Three for the price of one!

I was standing in line at the gate in Houston for a flight to Dallas back when I worked in technology.  I was wearing a company polo.  A nice lady in front of me asked me:  “Do you work for Support Net?”.  I answered “Yes, I do”.  She said “My brother works for them”.  “Oh, who is your brother?” “Dan XXXXX, do you know him?”  “Yes, I know him well”.  I was a VP of Business Development, Dan was a was a Brand Director, and we’d traveled together and recruited business together for his division.  So, yes, I knew him well.

We ended up talking for a bit, and sat across the aisle from each other on the plane.  So, I finally asked her “Do you know any good stories about Dan’s childhood you would be willing to share?”

From here, it took a bit of work. 

The first story dropped in a sales meeting.  Dan got together every Monday morning with his sales team for a weekly update.  Most were in our Indianapolis headquarters, where Dan also resided. But Billy was a remote sales rep, and he’d call in to the meeting.  The meetings usually started with everyone talking about their weekends, etc., while Dan updated his big white board in his office, with sales figures.  They asked Billy what was new in San Antonio.  So, he proceeded to tell everyone about his crazy (non-existent) neighbor.  He said that the neighborhood kids were terrified of this guy, and that if they kicked or threw a  ball into his yard, he’d find it and keep it.  But this weekend, one of the kids had hopped the fence, and the crazy neighbor ran after the kid with an axe!  At the mention of the axe part of the story, Dan’s writing slowed down, he had a puzzled look on his face, and then he went back to writing.

A few days later, I was in the Indy office, and stopped by Dan’s office.  He motioned me in, I sat down, he asked what was new, so I told him.  “Do you remember my old car?”  “Yes.”  I have a classic Mercedes convertible, and he’d ridden in it before. “I picked my daughter and a friend up from their gymnastics class, and we were driving her friend home.  She lives out past us, and we were going through this part of the neighborhood that wasn’t built out yet. It was right at dusk, and these kids were on this hill shooting flaming coals at us as we passed by!”  Dan says “You mean like a Funnelator?”  “A what?”  (strange look on my face)  “A Funnelator!  You take a metal funnel, tie 2 pieces of surgical tubing to it, and put lit charcoal briquettes into the funnel, and launch them!  We used to do that as kids all of the time!”   “OK…  Well, I guess that’s what they were doing.  Anyway, it was crazy!”  And then we let that sit for a few days.

A few days later, Dan stopped by the office of one of his sales reps.  I can’t remember his name, but he had a perplexed look on his face.  Dan asked him what was wrong.  He said he’d just gotten off the phone with the police.  It seems that his daughter’s bicycle had been stolen, and they had caught the kids.  They had busted a bike stealing ring.  The kids would steal the bikes, then throw them into the neighborhood pond.   In the middle of the night, they would go back and pull them out of the pond, then strip the and sell the parts!  Allegedly, Dan’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t understand where these random Déjà vu moments were coming from…

On Friday, before I left the office in Indy to fly back to San Antonio, I dropped by Dan’s office.  I said “The weirdest thing happened to me a couple of weeks ago.  I was standing in line at Southwest for a flight, and I was wearing a Support Net shirt.  This very attractive lady asked me if I worked for Support Net.  I told her I did, and she said “So does my brother”…

Dan’s head jerked up.  Dan swept up EVERYTHING on his desk, and dumped it on my lap.  “You son of a bitch, this has been driving me CRAZY for days.  And I’m going to kill my sister!”

Stay tuned for “Dan’s (attempted) Revenge. 

Blowing Shit Up (Part 1)

Sorry, but there’s no way I can fit all of this into a single post.  So, I’ll have to break it up.

I’m not sure where all of this started, but… It may have been the Christmas present my brother John gave to my little brother Hubert and me. We were probably  2nd and 4th grade, maybe a year younger. John gave us a brand new heavy canvas pup tent. It was made out what felt like heavy blue jean material.

Our brother John (JB, as in “John Boy”) to many – see note at bottom) gave the BEST presents.  One year when I was into slot cars, he went to the local hobby store and had them run around 100 cars on their track, and then gave me the fastest one they could find.  That was awesome.  I kicked serious butt with that car.

Back to the pup tent.  Christmas Day was really nice that year and we set it up in the back yard. It was so cool. We were sitting in it, and John came over and said, “you want to help me blow up my battleship model, I have an M-80?”  “Sure!” we both said.   Then the really brilliant comment.  “How about we blow it up under your tent to muffle the sound?”  “Yeah! Good idea”.  So he set  the plastic model on the ground, put an M-80 in it, and lit the fuse.

Well, the tent didn’t muffle much.  And not much was left of the ship. Seems that quite a bit of it made it right through the fabric of our brand new tent.  Nice present!

 

 

*** We lost our brother John a few years ago to brain cancer.  The doctors gave him just a few weeks, and he made it 5 years.  Miss him a lot.  He was very successful in business, here’s an article about him from when he was Inc Magazine’s #1 company: http://www.inc.com/magazine/19951015/2682.html

I double dog dare ya!

Having lived in South Texas for most of the last 35 years, deer hunting is a way of life. It used to be, before they staggered the dates for opening day, that the Friday before deer season opened was a state holiday.  Well, schools were closed.  That’s a holiday. For many years, I was part of that tradition – I only gave it up because we bought a boat, and something had to give!

A friend of mine and I had a deer lease in South Texas.  We shared 6000 acres with the ranch owners and their family.  Early in the season they would bring in package hunters, and after that we pretty much had the place to ourselves.  It is a great property.

This particular year, the ranch owner had purchased a trailerload of cabbage to feed the deer.  Now, understand, this wasn’t a trailerload of GOOD cabbage – it was rejects.  And they had started to rot.  The deer loved them anyway, but man they stunk.  My hunting buddy, Frank, had a couple of hunting dogs, pointers, Buster and Abbie.  Abbie was a nasty dog.  She would get into ANYTHING she could find.  She’d roll in cowshit, dead animals, chase skunks, you name it.  And she’d eat ANYTHING too.  Bird guts, deer guts, pig guts. And she’d always have a deer bone in her mouth.  Ugh.  And she LOVED the cabbage.  She both ate it and rolled in it.  Obviously, she slept outside.  So, on Sunday afternoons, she’d be a mess. And god forbid, you were around when she dropped a load.  Wow.

This particular Sunday morning, the ranch owner came by and offered me a ride to my blind – it was on its way to his. He had a load of rotting cabbage in the bed, and I’d thrown my backpack in on it.  I got to the blind and everything stunk of rotting cabbage. I got back to camp smelling of it, along with everything I had.  Frank left early in the afternoon, and I left after the evening hunt.  My truck smelled so bad, I had to drive with the windows open.  I got home, unloaded the truck, sprayed it with air freshener, and left it for the night.

Monday morning I get up and go to work.  I opened the door of my truck and it hit me like a wall.  Man, that was nasty.  It was cold, and I had to drive to work with the windows down.  Frank and I worked together.  I got to work complaining about my truck, and I left the windows cracked for the day.  When I left, it was better, but holy crap it still stunk.  I got home and emptied my truck, sprayed it down with air freshener – hell I doused it in air freshener – locked it up for the night.  The next morning I opened my truck and my head snapped back.  Now it smelled like a skunk had swallowed a Christmas tree.  Again, drove to work in the winter with the windows open.  I was beside myself.  Frank asked if I was sure I’d gotten to everything…

I arrived home and pretty much took my truck apart.  There it was, shoved up under the passenger seat where you couldn’t find it was a piece of folded up cardboard.  With a patented Abbie shit inside.  That bastard.  He got me good.  He owed me though.  He’d gone on vacation, and I’d stretch wrapped his entire office. With a plate of Thanksgiving food on top of his desk.  So, I called his house and his wife answered.  She was cracking up, as was I.  I told her “don’t tell Frank I found it”.  Time to turn this one around…

The next day I got into the office and tell him I have an appointment to get the interior of my truck detailed. He asked “How much is that going to cost you?”  “$85, I’m dropping my truck off at lunchtime”.  I had a lunch appointment, so I asked our receptionist to tell me when Frank got on the phone.  It wasn’t long.  I grabbed my keys, stopped by his office and waved.  He was stuck on the phone, and it was awesome:  “…hold on… hold on…  STREEP!..  hold on… STREEEEEP!”  I left.  I parked my truck around the corner when I got back.  I got one of the ladies in the office to have her boyfriend leave me a voicemail in the middle of the afternoon.  I went into Frank’s office, called into my voicemail from his phone (on speaker), and played the message:  “Mr. Streep, this is Bob from San Antonio Auto Detailing, and we’ve tried the best we can to get that odor out of your truck.  At this point, we’d recommend removing the entire interior of the truck and having us professionally clean the entire interior.  That will be $250.”  He went ballistic.  “Get them on the phone!  I want to talk to them!  That’s crazy!  Are you sure you looked everywhere?”  I walked out of his office to leave him stewing. And to hide my smile.

In desperation, he called his wife.  He said “I’m out $85, and now they want an additional $250, what should I do?  This is spinning out of control.”  She was laughing her ass off.  Frank said “It’s not funny!”  She said “Frank, he found the dog shit yesterday”.  He was both mad and relieved.  And laughing.

You don’t have to smoke Kool to be Cool. True!

My little brother Hubert was 7, I was 9 and my sister Mary was 13.  We NEVER hung out with Mary and her friends. She was too cool.  But this spring day found us at the beach, huddled along the bulkhead where the dunes are on the beach. Mary and her friends were smoking. I even remember the brand. True. They had a goofy triangular filter.

Image result for true cigarette filter

They offered us a cigarette.  Well we couldn’t turn them down, we would never get to hang out with them again. So there we were, smoking, being cool.  And who pops her head around the bulkhead? Yup. Mom. She NEVER checked on us.  We know when she wants us home, you could hear that cow bell for a mile!  Someone must have ratted us out.

Anyway, she dragged us home and made us go upstairs and get our toothbrushes. Then she had us go outside and cut a switch.  Cutting a switch was pure torture. You knew that if you cut a lousy one that wouldn’t hurt that she would then go cut a monster, as big around as your thumb. She later told us she loved that part. Watching us stare at the bush, trying to decide which one to cut…

So, we got on our hands and knees and scrubbed the kitchen floor with our toothbrushes, while she switched the bottoms of our feet. Dad came home and asked what was going on. She told him we had been caught smoking on the beach. Dad said to my little brother, “Son, it’s good of you to support your brother and sister, but you don’t have to do that”.  “No, Dad, I was smoking too.”

I never smoked again.

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Super Rat!

My first job out of college was with a steel company in Houston, National Steel. I started as an inside sales rep making almost nothing, and progressed through the company and finally took an upper management position at the corporate office in NJ.  We stayed there just over a year, and then got our asses back to Texas.  Anyway, I’d moved back to Houston from Austin, where I was an outside sales rep, to become a product manager and then sales manager. Our Houston plant was a 6 acre warehouse with attached office space, built in the 50s, right next to the ship channel.  Among many problems with an older building was that we got rats.  Not cute field rats, not mice.  Norway rats.  Big honkers.  We were used to them in the warehouse, but sometimes they would migrate to the office space.  This led to many problems, including dead rats in the walls/ceilings, that would stink the place up for a few weeks.  We had a pneumatic tube system to communicate with the shipping and manufacturing offices in the warehouse – like the ones the banks have in their drive-thrus.  Billy, our shipping manager, had a habit of opening it up, and banging it on his hand to get the paper out of it. So, I’d send him presents sometimes. Once or twice a dead rat.  He got even.  But it was a ton of fun. One time he sent me a flour bomb. That was a good one.

Our janitorial staff was good about chasing them down, but being right next to the ship channel, it was a daunting task.  We’d have office pools on the rat traps.  We’d number the traps, and you could bet on a trap.  It was kinda fun, and every morning we’d go on a “Rat Patrol” (remember the 60’s TV show by that name?) to see who the winners were. Most evenings, Buck, the General Manager, and I would sit in his office or go down the street and enjoy an adult beverage while the rush hour traffic died down. It was brutal back then.  I had an hour and a half commute during rush hour.

While we mostly talked business, we’d dream up some good practical jokes, or other entertaining things to keep up moral.  Like betting on rat traps. While the rats were pretty big, we decided that we need to step things up.  So, we took one of the traps – these were those big-ass wood and metal traps – and busted it up, put scratch marks on it, and tore up the carpet around it.  The next day, the rumors went flying. There was rat in the building that’s so big, it tore up a rat trap!  The ladies weren’t particularly happy, but it we thought it was funny.  And that’s all that counts, right?

I couldn’t let this completely settle down though.  So I called Tommy, one of our sales reps in East Texas.  I asked him for a favor, no questions asked.  “Sure”.  I told him I needed the tail off of a dead possum.  A few days later, our receptionist called me and said a nasty package had arrived for me.  We took the tail, put it into a trap, squirt catsup all over the place, put some rabbit turds around it (looking like giant rat turds), widened out the hole in the wall, and generally tore things up around it.  Holy crap, we had no idea that the reaction would be THAT bad.  People started coming in late and going home early.  They brought concrete blocks to work to put their feet up on. They barricaded themselves in offices.  “SuperRat” was on the loose AND he had no tail!  They figured he was about the size of a big wiener dog.  People went to the restrooms in packs. Several wanted have guns in their desks. We even had one employee quit over it.  By this time, Buck and I were too afraid to spill the beans, figuring we’d get in huge trouble from HR in corporate. So, a couple of months later he moved on and then I got transferred.  And we never told a soul.  Until now.

Throwback Thursday – Growing up #6

This blog is too new for a “Throwback” post.  So I’ll just go way back in time.  My sister Sally (#2), to helped out a bit.  Turns out, she and I didn’t really know each other until adulthood.  We share a very similar warped sense of humor.

Again, I’m #6 of 8.  We are well spread out – there were only a few years where we all lived in the same house.  A 4 bedroom house in Cherry Hill, a NJ suburb of Philly.  It was a split level house – 2 bedrooms and a bath in the front of the house on the top floor, and 2 bedrooms and a bath on the top floor, a half a flight of stairs down, in the back.  The back bedrooms held my 2 older brothers (#1 & 4) and my 2 older sisters (#2 & 3).  My parents had one of the top bedrooms, and I shared the master with my 2 sisters (#5 & 8) and brother (#7).

I really don’t remember my eldest brother and sister much from my childhood. In most of my recollections of my sister Sally, she wielded a fly swatter.  She was the designated family enforcer.  Step out of line?  WACK!.  My eldest brother wasn’t around much – a teenager when I was young. The master bedroom, with the 4 youngest kids was somewhat affectionately known as “The Pigpen”.  Apparently, my older sisters were in charge of keeping it from becoming downright nasty. When my little brother and I got a little older, we turned it into a shooting gallery with our bb guns. My Mom got so mad because we shot up all of her asprin and other pills.  Tums, Alka Seltzer, prescription drugs, we didn’t care.  As long as they turned to powder when we hit them. The windows had bb holes in them, the lights were shattered. Then I turned it into a zoo as a teenager.  21 fish tanks at one point.  Another story…

Anyway, the back 2 bedrooms were a war zone. The girls in one, the boys in another. 4 teenagers sharing a bathroom.  Ugh. The boys fought all of the time.

This part of the story only came to light a few years ago, at a family reunion.  By rule, they alternated cleaning the bathroom. Two weeks for the girls, 2 weeks for the boys.  But there was one caveat:  If one of the boys forgot to lift the seat in the middle of the night, the clock restarted.  So when the end of the 2 weeks was near, one of the girls would go into the bathroom and sprinkle the seat with water.  Then she’d sit down and start screaming that one of the boys pissed on the seat. The boys would beat the crap out of each other.  Actually, Sam would beat the crap out of his younger brother. But both would be totally pissed off at each other.  Both would deny it, but if Sam was drunk he probably wouldn’t have remembered, so John thought Sam had done it. When this came to light a few years ago, the boys were REALLY mad.  I mean, they didn’t think this was funny AT ALL. The girls, on the other hand, think it’s hilarious.

I hate sandwiches

I mentioned earlier that I’m #6 of 8 kids.  BTW, so is a friend of ours, Michelle. We call each other “Number 6”.  When I was younger, my Dad was a corrosion engineer, who ran the Reentry Systems for GE, the contractor building Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules.  They were responsible for making sure the astronauts didn’t burn up when coming back from space.  And no, they weren’t sure what they designed would work for John Glenn.  It obviously did. My Mom was a stay-at-home mom.  With 8 kids, and the prospect of putting them all through college, plus having grown up during the depression, our parents were frugal.  I think my Dad, as a kid, had to steal food to live.  Oh, hell, they were downright cheap (see the 89 loaves of bread story).

Seriously, until I was about 12, I didn’t know that “Holiday Inn” and “American” weren’t brands of soap.  Or, that you could buy soap in a size bigger than 1” by 2”.  I’m not kidding. When Hurricane Sandy came through a few years ago, it took out what my sister called “The Motherlode”.  It was a dresser FULL of soap and shampoo.  Thousands of bars and bottles.  From airlines and hotels that long ago had gone out of business. My Dad would get on an airplane and immediately go to the toilet.  He’d take ALL of the soap bars.  God forbid the poor hotel housekeeper that left her cart unattended.  He’d fill his suit pockets while she wasn’t looking.  And, I would have bet that there were over 1000 pens in the house. Doctors, hotels, restaurants.  Didn’t matter, if it wasn’t tied down, it was gone.  I’m one of 8 kids.  I do not recall, in my entire life, ever going to a restaurant with my parents and more than 1 of my siblings.  And when I say this, I think the only time I’ve been with them is with my little sister, when she went to UT and we lived in Austin. We NEVER went out for a meal. We just didn’t. We didn’t go on vacation.  We had the “shore house” in South Jersey, which frankly was a huge deal for them. But they didn’t own a house there until I was 6 – 2 of the kids had left home by then.

Anyway, this brings us to “lunch”.  Lunch at school, specifically.  My wife LOVES sandwiches.  Any kind.  Banana and peanut butter is her favorite. I hate them.  Unless it’s a cheesesteak, or an Italian hoagie, or something with a lot more “stuff” than bread, I’m just not interested. OK, OK, I can hear my sisters and brothers now.  A scrapple sandwich is just fine too.  Back to the story.  Here’s why I hate sandwiches.

As a kid, lunch sucked.  Especially school lunch.  Because we “brown bagged it”.  Mom was busy with a house full of kids.  So, she’d make us lunch.  One day a week.  Sunday night.  She’d make FORTY sandwiches.  And they were crap sandwiches.  It started with the bread (again, see the “89 loaves of bread” story).  It was “day old” when she bought it (for those of you younger than I, that means that it had expired by a day, not that it was baked yesterday – it was bad when she bought it!).  Then it spent a month or two in the freezer.  Even when thawed, the edges were rock hard. Especially towards the ends of the loaf. The sandwiches then consisted of one slice of: cheese, ham, bologna.  Or peanut butter, sometimes with jelly.  Wrapped in wax paper. That’s it.  In the morning, you brought your brown bag (you better have folded it up and put it in your notebook yesterday, or you did without) down to the freezer, and picked out a rock-hard sandwich for lunch.  On Fridays there was a mad scramble to avoid the heels. Plus a couple of frozen A & P brand cookies. And we got our milk money.  I swear writing this I can still taste that nasty luke warm milk, you had to drink through that waxed straw.  By the time the lunch bell rang, your sandwich was thawed out.  God it was horrible to eat.  Ugh.  I HATE sandwiches. And don’t even think about giving me the heel of the loaf to eat.

Can you hear me now?

I grew up racing sailboats in South Jersey.  Like many “kid’s sports”, I gave it up after college and getting married.  I started at age 4, and by high school, it just wasn’t fun anymore.  Oh, I’d race with my Dad on occasion when we visited, and enjoyed it a bit, but not the crazy-competitive kind of racing I did as a kid.  So, once our kids got older, I started to get interested again.  I worked for a software company as the sales manager, and we were constantly hiring salespeople.  It wasn’t an easy sales job.  I tell everyone looking for a job how important personal interests are.  You get about 15 seconds to make an impression.  One resume that came across my desk said that the applicant had previously been Commodore of Alamo Yacht Club.  So, I interviewed him.  Turns out that he didn’t want the job, and I ended up hiring his wife instead.  Seriously.  Monty and Audrey are still good friends.

Anyway, Monty mentioned that he raced actively up on Canyon Lake, and I said “well, if you ever need crew, let me know”.  And about a week later, Monty called.  It was January.  They needed crew for Frostbite Regatta.  Yay.   But I said “sure”.  As you can guess, it stuck.  We had a great time racing Charley’s keelboats up on Canyon Lake.  And we were pretty good.

Back to the story.  I’d gotten a new cell phone. Up to this point, Charles and I had identical cell phones.  As was the custom on the boat, all phones went into a cup just inside the companionway (door) to the boat. It was a pain, because we were always getting them mixed up.

Between races I went below and asked if anyone needed anything to drink (ya think?).  And using my new phone, I called Charles.  He yelled “grab that for me!”  So, I did.  Sort of.  I grabbed my old phone, flipped it open (yes, it was a flip-phone) and said “This is Charles’ phone” while silencing his.  “Hang on”, and I threw my old phone up to Charles.  Well, sort of.  I threw it about 1 foot above his outstretched hands.  Right into the lake.  He looked at me incredulously and yelled “That was the dumbest f’ing thing I’ve ever seen!  WTF were you thinking?”  Damn he was beyond pissed off.  I didn’t think he’d get THAT mad. Yelling and screaming at me.  Then he saw my face.

“You got a new phone didn’t you?”  Yes, I did.  And tossing the old in in the lake? It was worth it.

89 Loaves of bread

This is a well known family story. And it’s always been told with the punch line up front, so I’m leaving it that way.

I’ve lived in Texas for over 35 years. But I grew up (yeah, I know, and I agree, I never did grow up) in South Jersey.  Not “Joisey”.  SOUTH Jersey.  There’s a difference.  They call it the “Garden State” for a reason.  Anyway, I went to school in Cherry Hill, a suburb of Philly.  But I really grew up on Long Beach Island, a barrier island just north of Atlantic City.  LBI as it’s known locally.  We had a house “down the shore” that, as a teenager, I spent most of the year in.  My parents would close up the house just before Thanksgiving, and open it up sometime in March.  But I had friends that lived on the island, so I’d generally make my way down even in the deep of winter.  Yes, it was COLD and miserable.

My parents grew up as kids of the Great Depression.  My Dad damn near starved to death as a kid.  I swear that’s why he was so much shorter than any of us. As one of 8 kids, my parents cut LOTS of corners to provide for us. In some crazy ways too.  They were always very tight, and rarely spent money on frivolous things.  Our shore house was an exception.

Anyway, my Mom was a high school science teacher at my high school (that’s what helped keep me out of trouble), and my Dad was a salesman.  By this time, they were down to 2 kids at home, and 1 in college (me).  It was early November, and my Dad said to my Mom “I’m going to Atlantic City tomorrow (Friday), do you want me to stop at the day-old bakery?”  We always got our bread and most everything else “on sale” or “expired” or “day old”.  8 kids, remember? My Mom said “Sure, but we’re closing up the house in 2 weeks, and I want to finish emptying out the freezer in the garage (at the shore house), so we don’t need any white bread, but if they have some Pumpernickel or Rye, pick it up.”

My parents often took 2 cars to the shore house. It’s only 50 miles, and my Dad would arrange to make sales calls in the area, and my Mom would leave straight from school, dragging a kid or 2 with her. My Mom arrived down 2nd.

Their house is arranged with the front door leading to the living room, then dining room, then kitchen. You can see from the front door to the kitchen.  My Mom opened the front door to a train of brown paper sacks (I’m from Texas, it’s a sack, not a bag) leading through the living room all of the way to the kitchen.  She said “Well, you could have put them into the (nearly empty) freezer!”  My Dad looked up from his paper and said “The freezer’s full!” She reached down and started pulling loaves out.  Every single one was white bread.  Every one.  89 loaves of white bread, at $0.10 each.  He bought all they had.  And laughed.  They both laughed.  A lot.

 

I like your hair!

I belong to a worldwide sailing fraternity, started in Chile. As is common with a fraternity, they give you a name.  Mine is “Joker”.  And I LOVE a good practical joke.  Whether the instigator, or the recipient.

We have our 47’ sailboat on the Texas coast.  It’s our weekend home – a floating 2 bedroom 2 bath condo, that happens to sail VERY well.  We used to be in Corpus Christi, and we were active in a yacht club there.  A very low-key club, but good sailors.  On many Saturdays, they would have dinner.  It was $7.50, and included beer or wine – hell of a deal. Dinner was cooked by members, and typically we’d have 50-75 for dinner. This particular weekend, we were “helpers” for the dinner.  We didn’t cook, but we helped serve and clean up.

The evening before, we were sitting on a friend’s boat having a drink.  The lady that cleans her boat stopped by, and mentioned to her “I love your hair”.  Brenda was very polite, and said “Thank you”.  After the lady left, she said “I’m going to kill the next person that says they like my hair.  I hate it.”  She was a school teacher and worked in a special science program at one of our local Air Force Bases.  “Even the guard at the Kelly gate said ‘I like your hair’. I’m going to kill someone…”

So, Brenda, her husband, Jan and I were “helpers” for dinner.  Once dinner is cooked, members go through the dinner line, and food is served.   So, I took this paper plate:

And I held it up next to me while standing next to Brenda, where she couldn’t see it.  Every single person (except Jake) that went through the line said “Brenda, I like your hair!”  She just gritted her teeth, and kept whispering to me “I’m going to kill someone by the end of the night”, never catching on.  Oh, and everyone but Jake?  Yeah, Jake said “I hate your f’ing hair!”  Typical Jake.

As the line finished up, I made a plate of spaghetti for Brenda, and handed it to her.  On THE plate I’d been holding up.  We sat down to dinner with them.  As she ate dinner, she started seeing writing on the plate.  “What the…”.   (Sounds of scraping on the plate.)  “Bill Streep, I’m gonna kill you!”  Perfect!