ZaRex – A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

Although I was alive for the last two months of the 70s, I was really a product of the 80s. Somehow I managed to avoid the horrible music… But something I DID experience was the Snoopy Sno Cone Maker. 

I got this thing for a birthday I believe. It may have been my 4th or 5th… I remember making snow cones with my mother and they were amazing. Eventually, we’d run out of the syrup that made this a snow cone and not just snow… (believe it or not, it doesn’t require a cone to make that transition). “We can’t make any, we’re out of Za’Rex,” she said.

We never did buy any more. That was the one and only bottle of ZaRex we ever had, and my Snoopy Sno Cone machine went the way of the dinosaurs. I can honestly say I have no had a discussion about ZaRex, and probably haven’t even said the word since then, over 25 years ago, amd still, that statement stuck in my head.

I am proof positive that a kid can memorize things if it’s something they want.

X – A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

Those of you who have been reading this blog throughout this challenge (or perhaps if you just read my post from last night?) you may know that I’ve been boggled by this X post since about H. I resorted to googling “words that start with X” and it may shock you to find out, the words I found were either boring, or just plain sucked. It is with much regret that I must inform you all that I have been beaten. I can’t make a post about X.

I feel like X is that kid who never gets to be the line leader in grade school. I think X’s problem is he’s stretched too thin to be an effective letter. 
I’m willing to bet that X’s career went something like this:
X started out as a young letter looking for a job. He applied to the alphabet, but the only areas that X had any expertise in were already being handled by Z, or as a joint effort by ICKS. Luckily for X, the alphabet commission realized it was paying too much overtime to Z, I, C, K, and S, and being so young and inexperienced, X would work for minimum wage. 
X had a good time hanging out with W and Y, but he was struggling to make ends meet, so he took a few part time jobs. He did some modeling for map makers who wanted to designate the spots on the map where one would find treasure, and even competed against the dot, and the check mark on survey documents. His likeness is often used to symbolize “no” and even one-uping ICKS by replacing “Christ” in Christmas. It found the largest degree of success with it’s repeating role in Tic-Tac-Toe, although it never made it into the name of that game.

But desipte all his sucess outside of the alphabet, X managed to find the time to do some charity work  as a signature for poor souls who could not read or write.

X never forgot the alphabet for being there for him as he got his start. He didn’t quit the alphabet, but his heart was never in it. Z and ICKS continued to step in and handle the slack left by the disinterested X.

So now, due to X’s lack of interest in being a full time letter, I could not find a suitable word about which to blog. My apologies.

Vibrations – A to Z Blog Challenge #atozchallenge

When I was in high school, I was generally a good kid. Not much of a student, but I didn’t make any trouble either. In fact, the only real trouble any of us (those in my group of close friends) got in was when my cousin brought the PVC potato canon I’d borrowed from my boss to school, and got it confiscated. That’s another post though…

We used to get a kick out of doing things that most people thought were either weird or funny, like throwing a lawn mower engine out the window. “What? Engines don’t fly! Why was it inside? Who threw it out the window and why?? What’s up with these antics?!”

I once called an info-mercial for feather pillows to see if I could buy the glass head that the dropped on the pillows to show that it didn’t break. I think later that week, I called the “Orkin terminator” number to see if I could get an Orkin-man suit for Halloween. We also called people for free sample videos and things like Miracle ear and John Deere… We didn’t need em, and after the “holy non-sequitor!” reactions stopped we found ourselves knee deep in a bunch of crap we didn’t want. I think my buddy got harassed by miracle ear until he finally moved out of his folks’ house.

When we weren’t sitting around in the house brightening the days of the phone operators of various products, we’d drive around. Sometimes we’d end up fun places, other times we wouldn’t. It never really mattered what happened, as long as we were together experiencing a change of scenery.

One such occasion we ended up at the “Atrium” mall in Chestnut Hill MA. This is a very hoity-toity mall. It’s well carpeted. The “benches” that are strategically placed around the walk ways were actually couches. It looked very much like a hotel rather than a mall. To say we stuck out is a ridiculous understatement, and we got a kick out of that. We were the object of many “what the huh?!” reactions simply by walking in with our ripped jeans, wallet chains and t-shirts.

Just when you think we couldn’t find a place where we could be more condescended at for our own entertainment, our first stop in the place was Victoria’s Secret. I made a comment as we walked in, making sure it was loud enough that I thought it’d be funny to add an “ion” to the end of the store’s sign out front with my sharpie. Either they didn’t get it (Victoria’s Secretion?) or they chose to ignore it and their faces were already so full of disapproval that I just didn’t notice a difference.

Simply not being in the store was not uncomfortable for every party involved enough. We asked for job applications. There was an impromptu on-the-spot interview by someone who in my memory had an English accent, but may not have… For some reason, to me, someone who is actively disapproving of something seems even more displeased when they disapprove in an English accent.

“What sort of retail experience do you have?” She asked, so obviously going through the motions because she had to.

“None,” I said.

“I’ve worked as a cashier in a mini-mart for four years,” my buddy said.

“Ok,” she said. “But do you have any experience in sales?”

“I sold things all the time at the mini-mart. They couldn’t leave until they paid,” he said, as if she were the stupidest person on earth.

“Ah, ok.” she said, coming to the conclusion we knew she would anyway. “Well, you boys take these applications home, and fill them out, and you can mail them back in. We’ll call you if we need you, thanks.”

We left there with big stupid grins on our faces cause we had job applications from Victoria’s Secret(ion). I don’t know what became of mine, but he hung his on his parent’s fridge. It quickly disappeared, and no one had any idea what became of it.

So anyway, after leaving there with one mission accomplished, we left and stopped at a different mall in the area that was a little less ridiculous, though still quite nice. We found ourselves at “The Sharper Image”. Our afternoon of passive aggravation had us a little stiff, so my cousin and I made use of the massage recliners. I actually fell asleep in mine for about ten minutes. When I woke, I looked over and my cousin was laying face down on his, going “oooohhhhh yeahhh…” Perhaps the secretion wasn’t Victoria’s?

We had a good laugh at his hijinks, and he flipped back over. Moments later, it stopped. An amber colored LED began to blink on his. We left the area post haste, having not only probably ruined the days of some rather uptight smarmy sales associates, but there’s a fair chance we broke some expensive relaxation chairs. I tell you what though, I felt terrific after the shiatsu massage.

Red Handed – A to Z Blog Challenge

I work from home as a computer IT geek consultant. Here, working in my house, I can get up from the couch when workload permits, and make a sandwich, or reheat some left overs. It wasn’t always that way though. I used to work in an office building in downtown Boston with a few dozen other folks, where I was made to either eat lunch at 12 if workload permitted, and I was … not force, but limited to eating with a bunch of people, or not eating… and I was still with said bunch of people.

Eating aside though, a real aggravating part of working in an office building was that I had to share the fridge. True, I have to share the fridge here at home too, but it’s different. At  the office, I shared the fridge with people who would put things in there, and never take them out again. These things would get old, and grow fur. 
Even more infuriating than the junk that was never cleaned out of the fridge was that one guy in the office who would eat whatever he felt like eating, whether it be his, or yours, or covered in fur. That rat-bastard ate at least half my meal on many occasions, and I always wanted to stab him for it… but I could never prove it. 
My solution came to me in the form of a bottle that my wife’s uncle had. It was a hot sauce called “The Hottest F*ckin’ Sauce“. I dabbed one drop on my finger and tasted it. It lived up to it’s name. I slathered those suckers like it was my job.

“So,” I said after noticing the styrofoam had a telltale orange fingerprint… I saw the jackass, sitting at the table in the shared lunch room, eating a barbeque chicken breast. Yes, that’s right, he ate one of my buffalo wings, EVEN THOUGH he brought his own lunch.

“How’s the chicken,” I asked feeling much the winner. You dirt bag… teach you a lesson you sleaze… “It’s good,” he said.

“No, man, I mean my buffalo chicken,” I said.

“I didn’t eat your chicken,” he lied.

“Yeah ya did man.”

He smirked and nodded… “Yeah, ya got me. How’d you know?” he asked as if he were just admitting to nothing at all.

“There’s buffalo sauce all over your face and under your fingernails you slob.”

“Heh,” he said dismissively. Bastard didn’t even care!

I wanted to poke him in the eye… I finally hatch a freakin master plan to teach him a lesson, and he’s too stupid to even realize he had just eaten the hottest f*cking sauce! AND I totally outted him in front of everyone and he didn’t give a rats ass!

Totally ruined my week. Hell, I’m still pissed.

You ever have someone eat your lunch? … and not that it doesn’t happen to me here at home either… But it’s different here.

…I’m all out of the hottest f*ucking sauce.

god those wings look good…

Ostrich – A to Z Blog Challenge

The Ostrich: I remember riding in my father’s Fiat wagon around the age of three. My father was driving, my mother was in shotgun, and at least a couple brothers of mine and I were in the back. We were driving on Memorial Drive along the Charles River one weekend morning, most likely on our way to a family reunion in Medford. 
The interesting part about that area is that it’s in the middle of an urban setting, but it’s a serene drive. Water to one side (don’t drink it) trees to the other side. The one thing it’s lacking is tranquility. There’s the constant buzzing of cars, and masses of people. It’s like wilderness, only louder. The Charles river is always surrounded by people. It’s a favorite spot for runners, sailors, fishermen, etc. Bustling with city folk looking for that little bit of nature. 
All of a sudden, there amongst all the damn humans in the wanna-be nature scene was an Ostrich! “Hey! An ostrich!” I exclaimed with the excitement that only a three year old could muster. I was wrong, of course. There are no ostriches along the Charles, it was a runner who was stretching. She was bent down, with one leg up in the air that I thought was a neck and head. 
I don’t remember much else about the ride, but I’m told that I had a good laugh at myself for it. I’ve been amusing myself ever since. 

Ketchup – A to Z Blog Challenge

I was the fourth of four boys, and I showed up late. I mentioned somewhere before in my ramblings that my brothers were 13, 14, and 15 when I was born, so in essence, I had a whole lot of authority figures, rather than partners in crime.
Fortunately, my cousin Eric visited on most weekends, and even came to live with us for a while. He and I were (and still are) only three months apart. We were more like brothers than anything else.
One lazy afternoon we were having fish sticks and french fries, and I was wrestling with the ketchup. You know, I still don’t understand why they put ketchup in those glass jars, by the way. I realize glass is so plentiful and all that, and even posted about it a few days ago. I also definitely agree with the benefits of using it like they do for pickles, and mayonnaise and severed heads and jelly. I would even submit it would be a good idea for ketchup, but WHY that shape? What a pain in the ass! You want some mayo or mustard, you can scoop it out with a spoon, or even just dunk whatever you’re eating into it. Not ketchup, no sir. Only thing you can get in there is a butter knife, which you have to do a dozen times to cover your bread or amass an adequate puddle to dip fries or what have you… Just doesn’t make any damn sense, says I. 
So anyway, I was shaking that thing like a mad man, when my cousin hatched a plan. He’d seen on TV (which at our age meant: fact) that if you held the bottle by the neck in a tight fist, with your thumb over the cap (for obvious reasons) and swung it around like Pete Townshend doing  a windmill the ketchup would loosen up, and flow freely. Centrifugal motion and what not, right? (Which I just learned isn’t Centrifical… Live and learn, eh?)
Well you know what? It worked. He handed me back the bottle and “blurp” I got my ketchup puddle. No mess, like you might have been expecting. 
Feeling cheated? 
Something anyone who knows anything about young males age 10 to dead would know, when you do something stupid, and it works without adverse consequence, you do it again until it does. And we did. 
Once again, he took the bottle, and once again, it went ’round and ’round. “Whoa!” I shouted, “Dude!” We cleaned the red stripe that marked the walls and floor with a sense of such urgency that you might have thought we were moving a body. We got it done quickly and perfectly. Walls and floor were clean again, and we wouldn’t get caught. Now we could commence the hysterics that follow such a thing. 
Our kitchen was in a section of the house that was an addition. There was no basement below, and no second floor or attic above, so to run the electric for the lights, the landlord put in a dropped ceiling. It’s the kind of dropped ceiling you’d see in a college cafeteria, 2’x4′ rectangular foam pieces. Very light, very cheap… Very absorbent. We scrubbed the ketchup stripe out of that thing, or perhaps I should say, INTO that thing as best we could, and put it back up. It was like a bad comb over… We totally knew it was what it was, but just pretended not to. 
Somehow, no one in any position of authority in my house ever saw it, and we lived there another three or four years. Just like CSI Grissom always says: “Nobody ever looks up”. …thank god.