door.

Obviously, there were no seat belts in the back of the Pinto station wagon. Back in 1978 the laws and attitudes toward seat belt use weren't as strict as they are today. (If a child were to be seen riding in the back of a station wagon like that today, chances are someone would call the police.)

I had two ways to get into the back of the Pinto station wagon. Usually I would get in the car and climb over the back seat in order to wedge myself into my riding spot. But, sometimes someone would open the back hatch so I could climb in that way.

To get out of the car I had to wait. I either had to wait for someone to open the back hatch to let me out, or I had to wait for my sister and her friend to get out of the back seat so I could climb over it to escape. It was a bit claustrophobic.

My Mom was in the driver seat, my sister and her friend were in the back seats, and my brother was in the front passenger seat. He sat there as the navigator, which is a good thing because if he hadn't been there my Mom may have driven us to Nova Scotia in her attempt to get us to Idaho. (At one point she actually got Indianapolis and Cheyenne mixed up.) It's a good thing John was in the front seat with her.

At one point, though, my brother John felt sorry for me, took pity, and took a turn in the back of the Pinto station wagon. It only lasted for a couple of hours. John was 16 years old and much taller than me. It was very difficult for him to fold himself into that small space at the back of the car. So, he spent the rest of the trip up front and I spent the rest of the trip in the back. (Near the end of the trip John fell asleep and Mom used that opportunity to get turned around and drive back toward Virginia for an hour. He really was needed in the front.)

It was a long drive, well over 2,000 miles. I squished myself in the back of that Pinto station wagon over and over and over again. I wasn't back there by myself, either. Most of the luggage was on the luggage rack on top of the car, but some of it was in the back with me. It was a long, strange trip.

Eventually we made it to Idaho, and I was able to forever escape from the back of the Pinto station wagon. I'm not sure what, if anything, Mom paid for that stupid car, but it wasn't worth it. We drove it around for a couple of years until one day, as my brother was driving the car in our small hometown, the engine burst into flames.

It was a fitting end for one of "The 50 Worst, Ugliest Cars Ever Made."

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Playing the Percentages

Sometimes you have to play the percentages.

The chance that there will be leftover bacon: 1.1%

If you are standing in the check-out line at Walmart holding nothing but a plunger, the chance there is a plugged toilet at your house: 96.3%

When you hear a new song on the radio and really want to know the name of the song and who sings it, the chance that the DJ will give you that information when the song is over: 11.8%

The chance that the baby won't find that piece of string on the floor that the vacuum wouldn't pick up: 6.8%

The chance I might be too big for this ride: 91.9%

The chance that you will find sand in your shoes after a visit to the beach: 99.8%

On a twenty mile drive on the freeway, the chance you will come across a car going slower than the speed limit while driving in the passing lane: 72.4%

The chance that, on that same drive, you will come across more than one car going slower than the speed limit while driving in the passing lane: 52.1%

The chance that you will get a rock chip less than a month after replacing your windshield: 24.7%

The chance that you will get bug splatter on your windshield less than an hour after washing your windshield: 85.5%

The chance that it will rain on any given day of the summer in Utah: 29.1%

The chance that it will rain on the day you plan to go to the zoo: 64.7%

The chance that the Minnesota Vikings finally win the Super Bowl this year: 4.2%

The chance that the comic book character who was just dramatically killed off will somehow come back to life within the next two years: 97.0%

The chance you pick the quickest check-out line at the store: 18.3%

The chance your kid gets the toy they wanted with their Happy Meal: 38.7%

The chance that Elvis Presley is still alive: .003%

The chance that Hootie and the Blowfish will have another #1 hit: 2.6%

The chance that the food you order at Taco Bell, whatever they happen to be calling it this week, will consist of tortilla, meat, beans, and cheese: 98.3%

The chance that when you really need to use the restroom, it is closed for cleaning: 38.9%

The chance that when you ask for your drink with no ice, it will actually be brought to you with no ice: 81.4%

The chance that, when your burger arrives, it will look like the picture in the advertisement: 2.1%

The chance that when you actually can sleep in, you will be able to do so: 14.4%

The chance that when you want the kids to stay up late, they fall asleep early: 79.9%

When showing a game of chess on a television show or movie, the chance that the next move will result in a checkmate: 90.2%

In a real-life chess game, the chance that the next move will result in a checkmate: 5.5%

The chance that pulling reruns of The Dukes of Hazzard off the air will put an end to racial tensions in America: .0004%

The chance that all of these percentages are just numbers I completely made up: 99.6%

Friday, August 21, 2015

"The 40 Year-Old Virgin" As Reviewed by a 40 Year-Old Virgin

First, I need to make a confession. When The 40 Year-Old Virgin came out, ten years ago in August of 2005, I was not a 40 year-old virgin.

I was a 39 year-old virgin. But, since I hadn’t been on an actual date in more than four years, I felt pretty confident that I would reach 40 with my virginity intact. (Don’t worry, I did.)

When I first heard they were making a movie called The 40 Year-Old Virgin, I was quite excited about it, for several reasons. I had just finished watching Freaks and Geeks on DVD, so I was familiar with and liked the work of Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen. Also, I had been a big fan of Steve Carell since seeing his “Germans Who Say Nice Things” skit on The Dana Carvey Show. (“That cloud looks like a pony!”)

And I thought maybe, just maybe, they might show things from my perspective. It might just be a funny movie to which I could actually relate. You know, without the main character having sex on the first date all of the time. (Do people really have sex on the first date? Seems kind of scary to me.)

To me, the casting of Steve Carell as the virgin was perfect. He was handsome-ish, but not too handsome. He was just quirky enough to be believable as a virgin, but cool enough for me (and all the other virgins out there) to say, “Look, we aren’t all freaks.”

My lame attempt to copy the poster from The 40 Year-Old Virgin.
(Unfortunately, I'm not as handsome-ish as Steve Carell.)
So, I was excited to see the movie. But, when it came time to actually go to the theater, I was filled with more than a bit of trepidation. One of the reasons I became a 39 year-old virgin is that I am a Mormon. Mormons are taught that having sexual relations outside of a marriage is one of the worst sins you can commit. I was 39 years old. I had never been married. Hence, I was a virgin.

Mormons are also told that they shouldn’t see R-rated movies. But, on the scale of sin seriousness, the sex sin is much higher than the movie sin. And, since the movie seemed to be speaking to me personally, I made the decision to go see it.

That trepidation wasn’t totally unfounded; it was a very vulgar movie. One of the first scenes shows Steve Carell’s Andy walking to the bathroom in the morning, leaving little to the imagination. (I’ll never hear the opening bass line to Joe Walsh’s “Life of Illusion” the same ever again. Vulgar? Yes. But also a perfect musical cue.)

I was impressed by how much they got right about life as a 40 year-old virgin. Some of it, of course, was pretty obvious. A virgin would be an introvert, shy, not willing or likely to talk much about sex. But some things were a bit more insightful, such as when Andy would have short bursts of temper toward inanimate objects, like his bicycle. Those pent-up frustrations need some kind of release, and things that can’t fight back, like a bike or a wall, are perfect subjects for that release. (A scene with him cursing at his computer for a slow internet connection would have been very appropriate.)

And, I’ve got to admit, I thought Andy’s apartment was pretty amazing. I recognized several toys from my youth. I used to have that Iron Man doll action figure. I used to have that doll action figure of The Thing from the Fantastic Four. And while no, I never had a doll action figure of the Six-Million Dollar Man’s boss, I knew his name (Oscar Goldman) and I wouldn’t have been opposed to having one.

I also never had a poster of the rock group Asia on my wall. But I did have an Electric Light Orchestra poster featuring the spaceship from the cover of their “Out of the Blue” album. (Does this make me a more cool virgin than Steve Carell’s Andy? I think so.)

Another similarity between this real virgin and the movie’s virgin? I, too, would have been a bit flummoxed by the plastic model of a vagina at the sex education class.

As the plot of the movie unfolds, Andy’s co-workers get more and more desperate for him to have sex even as their own love lives are in disarray. It’s funny, but the moral of the movie is very similar to what I was taught in church: sex without love has very little meaning.

In the end, Andy finds love, gets married, and loses his virginity. Me? Well, a little less than a year after the movie came out, I started dating a lovely young woman. And, a few months later, we were married. (I was 40 years, six months, and ten days old, not that anyone was counting.)

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Something Fishy At the Mexican Restaurant

I really wish common sense were more common.

Especially for me.

We were going to go eat out at a Mexican restaurant chain here in Utah. It's one of our favorite places to eat, and over the years we've been there many, many times. We've been there so often that I know exactly what I like, and I order the same thing every single time we eat there. I've probably ordered the same thing (pork burrito with enchilada sauce) over thirty times in a row.

For the last dozen or so times we've eaten there, I've wondered if I should try something different, but I always end up getting the same old thing. As we were on our way the other night, I said, "Maybe this will be the time I order something different." The Wife voiced doubt. So, of course, I was obligated.

When we got to the restaurant, I looked over the menu to find something different. There were enchiladas, but how different from a burrito is an enchilada? Is there any difference at all?

Then I saw the salmon. I like salmon. The Wife grilled some a few weeks ago, and it was delicious. And salmon is most definitely different than pork. I was absolutely going to break my routine.

So, I ordered a salmon burrito with enchilada sauce.

We love this unnamed restaurant! I just wouldn't recommend the salmon.

I immediately knew I made a mistake. When I announced what I wanted, the girl who took my order looked confused, turned to her co-workers in the kitchen, and asked, "Do we have salmon?" When the others replied with a collective shoulder shrug, she left to go ask someone else.

I quickly realized how unwise it is to order something they aren't even sure if they have. If they don't know if they have it, how will they know how to cook it? So, when she came back I was fully prepared to say, "Forget it, I'll just have the pork." But, she came back and was very enthusiastic to report that yes, they did serve salmon, and yes, they did have some. So, I had the salmon.

As I started to eat my salmon burrito with enchilada sauce, it dawned on me that it tasted just like the pork burrito with enchilada sauce, only fishier. And a little more dry. Probably because they cooked the salmon much earlier, and it had been sitting around "warming" for a while. The pork would have been a better choice, because so many people order it that they have to continually cook more throughout the day.

And then I didn't even get much credit for ordering something different. The Wife said that I ordered the same thing, a burrito with enchilada sauce. All I had done was change the meat.

I thought about it, and she was right, of course. I thought about other things, too. I thought about how lacking in common sense I had been when I ordered salmon at a Mexican restaurant in Utah. Utah is not known for its salmon, and most Mexican restaurants are not known for their fish. I thought about how next time I was going to order the pork.

I thought about a lot of things, because I had a lot of time to think about things... as I sat on the toilet at 2:00 AM saying goodbye to my salmon burrito with enchilada sauce. The salmon was not a good choice.

I wish common sense were more common.

Especially for me.

Friday, August 14, 2015

The Crappy Life of a Responsible Adult

Sometimes it stinks to be the adult.

As kids, we always thought adults had it easy, didn't we? They could do whatever they wanted, whenever they wanted. They could eat what they wanted, stay up late if they wanted, and had a seemingly unlimited amount of money.

Yup, there would be no crap to deal with when we became adults!

Reality, of course, is a bit different, especially if you have kids. True, I can do whatever I want, whenever I want, as long as it's in our home after the kids are asleep and it's not so loud that it might wake them up. I can eat what I want, as long as the kids don't see, because then they'll want some, too. I can stay up late if I want, but only if I actually can stay up late, because as soon as I get the kids to bed I'm so exhausted I need to collapse. And I do have an unlimited amount of money, as long as I don't exceed the credit limit.

Compared to being a kid, being an adult is powerful. But, it's like that line from the Spider-Man comics, with great power comes great responsibility. Every once in a while that responsibility will slap you right in the face.

The other day we went as a family to do some grocery shopping. We like to go shopping all together as a family because: A) the kids are too young to leave home by themselves; and 2) I'm always hopeful that I can find some new bacon-flavored food product to sneak into the cart.

On this day we pulled up to the giant warehouse store (for the sake of anonymity I'll call it "CostLo,") and The Wife and the two oldest kids got out of the mini-van while I got The Baby out of her car seat.

Immediately I could tell there was a problem. Not so much a problem as it was a stench. I told The Wife that The Baby was poopy. Being the responsible adult that I am, I figured I had better change her diaper, so I sent The Wife and the other two kids into the store. This was mostly because: 1) I was already holding The Baby, and when it comes to diaper changing, possession is nine-tenths of the law; and B) The Wife could do the shopping without me much better than I could do it without her. (Although that might mean we'd be going without bacon-flavored cinnamon rolls.)

Unfortunately, as soon as The Wife and kids were out of view, I discovered that this was more than just a stench; it was a poop-through! The diaper didn't do it's job in damming up the doo-doo.
Diapers, you had one job!
It's moments like this when that "responsibility" crap really slaps you in the face. Because as much as I'd like to ignore all that poop and wish that it would go away, I have to be the responsible one who actually takes care of it.

So, I got out the diaper-changing mat and placed it on my the driver's seat of the van. I then put The Baby down on it. The most difficult part of dealing with a poop-through is getting The Baby's clothes off without spreading the poop. I attempted to do this, and thought I had done a good job. I got The Baby's clothes off!

Unfortunately, that's when I noticed there was some poop on her knee. And some poop on her ankle. And some poop on her shoulder. And I was no longer poop-free, either. You've all heard the term "green thumb." Well, while that would be an accurate description of my thumb at that moment, it would not have anything to do with my ability to grow and care for plants.

There was poop on the diaper-changing mat. There was poop on the driver's seat of the mini-van. And, of course, there was poop all over The Baby. I got out the wipes and started wiping. I wiped and wiped and wiped. And then I wiped some more. Eventually, the only poop I could find was on the diaper and pile of wipes on the floor beneath the steering wheel.

We've learned to prepare for the poop-throughs (as much as one can), so we always have a change of clothes in the diaper bag. I put a clean diaper on The Baby and got the new clothes on her. I then wadded up the old diaper and pile of wipes as best I could, using a couple of new wipes around the outside of the wad in the hopes of preventing accidental poop spreadage.

As I carried The Baby and the diaper wad toward the store, the looks I received were about equally split between, "Oh, look how cute that baby is!" and "Oh my gosh, is that a giant wad of poop in his hand?" I dropped the diaper wad in the garbage outside of the store and entered.

Now all I had to do was find The Wife and the other a store roughly the size of Saskatchewan. Of course, with today's modern technology the simple solution would be to pick up the cell phone and call her to find her location. Except, for some reason, cell signals can't seem to penetrate the giant metal shell of the "CostLo" store.

So, I embark on a grid by grid search of the store while carrying The Baby, which is about the same as carrying a large sack of potatoes, if that sack of potatoes had arms and continually attempted and occasionally succeeded in getting fingerprints all over your glasses. At this point the store was more like "LostCo" than "CostLo."

Finally, I was able to find The Wife and kids near the fresh fruit section toward the back of the store, and I dumped my sack of potatoes with arms into the shopping cart. No sooner had I done so than I was greeted by The Boy with, "Dad! I've got to go potty!"

I looked at The Wife and she gave me the head-nod which was co-parent language for, "No, he's not faking, he really does need to go." I immediately grab The Boy's hand and start hiking to the bathroom, which is at the front of the store, somewhere on the north end of Saskatchewan.

On the way there, The Boy tells me several times, "I've got to go potty," just in case I had forgotten where we were heading. (I hadn't.) We then had to shimmy our way behind someone who was checking out, because the only way to the restrooms was through the cash registers.

Finally, after our long and arduous hike we turned the corner to the restroom...only to find the doorway blocked by the janitor's cart, with a sign on it reading, "Restroom closed for cleaning. Please use the Family Restroom."

This is Utah. I'm sure Family Restrooms exist, in theory. But, in my actual experience whenever I find one I am only ever greeted by a locked door.

Surprisingly, I was eventually able to get The Boy into the Family Restroom, and he took care of his business. That meant we had to try to find The Wife again in the vast vastness of the "LostCo." By the time we did finally rendezvous, she had finished the shopping. (No bacon-flavored maple syrup for me this week.)

When I was a kid I liked to go shopping sometimes. I'd think things like, "If I were an adult, I'd buy that, and that, and that!"

I had no idea that when I actually became an adult I'd have to deal with so much crap.

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

I'll Eat Some of that Bacon For You

The other night we had BLTs for supper.

Well, mine wasn't a BLT, because I don't like tomatoes. I had a BLC. (That's Bacon, Lettuce, and Cheese.) Come to think of it, with all of those initials its got, there ought to be room for an MW as well, because a BLT (or a BLC) just isn't complete with Miracle Whip.

(That reminds me of an old David Letterman joke. It goes: "Miracle Whip? No, the parting of the Red Sea was a miracle. This, my friend, is a jar of lard.")(What he doesn't go on to say is that it's a dang fine tasting jar of lard!)

So, we sat down to the dinner table as a family with our bacon sammiches. (Yes, I know the word is spelled "sandwich," not "sammich," but I'm trying my own one-man grass roots movement to change the spelling. I don't want no "sand" in my sammich!) (Hey, we finally got rid of "catsup," maybe "sandwich" is next.)

By the time The Wife and I each had a couple of sammiches and the kids had one each, there were two pieces of bacon left. This was not "leftover bacon," because there is no such thing. This was just bacon that had not yet been eaten.


As the dinner had progressed, bacon had been a topic of our conversation. In that conversation we had mentioned that The Wife likes her bacon crispier than I do. She prefers it crispy and crunchy, or as she calls it, "done." Meanwhile, I prefer a little wiggle in my bacon. I'm fine with it crispy and crunchy, too, but I don't want it crumbly.

The Girl (our seven year-old) had heard this conversation and soaked it in. She was also eyeballing those last two pieces of bacon. She turns to The Wife and says, "Mom, I'll eat part of that bacon for you. It's a little chewy on the one end, so I'll eat that chewy part for you so you don't have to. Because you don't like it wiggly."

The Girl is quite the little politician. She wanted that bacon, so she formulated a plan to make it sound like she was doing us a favor by eating the bacon. And, it worked. The Wife and I were so amused that she broke off the chewier half of that piece of bacon and gave it to The Girl.

Is there a lesson to this story? Probably not, other than everybody loves bacon, so if you want to eat the bacon you better get to it before anyone else does.

Back To School In August? Noooo!!!

Summer! Summer is great! Everyone loves summer!

Summer is the best time of the year to do so many fun things. Things like: Hiking! Camping! Parades! Fireworks! Family reunions! Swimming! Going to the beach! Running through the sprinklers! Picnics! Eating popsicles! Back to school shopping! (Wait…what?)

Back to school shopping? Seriously? We’re barely into August. There’s a lot of summer left. We can’t be thinking of “back to school” stuff yet. School doesn’t start until…wait, what’s that? You say school starts on August 19th? Oh my, that’s just a couple of weeks away! Dang, I guess I do have to start getting ready.

Nobody likes “back to school” shopping in August. Well, almost nobody. My wife is a school teacher, and she actually likes to go “back to school” shopping IN JULY!!! You see, she loves school supplies, so she gets excited to go to the stores in early July because, she says, “as soon as they take down the stuff for the 4th of July, they put out the school supplies!”

The Wife is addicted to school supplies. (Hey, at least it's cheaper and healthier than cocaine!)

She loves the pencils and pens and notebooks and staplers and glue and erasers and binders and folders and all of that stuff. She’ll fill her shopping cart full of things “for my students,” not admitting that most of what she is buying is for herself.

Of course, there is more to “back to school” shopping than just school supplies. Kids need new clothes for school, too. Because, apparently, if a kid shows up during the first week of school wearing  clothes that they wore at any time during the previous school year, they will be immediately ostracized, ridiculed, teased, and possibly even sent back a grade.

Yes, I understand that the beginning of the school year is a good time to get the kids new clothes because they often outgrow the clothes they wore the year before. That’s why I advocate buying kid clothes that are two or three sizes too big so they can last for two or three years. It’s a great idea! As an adult, I’ve been wearing some of the same shirts for twenty years, and no one has made fun of me! (At least, not that I know of.)

So, The Wife loves the school supplies and the shopping for kid clothes. She even really likes teaching. But, she’s still torn when it comes to “back to school,” because she wishes it didn’t have to mean the end of the fun of the parades, picnics, fireworks, and the beach. 

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Video Store vs. Redbox

When I was a kid, if you wanted to see a movie you either went to the movie theater, or you waited until they showed it on television. There were only four television stations. It was a long wait.

And then, thanks to some good old American ingenuity (or maybe it was Japanese ingenuity) we were presented with the VCR. Suddenly, movies were available on video tapes! We no longer had to rely on the whims of the theater owners and television networks. We could go to a video store and rent the movies we wanted to see.

Video rental stores popped up everywhere. Grocery stores joined in, and along with your eggs and milk you could bring home a copy of Chitty-Chitty Bang Bang, or Conquest of the Planet of the Apes.

It looked like the reign of the video stores would last forever. And then, it didn't. Netflix and Hulu and the preponderance of television channels made it so you could watch just about any movie any time you want without leaving the comfort of your own couch.

Now, the video stores are gone. All that remains in their place are a scattering of glorified vending machines known as the Redbox.

The Redbox, known for its wide variety of choices and great personal service.
Sorry, but I preferred the video store experience to the Redbox experience.

At the video store, there were thousands of movies to choose from. At the Redbox, there are a few dozen. (Good luck finding The Computer Who Wore Tennis Shoes.)

At the video store, you could look at the back cover of the video box to see a plot synopsis, see who was starring in the movie, and find out what it was rated. At the Redbox, you get to see the name of the movie and the picture from the front of the box.

At the video store, you could browse for hours. At the Redbox, you can look for a minute.

At the video store, if you wanted to take your time you could. At the Redbox, if someone is behind you, you'll need to hurry up so they can have their turn.

At the video store, if someone in front of you was dawdling, you could just go to a different section of the store. At the Redbox, if someone in front of you is dawdling, you're out of luck. You'll just have to wait. You can step into their personal space and/or clear your throat loudly, but basically you'll have to wait until they are finished.

At the video store, there was lots of open space. At the Redbox, if someone is behind you, chances are they are standing too close, looking over your shoulder, and questioning your movie choices.

At the video store, you could often buy a soda and some Red Vines to make your video experience more like going to the movies. At the Redbox, it's already a  vending machine, so you think they could figure some way to sell you a Coke and some Twizzlers along with your movie, but no one has come up with a way to do that yet.

At the video store, they had a special shelf featuring the recommendations of favorites from the store's staff. (That's if, of course, you gave a crap what a bunch of teenage video store employees think.) At the Redbox, you might be able to figure out which movie is most popular based on the number of fingerprints on the picture of the movie on the front of the vending machine.

And speaking of fingerprints, at the video store, if your video doesn't play correctly, you can take it back and get a refund. At the Redbox, sometimes there are so many fingerprints on the DVD that it skips more than a 1950s schoolgirl. And there's nothing you can do about it.

So, no, the Redbox experience is not ideal. But, that's okay, because the Redbox will soon be as obsolete as the video stores. The digital services are here to stay, and they are the best way to watch a movie. Just choose whatever movie you want, then order it and watch it from the convenience of your own couch.

It's perfect! It beats the video store and Redbox experiences, and there's absolutely nothing (...buffering...buffering...buffering...buffering...) that we can complain about.

Tuesday, August 4, 2015

Excerpts From Conversations I've Heard

These are some excerpts from conversations I have actually heard.

The cast of characters:
Me: Slow Joe, former 40 year-old virgin, current father of three.
The Wife: My lovely and wonderful wife.
The Girl: My seven year-old girl.
The Boy: My five year-old boy.
The Baby: My eight month-old baby girl.

Excerpt #1:
THE BOY: "Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad? Dad?"
ME: "What?"
THE BOY: "Dad? Dad?"
ME: "What!?"
THE BOY: "Dad, is the moon part of the United States?"
ME: "No."
THE BOY: "It's not?"
ME: "No, it's not."
THE GIRL: "The moon isn't part of the United States. It's in outer space."
THE BOY: "Outer space?"
THE GIRL: "Yup. So is the sun. The sun is in outer space, too."
THE BOY: "Outer space? Wow!!!"
THE BOY: "Dad, is Wyoming part of the United States?"

Excerpt #2:
(We were at Salt Lake City's Hogle Zoo, where they have a couple of water fountains that look like cartoon lions.)

A rainy day at the zoo with The Girl, The Boy, and the lion water fountain.
THE GIRL: "Can I sit in the lion's mouth so it looks like he's eating me?"
ME: "No."
THE GIRL: "Can I put my head in its mouth so it looks like he's eating me?"
ME: "No."
THE BOY: "This is a lion water fountain. This is where lions get drinks from. Only lions can drink out of this water fountain."

Excerpt #3:
(THE WIFE was holding THE BABY, and THE BABY was looking especially cute.)
THE WIFE (to THE BABY): "You are so cute I could just eat you up!"
THE WIFE (to THE BOY): "Should I eat up your baby sister?"
THE BOY: "No!!!"
THE WIFE: "Why not?"
THE BOY: "I don't want her to turn into poop!"

Excerpt #4:
THE GIRL: "What if my school were made of chocolate?"
THE BOY: "What if my school were made of chocolate?"
THE GIRL: "The walls would be chocolate and the doors would be chocolate."
THE BOY: "The windows would be chocolate!"
THE GIRL: "The desks would be chocolate, and I would eat them if I got hungry."
THE BOY: "I would eat the doors of your school."
THE GIRL: "No! Don't eat the doors of my school! I'll eat the windows of your school!"
THE BOY: "Don't! I'll eat the walls at your school!"
THE GIRL: "No!!! If you do, then I'll eat the roof of your school!"
THE BOY: "Don't eat my roof!"
ME: "Hey! Kids, stop fighting over your imaginary chocolate schools!"

[DING! And we have a winner in this month's edition of Sentences That Have Never Before Been Uttered: "Kids, stop fighting over your imaginary chocolate schools!"]