A Newcomer’s Guide to Hockey’s Newest Team – The Seattle Kraken

A Newcomer’s Guide to Hockey’s Newest Team – The Seattle Kraken

This is a Seattle Kraken player trying to score. Modern ice hockey was invented in Canada in 1872. That’s because Canada is totally covered in ice and snow 9 months of the year. It quickly became the national sport, eventually overtaking the previous #1 pastime, getting drunk and making beaver hats.

This is a Seattle Kraken player trying to score. Modern ice hockey was invented in Canada in 1872. That’s because Canada is totally covered in ice and snow 9 months of the year. It quickly became the national sport, eventually overtaking the previous #1 pastime, getting drunk and making beaver hats.

Most people know very little about the sport of hockey. But did you know that, except for baseball, the National Hockey League (NHL) is the oldest of North America’s professional sports leagues? The NBA was launched in 1946, and the NFL started in 1920. But the NHL dates all the way back to 1917 – a full 41 years before the Professional Bowlers Association was founded. Isn’t that fascinating? Okay, maybe not, but stay with me.

I live near Seattle. This October, for the first time since 1924, we launched an NHL franchise. Now, hockey is the sport everyone here is talking about.

The newest NHL team is called the Seattle Kraken (pronounced “KRACK-in”). If you’re like most hockey fans, you probably have many questions, such as “What is a Kraken?” and “Seriously, what the heck is a Kraken?” and “Technically, shouldn’t there be an “s” at the end, as in the Seattle Krakens?” and “What the hell happened? Were all the good team names taken?”

These are all excellent questions. To be clear, the name is KRAKEN (not to be confused with CRACKLE, one of the three Rice Krispies cartoon characters). I did extensive research into the name’s meaning, by which I mean I Googled “what is a kraken.” It turns out, according to Wikipedia, it’s “a legendary sea monster of gigantic size and cephalopod-like appearance from Scandinavian folklore that was fifty feet in length.”

The sheer size and fearsome appearance of this evil beast have made it a common monster in books and movies about the sea. Most Americans first heard the term “Kraken” in the film Pirates of the Caribbean. So, yeah, it’s basically just a big, fat, ugly squid.

Seattle fans are thrilled to have a new professional sports team, especially since their hopes of having a professional baseball team are still several years away (sorry, Mariners fans) and our Seattle Seahawks football team has totally cratered this season, losing their star quarterback due to injury.

Fans have come up with several creative chants to rally their new team: “Release the Kraken” and “The Kraken are Attackin’” and “The Kraken suck.” That last one was from a jaded fan who’s ticked that they’ve been losing most of their games so far.

As a marketing expert, I came up with an idea sure to pack them in the seats: Free Krak to the first 5,000 fans. Okay, that one may need a little more work, not to mention spell-checking.

For the newcomer to the sport of hockey, the object, as best as I can tell from watching a few games, is to beat the crap out of the other team and pummel them into submission. If that doesn’t work, they may try a back -up strategy of attempting to get a small cylindrical object into a net.

For the newcomer to the sport of hockey, the object, as best as I can tell from watching a few games, is to beat the crap out of the other team and pummel them into submission. If that doesn’t work, they may try a back
-up strategy of attempting to get a small cylindrical object into a net.

In ice hockey, all the players are required to grow beards. It’s an unwritten rule – sort of like the policy that all the best players must come from Russia or Manitoba. Or that you can only have one black player per team. Don’t ask me why. I don’t make the rules.

There are six positions: three offensive players (center, left wing, right wing), two defensemen, and a goaltender (or goalie). By far, the most challenging, high-pressure job in hockey is that of goalie. The selection of who gets to be the goalie is determined by a vote of the players coming to a consensus as to which teammate everyone feels warrants the most thankless job.

You can easily spot the goalie. He’s the one covered in more protective padding than a Michelangelo sculpture being shipped to the Louvre. The goalie’s job is to protect the net. The opposing team’s job is to make the goalie wish his team would do a recount on the vote that assigned him to be goalie.

If a player commits a penalty, he gets sent to the penalty box. Think of it like a timeout in your room but for men with beards and bad hair. Minor penalties are two minutes in length. Major penalties (for things like fighting) are five minutes. Body checking the referee into the boards would be considered a major penalty and is generally frowned upon – except in Boston. Boston Bruins fans love it when their Bruins play dirty.

The main reason people go to hockey matches, of course, is not for the actual game itself, but to egg on their players to take off their gloves and start a fight. Winning the game is a nice bonus, but what really matters is getting the chance to watch in person while a chaotic melee erupts, and your team pummels the other team’s players into bloody submission.

But if you’re one of the few who cares about how the game is actually played, then here are a few things as a hockey newbie you should learn. First, this game has a lot of jargon. The hockey rink is called the “barn.” Another name for the puck is “biscuit.” A “hat trick” refers to three goals scored by the same player in a game. Meanwhile, a “Gordie Howe hat trick” is when a player picks up a goal, an assist and a fight in a single game. (Hall-of-Famer Gordie was a notoriously hot-headed player who was always getting into brawls.)

Let’s go over a few Do’s and Don’ts for the uninitiated hockey fan.

Do dress warmly. Hockey arenas are cold. Remember to bring a winter cap and gloves. Just because your team might be the Tampa Bay Lightning doesn’t mean they play in a swimming pool surrounded by palm trees. Ice is cold. Dress appropriately.

Don’t ask me to explain the icing rule – or for that matter, offsides in soccer. I’ve never been able to figure out either of these rules.

Do throw your hat on the ice if your team’s player scores a hat trick.

Seattle is the home of the newest NHL hockey franchise – the Kraken. What is a “Kraken”, you ask? Hell if I know. Nobody here really knows. But you gotta love the team’s motto: “They’ll kick the Krack out of you!”

Seattle is the home of the newest NHL hockey franchise – the Kraken. What is a “Kraken”, you ask? Hell if I know. Nobody here really knows. But you gotta love the team’s motto: “They’ll kick the Krack out of you!”

Don’t try to retrieve it while the game is still going.

Do plan to see lots of brawls break out between the players. Hockey is a violent sport.

Don’t jump over the boards and join the fracas – unless your team really looks like it’s losing the fight and could use your help.

Do feel free to express your anger at the referees after a bad call. Everybody does it.

Don’t direct your tirade about the horrible officiating to the fan sitting next to you – unless he’s rooting for the other team and you’re confident you can take him.

Hockey is a great, albeit brutal, sport. Sort of the modern-day equivalent of gladiators but with blades on their feet. I have no idea what kind of year our Seattle Kraken are going to have. As a first year expansion team, I’m not optimistic. But I hear their starting left defenseman is missing three teeth and has a well-earned reputation for body checking opponents over the boards. Sounds like my kind of fun. Let’s Get Krackin!

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

How to Handle a Phone Scammer – Part 2 of 2

How to Handle a Phone Scammer – Part 2 of 2

[This is Part 2 of a 2-part post. In case you missed Part 1, by all means start with Part 1, which you can read here.] 

I’m often a victim of threatening phone calls telling me the IRS is investigating me for tax fraud, or my social security number has somehow been compromised, or I supposedly owe $10.75 in late fees to my local library because I still haven’t returned Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock. (What can I say, I’m a slow reader.) Next time, don’t hang up. Have some fun with the caller instead.

I’m often a victim of threatening phone calls telling me the IRS is investigating me for tax fraud, or my social security number has somehow been compromised, or I supposedly owe $10.75 in late fees to my local library because I still haven’t returned Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock. (What can I say, I’m a slow reader.) Next time, don’t hang up. Have some fun with the caller instead.

Like I was saying in Part 1, in recent months I’ve received an increasing number of phone calls from fraudsters offering to part me from my money and my identity. They do this via robocalls with alarming or threatening messages informing me my social security number has been hacked or I’m wanted by the FBI for securities fraud.

Most mature people would hang up the moment they realized they were being defrauded. But I never claimed to be mature. No, I prefer to have fun with these sleaze balls and egg them on for as long as I can keep them on the line.

These calls typically start with a robo-message, urging me to press 1 to talk to a live agent. And they always end the same way – with the conman hanging up on me.

Here are more examples of actual phone exchanges I’ve had with phone scammers – some of whom actually had a rudimentary command of the English language. These all really happened.

[To read more examples, go back and read Part 1.]

The Jury Duty Scam

Robo message: “This is the King County Superior Court calling to inform you that you failed to report for jury duty within the past month. As a result, the Sheriff’s department will be coming to your home with a warrant for your arrest – unless you explain your absence immediately. Press “1” to speak to a member of the court system.” 

So I press 1.

Mary Nash: This is Superior Court Assistant Clerk Mary Nash (spoken with a thick Filipino accent). Who am I speaking with?

ME: Hi, Mary. My name is Rodger Staubach. Can you help me? I swear I have no recollection of missing jury duty. I take that as a sacred commitment to my community, my country and my God. I feel terrible. How long will my sentence be?

Nash: What do you mean? 

ME: I mean, will the court take into consideration that I have not had a moving violation in over two years? Would they go more lenient if I mentioned I am a veteran? [Note to the reader: I am not a veteran.] 

Nash: Slow down. What is your social security number and your date of birth?

ME: 045-56-7642. And my date of birth is December 25, 1968. I was born on the same day as Baby Jesus. Do you believe in the Baby Jesus, Mary?

Nash: Pardon me?

ME: Do you take Baby Jesus as your lord and savior? He will cleanse you of all your sins, if you just accept him as your lord. Are you willing to commit yourself to Jesus today, with me as your spirit guide, Mary?

Nash: Are you okay, sir?

ME: Pray with me, won’t you, Mary? Hey, did you know that Mary was the name of Baby Jesus’s mother. Did you know that, Mary? Would you like to confess your sins before Baby Jes – … 

“CLICK” 

The Computer Repair Scam

Robo message: “This is Microsoft with an important announcement about your computer operating system. We have identified that your computer’s operating system may have become infected by the “Hercules” virus. If you would like us to remove this virus at no cost to you, we can do it remotely by phone. Please press “1” for a tech support agent to assist you.”

So I press 1.

Agent Collins: This is Agent Collins (spoken with what appears to be a thick Indian accent). Can you please tell me your name and which Windows Operating System you have and your credit card number?

ME: Sure. It’s Manning. Archibald Manning. Hey, you’re not going to charge my credit card are you, Agent Carlin?

Collins: No, sir. And it’s Collins. I just need your credit card number so we can confirm whether your Windows license is still current. Mr. Manning, please verify your card number for our records.

ME: Thank you, Agent Cowhand. It’s 1843-4365-6327-0928. And I know you didn’t ask for it, but my Bank of America checking account number is 8849329149. And if it might help identify me in your system, my Passport number is C34097749. Would it be helpful if I provided you my Hyundai’s VIN number as well? Whatever info you need, just tell me.

Collins: Um, that’s okay. Give me your email address so I can initiate the remote repair.

ME: Happy to help, Agent Cowlick. It’s A_Manning@SeattlePolice.gov– ……

“CLICK”

Meet Rahul. Oh, he’ll tell you his name is Zack or Brad, but he’s a scammer. He’s calling “from Microsoft” to tell you that your computer has been infected with a dangerous virus – which he can repair for a one-time credit card charge of just $100. Don’t hang up. Be polite. And be sure to give him your ex-spouse’s credit card number. Then hang up. Rahul is bad news, buddy.

Meet Rahul. Oh, he’ll tell you his name is Zack or Brad, but he’s a scammer. He’s calling “from Microsoft” to tell you that your computer has been infected with a dangerous virus – which he can repair for a one-time credit card charge of just $100. Don’t hang up. Be polite. And be sure to give him your ex-spouse’s credit card number. Then hang up. Rahul is bad news, buddy.

The COVID Vaccination Scam

Robo message: “This is an important message from the CDC. If you have had the COVID-19 vaccine within the past five months, there is a possibility that you may have received an infected vaccination that could have long-term harmful effects to your respiratory and cardiovascular systems. To find out whether your vaccination might be among the corrupted batches, press 1 to speak to a medical assistant.”

So I press 1. 

Nurse Claire: This is Nurse Claire. What is your name and which vaccine did you receive? Please provide the dates of those vaccinations.

ME: Hi, Nurse Claire. Oh my. This is very scary. Um, my name? Jonathan… Elway. Anyhoo, I got the Pfizer vaccine. Or was it the Moderna? No wait, I think it might have been the AstraZeneca. Or was it that Russian one whose name I can never remember? All I know is, after the second one, I got really sleepy, a little achy, and had a craving for pistachios. Does that help? No? Let me ask my wife. She’ll know. [Then I put “Nurse Claire” on hold for a minute while I play Solitaire on my computer.]

I’m back. It was definitely Moderna. And I got them on March 12th and March 15th.

Nurse Claire: Are you sure about the dates? Because you’re supposed to wait at least four weeks between the shots. Can you tell me your social security number so I can confirm those dates?

ME: I was able to get in fast for the second shot because I gave the check-in person a $25 Target gift card. Oh, sh*t! Is that considered bribery? Am I in trouble with the Feds now?

Nurse Claire: I would not know. What I need is your social–  …

ME: Hey, can I ask you a question, Nurse Claire? When they implanted the microchip in me, would it cause me to start acting weird? Because ever since my second shot, I keep thinking I can fly like an eagle. And lately I have an inexplicable desire to go bowling – and I used to hate bowling. Do you think that’s because of the chip? Also, do you know what language they speak in Uzbekistan?

“CLICK”

It’s so much fun. Trust me. Next time don’t hang up on the scammer. Engage them and see how long you can keep them on the line before they hang up in despair. I promise, it’ll be hilarious, or my name isn’t Joe Namath.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Read Part 1 of this 2-part series here.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

How to Handle a Phone Scammer – Part 2 of 2

How to Handle a Phone Scammer – Part 1 of 2

I’m often a victim of threatening phone calls telling me the IRS is investigating me for tax fraud, or my social security number has somehow been compromised, or I supposedly owe $10.75 in late fees to my local library because I still haven’t returned Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock. (What can I say, I’m a slow reader.) Next time, don’t hang up. Have some fun with the caller instead.

I’m often a victim of threatening phone calls telling me the IRS is investigating me for tax fraud, or my social security number has somehow been compromised, or I supposedly owe $10.75 in late fees to my local library because I still haven’t returned Nancy Drew and the Secret of the Old Clock. (What can I say, I’m a slow reader.) Next time, don’t hang up. Have some fun with the caller instead.

Maybe it’s because I’m nearing the target demographic for scammers as I approach retirement, but lately I have been on the receiving end of a spate of calls from fraudsters wanting to alert me to everything from problems with my social security number to the fact that I’m suddenly wanted in multiple states for bank fraud.

My wife always tells me that when I get one of these annoying phone scam calls, the mature, adult thing is simply to hang up – which is why I never do that. I prefer to have a little fun with the caller instead.

The following are actual phone con artist solicitations I’ve received within the past few months. I’m not suggesting you should try messing with these phone flimflammers yourself the way I’ve done – unless you want to have fun. These calls typically start with a robo-message, urging me to press 1 to talk to a live agent. And they always end the same way – with the perpetrator getting totally fed up with my antics and hanging up on me. I find it endlessly entertaining. But then, I feel the same way about slinky toys.

Of course, I never give out my real name, account numbers, actual address, or date of birth. And when they ask for my name – as they always do – I usually provide the name of a random former NFL quarterback. The key is that whatever horrible or alarming news they reveal, I always act like I believe them unquestioningly and offer to do whatever they ask me to, in order to extricate myself from the supposed mess I’m in.

The Social Security Scam

Robo message: “This is the Social Security Administration with an important message about your social security account. Your account number has been compromised. Please press “1” to talk to an agent to discuss how you can get assigned a new social security number.”

So I press 1.

Officer Wilson: This is Officer Wilson. How can I help you? (She speaks with a noticeably thick Caribbean accent.) 

ME: Thank you, ma’am, I just learned that my social security number may have been compromised. Can you help me?

Officer Wilson: What is your name please, and your social security number?

ME: It’s Bart. Bart Starr. And my social is 014-56-3954. Would it help if I provided my date of birth and the name of my kids to prove to you I am who I say I am? They are great kids, except for my middle child, Conrad. He’s going through a phase. Do you have any suggestions for how to deal with a 9th grader who still wets the bed?

Officer Wilson: I don’t know anything about that. Here is what I need from you – …

ME: I’m sorry. Why would I think someone from the Social Security Administration could help me with my son’s bedwetting problem. Please forgive me. But now that I have you, do you know any good fajita recipes? We’re having guests over this evening, and I promised my wife I’d help out with an entrée. But between you and me, I don’t know the first thing about Mexican food. You’re not Mexican, by any chance, are you?

Officer Wilson: What are you asking me?

ME: Oh, never mind. Hey, you sound like a nice lady. Can I borrow $500 if I promise to pay you back with interest in six months?

“CLICK” (That’s when “Officer Wilson” hung up on me.)

The Bank Fraud Scam

Robo message: “This is the FBI. This is not a hoax. According to our files, you are currently wanted in four states for multiple instances of bank fraud and securities fraud. Please report to the nearest FBI office within 24 hours or else an agent will come to your residence and put a lien on your property. To learn details about the charges pending against you, please press “1” now.”

So I press 1.

If ever you get a robocall telling you that you failed to show up for jury duty and that the sheriff is coming to arrest you, it’s probably just a phone scam – unless you’re my flaky, absent-minded friend, Bert Zingwold, in which case, yeah, it’s probably for real. He’s always forgetting about important appointments.

If ever you get a robocall telling you that you failed to show up for jury duty and that the sheriff is coming to arrest you, it’s probably just a phone scam – unless you’re my flaky, absent-minded friend, Bert Zingwold, in which case, yeah, it’s probably for real. He’s always forgetting about important appointments.

Agent Johnson: This is Agent Johnson. Please provide your name and the last credit card you used.

ME: Oh my. Yes, Agent Johnson. My name is John Unitas. But my friends call me Johnny – with two “n’s.” And I don’t know what to say. I knew it was only a matter of time before my past would finally catch up with me. Here’s my VISA card number: 4576-4032-4119-4002.

Agent Johnson: We are willing to give you a one-time pardon for your past criminal activities if you agree to pay a fine of $2,500. Would you like to pay this fine with this credit card?

ME: That seems more than fair. But the more I think about it, I actually think I would rather turn myself in. After all, I did commit that bank fraud your generic automated message mentioned. It’s time I pay for my crimes by doing the time, right?

Agent Johnson: Excuse me?

ME: Quick question: Will I be sent to one of those rough prisons like in the movie The Shawshank Redemption? God, I loved that film. Or would it be more like one of those country club prisons like Martha Stewart was sent to? Can I put in a request for whatever prison Martha got?

Agent Johnson: What are you talking about? 

ME: All I ask is one small thing. Can I take my little girls out for ice cream one last time, and so I can tell them their daddy has to go away for a while, but he still loves them? Then you can haul me off to the to the Greybar Hotel, okay?

Agent Johnson: What’s wrong with you?

ME: Oh, one more thing. Regarding that credit card number I just gave you… Please don’t tell my wife about my latest charge – the one for $795 for a life-size sex doll from China that does sexy talk in your choice of five different foreign accents… I was just having a bad day. I don’t know what I was thinking. I was going to return it. Please don’t tell my wife, oka– …

“CLICK”

[You can read Part 2 of this article, with even more conversations I had with actual phone scammers, simply by clicking here..] 

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

My Worst First Date – A Play-by-Play Highlight Reel

My Worst First Date – A Play-by-Play Highlight Reel

[Author’s note: The following story of my youth is completely true. It is the saga of my first – and worst – date ever. No exaggerations are needed to convey my humiliation. Perhaps this play-by-play highlight reel will help you appreciate the magnitude of my fiasco. TEJ]

This is a play-by-play look at my very first – and worst – date ever. I was only 16 and had no clue of first date protocol. I actually tried this suave move. Epic fail!

This is a play-by-play look at my very first – and worst – date ever. I was only 16 and had no clue of first date protocol. I actually tried this suave move. Epic fail!

Brad Braykizharte: Welcome to another episode of WORST FIRST DATES. I’m your host, Brad Braykizharte, along with my co-host, Craig Krashenberne.

This week on WFD, we take a trip in the Way Back Machine to May 1971, to witness the cringe-worthy first-date-astrophy of Tim Jones. Our hero’s maiden voyage into dating was akin to the sinking of the Titanic. Many experts consider Tim’s shipwreck one of the most traumatic close encounters of the worst kind in the annals of teenage dating.

Craig Krashenberne: That’s right, Brad. This one truly belongs in the WFD Hall of Fame.

Brad: I’d say Hall of LAME, eh, Craig?

Craig: Touché, pal. Tonight’s episode is titled The Strike Out King. Where should we begin, Brad?

Brad: Let’s start by painting the picture of how deeply infatuated our protagonist, young Tim (age 16), was with the attractive and alluring Suzie. He was besotted, over the moon, gaga, smitten…. You get the picture?

Craig: Indeed, I do.

Brad: In fact, unsuspecting Suzie lived right across the street, so Tim would gaze upon her house through his bedroom window, dreaming of holding her hand.

Craig: Sounds like a creeper, if you ask me.

Brad: Our hero was painfully shy and had no clue how to talk to girls, let alone how to ask one out. As if that wasn’t bad enough, he attended a private all-boys’ military academy where Dating 101 was not part of the curriculum.

Craig: To top it off, the boy had absolutely no fashion sense! For his first date with Suzie, the bonehead wore lavender corduroy bell-bottoms held up with a shiny white belt, and a lime green polyester shirt. Strike One! Are we sure he wasn’t gay?

Brad: Jury’s still out on that one. But enough about his fashion blunder. Let’s talk about the chauffer service he enlists to drive them to the movies.

Craig: Pretty classy move – except for one minor detail: the driver is his older brother. Because Tim doesn’t have his driver’s license yet.

Brad: True. Strike Two! And he hasn’t even left the driveway! Let’s deduct 30 coolness points right there.

Craig: Yeah, not a good start for his first romantic outing. But I’m sure he makes up for his initial faux pas by choosing a hilarious comedy, right?

Brad: That’s a big Negatory, Craig-O-Matic. He takes her to see WILLARD! 

Craig: Wait, Willard?? The creepy horror film about a young psycho dude who gets bullied, then trains hundreds of rats to kill people in revenge? Talk about bringing the plane down for a hard crash landing! The kid is going down in flames! Were there any survivors?

Me, circa 1971. What lass could resist the charms of this lad? Answer: All of them. I possessed the animal magnetism of a monkfish. Which is fitting, since I attended an all-boys’ school.

Me, circa 1971. What lass could resist the charms of this lad? Answer: All of them. I possessed the animal magnetism of a monkfish. Which is fitting, since I attended an all-boys’ school.

Brad: Barely. But let’s take a gander at Tim’s next Casanova move, shall we?

Craig: No, no, no. I can’t bear to look.

Brad: He does the “stretch maneuver” – reaching his hand out, extending it around Suzie’s back and landing his arm on her shoulder.

Craig: Oh, no, he didn’t! I thought they outlawed that first date move back in 1964.

Brad: Tim wasn’t much of a student of history. Apparently, he saw an episode of Bonanza where Little Joe put his arm around a woman he’d rescued from a burning house, and she swooned in his embrace.

Craig: Bonanza, eh? A great how-to manual for wooing – if the year was 1867. So, how does our little buddy’s daring maneuver work out?

Brad: You don’t want to know.

Craig: Well, now you gotta tell me.

Brad: Let’s just say, his grave is pretty well dug by then. Little Miss Suzie stiffens up like a cement pillar, her eyes glued to the screen. Apparently staring at ravenous rats devouring human flesh was less upsetting than having to make eye contact with Tim. After 20 minutes, Tim’s arm starts cramping up badly, but he feels stuck and leaves it there the rest of the show. He was committed.

Brad: You mean he should have been committed, for such an ill-conceived lame move. But you know, as awkward as that was, that isn’t the worst part – not by a long shot. Remember?

Craig: How can I forget? As the movie ends, Tim asks Suzie if she’d like to go out for ice cream, to which she tersely replies –

Brad: “I’d love to”? 

Craig: Not exactly. She said –

Brad: Oh, I remember: “Can you take me home pleeeeze – now?” Boom! DOWN GOES FRAZIER! The ref should have stopped it right then and there. And Tim doesn’t have a car, remember? So, he calls his brother on his cell phone, right?

Craig: No, dude. It’s 1971. His choice is calling up his brother on a pay phone – either that or hitchhiking. Only one small problem – Tim has no change and the concession stand is now closed. So, he asks Suzie for a quarter, but she didn’t bring a purse.

Brad: So, you’re saying they hitchhiked home?

Craig: Not quite. He literally goes panhandling, begging complete strangers for money to place the call.

Brad: Strike Four! Are you allowed four strikes on a first date?

Craig: Buddy, it ain’t over. Tim ultimately hits up eight people before one of them gives him 25 cents. By this time, the theater is closed. They’re forced to stand and wait outside – just the two of them, until Tim’s brother arrives. By now, Suzie is shivering, from the cold night air – or from the horrors of Willard – or perhaps from the traumatic memory of Tim’s arm around her shoulder. Of course, Tim didn’t wear a jacket, so no chivalry points there. 45 minutes later, the getaway car finally shows up.

Above: How I imagined my very first date might end. Below: A rough approximation of how it actually went. Her favorite part of our evening? When it was finally over.

Above: How I imagined my very first date might end. Below: A rough approximation of how it actually went. Her favorite part of our evening? When it was finally over.

Brad: Speaking of cars, this has turned into a five-car pile-up. But next comes my favorite part. Tim gallantly opens the car door to let his date into the back seat. Remember?

Craig: Oh yeah. That’s when Suzie speaks for only the second time that evening. As Tim endeavors also to sit in the back seat, she whispers, “Would you mind sitting in the front?” 

Brad: No way! She didn’t!

Craig: As God is my witness.

Brad: Strike… um… how many strikes is he up to? The kid is dying out there. Quick, get a medic. I’m not sure we can resuscitate the boy.

Craig: Suzie never says a word the entire way home.

Brad: Awkward.

Craig: But the final nail in the coffin is when they pull into her driveway. Tim’s father had taught him, “A gentleman always walks the young lady to her door.” Kind of hard to do when your date is literally sprinting to her front door and shouts, “Thank you, bye.” without even a glance back at the bewildered Tim.

Brad: Wow, that’s brutal. Those passengers on the Hindenburg suffered a less harrowing outing! At least for them, their agony was over quickly.

Craig: And here’s the amazing twist. Tim and Suzie went out for two years, and she totally fell for him.

Brad: Really? Did not see that coming.

Craig: No, you idiot. They never went out again.

Brad: Yeah, that makes more sense.

Craig: Experts say it’s a wonder this debacle didn’t cause him to re-evaluate his sexual orientation.

Brad: That’s all the time we have for WORST FIRST DATES. Stay tuned next week, when we’ll dissect the worst first date of Bill Gates, king of the nerds.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Check out my latest humor book: YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE: Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021

Red States Introduce Bills to Protect Women

Red States Introduce Bills to Protect Women

[Author’s note: The following is political satire. Anyone who can’t figure this out is clearly not a woman and should not be allowed to marry one.  – TEJ]

Republican-controlled state legislatures are following Texas’ lead as they introduce new statutes to empower women. In West Virginia, the Statehouse is expected to pass a bill to ensure a woman’s right to serve a fresh home-cooked meal, without any interference from the man of the house, when he arrives home from a tiring day at the office. This bill will protect motherhood.

Republican-controlled state legislatures are following Texas’ lead as they introduce new statutes to empower women. In West Virginia, the Statehouse is expected to pass a bill to ensure a woman’s right to serve a fresh home-cooked meal, without any interference from the man of the house, when he arrives home from a tiring day at the office. This bill will protect motherhood.

In an unprecedented effort to protect women (from themselves, apparently), the Republican-controlled Texas state legislature passed a historic piece of legislation to make the lives of women in the Lone Star State better than ever (unless, of course, you happen to ask any woman currently residing in the Lone Star State). They made sure that from now on no female Texan will ever have to worry about having access to a legal abortion – because abortions have been effectively outlawed. Well done, Texas state legislature.

Here’s what happened. Texas Governor Greg Abbott, a self-proclaimed women’s rights advocate, signed into law the most comprehensive abortion ban in the nation. The statute, which the U.S. Supreme Court opted to let stand, outlaws all abortions, including for rape and incest, after six weeks (a date by which most pregnant women are not yet even aware they might be pregnant).

The ban allows any private citizen to sue any person who has helped a woman obtain a forbidden abortion by awarding them a $10,000 verdict (plus legal fees). This means people can sue anyone who might have assisted a woman attempting to get an abortion after the six-week mark – the doctor, the clinic receptionist, even the taxi driver who drove her to the clinic. This bold new measure was passed by a legislative chamber – now this next part may surprise you – composed overwhelmingly of white men.

The likely outcome of this forward-thinking law will be to create a chilling effect on abortion clinics and medical professionals throughout the state, fearful of being financially ruined by the threat of an onslaught of lawsuits filed by caring individuals deeply concerned about women’s health and not in any way motivated by the chance to make a fast $10,000 bounty.

Proponents of the new statute have hailed this law as a giant step forward in establishing the rights of men who know what’s best for women’s physical and emotional well-being. Inspired by Texas’ forward-thinking measures to protect women from making decisions about their own bodies, several other Republican-controlled state legislatures are following Texas’ lead in introducing new statutes intended to protect the fairer sex. Here are some examples:

Mississippi: Citing the fact that women can get overly emotional – particularly at certain “times of the month” – the state assembly has proposed giving women the option of not voting, if it is deemed by one or more male relatives that being forced to choose between competing candidates could cause undue emotional stress – especially if they were contemplating errantly voting for the Democrat in the race.

“This law would in no way limit a woman’s right to vote,” clarified Mississippi state representative Beauregard Wymenheytor. “It simply gives her the option to sit out any election for which the pressure of having to make up her mind might be too taxing for her frail emotional makeup – as indicated by thoughts of recklessly considering voting blue.”

In Tennessee, the state legislature has introduced a bill to require women to cover their arms and legs at all times, to protect their delicate soft skin from the cruel threat of skin cancer. Seen here, an artist’s rendering of recommended empowering attire. Très chic.

In Tennessee, the state legislature has introduced a bill to require women to cover their arms and legs at all times, to protect their delicate soft skin from the cruel threat of skin cancer. Seen here, an artist’s rendering of recommended empowering attire. Très chic.

South Carolina: Several Palmetto State residents have expressed deep concerns about terrorist threats posed by the potential of thousands of Afghan refugees invading their shores in the aftermath of the Taliban takeover. As a result, Republican Representative Colt McBigotte has introduced a bill allowing women to open carry handguns without a license or any firearms safety training.

When asked whether he was concerned that this might encourage a Wild West culture in which it becomes too easy for people to access dangerous weapons, Rep. McBigotte countered, “Not a problem. Under this bill, women will need permission from their husbands in order to have access to bullets. God knows what a pissed off lady with a loaded gun could do. Can you imagine?”

Florida: It is widely known that President Biden’s COVID response has been an utter failure, due primarily to all those vaccines he has peddled, which endanger people’s freedom.

Thankfully, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has valiantly halted the pandemic in its tracks (with the small exception of record levels of hospitalizations and deaths) with his resolute policy of fighting for the rights of patriotic anti-vaxxers and anti-maskers to endanger their own children and other schoolkids.

Thanks to DeSantis’ courageous leadership, Florida’s statehouse has introduced a statute that will require women to stay at home, to avoid getting exposed to COVID. They will be granted weekly passes to any grocery store, so they’ll be able to continue to make meals for their family, as women love to do. They will also be permitted to go to restaurants in the company of a male companion (for their protection, of course) – with the exception of any restaurant that imposes a mask requirement, as those restaurants clearly hate America.

Louisiana: For too many years, women have complained that they routinely are paid 20% to 50% less for the same job as their male counterparts. To rectify this problem, lawmakers will no longer force (or allow) women and men to do the same jobs – to avoid any complaints about unequal pay.

Men will continue to be allowed to do jobs like CEOs, doctors, congressmen, and investment bankers. Women, on the other hand, will be allowed to continue doing many of the fulfilling jobs they’ve long performed so skillfully, including barista, flight attendant, dental hygienist, and handmaid.

Look at these diverse photos of the men of the Utah state legislature. Who’d know more about women’s issues and concerns than these guys? That’s why they’ve introduced a bill to allow women to opt out of voting, say, if they’re not in the mood or are feeling bloated.

Look at these diverse photos of the men of the Utah state legislature. Who’d know more about women’s issues and concerns than these guys? That’s why they’ve introduced a bill to allow women to opt out of voting, say, if they’re not in the mood or are feeling bloated.

Alabama: With so many commercials on TV telling women how they can look even sexier, the Alabama state assembly is finally doing something gallant to take the pressure off of women trying to keep up with the latest fashion trends. If this bill passes, women will no longer have to spend hours and hours in front of the mirror deciding what to wear. These decisions will now be made by men.

Pants on women will be outlawed to avoid any gender confusion. Similarly, men will be banned from wearing bikinis or strapless gowns. State representative Butch Misoginick further mansplained. “Ladies waste valuable time every day trying to decide what to wear – time that could be better spent making their man a hearty meal or folding laundry. Now they don’t have to worry their pretty little heads about what to wear. Problem solved.”

Critics of the bill likened it to the Taliban requiring women to be covered in a burqa, but Misoginick was quick to debunk that claim. “Here in Alabama, we oppose masks of any kind. Always have. Always will – with the lone exception of our KKK brethren, that is.”

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021