My mother-in-law called me at work yesterday and let me know my wife had accidentally locked her keys and phone in her Jeep at the zoo, with my daughter and her stuck outside. I realized it would take me an hour to get to the house and up to the zoo, so it struck me like a bolt of lightning. We have car car service! That’s where it went downhill.
I pulled the card out – it was my wife’s from 2015, not in my name. I realized I never got a card. Oh well, we’ll figure it out. “Are you experiencing a life threatening emergency?” No, but I may be if my wife doesn’t get in her car soon. “Your membership is expired.” OK, I don’t remember getting a renewal, but I’ll renew now. “You can’t get service if you’re not a member.” Yes, I got it, that’s why I’ll renew now. “We sent you seven renewal forms since January.” Actually, you didn’t. I check the mail every day. No matter what, let’s go ahead and renew, thanks. “You aren’t current.” OK I GOT IT. I’LL GIVE YOU A CREDIT CARD NOW. “Hold please.”
9 minutes later I hung up and called back, now somewhere between angry hornet nest and hippo in fight for leader of the pack anger levels. “I can renew you.” Oh thank you Jesus, someone who is competent. Three minutes later, “Now I’ll transfer you roadside assistance.” “Hello, are you safe.” Yes. “Your membership isn’t current.” Actually, yes it is. I just paid $151 and was transferred over to you from the person I paid. “You didn’t pay the ERS fee.” I don’t know what that is, I just need a person to come out and get my wife and daughter in the car. “I can’t do that without the ERS fee; the last rep should have told you about it.” Now I’m at Hulk smashing a city/just stepped on a pile of Legos in bare feet angry. I DON’T CARE WHAT THE ERS FEE IS I’LL FUCKING PAY IT. IS IT ONE BUCK? IS IT TWO THOUSAND DOLLARS? I’LL PAY IT IF YOU GET SOMEONE TO HELP GET MY DAMN FAMILY IN THEIR VEHICLE. (Two thousand is a little over my skis for car service, but I was rather annoyed.) “Oh is your daughter in the car?” IF SHE WAS I’D HAVE THE WINDOWS SMASHED IN, NOT CALL YOU PEOPLE FOR HELP. I JUST GAVE YOU $151, NOW GET SOMEONE’S ASS MOVING TO THE ZOO! “I’m sorry, calm down sir. We’ll help your family. I’ll waive the ERS fee. We’ll put you as a priority call and get someone there as fast as we can!” THANKS. (Breathes heavily like a mental patient for 10 seconds) GREAT.
Then they got there in 12 minutes, got them in the car in less than one minute. Apparently the company’s vision statement is, “Rather than help the customer, keep reminding them over and over and over that their membership is three months out of service until they spasmodically scream curse words at us out of pure rage. Instead of getting their money and getting them secured for the future, make sure to push them to their mental capacity for civility – why bother getting a membership renewal, when you can torment them like a cat plays with a mouse? Oh and when they nearly threaten to drive over to our corporate office and carve holes in people, give them superior service at the last minute to leave a good taste in their mouths! Everyone wins!”
We got a new puppy this year because our daughter loves dogs so much; plus we thought it would wear out our peanut too. (Flashback: Day one – “Hope this dog wears out Gracie!” Day 3 – “What in the hell have we done?!”) This overload of cuteness has peed more than an old man being force fed Mountain Dew and dollar beers, bit me more than a swarm of mosquitoes and has been yelled at so often I’m surprised I can speak in normal tones to other living creatures now. So we did puppy class.
Going in, I thought I had the dumbest animal on Earth, and my last dog, Bean, was a straight up doofus. I used to call Bean the following: Dummy, Dumbness, El Estupido, Captain Dipshit, Melonhead, Puddin’ Head, Dumb Dumb…you get it. We even had a voice for Bean that sounded like Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh mixed with Droopy and Bean was about 50 times smarter than this terrorist Merry we brought in. Then I went to class and realized Merry was a genius compared to these other mutts. Still ornery as a popcorn fart, as my Grandma used to say, but smart.
One guy in my class had a dog so awful, he had to hold it like a newborn the entire time. Another guy had a herding dog that shot out and nearly strangled itself for an hour straight, no matter what was going on. The two ladies in my class that said they were also trainers failed the trick session and the one lady’s dog peed on the floor four straight weeks. Holy crap, they get worse than this golden torture I call Merry?
After God knows how many weeks, she learned to sit, lay down, roll over, stand and (sort of) stay and leave stuff alone. Of course, I have anemia from the puppy teeth bleeding me out like Dracula drew out Lucy Westenra, but we have a paper now, so that means my dog is someone now! Now, to get this damn dog to get a job and let me retire pre-40 like I planned two days after starting my first real job after college.
Well, your taxes are due. I LOVE big, overreaching, distant government so much, I made a special trip to D.C. a few years back and just had to see where the magic happens.
When you pay your taxes this year, keep in mind there was no income tax in this country until the early 20th century (making up for lost time, eh Uncle Sam?). Oh, and you pay sales tax, property tax and after all the taxes, when you die, they nail your ass again, even though you’ve already paid taxes on all that. Screw you, loved ones! The government needs this more!
Lest we forget, the government does have needs for revenue – provide for the common defense, basic operational costs…oh and the following; just in case you aren’t annoyed enough.
In 2015, the feds gave $249,000 to UK to find out if cocaine changes monkey behavior. (Yes!) In 2011, a small gas station in Afghanistan added the option to fuel natural gas – which levied the total bill to over $42 million. Keep in mind no one can afford a natural gas vehicle there, but hey, giving back, right? Add $856,000 to see if mountain lions can run on treadmills (yes, they can). $48,500 to write about Russian cigarette smokers. My favorite, $3.1 billion for federal workers’ vacation pay – when they are on administrative leave (for things like getting hookers and one gentleman who was caught pleasing himself in view of other employees).
There’s a lot more – but that should do you just fine. Don’t worry, Congress is on it. The same Congress that is on a different healthcare system than everyone else, retire with millions more than they went in with and is mulling over VAT taxes, carbon taxes and consumption taxes. Remember when we started a war over taxes on tea and the Stamp Act? Well of course you don’t, that was a really long time ago, but you get the point.
Well, it’s time to just come out with it. I’ll explain. I found three white hairs in my eyebrows this week, plus another one curling straight up like a movie villain. I can’t read without contacts or glasses – menus, my phone, any printed words. I found a white nose hair that nearly did me in. I can crack every single joint in my body – jaw, neck, wrist, hips…I cracked my knee today tying my shoe. I pulled a muscle in my foot without even picking it up off the ground.
What does all this mean? It means I’ve actually been dead for at least four years, kept alive by a voodoo shaman or thanks to all the shitty food I eat loaded with salt and preservatives, plus all the copious amounts of booze, which has kept my lifeless corpse from rotting away completely. I was going to try and get back into shape, but either way, whether the black magic of a necromage or liquor saturation, there’s literally nothing I can do. Guess I’ll just keep drinking and hope for the best. (From the back of the room) “Hey, wait until you hit your forties!” OH GOD IT GETS WORSE?! THROW HOLY WATER ON ME UNTIL I BURN AWAY!
My pal Travis Hoewischer asked me to do one of his “comedy pop-up” shows. Short set, but then roast a complete stranger at his own birthday party. Of course, I said yes. Was it glamorous? No. Was it fun, ridiculing a person for no reason? Yes.
It was a complete surprise, we walked around the side of a house, Travis grabbed a mike and away we went. Not your standard show. A dog came on stage, a girl walked right past me to grab a Root Beer, and one comic was told not to smoke near the fence, there were fireworks set out close by. Well, not how I planned on dying, but I am from Southeastern Ohio.
The crowd was a mix of drunks, rowdies and even included some teenage girls, so I’m sure they are scarred for life. Of course, the roast at the end was the best part, as we told his loved ones all the secrets his wife had leaked to us beforehand. After congratulating him on having all his teeth at 40, I then told him what a disaster and burden he was for all his work accidents and relayed to the crowd the difference between a redneck and white trash (he was the latter). The best and oddest part? After being destroyed in front of all his friends, he thanked us about nine times for a great time. I am not going to count on this as a staple of comedy, but it worked for Don Rickles (RIP). Of course he was in Vegas and I was in a backyard in Galloway. Pretty much the same.
Over the time I’ve been doing comedy, I’ve stayed in quite a few hotels. There were a few that were nice, most OK and a few that reminded me of the meth hotel from Breaking Bad. The hotel is usually the last thing negotiated and usually, the venue works out a deal with a local place dying for business so they get a good rate. In other words, mostly shitholes.
I stayed in a place built in the 1700’s, when everyone was apparently 5′ and 105 lbs. I had to drop a deuce and the sink was so close to the toilet, I had to turn sideways and put my left arm on the sink to fit. If I weighed ten more pounds, I’d still be there, stuck.
Once the venue forgot to book a room and I had to share a bed with another comic. I built a pillow fort in the middle of the bed and stayed awake until 3 am staring at the ceiling, thinking I should have learned to juggle or mime instead of telling jokes.
Another time I stayed in a room where there were still makeup stains on the pillowcase from the previous guest, or the previous guest’s prostitute, who knows? I complained and the not American hotel owner yelled at me for complaining. I shoved the soiled linens in his face and screamed back, “Does that look clean?” He gave me a “clean” pillowcase like I took his last beer from the fridge. I slept on top of the blankets with the heat cranked to 78 degrees to avoid whatever biohazard festered beneath me.
I once had a room so small I could lie in bed and touch both walls at the same time. I’ve seen prison cells with more room. At least I couldn’t fall out of bed!
The all time worst though was a bed and breakfast. I didn’t realize that meant a person’s house. I walked in and the father wasn’t expecting anyone. He went around the corner and yelled at the mom that no one let him know and now they couldn’t go to dinner with the kids. I stood in silence for ten minutes as they argued and then was shown to the room. Surprise! their five year son was hiding in the room. He busted out right when I sat on the bed. I then realized the bathroom was down the hall next to their room, so I had to take my entire suitcase with me to shower. I checked my email and they switched hotels without telling me until about an hour before I got there. I pulled out and they almost backed into me because they were in such a hurry. I cut my car too soon and wiped out half a pine tree, but I just gunned it while the rage dad stared holes into my soul.