Friday, October 24, 2008

Why I Do Not Hunt

So I'm running down 65 through Indiana and morning is coming on. I can see the sky lightening up in front of me. It looks like it's going to be a beautiful day. A mini-van passes me and scoots back over in front of me and continues on down the road. No big deal. Plenty of room between us.

Good thing too. From out of nowhere, well, not nowhere actually. Actually he came from the bushes. Anyway, here comes a big buck. I just have time to note the size of the rack when he runs right in front of the minivan. She hits her brakes hard and I see her swerve to the left trying to avoid the buck. Man, it's a biggie. That sucker is going to do some damage.

And over he comes. I could not believe my eyes. This big old buck comes flipping over the top of the mini-van and crash lands in the middle of the road. I've been on the brakes for some time now and traffic behind me is slowing up. I hit my flashers and head for the shoulder. The deer has landed in the right lane and I holler out on the CB, "Dead buck in the granny lane, southbound, at the 183. You wanna move left. I'll try to get it moved.

I jump out and go check on the mini-van. The woman inside is shook up and is shaking in her seat but she's alright, no injuries and she soon calms down. She gets out and we check out her damage. Actually, it's not too bad. I sure would have figured a lot more. Her hood is bent in where she hit the buck, but apparently she knocked his legs out from under him and threw him up over the top of the van. She's got a small dent above her windshield and other than that there's nothing. No fluids leaking. No weird noises. All seems well. She smiles.

"Thanks for stopping," she says.

"No problem. Just wanted to make sure everything was okay."

"Is he dead?," she asks.

"I think so," I say. " He's still laying there where he landed. If he were still alive, I figure he'd be up and gone by now. Wanna go with me and check?"

"Sure," she says and we start walking back towards the deer as traffic is crawling by in the left lane.

I'm not much of a hunter, never have been. So verifying the demise of an animal is usually confined to whether or not I can see any obvious indications of death. Massive open wounds, blood flowing, severed head, those kinds of things. I've never shot a deer but I have seen many of them strapped on the hood of a Buick and they always seem to have blood dripping from the nose and the tongue hanging out. Maybe this is the universal sign of death in deer.

As we get closer, I am amazed at the size of the rack on this thing. Huge! I try to count the points but I keep losing track as I shift from one side to the other. "Sure is a big one," she says.

"Yep. Maybe a record of some kind", I say.

"So do you think it's dead?"

"I think so. See the blood dripping from the nose and the way the tongue is just lolling out there like that. I believe that is the universal sign for death among deer. I think I read that somewhere."

But just to be safe, I pick up a stick and start poking at the deer to make sure. No movement. I reach out and grab it by the antlers and give it a good shake. Nothing. It's got to be dead.

"I think it's dead," she says. "What should we do with it? Do we call someone?"

"I think you're supposed to call the police and they'll have it removed, but I've seen so many of these things lying by the side of the road and it sure would be a shame to waste all that meat."

"You think you want it?" she asks.

"Well, if you don't think you want it, then sure, I'd take it."

"How would you get it home?" she says.

"Well. It really should be bled out so the blood doesn't spoil the meat. But I don't think I want to do that right here on the side of the road. It might gross people out and it's sort of dangerous to do that right here."

"So what are you going to do?"

"Tell you what. If you can help me throw it up in the back of the truck, I'll take it down to the next rest area and I can hang it up there from the back of the trailer and bleed it out. It's cold enough right now that it won't spoil before I get it home and get it butchered."

And she agrees. We grab this monster by the antlers and start dragging him to the back of my truck. After much heaving and hoeing we finally get him up in the trailer and I shut the doors on him. All I've got in there right now is about half a trailer full of light bulbs going to Columbus and there's plenty of room for a deer carcass. So we are both happy. Her car is drivable and I've got quite a bit of extra meat to help out at home. I feel like a hunter gatherer from the Mesozoic period. Or one of those Oic periods.

We say our goodbyes and we're on our way. Life is good. Just six more hours to Columbus, then about an hour and a half to home and I'll get to work on skinning a deer. How hard can it be, right?

It was about 30 minutes later that I noticed something strange was going on. I had been listening to my Ipod, ZZ Top specifically, and so the music was a little loud. It was in between 'Cheap Sunglasses' and 'Legs' that I first heard it. A bang. Or it might have been a bong. Not that kind of bong. The bong you get from whacking a gong. And now I sound like Dr Suess. Maybe it was more of a bang. Yes, definitely a bang. And there it was again. It was then that the thought "Oh Crap!" ran through my mind. Quickly followed by "NO!" and then some others that I'd better leave out of here. My mother reads this blog you know.

The rest area has still not appeared but I can no longer wait. I dive for the shoulder in a hurry, dust flying out from the back of the trailer. I get as far off the road as possible and hit the parking brakes. My flashers are going as I jump out of the truck and run to the back. Morning is in full bloom now and traffic has really picked up. I reach for the door of the trailer and get ready to throw it open, and I stop. From the sounds I hear emanating from inside the trailer, it appears that my skills at determining the death status of deer is severely lacking. This thing sounds like it is trying to punch it's way out of my trailer as it kicks and thrashes around inside.

And do you remember what I have in there that might provide this manic buck some cushion for his inevitable slips and falls? Yes! That's it. My precious load of light bulbs is doing it's best to make sure that Mr. Buck does not get hurt as he falls around inside my trailer. I can hear them giving up their very lives for him with no more than a whimpering tinkle.

I want to throw open the door and get him out, but he's sure to jump out into traffic and probably cause another wreck. What to do? What to do? Then it hits me. I run back up to the tractor and grab the CB. "Anybody got a copy on this radio?"

"Copy that" comes back and I start trying to explain.

"I need traffic stopped. This is the big truck on the southbound shoulder and I need all traffic stopped behind me. Anyone north of the 152, you need to stop before you get to me."

"What's going on?" and "We're not stopping for nothing!" and "Anybody want to buy a radio?" comes flashing back in a hundred different voices. How do I tell these guys that I'm getting ready to turn loose one really pissed off buck out on the highway.

"Hazardous Cargo!" I scream into the radio. "It's loose in the trailer and I don't know how it's going to react when it hits the air." Which is somewhat true, right?

I get a couple south bounders hollering out for a brake check and they block the highway. As a result, the northbound starts to back up and slow down to see what's going on. The word gets passed to them and they're stopping the traffic as well. When I finally see that all traffic is stopped I head to the back of the trailer again and start to ease the door open. As I'm doing so I hear a trucker behind me holler out, "Don't open that! Wait for the HAZMAT guys to get here!"

I turn around to tell him it's okay. But I've already opened the door enough for Mr. Buck to get a glimpse of light and it is anything but okay. He heads for the light, as any good deer would, and promptly bowls me over with the door, head over teakettle. Mr. buck hits the ground and is skidding right toward the other driver, who jumps back so fast that he trips over his own feet and down he goes. But Mr. Buck doesn't stop there. His mission seems to be to hunt down the man that locked him in that rolling coffin and meet out some justice.

That man would be me.

I see him spin on the shoulder of the road and look straight at me. Until this time, I thought only bulls pawed the ground, and then only in bad movies. But no! Mr. Buck wants to express his anger and he begins to throw dirt up over his shoulder just as he charges.

I may never win the high jump, but I know now that I can clear the back of a trailer deck without a running start. Up I went, with a mighty roll, as Mr. Buck comes a-snortin and a-huffin. Something else I learned. Deer can clear the back of a trailer deck as if it's not even there. Here he comes, right up over the deck and into the trailer again, trying to kick me in the head as he passes over my quivering huddled body. He gets by me and I roll out the door and quickly duck underneath the trailer. I hear him skidding around in there as he gets turned around and out he comes again looking for his nemesis, that would be me.

He soon spots me under the trailer and I learned one more lesson for the day. Deer cannot crawl. "I thank you, God, for your foresight in designing these animals with this limitation." I am safe. At least for the time being. That is until the video gets posted on Youtube. "Big Bad Truck Driver attacked by Bigger Badder Buck." I'm sure it will appear soon.

Mr. Buck is thoroughly frustrated by now but he soon realizes that I am beyond his reach. He paws and snorts and throws more dirt around as he shows me who the real Alpha Male is between us. He finally quits snorting bucksnot on me and struts off into the median, does a slow circle, observing the audience he has gained, and slowly strolls across the northbound lanes and disappears into the trees.

"You can come out now," an Indiana State Trooper says. When he showed up, I haven't a clue.

"Not yet. He could be back. I think I see him just inside those trees over there. I think he's waiting for me to come out so he can have another go at me," I say.

"Come out now," the trooper says and I slowly crawl out from under the trailer. It's then that I hear the laughter from both sides of the highway. But the trooper is not smiling.

"You want to tell me what's going on here?" he says.

I thought it was fairly obvious what was going on here, and it crosses my mind to say as much, but as I glance inside the trailer at the devastation of the "buck meets bulb" massacre, I know that there is no way anyone is going to believe this. But what the heck. Let's give it a try. So I begin...

"So I'm running down 65 through Indiana and morning is coming on..."

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Another Errr Visit

It was Wednesday, two days of good running behind me and I'm at the shop doing paperwork. I haven't felt too good for a couple days now, just an overall poor feeling. I've had heart issues in the past, and when I say "issues" I mean an attack. AAUUUGGHH! I'm too young for this. So anyway, I got real sensitive to feelings in my chest. Whenever anything feels a little weird I start to get nervous, which sends my blood pressure up, which doesn't help and it becomes a vicious cycle spiraling into the netherworld.

So it's Wednesday, like I said, and I'm thinking, this feels like my hearts having a problem. I'm tossing around whether or not to go to the ER and since the nitro pills aren't doing anything (this should have been my first clue) I decide to go ahead and give them a visit. I get a buddy at work to run me over there and tell him I'll call my wife to come get me later. I call her and tell her what I'm doing and that it's probably nothing, but I want to be sure. Got to put on a happy face, right?

If you don't already know this, here's a hint. When you get to the ER tell them you have chest pains. NO WAITING! They scoop you right in there and put you in the bed and start hooking everything under the sun up to you. My room sounded like an R2D2 soundtrack was playing.

So I get in there and they take blood and send it off and it's time for a little nap while I wait for the results. I'm there a couple hours, got a good nap in and I'm relaxed now, and the blood work comes back fine. No heart problem. I ask the doc, "What's the problem then? Why do I feel like crap?"

"Heartburn, he says.

"HEARTBURN!? Are you serious?! Heartburn? You mean to tell me I just spent a thousand buck for you to tell me I have heart burn?"

"Well, it's really bad heartburn."

"Oh. Well that makes it alright then."

So he asks me if I take anything for heartburn and I tell him I take Pepcid AC.

"How often?"

"Twice a day"

"Every day?"

"Yeah. Every day. Is that bad?"

"Here. I'll give you something stronger." And he writes me out a prescription for Prilosec. Wonderful stuff. Haven't had a problem since. Meanwhile my mom calls to check up on me. Seems my wife has called her to let her know where I was. They want to keep track of my whereabouts, you see.

Mom says, "Maybe you should cut out the caffeine."

"What'd you say, mom? You're breaking up. I can't hear you. I'll call back later when I have a better signal!"

So the doc comes back with the scrip and a bunch of papers. "Here's a list of what causes heartburn."

"Keep it." I say.

"Keep it?"

"Yeah. Keep it. Save your paper. I already know what causes heartburn. I just need to know what doesn't cause heartburn. And that I have not found yet. But you have given me something to help and for that I thank you."

My wife says, "Being in here reminds me. We're out of bandages and gauze pads at home."

"There's some in that drawer over there by the sink. Do we need a sphygmomanometer?"

Tuesday, October 14, 2008


Terry, over here at Road Rage, writes a very entertaining blog about her adventures as a truck driver. She's a than I am cause apparently she goes into NYC on a regular basis. Won't find me doing that. But the reason I bring her up is she posted about her observations regarding some folks and there anger issues.

I was reminded of that this morning. I'll get there in a minute. Just be patient.

Our local McDonald's, which I do not frequent very often, recently posted a sign behind the counter for all the customers to see. "PLEASE DO NOT SEAT CHILDREN ON THE COUNTER". Seems like a reasonable request. And one that I had never really given any thought to, but seeings as how the kids who would be "sat" on the counter would be the littlest ones, who may or may not have complete control of their bodily functions at this stage in their life, I'd rather not order a Big Mac and find it sitting in a surprise, even if it is set upon one of those oh so sanitary trays. So at that time, I just thought "huh" and went about my business.

Now get this picture. I'm in Mt Comfort, Indiana at exit 96 at the McDonald's there, which has truck parking (obvious, right?) and I walk in a minute or two behind a woman who has three kids with her, all between 1 and 4, from the looks of things. I hate to be judgmental, but these kids were fairly filthy, as was mom. I think you know what I mean. I tried to think, well, maybe they're traveling and the kids have been playing in the floorboard or the back window or the oil pan while mom drives and maybe she's a single mom trying to do her best and that they don't sell soap or wipes where she comes from. I know. I'm a jerk, but more on that later.

As mom is trying to pay for the Super Size Deluxe Big Monster Heart-Stopping Breakfast that she ordered, she plops the littlest one down on the counter so she can fish in her purse for her change. Then it hit. Where's the Sign?! They didn't have one at this particulate McD's, and I thought, oh how sad to not have a sign when you need one. But littlest one wasn't there very long and she went about her business of waiting for her Cholesterol in a Box meal, as I proceeded to order my own heart stopper.


At this point I thought, "John, you were right the first time. Trust your instincts." So the little old lady behind the counter says, "Oh dear. I am so so very sorry. I apologize severely. Please, let me get you a sausage and while I'm at it, I'll replace your whole breakfast since we let it get cold." And she toddles off behind her walker to gather up this poor, mistreated mothers meal once again, her support hose drooping around her ankles as hot grease splashes out of the fryer onto her bent, arthritic hands.

"Good!" mom says with a harumph, and glares around daring anyone to comment on her rudeness. She sees me watching her and she says to me, "I can't believe they forgot the sausage! It seems like nobody can fill a simple order anymore."

I put on my best face of compassion and say, "You're absolutely right. Tell you what. Let me finish my breakfast and you finish feeding your oh so darling children and then we'll take Granny here out back and beat her to death with a fry basket. That'll teach her to mess up somebodies order. People like that just shouldn't be allowed to live."

She looks at me for a moment, not sure what to think of this maniac who's proposing senioricide, and then gives me a look that says "not funny".

"No, seriously. Let me help." I say. "It's not fair if you're the only one that gets to meet out the justice in this world."

By now, her Artery Sucking Order has been refilled and she storms off to her oh so wonderful children. Granny comes back, shuffling her walker, and sets my breakfast down on the counter. "Sorry for the delay, young man," she says.

"No problem," I said. "Oh, and by the way, Ethel, (at least that's what her name tag said). You're doing a wonderful job here and I hope you have a marvelous day. rest assured, I will be back, next time I'm through here, just so I can come in here a see your pretty face again and enjoy your wonderful service."

I get so tired of having to clean up after stupid people. It's so easy to be nice in the first place. You get more results anyway, nobody spits in your food, and it keeps you're blood pressure down. What more can you ask? Do people really think they are going to get better and faster service by yelling and being stupid? Apparently so.

Let me tell you how it really works.

I went to the doctor the other day, nothing serious, she just moved her practice so we all had to go in and get check-ups. Whenever I speak with someone behind the counter I will try to call them by name, even if this is the first time I've ever met them. I'll read that name tag and say, "Good Morning, Nancy. How's you're day going so far?" People are always looking at me as if they are trying to remember where they've met me before.

So I'm at the doctor's, joking around with Linda, the receptionist, and I tell her that her hair looks nice because she just got it cut. Now I could really care less how Linda's hair looks, but she just got it cut, and a lot of women are worried about whether or not the new cut looks good. So I tell them it looks good. Period. Linda beams at me. Seems her husband hasn't even commented on it yet. So I've made her day.

I sit with the prerequisite forms to fill out, finish and bring them back up. Linda says, "Have you filled out our customer survey yet?"

"No, I haven't", I said.

"Do you mind filling one out while you're waiting? We want to see how we're doing," she says. "And don't forget to add any suggestions at the bottom if you have any."

Well, you know me. Never give me a blank page and let me write what I want. I answered all the questions by circling the numbers and I got to the suggestion line. Heh Heh. They wanted to know what they could do to improve their service. So this is what I wrote:

"I think that you should provide doughnuts for those of us in the waiting room. Or if not doughnuts, then how about blueberry muffins. As a matter of fact, let's just go with the blueberry muffins. They're probably healthier for us anyway, and I like blueberry, although sometimes it doesn't like me. And coffee. Could we have some coffee out here. Real coffee, not that flavored stuff but maybe some of that Ethiopian Medium Fresh Ground from the Peace Coffee Company. And maybe you could pass out those stainless steel travel mugs with your name printed on them so your favorite patients, like me, can remember who their doctor is and tell other people about what a great doctor you are and what a great service you provide as we travel this wide country of ours. Oh, and doesn't Linda's hair look nice today?"

So I hand the sheet back to Linda, the suggestion side facing down so she can't see it, and I sit back down just as the nurse calls me back to get weighed and tagged before the doc comes in to see me and fuss at me for gaining 8 pounds. I have a nice visit with Dr C, despite getting chewed out for breaking my personal record for gravitational strain and for still, um, ...smoking, and I head back out to see Linda and make my copay.

After she schedules my next appointment, I hand her my card so she can take $20 from my ever dwindling bank account, and she hands me a large pink bag that has some unpronounceable drug name on the side of it. The bag is stuffed with goodies that they got from all the pharmaceutical reps that show up peddling their drugs. Inside is a red plastic travel mug, a "manly" size pen with a cushioned grip, a pen with a highlighter on the other end of it, a flashlight that looks like a pen, a pen that looks like a flashlight, six different sizes of post-it notes tablets, three different sizes of notepads, a mouse pad, two magnets, and a key fob that says "Real Men Use Cialis."

"Come back soon, John," Linda says. "And you don't have to wait until your appointment either if you want." Maybe I will. I could use one of those wall clocks. Or an office chair. A new office chair would be cool.

Friday, October 3, 2008

What's up with that?

Gotta pee! I mean, seriously! I have got to go like nobody's business! I'm not comfortable with the amount of room on the shoulder so I head to the next exit, there's a Petro there. Jump in the fuel island, pull through and run inside. AAAAHHHH. Much better

Hey. While I'm here I might as well get something to drink. Another 1 liter Diet Pepsi should do fine. I take it to the counter to pay and there at the counter, in a box there on the counter, all by themselves there on the counter, is a box of Snickers Bars. MMM, Snickers would be good right now. What's different? Did Snickers change the wrapper? Hey! It's a new Snickers bar. The Mars company in all their wisdom, has decided that the sugar rush from scarfing down a Snickers bar was not enough. Now they are producing Snickers Charged. Yep, you guessed it. Caffeine added.

Who thought that adding a stimulant to a candy bar, that already has enough power to bring a diabetic back from a near-coma, was a good idea? I mean, when I'm feeling a little down, I reach for a Snickers. Always have, always will. But now I'm a little frightened. Maybe that Snickers Charged might just send me a little further over the edge than I was planning on going. What if the Mars company keeps me from passing the random drug test that I win WAY too often? What if that sweet little candy suddenly turns me into a raving Type A Personality? I doubt I could handle it.

But I thought, It seems like there is caffeine being added to everything nowadays. So I thought I would do some research. Some of these are crazy, and some are just stupid. Actually, adding caffeine to anything is probably stupid. But who am I to say?

We've all seen the plethora of drinks that have caffeine added to them; Monster, RedBull, Amp, and Nos. But then there are the killer drinks. There's on called Ammo. It comes preloaded with 171 mgs of caffeine per ounce. Granted, it only comes in a one ounce container but still. Mountain Dew only has 4.58 mgs per ounce and why the hell won't this thing quit underlining? It's driving me nuts.

There we go.

Anyway, so I'm thinking why are we putting caffeine in everything? Is it to stay awake or are these people trying to get us addicted to their product? Seems I remember some other company trying that a long time ago. And it worked fairly well, apparently.

So I'm looking around and I see, no lie, potato chips with caffeine added. Also I found gum, sunflower seeds, candy, jelly beans and ice cream. It's not like we're not wired enough already. Right?

But, not only that, Molson is also adding caffeine to one of their beers. As is Anhueser Busch, and there's one called Moonshot that's made in Massachusets. So how does that work? You get drunk and then drive home really fast? Then stay up all night worrying about whether the cops saw you or not?

What are we coming to?