The following is unbelievable but true...
So, the other day, my battery in my car died, but I'm not going to mention that. No, I'm going to mention my water pump. I bought the water pump from a local auto parts store and it came with a warranty. The warranty said "Limited Lifetime Warranty", excluding the casting, shaft, bearing and rotor. For those of you who do not know anything about water pumps, the four components are, the casting, shaft, bearing and rotor. So now I have a limited warranty on nothing. I can see myself having this conversation with a parts clerk, " I bought this water pump here and it quit working. The warranty states that you owe me nothing and that's what I expect." The clerks response, " I'm sorry sir but your nothing is limited."
One thing that has always bugged me, and I'm sure it does most of you, is to sit down at the dinner table only to be interrupted by a phone call from a telemarketer. I decided, on one such occasion, to try to be as irritating as they were to me. The call was from AT&T and it went something like this:
AT&T: Hello, this is AT&T...
Me: Is this AT&T?
AT&T: Yes, this is AT&T...
Me: This is AT&T?
AT&T: Yes This is AT&T...
Me: Is this AT&T?
AT&T: YES! This is AT&T, may I speak to Mr. Byron please?
Me: May I ask who is calling?
AT&T: This is AT&T.
Me: OK, hold on.
At this point I put the phone down for a solid 5 minutes thinking that, surely, this person would have hung up the phone. Much to my surprise, when I picked up the receiver, they were still waiting.Me: Hello?
When you are not interested in something, I don't think you can express yourself any plainer than by saying "I'm really not interested", but this lady was persistent.
AT&T: Mr. Byron we would like to offer you 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.
Now, I am sure she meant she was offering a "rate" of 10 cents a minute but she at no time used the word rate. I could clearly see that it was time to whip out the trusty old calculator and do a little ciphering.
Now, that's 10 cents a minute 24 hours a day?
AT&T: (getting a little excited at this point by my interest) Yes sir that's right! 24 hours a day!
Me: 7 days a week?
AT&T: That's right.
Me: 365 days a year?
AT&T: Yes sir.
Me: I am definitely interested in that! Wow!!! That's amazing!
AT&T: We think so!
Me: That's quite a sum of money!
AT&T: Yes sir, it's amazing how it ads up.
Me: OK, so will you send me checks weekly, monthly or just one big one at the end of the year for the full $52,560, and if you send an annual check, can I get a cash advance?
AT&T: Excuse me?
Me: You know, the 10 cents a minute.
AT&T: What are you talking about?
Me: You said you'd give me 10 cents a minute, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year. That comes to $144 per day, $1008 per week and $52,560 per year. I'm just interested in knowing how you will be making payment.
AT&T: Oh no sir I didn't mean we'd be paying you. You pay us 10 cents a minute.
Me: Wait a minute here!!! Didn't you say you'd give me 10 cents a minute. Are you sure this is AT&T?
AT&T: Well, yes this is AT&T sir but......
Me: But nothing, how do you figure that by saying that you'll give me 10 cents a minute that I'll give you 10 cents a minute? Is this some kind of subliminal telemarketing scheme? I've read about things like this in the Enquirer you know. Don't use your alien brainwashing techniques on me.
AT&T: No sir we are offering 10 cents a minute for.....
Me: THERE YOU GO AGAIN! Can I speak to a supervisor please!
AT&T: Sir I don't think that is necessary.
Me: Sure! You say that now! What happens later?
Me: I insist on speaking to a supervisor!
AT&T: Yes Mr. Byron. Please hold.
So now AT&T has me on hold and my supper is getting cold. I begin to eat while I'm waiting for a supervisor. After a wait of a few minutes and while I have a mouth full of food:
Supervisor: I understand you are not quite understanding our 10 cents a minute program.
Me: Id thish Ath Teeth & Teeth?
Supervisor: Yes sir, it sure is.
I had to swallow before I choked on my food. It was all I could do to suppress my laughter and I had to be careful not to produce a snort.
No, actually I was just waiting for someone to get back to me so that I
could sign up for the plan.
Supervisor: OK, no problem, I'll transfer you back to the person who was helping you.
Me: Thank you.
I was on hold once again and was getting really hungry. I needed to end this conversation. Suddenly, there was an aggravated but polite voice at the other end of the phone.
Hello Mr. Byron, I understand that you are interested in signing up for
Me: Do you have that friends and family thing because you can never have enough friends and I'm an only child and I'd really like to have a little brother...
The Neighborhood Bully
When you were growing up, did you have a neighborhood bully? Well, my neighborhood did. His name was Tommy and he would invoke fear into the hearts of all that were smaller or younger than he. That is, until the day he made me cry.
I was about 8 or 9 years old and Tommy was 3 years older than I. A neighborhood game of hide and seek was well under way one evening as Tommy taunted me with his unpleasantness. He was calling me names and, most importantly, he was calling me the worst word possible. He was calling me a tuss. ( Rhymes with the word puss as in "Puss In Boots." ) His ridicule was more than I could stand and I started to cry. He called me a baby and I kicked him. His smile turned to a frown and he started after me but instead of running and for the first time ever, I stood my ground. I kicked him again and then socked him in the stomach. He started to cry and ran home bawling like a newborn babe. The kids of the neighborhood cried as well only theirs were cries of laughter as Tommymade his escape.
The game continued without Tommy until I heard my mother calling, "Robert Byron! Get in here!" There was a definite stillness in the air as I made the long 50-foot walk back to my home. As I walked inside my mother, suppressing a smile, said, "Did you hit Tommy?"
"Yes," I said.
"And why did you do that?"
"Mom, he called me a tuss!"
"And what is a tuss?"
I didnít know. As a matter of fact, nobody had ever told me what that meant and I had never bothered to ask. I wasn't sure if anybody knew what it meant.
"It's a bad word, Mom," I said.
"Well, I don't want to hear about you fighting with Tommy again! Do you hear me?"
"OK!" and out the door I went before she had the chance to dictate punishment. I reentered the game and would occasionally and discreetly ask, "What does 'tuss' mean?"
My best friend John explained it to me this way, "What? You mean you don't know? I can't believe you don't know. You're serious? You really don't know? Well, if you don't know, I'm not going to tell you." That was the best and most complete answer I could get from any of my friends and for the time being, it seemed to satisfy me.
Several weeks later a group of us were playing wiffle ball. For those of you who are unfamiliar with the game, it is played just like baseball except that you use a plastic, hollow bat and a plastic, perforated, hollow ball called a wiffle ball. ( For complete details, see http://www.wiffle.com/ ) Tommy was pitching and John was at bat. John hit a line drive straight at Tommy's head. The ball was sizzling at a good 8 miles per hour as it hit Tommy's head. The ball skipped off his head like a flat stone on a clear pond. He grabbed his arm and started to cry as he limped home. That's right, he was hit in the head but grabbed his arm and started limping. Just like real baseball, "the crowd went wild." Oh, how we laughed. The more we laughed the more Tommy wailed and limped.
That pretty much put an end to Tommy's harassment of the neighborhood. The reign of terror had ended and there was rejoicing in the street that day. From then on, when we would see Tommy, we would hold our arms, limp a few steps and cry. Folks would say things to Tommy like, "Hey Tommy, don't mess with me or else I sick Rob on you!" or "Watch your step buddy! I have a wiffle ball!" I'll never forget the day the great "Hun" was dethroned. It was the end of an era.
Plight of the Opossum
Inflected Form(s): plural opossums also opossum
Etymology: Virginia Algonquian, literally, white animal
1 : any of a family (Didelphidae) of American marsupials that usually have a pointed snout and prehensile tail; especially : a common omnivorous largely nocturnal and arboreal mammal
(Didelphis virginiana) of No. America having grayish to blackish fur with white on the cheeks
2 : any of several Australian phalangers
Several years ago, I was awakened one night by a hissing/spitting sound. Getting up and looking towards the kitchen, I saw a tiny opossum, or possum as we call them in the southeastern U.S., staring at me. I stared back, which had virtually no effect on the possum. As I moved closer to him, he scampered back into the cupboard, that he had opened earlier, and disappeared down the drainpipe that had been his entrance. I temporarily blocked the hole around the drain and went back to bed. The hissing/spitting noise continued under the house throughout the night.
The next morning I began my plans for "possum genocide" until my girlfriend, at the time, decided that we were going to do the humanitarian thing and attempt a live capture of the creature. I felt like Marlin Perkins in "Mutual of Omaha's Wild Kingdom" as I fashioned a capture stick out of a broom handle and twine. If I had only had a pencil eraser and a piece of broken glass I could have "McGuyvered" a laser to cook the beast but my girlfriend would hear nothing of it.
I entered the crawl space under the dwelling and the hissing and spitting began, only it seemed to be coming from all directions. The reason it appeared as if the sound was coming from all directions is because the sound was coming from all directions. Eight baby opossums had surrounded me. I began the task of capturing them and would place each prisoner into a community five-gallon paint bucket. I captured most of them but three of them escaped and couldn't be found. It was time to move on to plan B.
Plan B wasn't much of a plan but it worked. I decided to reopen the hole around the drainpipe and wait. Sure enough, as soon at it was dark my remaining little friends, one by one, ventured into the kitchen where they were swiftly snared with my trusty capture stick. They would have made a tasty stew but instead I placed them with the others in the bucket.Possums will eat just about anything and these were getting leftover chicken patties. There is nothing nastier sounding than a bunch of possums smacking away at a chicken patty. My girlfriend wanted to keep them but since this was not an option, it was decided that they should be relocated. My brother suggested that we relocate them to the middle of the road where they belong but my girlfriend would, again, hear nothing of it. So, I loaded up the eight baby opossums and took them out to an undisclosed neighborhood, I mean, wooded area for their release into the wild.
So now there is a soft spot in my heart for those "leeches with hair." I often see them lying by the side of the road and when I do, I think to myself, "Maybe I should stop and wake him up. Someone might hit him! Nah." Then I swerve.
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