Back to the Trenches, Back of the Book

Posted February 18, 2009 in Feature Story

Let’s get started.


It’s been about five months since I last wrote a newspaper column for The Press-Enterprise, and I’m feeling a little backed up.


Apparently writing a column isn’t just a way for me to make a few extra bucks and get my Glamour Shot in newsprint. Turns out I’m an overly opinionated, short-tempered codger who has an addictive need for a weekly sweet release.


The following is a list, in no particular order, of everyone since September 12, 2008, who has made me want to take a Fungo bat and go tee-balling in the eight-items-or-less line.


My Neighbor’s Dog: We’ve lived next door to each other for more than five years and the only thing you’ve ever said to me is WOOFWOOFWOOFWOOF. Mix it up a little. Throw in a “ruff” or an “arf” once in a while. 


Seriously, do you really want a piece of me? You’re one-foot tall and 30 pounds. I weighed more than you when I was in preschool. My leg is heavier than your entire body and I’m pretty sure I could punt you over your house.


Hey Sparky, what exactly is your plan if you ever escape from your back yard? Gum me to death with your tiny Gary Coleman teeth? 


And how am I supposed to take your doggy threats seriously when your owner keeps shaving the top of your head to look like a toilet seat cover?


Radio Station Commercial-Commercials: You’re listening to 93.1 Jack FM! We’re not going to play an ACTUAL song right now. Instead, we’re going to give you the first two seconds of “Boys of Summer,” “Hot for Teacher,” “Walk this Way,” “Money For Nothing,”  “Born in the USA,” “Layla” and “Jack and Diane.” 


That way you’ll ponder all the songs you COULD be listening to right now if we weren’t playing a 30-second COMMERCIAL where we talk about how many songs we play in a row without annoying COMMERCIALS. 


Oh and here’s a recording of that guy yelling “Yeah!” and then the guitar riff from “Fight for Your Right to Party,” because that’s how hardcore we are.


Obama Guy: Hey, I voted for Obama, too. Woo. Way to go. He won. 


Just remember: He’s President of the United States, not a rock star, movie star or slam-dunk champion. 


He’s not a magic genie who is going to grant you three wishes. He’s not a black Santa Claus or the fifth Beatle. 


He’s a politician, albeit better than the last doofus, but how dreamy he looks while bodysurfing really isn’t relevant to the national discussion.


So stop papering your bedroom and office cubicle with the souvenir pullout TigerBeat poster like Obama is the next Scott Baio. 


And take the advice of your own day-glo T-shirt and “change.” 


Checkout Girl: I bought a gallon of milk and bag of Doritos and you’re seriously asking me if I need “help out to my car?” 


Help out to my car?


Sweetie, I get that the corporate bosses probably ordered you to say that to every customer who walks through those automated doors. But one of life’s lessons is knowing when not to do exactly what The Suits tell you to do. (It’s the reason I have an entire hall closet of office supplies.)


Oh and you’d better ring me up for this five-stick packet of gum. 


That’s OK. I think I can carry it all the way to my car without your assistance.


Bluetooth Guy: You narcissistic piece of cold turtle dung. Unless that’s Warren Buffet on the other end of your call, you’re talking someone through an emergency landing or you’re in the midst of a hostage negotiation, TAKE OFF THE HEADSET.  


I realize the law says you have to have a headset to talk on a cell phone in the car. But what part of the law mandates that you wear the Bluetooth in the grocery store, doctor’s office, hair stylist’s, mall, movie theater, treadmill, elevator and restroom?


Take that stupid plastic thing out of your ear for a sec, Snowflake, because I need you to really try and concentrate on this next sentence: 


You are not as witty/important/interesting as you think you are, so stop force-feeding your life to the rest of us.


Before the invention of Bluetooth headsets, you know what they used to call people who talked to themselves? Homeless. 

And if I had my way you, too, would sleep in a cardboard box and smell like urine.


Oil Companies: It takes about $36 to fill up a 16-gallon gas tank, which coincidentally, is almost the exact price on the open market right now for a BARREL of oil. 




It costs the same to fill up my car with gas as it does to purchase an entire BARREL.


Funny, I checked the owner’s manual for my Toyota and nowhere does it say that it requires an entire barrel of any kind of liquid. I even flipped to the index in the back and there was nothing listed under the “b’s.”


I’m no mathematician, but it would seem that when oil prices plummet like they did this winter by more than $80 a barrel, gas should cost considerably less at the pump than $2.20 a gallon.


Could it be that Shell, Texaco, ARCO, Chevron and ExxonMobil are still price gouging their customers during the worst economic recession in more than 50 years?


Isn’t there some innate moral compass that would stop them from posting record profits when Americans are losing their houses and retirement funds, and unemployment is nearing an all-time high? 


Then I remind myself that oil executives don’t HAVE a moral compass. They gave it up when they traded their souls to Satan.


Good to be back. See you next week. 


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