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Monday, December 13, 2010

opie pulls a fast one...

final installment (of some random chapter...) of the yet to be completed  WISDOMS V book see Me and barney fife and cro-magnon-man

1.Obama approval rating (slip sliding away)
2.shool lunches (are getting better...than McD's)
3.Brett Favre (send more pics of his junk, and NO ONE CARES)
4.Jennifer Grey (up next on dirty dancing with the lost stars NEW SHOW!!!)
5.Pink Floyd (BEST band OF ALL TIME!)
6.Gay Veterans (suing for reinstatement)
7.Paul McCartney (the Beatles are BACK!)
8.ETFs (even babies can do it!)
9.Road closures (make for jackassery)
10.Credit cards (rates drop again! if you are paying more than 5% on your card...psych! just kidding)

I awoke the next morning around 11 am. I was not dead. Life is definitely better than the alternative. I may have not been physically dead, but I have felt better, than this particular morning. Dead prolly felt better than this. I was thirsty. I looked in the refrigerator for water. There was one full, and one partial. That is a plus. (red wines are truly evil...)

I grabbed the partial, tossed it back and cracked the full bottle. Parched. Arid.Extra.Dry. Yeah, something like that.

It was a Saturday. I could hear the din of traffic and people. I moved a curtain and peered out the window of the van. The parking lot was nearly full. Holy f*ck! The Pep Boys was rocking! And I needed to drain the weasel, if you know what I mean. Oh, yeah, and I needed to get my van fixed. I may have forgotten about that what with all the wine. And the pissing urgency. Intensified by the bottle and half of water.

I threw on a tee-shirt, some PJ pants, sandals, and grabbed my wallet. I trundled up to the Pep Boys. There were so many people milling around I thought I may have been transported via some twilight zone dimension aberration to a flea market. I wanted to get into the line for service, but again, I had to piss like a race horse. I had to keep my priorities in line. That line could wait.

After taking care of business, I got into that line. Now, mind you, I did not really think this thru, as I jumped outta my van looking like I had my hair  done by Einstein’s hair dresser and I was wearing clothes that were, arguably, seriously pajama’s-ish. In my haste I had forgotten to grab a hat. I am normally very man-pretty...Now, not so much...

I got into my place in that line and waited.

And waited.

And waited.

Finally, I was up at the serviced desk.

“Waddaya need?” The clerk asked.

“I need a new alternator.” Was my reply.

“Well, We need to run a diagnostic.” Said the clerk.

“How much will that cost?” I asked.

I think I heard. $75.00

“I don’t need a diagnostic. The alternator is bad. I need an alternator.” I repeated.

We need to run a diagnostic before we do any work.” Said cashier guy.

“But I know I need and alternator. And that is all.” I said, more calmly than I felt.

“If it is electrical, WE need to run a diagnostic.”

Okay.. let me get this straight, I need to pay for a diagnostic? Is that correct? Cuz I do not think I heard you the first three effing times.

“I just need an alternator, and how much do they cost.” I was losing my patience.

I think I heard $250.00. Labor and material. It seemed really high. But I needed it.

“How much for just the alternator.” I repeated.

“Sir, WE do not allow people to wrench their cars in our lot.”

I quickly did the math in my head. $325.00. For an alternator. Seemed very high.

“Sir, do you want us to get your car in?” asked Mr Diagnostic seller guy.

I hate when I am beholden to others and have to bow to their whims. The van was not running, and I could replace the alternator with a butter knife and vise grips, but I needed the alternator. And it did not look like the corporate service monster behind the counter was going to let me just get the alternator.

“I guess so.” I said. The pissed-off-ed-ness roiling just below the surface of my Hagar-esque locks.

I had about $75.00 in coins, S125.00 in singles, and a credit card with a $300.00 limit and no idea how much credit was left on the card…And I still had to drive to Michigan. I was in Fort Lauderdale-ish area near one of thousands of Martin Luther King Boulevard.

It was not looking good for the kid.

The bill came to around $300.00. Turns out I had about $200.00 left on the card. And after all the shit came down I would have about $100.00 dollars to get back to Michigan. There would be no splurging, no egg McMuffin mornings. Grilled cheese and water for the trip up. Okay. The little money left would fill the tank a couple times, but it would not get me home.

Whatever. I needed to hatch a plan "B". I thought about who I knew between here and home.While waiting, I called a friend in St Louis. He said he could give me a hundred bucks cash to help me get home. It was a bit out of the way, St. Louis, but hey, it was just another part of the adventure. And I could crash on the couch and get a quick shower...
My van sat out in the lot for about three eternities. It was finally done around 5 pm. I was happy to get out of there. It sucked. And it took I paid the balance in $75.00 in change and $25.00 in singles. Take that Mr. Diagnostic Seller Guy!

Once on the road, though, everything was fine…Or at least until I got into Tennessee.


I saw the red and blue.

In the rear view.

And I was pulled over. By Opie Taylor.  I did not know they allowed such young people to drive, let alone be PoPo, but hey I was still in. the. south. (no offense to my southern BIA's)
“Do you know why I pulled you over?” Opie queried.

“No sir, I do not.” I responded.

I had no f*ing idea why on earth I would be pulled over, it’s not like I was letting the dog, Busker, drive.

“You were driving awfully slow. I clocked you at 54.”

The minimum legal speed was 45mph. By my calculations I was going 9 mph over the minimum.

“I was looking for an exit.” I replied.

“Where are you heading?” Opie asked.

“St. Louis.” I said.

“You are going the wrong way.” Said Opie.

“Yes sir. And that is why I was looking for an exit.”

No f*ckin Shit Sherlock…

“You prolly ought to speed it up.” Was all that Opie said.

"Roger-wilco, f*ing Opie"

"Yes sir." I replied.

No ticket, no driver license and registration BS. No sobriety test. No outta the car long hair... Simply a request to speed the f* up.

That's a first.

I got back on the road, found an exit, and turned around. A while later, I found a place to crash for the night. The next day I saw my friend in St. Louis. We hung out for a couple days. And I headed north.

I came back to 12 inches of snow and cold.

I really should have turned around and headed back.

No. scratch that. I never should have left Key West.



  1. Wow, the cops are nicer there.. Here, they are ticket happy.. gotta made their damn quota...sheesh... living in a fishbowl here.. small cities aren't too cool....

  2. You should have let Evil Twin out on that Pep Boys prick.
    I hardly ever take road trips. I need some new friends...

  3. @kbf-yep i live in a small city out side of a big city and i swear they know who i am, and that actually helps...but most of my run in with cops is cool cuz i am usually respectful...jail for 8 hours taught me i NEVER want to go back...

    @Mrs Hyde-way back in 96 when this happened, i was so not in touch with my evil side...too many vegtables, i recon...

    road trips were my life until i got remarried...

  4. Red wines may be evil, but are sooo wonderful the night before the morning after.
    I am loving this story

  5. Seems like a lot of money for an alternator...


  6. This was good Bruce...There should be a sign at the entrance to Florida that says "Attention Driver. There are at least a dozen Martin Luther King Blvds. in each town. Check a map". I got so screwed up the first time I drove there. Bass Ackwards.

  7. @mynx- if we could just do away with the morning after...well nothing more needs to be said!
    thanks...i have more of this book to post in the months ahead...

    @pearl- YEAH! that what i thought, but if your vehicle is your house...bummer..

    @BB- florida is a world unto its own...

  8. I'm digging the book excerpts ... very cool

  9. @MS- does get me to writing them instead of just making pages of outlines..


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