Tag Archives: humor
I have what might be best described as a love/hate relationship with flying. I love to travel and see new places – I hate the ridiculous amount of regulations and “theater of the absurd” rules. I’ve written about many of my adventures on airplanes and in airports in the past. This week, I hit a new level of the absurd. It would be laugh out loud funny if it weren’t true.
On a flight to Los Angeles this week, I had taken my seat and was getting settled in for the trip. I’m a quirky traveler, but I have a system that works for me. I pulled out my iPhone and headphones and dialed up my “Plane Music” playlist. I took my book and a thermos of hot tea (brewed after the security checkpoint, of course), and put them in the seat pocket in front of me. I checked my Blackberry, answered a few messages, and then turned it off for the flight. All systems checked out – I was ready to go.
If you’ve been with me for the past year, you’ll know I always seem to learn something interesting when I travel. It might be that my cordless mouse is a threat to aviation security, that some restaurants have no business advertising, or even that “Unskinny Bop” is a song that will follow you, no matter where you go.
This past week I had two trips, back to back. One was a sales meeting for work and one was a mini family vacation to the Great Wolf Lodge waterpark resort. Besides being completely exhausted, I again managed to learn a few things along the way. Since it’s been over two weeks since I posted anything, I thought I would get back in the swing by sharing a few of the pearls of wisdom I’ve gleaned during my most recent travels. Enjoy!
It’s been a really long week. One of those weeks were it’s easy to sit back and focus on just how stressful and infuriating life can be sometimes. I had to fly cross-country, so I had plenty of time to sit on planes and think. I was crammed into seat 37E between a morbidly obese Panamanian woman and a John Waters look-alike who smelled like Doritos and Band-Aids, when I had an epiphany somewhere over New Mexico. As trying as my week had been, it could have been far worse. I could have had to deal with some of the things that really annoy me. I could have been put in one of those situations that really set my teeth on edge. I could have been trapped in one of what I call, “My Own Personal 7 Circles of Hell”.
#1: Having a cashier ask for my credit card after I’ve already swiped it through the reader
Automation can be a good thing (just don’t tell Obama…). It allows companies and businesses to be more efficient. It can speed up simple transactions and save you valuable time during your day. It can also drive you crazy.
One of the biggest changes at retail in the last few years has been the ubiquitous addition of credit card terminals at the register. They’re everwhere – Walmart, Kmart, Carmart, Stuffyoudontneedmart – everyone has added the ability for you to swipe your credit card and pay your bill. Put like that, it sounds great – and in most cases it is. Most, but not all.
Here’s what chaps my recently slimmed down posterior. If they are going to give you an automated machine to swipe your card through, why do they still insist you then hand them your card for inspection. If I’m going to hand it to Skippy the cashier anyway, shouldn’t he just go ahead and swipe it himself? Why even give me the illusion of control over my own destiny? It’s like a cruel joke: he allows me to swipe my card, put it back in my wallet, put my wallet back in my pocket, and THEN Skippy needs to see the card – or I can’t buy my fresh vine ripened tomatoes, can of turpentine, and Kittens with Mittens sticker book.
Really? You just have to see the card? You just have to let me have one brief moment of retail freedom, then bring it all crashing down on my head like a twig house under the onslaught of Ye Olde Big Bad Wolf? Thanks for nothing. Just keep your credit card machines and false promises of manifest destiny in the hair care products aisle. It’s almost enough to make me start using cash…
I was recently contacted by Jersey Devil Press, and asked if I would review one of their novels – “Exponential Apocalypse”. Having the word “apocalypse” in the title immediately grabbed my attention, so I shuffled over to Amazon and downloaded a sample for my Kindle. One fallen Norse God, one cloned ex-president, and one zombie cow later, I was hooked.
A few weeks ago, I joined Library Thing – a website dedicated to book lovers and book reviewers. One of the services that Library Thing offers is the opportunity to request review copies of both current and upcoming books. I checked the current list of titles offered and put in a request for “Follow the Money” by Ross Cavins. A few days later I was notified that I was one of the members chosen to receive the book. Luckily, it arrived on an afternoon when I was between books, so I dove right in.
On the cover, “Follow the Money” is billed as “a collection of interconnected short stories”. That, more than anything is what led me to request the book. I don’t normally read much short form fiction – but adding in a thematic element to join a series of stories together is right up my alley. I love a story that makes a non-obvious or previously unseen connection to another story (Wicked). I love a movie that looks at the same event from many different angles (Noises Off…). I love an author who pays off the careful attention by his or her readers by recalling characters or events from previous works (Ysabel by Guy Gavriel Kay). Give me a taste of one of those elements and I am intrigued.
I travel a fair amount for my job – not as much now as I used to – but enough. It never ceases to amaze me, the things that I learn when I do travel – things about myself, things about my traveling companions, things about the general public. It can be quite an educational experience, and this last week was more educational than most. It was a veritable cornucopia of discovery – so much so that I thought I might share it with you. Some things were profound, some were annoying, some were just strange – I’ll let you be the judge as to which was which.
There was a recent story that made the internet rounds about a married couple who discovered that they had been visiting Disneyland as children, at the same time – 15 years before they met each other. In an old family photo, the woman (as a young girl) can been seen posing for a picture with one of the Disney characters. In the background, her future father-in-law can be seen pushing her future husband along in a stroller. The couple didn’t discover the mind-blowing coincidence until they were going through old family photos, in preparation for their wedding.
It was a touching story, and it got me to thinking. My wife and I also shared a similar, if unphotographed, almost rendezvous. When going through concert tickets while we were dating we found that, when we were both in high school, we sat in the same section for a Poison concert. What if we had met each other then? Did we perhaps see each other? If so, was she impressed with the height I was able to get out of my hair with a bottle of Aquanet?
Let me start by saying that I am a fan of apocalyptic fiction. I love a good tale of the end of the world, whether by disease (The Stand), nuclear war (One Second After), zombies (World War Z), alien invasion (Footfall), cosmic disaster (Lucifer’s Hammer), or anything else suitably dire. “Go Go Girls of the Apocalypse” is not exactly one of those tales.