Thursday, March 27, 2008


I have a razor sharp wit that has helped me with rapid-fire responses on plenty of occasions, mostly humorous in nature and always at the other person's expense.

A few months ago, I got a contracting job to supplement my meager income as a writer. I mean, Time and National Geographic haven't come banging at my front door yet and most of the articles that are published are online and in magazines you probably never heard of. One day...

One of the guys I work with, Juan, is a very sharp guy. Almost as sharp as me, and that's why we get along so well. First of all, he's got a great personality and friendly demeanor and, secondly, he's very intelligent. The only advantage I have is 28 more years of experience. Certainly, he's got me beat, hands down, in the babe department, but he's young and good looking and the boy can really schmooze. Not that I've seen him in action, of course and, besides, he's got a girlfriend, but I know how we banter. Guys always do that sort of thing. Women dance and go to the bathroom together. Men brag. Every guy's thingy is always bigger than the other guy's. Well, not mine. Oh well. At least I'm honest. Hey, it's not that small.

Some men give those untamed inches of fury a funny name or put some sort of label on it. Pink Thunder. Stone Pole. Long John. I have never done that and after a recent conversation with Juan, I asked some of my friends if they did. They all said no, but we all agreed we had heard of that sort of thing before.

Juan and I always kid each other, along with several of the other guys. All in jest of course. One day I said, "I'll bet you were the guy who used to sneak up and snap your wash cloth at other guys' naked behinds in the locker room in gym class, didn't you? 'Ow!' they'd scream, and you'd shake your weenie at them when they turned around to look." The subtleties being that only a geek would bring a wash cloth to shower with and you'd have to be standing awfully close to your target. Too close.

"No I didn't. Eddie, that was you, right?"

"I don't think so."

"Not Eddie," I said in defense of my l'il buddy. "Eddie was always hiding his tiny, little pee pee from the other guys. He didn't want anyone to see what nature didn't give him."

"Thanks, Dave." Poor Eddie. I think you get the picture, though.

One afternoon, Juan was talking about his unit and how he either had a name for it or his girlfriend did. I don't remember who named it and to be quite honest, I really didn't care. Still don't. "Dave, can you guess the name?"

"Juan Inch."

The guys sitting close enough to hear, including Juan, burst into laughter.

"Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave, Dave," he laughed, while shaking his head.

"Oh, that's a good one," cried Eddie.

I am going to be 56 years old this year and I truly relish the thought of being a teacher, a mentor, to these younger guys, but do you really think men ever grow up?

Friday, March 14, 2008

Factory Air

When I moved to the Orlando, Florida area in 1981, my best friend tried his best to coax me into moving back to New Jersey. "Why do you want to live in Florida?" he asked. "All you do is go from your air conditioned house to your air conditioned car to your air conditioned job." He was right, but so what?

"So do you, in the hot summers of New Jersey," I said in response. "In the winter, though, you go from your heated house to your heated car to your heated job. Besides, I don't have to shovel snow." I had him on that one. He and his wife moved three years ago to escape the brutal winters and to live among the seasonal snowbirds of South Florida. There, they found out that it's downright next to impossible to live without air conditioning, unless your home is surrounded by trees that supply plenty of shade and you have ceiling fans in every room. Your car, on the other hand, is something that must have this very necessary accessory, or you will fry from the heat.

That little fact reminds me of an experience my father went through years ago. My folks moved to Florida in 1977. In 1986, he picked out a brand spanking new Mercury Topaz with ice cold air that was sitting on the lot. My father has always known just about everything there is to know about cars. He always has, as long as I can remember. To this day, we could be sitting around watching an old movie and he'll know every make, model and year of every car that appears in it and what kind of engine it has. For years, he owned and ran a front end alignment business in New Jersey.

While looking the shiny new car over, something didn't quite look right to him. The air conditioner. "Is that factory air?" he asked the sales rep.

"Of course it is," the rep responded.

"Are you sure this is factory air?"

"I absolutely guarantee this car is equipped with factory air."

"OK, then, I'll take your word for it, but it sure doesn't look like factory air."

"Trust me, it's factory air."

And off the lot my father drove after inking the deal.

Years later, and out of warranty, that good old factory air broke down. He took it to a mechanic friend to look at and figure out what was wrong. "This isn't factory air. It's after market and I can't fix it," he said.

"You're kidding. That dealer swore to me it was factory air. Are you sure?"

"Trust me, it's not a Ford air conditioner."

That infuriated my father and you don't know how bad his temper is when he's been lied to, especially about cars. He tore out of there and raced over to the dealer. He drove right up to the service department and called one of the reps over. "Would you take a look under my hood and tell me what kind of air conditioner it has?" he demanded. When in a state of rage, my father has been known to use several choice words he didn't learn in Sunday School. "When I bought this car new, your sales rep swore to me this car came installed with factory air! He lied to me!"

"No, sir, he didn't. It is factory air," he answered.

"No it isn't! My mechanic told me this is not factory air. It's Mickey Mouse. You're all a bunch of liars!"

"Sir, please come with me," and they both walked to the parts department where the rep pointed to a long row of boxes. "Do you see those boxes over there?" Printed in big, black, bold letters was the name of the after market automobile air conditioner, FACTORY AIR. Yes, the brand name was Factory Air. "We'll be glad to fix it."

"I don't think so." It turns out the dealer was the only place that carried the parts to repair it. There's nothing wrong with Factory Air, but you can't just drive to your local parts store to replace parts and you can't take it to any mechanic to get worked on, either, which is probably why the dealer did it that way. It's cheaper to install at the dealer level than it is to order it from the car's manufacturer, where, down the road, you can find replacement parts. Call it a captured market. You want it fixed? Bring it back to us or suffer.

In any event, eventually I ended up with the car and that's when I learned you can't drive in Florida without air conditioning. I never did get it fixed, because dealers have always had a reputation for gouging customers, but when you think about it, no one lied to him and no laws were broken. After all, it was "factory air," but it sure was a shady way to do business in the hot Florida sun.

Sunday, March 02, 2008

Conversations with Eddie

Eddie is one of those guys you just like. He grows on you. He's very easy going and impressionable. If you know anything about American westerns and cowboys, almost every hero has a sidekick. That would be Eddie. We work together. Although, I would not ask him much about politics or the state of the economy, I definitely enjoy having him by my side and he makes work and life much more enjoyable. Here are a couple of conversations we recently had. Honest to goodness, they're true. His words are highlighted in red.


After working outside on a rainy day...

That water was wet!

Yes, it was. It normally is.

Yes, but it was really wet.

Water is always wet, Eddie...


Hey, Eddie, just because you put a rubber on your dick doesn't mean it's going to bounce.



While driving past a Hooters restaurant...


Why do they call that place Hooters? I mean, it's not like the girls show off their...

No, Eddie. Don't you know what Hooters are? They're owls.

They are?

Yes. Haven't you ever noticed the owl in their logo? The eyes are the 2 "O's" in the logo.


Yes, check it out next time. Besides, they're famous for selling owl wings.

Owl wings?

Yes, owl wings. I mean, they're probably more famous for chicken wings, but they do offer them.

I thought they were on the endangered list.

No! There are millions of them.


Besides, they don't kill them.


No. They're like frog's legs.

You mean, they grow back, like frog's legs?

No, the wings don't grow back, but they don't kill them, either. You know how owls fly around seeking out their prey? Well, when they live in captivity and are fed every day, they don't need to fly around looking for food. Sort of like clipping parrot's wings. They just kind of waddle around after you cut off their wings. As long as you feed them, they're fine.

But, I've been to Hooters and I've never seen them on the menu.

They don't offer them all the time. Besides, they're very expensive.

They are?

Yes. You know how shrimp is always available, but lobster is always market price?


Well, there you have it.

You know, a new species of albino shrimp was found in a cave somewhere...


I don't know. Somewhere in China, I think.