Say Something Funny …

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There are times when I miss Robin Williams.  There also moments, that I can personally relate to the guy, even to some point feel his pain.  Robin and I are kindred spirits in one sense. 

The pressure to be “on all the time” to say or do something amusing.  The uncontrollable desire to make someone laugh, being able to relate to the dark world of depression.  The simple fact that it is not easy being a comedian or the class clown in life.  Continue reading

My Favorite Animal

Our teacher asked what my favorite animal was, and I said, “Fried chicken.” She said I wasn’t funny – but she couldn’t have been right, because everyone else laughed.

My parents told me to always tell the truth.

I did.

Fried chicken is my favorite animal. Continue reading

The Short Course …

Recently it has been suggested to me that some of my posts are too lengthy and should be a lot less wordy.  (Is that a real word? Fairly sure that it is.)  I will make an honest attempt to correct this obvious mistake.  Short, concise and to the point … I got it. Today’s post is entitled  “Time.

Dear Clifford

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Dear Clifford,

I am confused, lonely and slowly going out of my mind. Perhaps you can allay my fears and provide me some relief from my anxiety?

Today I actually got access to THE BUS CLUB and noticed someone in the chat room so I sent a message …. “What’s up?” And he came right back to me, and we started to chat.

After a few moments he said to me. “Can I just say what a relief to find somebody that genuinely understands what they are talking about on the web. You certainly realize how to bring a problem to light and make it important. More and more people have to look at this and understand this side of your story. I was surprised you’re not more popular given that you surely possess the gift.”

Pleasantly surprised I said to him, “Really? Those in charge threw me off this board months ago.”

And then he said, “This isn’t Clifford?” and I said, “Oh hell no, this is BoxcarOkie.”

At that point my computer coughed, growled somewhat, hissed and acted like it was trying to cough up this huge hairball from Denny’s or something and my screen went dead.  Shot me down faster than a Mau-Mau Fighter Pilot.

What do you think all that was about?

Jus Sayin

Martian Chronicles II

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Last Friday NASA successfully launched a rocket into space some 36,000 miles and then deployed an unmanned capsule back to earth and retrieved it.  Quite a accomplishment indeed.  We are not known for the “stability of our rockets” and have been using Soviet equipment for several years. Last Friday was the first time this has been (successfully) accomplished in some four decades. 

Now once again the hot topic is Mars, we as a nation have set our sights on the Red Planet.

For as long as I can remember, we have been shooting these rockets off, using acre’s and acre’s of radio transmission antenna’s in New Mexico, beaming contact information to the deep reaches of space. 

We have even sent satellites to distant planets playing the Rollin Stones and enclosed all kinds of information in a effort to reach other universe societies and their inhabitants.

This could be a very dangerous thing for mankind (as we know it). 

First, any signal that we send out, could in fact attract an alien civilization that is far superior to our own.  It could invite colonization of our planet and worse, extinction and utter destruction of our species.

Bad news for people who are geared to the bible too.  It would wreak havoc with that.  In layman’s terms, it would upset man’s central core belief in creation, whether these aliens are creature like (similar to man) or primitive life forms.   Just finding a fossil or a DNA strand from these people/creatures would be mind boggling to say the least.

For a number of years, I worked graveyard shifts on the Railroad.

On some nights we saw things in the night sky, that were unexplainable (UFO’s call ’em what you want) which were quite mysterious in nature.  It is my genuine concern that if one of them does decide to “stop by and visit.”

I am really hoping they are friendly.

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Buyin A Bus

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Torture time, another indictment of the public education system a lame attempt to increase my total word count for December.  Ahhhhhh Christmas, Good Will Towards Men, Peace On Earth … The Happy Time for most Americans.  Sadly I have go report … The boys and girls over at BCM are fighting again.  One thing about the Internet, swing a dead cat in any direction and you will find some nimrod who is unhappy.  Hot button topics are being slung left and right.

Free Speech, The Constitution, moderator conspiracy theories on an Internet board, actually referring to people as “Nazi’s” man-man, that is a hoot.  Buy an Iggle I know a place where you will fit right in.  My Grandpa was right, “an empty barrel does make the most noise.”

PONY UP SOME COIN WE HAVE A COACH/TRUCK FOR YOU    

Buses and trucks in today’s market are like flea’s on a dog, but somehow, nothing is working, page after page of nothing is working?  It is real simple, find one, do the deal, give the rest of us a break.

Here is a free clue on how to do it.

Banker:  Well, I see by your paperwork that you have started to think about your purchasing a bus in the near future. I’ve reviewed your credit score, gone over your account balances, and I have spoken with some of our loan officers. Frankly, I seem to be running into a bit of a problem and I was wondering if you could perhaps help me out?

You: What exactly is the problem?

Banker: Mechanically speaking it appears that you are qualified to do nothing and of course irretrievably stupid, you could very well be possibly out of your mind.

You: That seems kind of harsh.  I put together a swing set from Sears once.  Its just a fifty-year old bus for cryin’ out loud.  I mean, “how hard could any of this be?”

Banker: I’m sorry. I suppose your entire life, your parents have told you that you’re smart and capable?  Your friends admire you for your ability to take on monumental impossible tasks and still somehow survive.  It says here that at the age of ten, you wrapped a towel around your neck and jumped off the roof of your fathers’ house emulating Superman?

You: Of course they have.  Yeah I did that, wanted you to know that I am not afraid to try new things or adventure in my life.  For instance, buying a bus is a new thing and certainly it could qualify as an adventure, don’t you think so?

Banker: Well they’re full of it. I have never encountered anyone so ill-equipped to enter the bus community in all my years of being a banker and a recently released part-time RV Salesman.  Have you been staying in an area that might have lead in the drinking water.  Even Superman would not be this d-u-m-b.

You: You’re exaggerating, I can’t be that hopeless.

Banker: Am I? When I asked you why it was that you wanted a bus, you never came up with a correct answer one time, you answered correctly only 25% of the time.  A few of them, you just sat there with that deer in the headlight look and shrugged your shoulders.

You: One out three isn’t that bad.

Banker:  Exactly my point. You also seem to have exaggerated the “appearance factor” over the maint. issues two to one, in your description of the used coach you hope to purchase.

You: No I didn’t.

Banker: Let’s see what it was that you wrote? Here it is: “Really nice looking stainless and the wheels are really, really shiny, and my wife would be a looker in that smoking hot Big Bad Mama with painted swirls on the side.”

You: I don’t remember writing that.

Banker: You have terrible memory skills.

You: That’s not fair.

Banker:  And a delusional perception of worthiness.

You:  But …

Banker: You also have trouble completing a thought. Moving on to maint. issues, you could not find a brake caliper if you had a map.

You: That can’t be that uncommon.

Banker: It was a map of the entire underbelly of the bus.

You: I thought it was something else.  A schematic for the plumbing system or possibly a link to the back bedroom carousel clothing thingy that I can hang my ball-caps on.

Banker: You seem to have absolutely no grasp of economics or what it really costs to operate one of these things.

You: I know a little about it.  They are cheaper to operate than say, a houseboat on the Columbia River system, yeah, that is right.

Banker:  You listed the three different mileage factors for the bus.  One for on the road, one while parked, and one while running the inverter.

You: Those numbers are good numbers, the seller gave them to me.

Banker:  You took a course on motorcycle repair in school?

You: Yes I did.  How did you know that, did I write that in there, let me see ….

Banker: Yes you did and you think this will help you understand the intricacies and nuances of a 45 ft — 65,000 lb. bus?  You listed that in your application, can you tell me how this will relate to this dream of bus ownership you seem to be reluctant to let go of?

You:  Can you end a sentence like that?

Banker: No. 

You:  Really?

Banker: NO YOU MORON, but this is not an English lesson, this is buying a bus 101 … This next one is especially perplexing: under make and model you wrote in Bigfoot. I find that disturbing for at least several different reasons. 

You:  Well I had to write something and I could not spell “Iggle.”

Banker:  We will go over the paper work again, and our loan committee will let you know.  You should be getting a call from him soon …   

Gonna be a long winter Clifford, long winter indeed.

(Uh oh yeah, I didn’t get the loan.)

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Rollin Along

Let’s all do something really stoooooopid today, let us all take a used soup can, tie piece of string on it, and then tell everyone we know how it is that we lost weight.  No good huh?  Thought so.

One of my favorite movies is “Pay It Forward” and any time it is on, I watch it.  If you have some spare time, locate a copy and check it out, you will not be disappointed.

Today’s offering is a story about the #13 bus.  This is the bus that I had to ride to the VA when I went in for treatments.  Parking is lousy at the VA downtown, so every now and then, I would opt for the #13 bus downtown which would deposit me at the main depot (9 miles and 45 minutes later), where I caught another bus to the VA.  It wasn’t the best solution to the problem, but it filled the need, it worked for me.

If you are riding a city bus these days, then you are definitely down close to the bottom rung of the food chain.  Buses in this part of the country are reserved for the socially economically deprived.  Low wage earners and for lack of better word, poor people are the main passengers.  Lot of crack heads, mentally unstable, homeless, they all ride the bus.  It is not advisable to wear jewelry or bling-bling when riding the bus and it is a definite trick to try and make yourself “unnoticeable” by most any means.  Just this week for instance, a young woman was stabbed too death on a municipal bus in Oklahoma City, riding the bus is not the best mode of transportation around here for sure.

Most folks, middle class folks, trying to save money on fuel will drive to the bus stop and park their cars and then load up on the bus.  Others they just sit at the bench and wait, occasionally looking down the road for the approach of old #13.  I would walk the three blocks up the street from my home, find the bench and wait for the next bus to come down the street.  I did not look forward to these trips and for most intents and purposes, did not enjoy several of them on different occasions (this is another story for another time).

There was an old man that rode the #13.  He was one of these people who always looked a little bit rumpled, worn around the edges, who dressed in wrinkled clothes and never seemed to comb his hair.  His face is tired, and is well etched with exhaustion and the dues he has paid over the years.  His life looks to be a lot different from mine or yours and he most always never has anything of value with him or carries any belongings.

The bus pulls up, the doors open, and he is there.  He just sort of appears out of thin air (you never find him sitting on the bench) at this one dusty road that is barely even considered a regular stop.  I often wondered where it was that he spent the night, especially on those cold Oklahoma memory makers.  Those nights when all he had to keep him warm were most likely a stack of old newspapers and his memories of better times.

One trip in particular I remember, he boarded the bus, took one of the side facing front seats and looked down at the 
floor.

  A few stops later a young woman boarded. She swipes her bus pass only to find the machine would not accept it. The driver told her she would have to deposit the correct fare.

“I just bought this card,” she said, “I paid the money.”

“

The driver said she could take the card back to the sales office and explain the problem.  In the meantime she would have to pay the fare for that day.”  The woman became distressed and didn’t understand why she would have to pay the fare.  The rest of the bus passengers just watched wondering how the problem would be solved.

  Suddenly the old man, rose from his seat, dropped a 
jingle of coins into the fare box and sat back down, his eyes returning to the floor.  His act was so unobtrusive that the distressed passenger didn’t even realize what had happened.

“You’re good,” the bus driver said quietly, “he paid for you.”

The bus pulled away from the curb and headed downtown. A hush fell over the bus.

 The rest of the passengers sat there and had watched the woman’s discomfort, the old man had felt it.  Perhaps a few had wondered absently how the dilemma would be resolved.  He resolved it.

  Life is what happens to you when you are not paying attention.  You never know when you’ll be in the presence of greatness or of grace.

To the world my fellow passenger looked like a man in need of solutions.  I also had looked at him and saw only what he lacked.  By the time he stepped off the bus that morning, it was obvious that he was a richer man than the rest of us.

He had enough to open his eyes and see the need.
He had enough to open his heart to a stranger.
He had enough to give of what he had.
He had to trust life for the rest.

The strange part of all this, is I understand that he virtually disappeared.  I rode the bus several times after that, but he was never there, at that dusty spot in the road,  I don’t know what happened to him.  And I have never seen the act repeated or the need to arise again.  In some circles of thought, some people believe angels occasionally drop down and move among us.  Others will tell me that there are times in life that “you are tested and often unknowingly fail to pass the test” by a power that is higher than all.

All I know is that I have a new respect for the simple act of kindness.

These days, as some of you already know, I live in the country.   I no longer live in the city, and I do not have to ride the bus, so I have to substitute the experience with another.  I have to make due with what life presents me and then move with resolve.

Occasionally, I will observe an old couple in a beanery or restaurant enjoying their breakfast or lunch and I will discreetly pick up their tab for the meal.  Yesterday I did that very thing, just inquire about the old couple in this booth, ask for their ticket, pay it and leave.

I find this to be a nice pay it forward kind of thing.

When I am in town, and I see little kids setting up shop to sell lemonade on a hot summer day, I will often stop and purchase what they have to sell.  I could for instance, buy you a tank of gasoline to get you home.  It just helps to make this old world a little bit better for me, and it helps you out too.

It aint much but it keeps the bus rolling, it speeds us all along the way.

OOO

 

Dinosaur Land

This morning I am thinking about Arizona for some reason.  I don’t know why.  I suppose it is because it is such a beautiful state and a wondrous place to visit.  Recalling a time, now long past, when we were there and life was good.

We are eastbound, just outside Holbrook, Arizona, and the wife notices this huge reptile looking thing, which seems to be running alongside the interstate.  After a little detective work we discover that it is a advertisement for a place called the “Dinosaur Monument.”  We find the exit and do our thing, slowly driving down the road, we note “truck parking” and then down the road, the main body of the place.

A small parking lot, a few cars, and a little guard shack off on the left.

I pull into the truck and trailer onto the lot, there is one tired old soldier sitting there, run of the mill Columbia Freightliner, all alone and by himself.  I pull up, make a slow leisurely circle and then slide up next to the Freightliner.  This is when I notice what appears to be a guard or a man, who seems frantic, running our way waving his arms in the air.  Shut the truck down, opened the door and stepped outside, and this guy runs up to me and matter of factually blurts out ….  “You cannot park there!”

So I look at him and I reply, “How you doin’ neighbor?” and again he repeats, “You cannot park there.”  The urgency is still in his voice, the lack of authority seems to be missing, but you can tell he is clearly upset about this entire thing.

I stretch a little, always good to stretch, to take advantage of the stop, and I say to him, “What is the problem here my friend, I do not understand?”  He then points at the behemoth I am parked next to, the old Freightliner, and says, “this lot is truck parking only sir.”  I look over at Cup Cake and I smile, she rolls her eyes, she knows what is coming next, she knows what is coming down, this is not her first rodeo.

“No problem pardoner, this is a truck and a trailer.”

He then starts gesturing with his hands and arms and making huge circles out of thin air.  Once again, clearly confused and very much not in control, he blurts it out ……… “It is a truck and trailer lot for big trucks” which a new or old Freightliner would surely fit the bill.  Unfortunately, my standard sized pickup and trailer also come under that heading, truck/trailer.

“I agree,” is what I answer up with and add, “and this, this is a truck and trailer parked in a truck lot.”

This time clearly with a sense of urgency in his voice for the second time he says:

“YOU CANNOT PARK THERE!”

I look at him and I say, “So in other words, you want me to drive this rig down there (and I point at the main body of the place, the small lot with a few cars) and you want me to park down there, is that right?” He smiles, he has won, the point has been made, “Yes!  Yes!” he says.  We both meet and agree on a mutual point and he seems dramatically relieved to have solved this monumental  problem.  Graciously, I acquiesce to his request and ask of him, “Can I ask one more question before we do this?” and he says, “Yeah sure, what is it?”

“I was just wondering.  When I get down there to that very small parking lot, it will be okay with you and those people down there when I take up five to six spaces in order to park my rig?  Is that okay?”  He seems temporarily knocked off balance and asks of me, “What are you talking about, I thought we had a agreement on all this.”

“We do, we do, no problem there” I replied, “We do.  We sure do not have a problem on that.  But this thing is 43 ft long, you cannot stand it on its head in order to park it, it won’t fit in ONE SPACE it needs five or six.”

Quickly doing the math required to make all this work, Mr. Security Guard decides that perhaps the best thing for BOTH of us would be to just let it set where it currently was residing.  He says, “Leave it right there where you have it, that will work.”

About that time a shiny little beamer (BMW) with New York tag pulls up, the window comes down and the guy in the driver’s seat asks, “Can you tell me how to get to Monument Valley, Arizona?”  So the security guard points at me and says, “Ask him.”

So briefly I poop the guy up.  I explain just how it is, that you get there.

“Go west on I-40 until you see a sign that says #89 north, Lake Powell.  That is your exit.  You drive north of Flagstaff and you will come to a fork in the road, one road heads north to the Lake Powell area and the other road bends to the east, it will say Kayantah or some other Indian name, heading east the road now turns into #166 at that point.  This will take your right into the main entrance of Monument Valley.”

The New York couple thanks me and then they head off west.  I look at the security guard and I say to him, “why didn’t you tell him how to get there, you live here.”  He shrugged his shoulders and then said, “Hell, you seem to know everything else I figured you knew that too.”

Next time I will tell you about the couple we met at the Painted Desert by paying their entrance fee for them (told the gate guard to pick up the guy behind me, who we did not know).  Turned out to be some pretty interesting people.

Life is short … Enjoy the Ride

OOO