I have always been one to admit that I am a consummate pen thief.
There is no writing instrument that is safe it it’s within arm’s reach.
I have a collection of pens that would rival a manufacturer’s warehouse.
Knowing all this, I have to ask myself the question…why can I never find a damn pen when I need one?
For instance, last week I was driving to Cudjoe Key. I got a call on the cell phone and it was someone who wanted to give me information about another number I really needed to call.
I keep notebooks in the car. I need them frequently and very seldom do I use one while driving. But I do.
My handwriting is so bad that only I can read it all the time anyway, so I take notes in the car without even looking at the notebook. I scribble what I hear, keeping my eyes on the road, and decipher it later when I need the information.
But this day, it wasn’t the notebook giving me fits. It was the collection of ink pens that usually fills my dash.
I heard the other night words I never thought I would hear from someone involved in a customer service job in a position of management.
I was so floored when I heard them that I actually was speechless. And that’s not an easy thing to do to me.
Let me set the stage.
July 4 is one of those holidays you just have to like.
You usually get a day off work. You get to eat things you wouldn’t normally. You get to drink beer before 5 p.m. You get to mingle with friends and neighbors you might not see very often. You get to watch a fantastic light show after dark.
And you get to remember why America came to be, and oftentimes how America came to be. We have to remember that July 4 is a uniquely American holiday. Other countries have no reason or desire to celebrate our birthday. The folks in England, I heard, have actually petitioned their government to remove the date from their calendars for some unknown reason.
Of course, the fact that the holiday has many good aspects doesn’t stop the idiots from taking the revelry over the edge. Nothing stops that. It’s just that they seem to get more creative around holidays.
And the July 4 holiday usually goes hand in hand with explosives.
Idiots and explosives—a dangerous combination.
Before I begin, let me use the disclaimer method.
The stories you are about to hear do not in any way shed a negative light on any particular group of persons. Every group has its poster children for cranial-rectal-inversion, and its sufferers from hedupyerassitis while the reminder are, for the most part, relatively normal.
These stories simply point out some truth-is-stranger-than-fiction instances.
A business acquaintance of ours recently had to try and hire some help. The job market is slow. Jobs are at a premium, and the competition for those few jobs is intense. The way to get hired is to put your best foot forward, not your foot in your mouth.
One fellow member of the business community needed a delivery driver for short runs. Delivery of food is often a lucrative undertaking for the driver. People who order in generally are willing to tip well to avoid the hassle of going out for something to eat.
But they do expect some consideration.
Has anyone out there ever “Googled” their own name to see what their namesakes in other areas of the world are doing with their time?
It wasn’t an exercise I had ever tried until a few weeks ago when someone asked me the same question.
That piqued my interest, and once my interest is piqued, I, of course, must quench that thirst for knowledge.
So I pulled up Google and typed in my name.
There were more than 12 million entries on my name.
I never did find me. I guess I’m just not that interesting to a lot of people to bring me to the top of a search engine page on the internet.
But I was still amazed at the number of people who share my name.
Even though it doesn’t seem that way to me, there is actually a lot of work that goes into bringing you this weekly newspaper.
For me it’s a labor of love. For the rest of our tiny staff, it’s a job with nice working conditions and not much pay. For my beautiful wife, it’s simply supporting me in a life-long love affair with something other than her.
And I’m selfish enough to say thank you.
We deal with about 100 business owners or organizations every week to gather and produce advertising copy that pays for the publication you eventually see on the streets. I deal with dozens of officials at all levels to try and produce news stories that will in some way enhance your knowledge of what goes on in your communities.
After the hours of chasing too-busy business owners and too-busy news sources, it’s usually late afternoon Wednesday before I’m ready to even begin putting the final product together. Sometimes it’s later than that.
I have a personal deadline of midnight Wednesday to have the final product shipped to the printing plant in Miami Lakes where they run it into the printed product you see on the shelves each week.
Again, it’s a labor of love for me and I hope an interesting read for you.
This week marks the beginning of another hurricane season.
And I am not so different from many in these parts.
Because it’s been more than eight years since last we felt the wrath of a major storm (many of us remember Wilma in 2005) we have gotten kind of lax on making major preparations for the storm season that has burst upon us.
I for one am only solo generator at the moment. We had two, one that we used for the office so we could stay operational and one for the house so we could keep the refrigerator running, a few lights, and one air conditioner to avoid the really sticky heat that follows a hurricane around here.
But after eight years of no use, the generators crapped out on me. I would start them every season, but then get busy and not pay attention to them the rest of the year. They paid me back for my lack of attention by breaking.
Wednesday was a day for the proof of the human condition called “Lack of an attention span.”
In my less sober moments, I call these episodes an outbreak of hedupyerassitis, otherwise known as cranial/rectal inversion.
Before I got started for the day, I wanted to go to a local convenience store and purchase my daily quota of caffeine. I have all but given up Mountain Dew and replaced it with Pepsi Max. I’m told it has fewer calories and is less harmful to my system.
But it sure doesn’t hand out the immediate charge that a good swig of Mountain Dew does.
But that’s another story.
Now that summer seems to be coming up on us before many of us realized it was here, it’s time to spend a few minutes cleaning out the dreaded junk drawer in my desk.
This is a task that I do faithfully at least once a year, whether it needs it or not, and spend all the time required to do it right (it takes too long to pull the darn thing from the guide rails and just tip it into the trash can, so I have to physically pull everything out).
Let’s see here, what is this scrap note? Oh yeah, that’s the one to remind myself of a meeting somewhere. I probably would have been there if I had remembered to look in the junk drawer for scraps.
OK. This pile I need. It’s a collection of miscellaneous phone numbers, most of which I have either memorized or forgotten why I needed, but since I know my memory is slipping, I write them down on little scraps of paper and place them all in the same pile inside the junk drawer. See, who says there isn’t organization in chaos? Now if I could just figure out why there are four or five copies of each scrap.
I know we’ve touched on this subject before, but it seems as though the chicken population on Big Pine has reached epidemic proportions.
Just the other day, I saw two feathered fowl strutting about town. Now, in and of itself, this was not an unusual occurrence. Seeing two chickens walking around together is an all-too-common sight these days.
These two birds, however, had a distinct attitude about them. Maybe it wasn’t so much the way they walked, because chickens always seem to strut whenever they walk, perhaps it was where they strutted.
These two particular birds were strolling down the bike path on the island’s east side. More specifically, they were strolling in front of Coconuts and the bank.
And they knew they owned the joint.