Having Fun with Unwanted Solicitors

Having Fun with Unwanted Solicitors

When you’re on a beach vacation and approached for the umpteenth time by one of these guys, don’t despair. Have fun instead. Feign interest, smile and then, in faux German, start talking gibberish, gesticulating wildly. He’ll soon depart.

When you’re on a beach vacation and approached for the umpteenth time by one of these guys, don’t despair. Have fun instead. Feign interest, smile and then, in faux German, start talking gibberish, gesticulating wildly. He’ll soon depart.

One of my many slightly odd character flaws is that I seem to be a perpetual target for pushy solicitors who don’t know me from Adam and want to sell me some ridiculous product. Some of these guys are so aggressive. Another personal flaw is that I cannot resist messing with them. Something just goes off in my brain that says, “It’s time to have a little fun with this pest.”

I know what you’re thinking: Why don’t you just politely hang up, delete the email or walk away from the guy on the street trying to shove a flyer into your hand? Of course, that’s what a normal, mature person would do. And then there’s me.

While on vacation in Rome, my wife and I were strolling towards the Vatican, when out of nowhere, dozens of street vendors bombarded us, pitching identical guided tours of Saint Peter’s Basilica. Each assured us that his was the absolute best tour and the only one that would bypass the long lines.

My initial strategy was to avoid eye contact, a tactic I realized was futile after the 25th assault. So, I put on my best foreign accent of indeterminate origin and started excitedly pitching to the next vendor MY own incredible guided tour. Every time he described some unique aspect of HIS tour, I exclaimed, “That’s amazing! MY tour offers the exact same feature!” Then I proposed to purchase his tour if he’d buy mine. A tour swap. I wore him down with my friendly but unwavering badgering until he finally shuffled away in utter confusion.

The key is to always feign enthusiasm. You need to appear über excited about whatever annoying offer they’re pushing on you. For example, a while back, a telemarketer told me I was selected to win a fabulous five-night – two-day stay at an exotic tropical resort destination. Sure, most people would have cut them off with a curt, “I’m not interested.” But what is the fun in that? Though I could tell it was a time share pitch disguised as a free vacation, I started shouting to my wife, “Hey, honey, we won two whole days and five whole nights at an incredible resort!”

As the rep continued to read from their script, I gave off obvious buying signals: “Wow! How do I sign up for your unbelievable offer?” When they went for the close, I paused, and said, “I’m not sure those dates will work. Let me see when my parole hearing is scheduled. Hmm, nope. Looks like I won’t be out of the joint for another three years. Sorry.” That wrapped up the call rather abruptly, I must say.

Another intrusion I experience with disturbing frequency is the phone survey. “Good evening, sir. I was hoping you could take just a few minutes to answer a brief survey on how you feel Donald Trump is doing to Make American Great Again.” Oh my, I think to myself. How can I possibly resist such an opening? “Sure, happy to help. Let me start by saying I think President Trump is the greatest leader since Adolf Hitler. He is doing an incredible job of protecting our nation by rounding up those dangerous five-year-old Mexican kids and locking them in cages, where they can’t hurt us. And thank God he’s sending all those nasty Muslims back to Syria.” That’s about the time the caller figures out I’m being sarcastic and interrupts, “Um, thank you. I appreciate your time. Bye.”

I have a special place in my heart for brazen scammers. My column is called View from the Bleachers. So, when a few years ago, a fraudster emailed me in fractured English, inquiring whether he could purchase some bleachers, of course I felt compelled to oblige this potential customer. After all, this could result in a highly unexpected financial windfall. The fact that I don’t actually sell bleachers at this humor website in no way deterred me from my mission. I immediately wrote back – in my own heavily fractured English, “This week we do big special of pink bleachers. I throw in cup-holders free for you, boss. We have deal, yes?” That began a delightful series of emails back and forth until he gave up in frustration. You can read the genuine exchange in my piece titled My Fleeting Friendship with an Internet Scammer.

The next time you get what sounds like a call from the IRS demanding you give them your credit card number or the police will arrest you, relax. It’s a scam. Tell them you will cooperate, then ask if it’s okay if you record this call for police officer Reyes, who is in your living room. >CLICK

The next time you get what sounds like a call from the IRS demanding you give them your credit card number or the police will arrest you, relax. It’s a scam. Tell them you will cooperate, then ask if it’s okay if you record this call for police officer Reyes, who is in your living room. >CLICK<

Then there is the classic email scam in which a highly placed Nigerian Prince has died and your name miraculously surfaced, apparently in the Nigerian – American Yellow Pages, as a reputable person to turn to, to help them get the money out of the country by depositing it into your bank account for safekeeping. When I recently received this urgent plea, I waffled, then remonstrated myself: What kind of Good Samaritan would I be if I refused my assistance in their hour of need?

So, naturally, I graciously replied that I would be delighted to help any way I could. I gave them my (fabricated) name, social security and bank account numbers, and just for good measure, I provided a detailed, heartwarming back story about myself, which bore an eerie resemblance to the plot line from Forrest Gump.

When two days later they emailed again to inform me that the social security and bank account numbers I had provided did not work, I apologized profusely, explaining that I had not been wearing my reading glasses at that time. I then furnished new account numbers, which I conjured up using a Ouija board. I never heard from them again. Not even a Christmas card.

So, the next time a phone call from a suspicious number interrupts your family’s dinner to inform you that you’ve won a too-good-to-be true vacation in Cabo, just know that it is. But don’t hang up. Be polite. Hear them out. Then, in a warm, friendly voice, explain, “Before I accept your incredible offer, one question: Do you know anything about CPR? My grandfather just collapsed on the floor and he’s not breathing. What do you recommend I do?” You’ll be back to your dinner in no time. Trust me.

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 2020

My Wife’s Silly Concern That I Waste Too Much Time Watching Football

My Wife’s Silly Concern That I Waste Too Much Time Watching Football

[Author’s note: I meant to publish this article earlier, but I simply could not find the time. There were eleven college football bowl games I had to watch, plus four NFL playoff games. A man has to prioritize. – TEJ]

Like millions of other American males, I love to watch football. My wife thinks it’s a total waste of time. She’d rather watch a nature program or a documentary about Marco Polo. Who would want to learn something when you can spend quality time yelling at your TV over the officiating?

Like millions of other American males, I love to watch football. My wife thinks it’s a total waste of time. She’d rather watch a nature program or a documentary about Marco Polo. Who would want to learn something when you can spend quality time yelling at your TV over the officiating?

In recent years, there has been a national crisis brewing. No, I’m not talking about climate change or the latest measles outbreak. It’s the bane of millions of wives that their husbands are watching far too much football and totally ignoring the little lady (I’m not being chauvinistic. My wife is truly a little lady at 5’0″).

Recently, this topic became a source of strain in my own marriage. After many heated discussions, we decided to visit a marriage counselor to help my wife work through her silly problem. Below is a play-by-play transcript of how our first session went. 

Dr. Robert Taylor: Good afternoon. I’m Dr. Taylor. I understand that there are some concerns you have about your marriage. Who’d like to begin?

Michele: I will. I’m convinced that Tim cares more about football than he does about me.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, care to respond to your wife’s assertion?… Tim? … Tim, did you listen to what your wife just said?

Tim: Sorry, doc. I was just watching highlights from last weekend’s Saints – Vikings game on my phone. Could you believe that non-call in the end zone in overtime? Um, what was the question again?

Dr. Taylor: Your wife feels that you care more about football than you care about her. Care to comment?

Tim: About what?

Michele: ME! And put down your stupid phone. See, Dr. Taylor. This is what I’m talking about. Tim sits back in his recliner every Saturday and Sunday to watch his dumb football games. Tim, in a marriage, we’re supposed to be a team. Do you understand the problem our team is having?

Tim: I sure do. The Seahawks have absolutely no pass defense. They rank 25th in the league. That’s not gonna get them far in the playoffs.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, I don’t think that’s the problem your wife is talking about.

Tim: She could be right. Their pass blocking is equally suspect.

Michele: Tim, for God’s sake, can you hear yourself?!!? The problem is not the Seabirds’ pass blocking.

Tim: You make a salient point. I agree, their play calling is so predictable. But it’s not the Seabirds. It’s the Seahawks.

Michele: I don’t care if it’s the SeaWEEDS! You’re not listening to me. Every weekend, it’s like I’ve lost my husband to that stupid game. What exactly is so important about that ridiculous sport anyway?

Tim: You think football is a ridiculous sport? Might I point out that your parents love to watch curling? Now THAT’S a stupid sport. 

Michele: Don’t change the subject. I’m talking about how on weekends you spend more time watching football than you spend with me!

Dr. Taylor: Tim, is that true? Do you even talk to her during these contests?

Tim: I talk with her all the time as I’m watching. I’ll say things to her like, “Did you see that incredible catch?” and “What a horrible call by the official. Can you believe that call?” And “Can you make me a grilled cheese, honey? More cheese than last time, okay?”

Michele: You just don’t get it! All you talk about during these games is football, football, football.

Tim: That’s because I’m watching football. Would you prefer me to provide a commentary on the finer points of Badminton instead? Why would I do that during a football game?

Michele: ARGH!! How about talking to me about something – ANYTHING – other than sports? Like the last book you read.

Tim:  I could do that.

Michele: Really? That would mean a lot to me.

Dr. Taylor: And what book was that, Tim?

Tim: I just finished the pro football classic, “America’s Game”.

Michele: Unbelievable! What is so important about watching a bunch of over-sized men pound each other in pursuit of a little ball? I don’t get men’s obsession with this sport!

Tim: It’s football. Men like football.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, what I’m hearing from Michele is that, come weekends, you don’t seem to care about her interests. Am I understanding you, Michele?

Michele: Yes. Exactly. I mean, would it be so difficult for him to take a break from the flat-screen TV and go on a hike with me?

My wife says I never talk to her when I’m watching a football game on TV. That’s not true. Why, just last weekend, we discussed the possibility of her making me another plate of nachos and getting me a beverage. Her reply: Over my dead body.

My wife says I never talk to her when I’m watching a football game on TV. That’s not true. Why, just last weekend, we discussed the possibility of her making me another plate of nachos and getting me a beverage. Her reply: Over my dead body.

Tim: I hear you. The center really needs to work on his hikes on punts. Last week, he sent the ball over the punter’s head.

Michele: Dr. Taylor, see what I’m up against? He thinks any game on TV is more important than spending time with me.

Tim: Not if it’s the Dolphins – Bengals game. You can hardly call that football.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, I think you may be missing the point.

Tim: What point? Did someone score? Let me check my phone.

Dr. Taylor: No, Tim, you’re missing Michele’s concern, that you’re so engrossed in football that you forget to focus on her needs. What would happen if, just for once, you turned off the TV and missed a game?

Tim: I believe the answer is obvious. As you said, I’d miss the game.

Dr. Taylor: And so what if you did? Is that so bad? What if you went out for a walk with your wife instead?

Tim: Could I still listen to it on the radio with just one ear bud? She could listen on the other.

Dr. Taylor: Tim, are you willing to make any sort of compromise in your viewing habits in the interest of helping your marriage?

Tim: Okay, okay. I get it. How about I only watch football every other Sunday. And the other weekends, we do a fun outdoor activity together that Michele likes, say kayaking?

Michele: Well that’s a start, I guess. And I do like kayaking. Thank you, honey.

Tim: In fact, how about we start this new plan on February 3rd?

Michele: Let me guess. The Super Bowl is on the 2nd, right? 

Tim: Wow! You know when the Super Bowl is?! I think you secretly like football.

(Michele leaps from her chair but Dr. Taylor intervenes.)

Tim: Nice block, doc. You’re a natural.

Dr. Taylor: Well, I did play left guard in high school. (Whispering to Tim) Say, who do you think will win the Super Bowl? I’ve got $100 on the Ravens. Their quarterback is unstoppable –

Michele: Not you too, doctor. Unbelievable!

Dr. Taylor: Uh, um, well. I think we made some progress. Unfortunately, I have to wrap up early. I’m catching the playoff game with a few friends of mine. Oh, and one last thing. Rest assured that everything we’ve discussed today will be held in the strictest of confidence. – that is, unless your husband decides to publish the details of this session in an upcoming blog post.

Tim: I would never do that. Why would you even think such a thing, doc?

Michele: Oh no…..

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 2020

Stories from the Cat House

Stories from the Cat House

My wife and I foster kittens several times a year. Here are some of our recent guests. I know, they all look so adorable. Don’t be fooled. They’re non-stop eating, pooping machines that will turn your house into utter chaos, or as my wife calls it, “happy pandemonium.”

My wife and I foster kittens several times a year. Here are some of our recent guests. I know, they all look so adorable. Don’t be fooled. They’re non-stop eating, pooping machines that will turn your house into utter chaos, or as my wife calls it, “happy pandemonium.”

My wife and I run a cat house. We take in girls – and boys – who were living on the streets and require them to do tricks in exchange for room and board. We’re not proud of this. But we can’t help ourselves. Oh, it’s not what you think. No, we’re not running a brothel. Heavens, No! My wife always reminds me, “We’re never doing that again!” 

What I meant was that we rent cats. Okay, some people might call it “fostering.” We take in orphaned kittens and we feed them, cuddle them, and teach them tricks like how to chase a string. Our guests stay about five weeks, after which, having (temporarily) satisfied our craving, we send them back to the local animal shelter. But it is an addiction, and withdrawal is no laughing matter. So, after a couple months, we give in and get another fix of furry toddlers.

Our two adult cats, Zippy and Buddy (former fosters themselves), graciously allow us to invite these occasional intruders. I want to keep them all, but my wife says zoning laws prohibit more than two permanent feline residents per household. Apparently, any more than that would cause a level of chaos and destruction that might threaten world peace – not to mention our marriage.

Make no mistake, my wife likes cats – a lot! If she and I were on a rowboat in the middle of the ocean with Zippy and Buddy, and a big wave washed our cats and me overboard, and she could only save two of us – let’s just say, my wife would probably be remarried by now.

While she likes cats, my darling wife absolutely ADORES KITTENS! That’s why she likes to rent, I mean foster them. Our job as a foster family is to play with the kitties and get them used to humans, so that I can fall in love with them and get my heart torn out when they inevitably journey back to the shelter to find permanent homes.

I’ll be the first to admit, fostering kittens is a lot of fun. But it’s also a lot of work. That’s why my wife and I divide up the tasks evenly. I’m responsible for feeding, scooping the litter, replacing said litter, cleaning the ubiquitous poop skid marks off the floor, sweeping the strewn litter bits, and picking up countless bits of shredded paper the kitties create. The above tasks need to be done roughly every 30 minutes. My wife willingly shoulders the arduous chores of patting and nuzzling the kittens and posting adorable photos of them on Facebook.

If I may, I would like to circle back to the part about feeding and scooping. The kittens are often only two weeks old when we receive them. Sometimes they are so tiny we must bottle feed them. But once they can consume solid food (around three weeks), their appetites are insatiable. A litter of six kittens can easily go through eight cans of moist cat food and three cups of dry food in a day. But they poop out roughly five times the volume they consume – something scientists have never been able to explain. With any luck, by the time they are ready to leave us, most of the kittens know how to  dutifully excrete their poop within a foot of the litter box.

Our temporary house guests typically overcome their fear of us very quickly. By the second week, they’re routinely navigating up my pant leg, headed for my shoulders. Which brings me to the topic of claws. Did you know that kittens don’t know how to retract their claws? Me neither. I like to wear shorts. Imagine, if you will,  self-propelled razor blades covered in fur scaling your unclothed limbs. In no time, I look like a badly abused scratching post – only with far more blood.

Things tend to get a bit complicated when Buddy realizes we have visitors. Everyday it’s the same pattern: He stands outside the door to the guest quarters and whines incessantly until we let him in. He looks at the kitties with an approach-avoidance mixture of fascination and fear until eventually several of them start chasing (and biting) his tail, at which point Buddy freaks out and bolts. Then 30 minutes later, he wants back in again. Go figure.

Kittens are naturally curious and adventurous – especially as they reach four weeks of age. This is when they develop an urge to go walkabout and explore EVERYTHING. They climb, leap, and knock over anything they can get their mouths on. They will play with anything they stumble into – except cat toys, of course. They will entertain themselves for hours, batting around an empty toilet paper roll, a rubber band or a twist tie. And they are masters at chewing on electrical cords, scratching the wood furniture beyond repair, and getting stuck underneath the couch and other impossible-to-extract locations. At this age, they have only two modes: Total pandemonium and coma. There is no in between.

When our short-term residents reach two pounds (around eight weeks), it’s time to take them back to the animal shelter to find forever homes. And this, for me, is by far the most difficult part. Because every time we foster, I get emotionally attached. I always want to keep some. My wife rationally insists we have plenty of cats already. Our negotiation sessions typically go something like this:

Me: Let’s keep all six of them. They’re soooooo adorable. Can we, sweetie?

Michele: No. We already have two cats. That’s plenty.

Me: Okay, you’re right. So, how about we just keep two kittens?

Michele: No. We already have enough cats.

Me: I hear you. Final offer: Let’s keep just one.

In the end, we reach a compromise, by which I mean we don’t keep any. We go through this dance whenever we foster. Every time, I tell myself I won’t get attached, and every time I fall hopelessly in love with every one of them.

By the time you read this, our house will probably be teeming with our next set of furry visitors. I already know my wife is going to say no, we can’t keep any furballs. But I have a plan. I know some embarrassing details from her past that I just might “accidentally” post to her timeline on Facebook – unless she agrees to let me keep one. So, we can do this the easy way or the hard way. It’s totally up to my darling wife. Meow.

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 2019

I Love You, Daddy, But Not Enough to Give You My Snickers Bar

I Love You, Daddy, But Not Enough to Give You My Snickers Bar

Halloween was a special time for me and my girls. Here they are at ages 3 and 2, as a Kitty Cat and a Lady Bug. It would be 7 more years before they’d ask if they could dress up like Lady Gaga and Naughty Nurse. Sigh.

Halloween was a special time for me and my girls. Here they are at ages 3 and 2, as a Kitty Cat and a Lady Bug. It would be 7 more years before they’d ask if they could dress up like Lady Gaga and Naughty Nurse. Sigh.

It was a dark and stormy Halloween night. My two young daughters, Rachel and Emmy, could not wait to get started. Earlier that week I’d spent an evening helping them come up with their costumes. Emmy could not decide between a fairy princess or Barney the dinosaur or Hello Kitty. So naturally, the only solution was Barney the Hello Kitty dinosaur princess. Whatever makes you happy, my little angel, I mean, dinosaur kitty princess.

Rachel’s outfit was easier. She insisted on being Harry Potter wearing an invisibility cloak. So I drew a lightning bolt on her forehead, put a sliver of duct tape on a pair of my black-framed glasses and found a blanket to which I affixed a big sign that read: INVISIBILITY CLOAK.  YOU CAN’T SEE ME!

The girls kept asking, “Daddy, when can we go trick or treating?” To which I would respond, “It’s only Wednesday. Halloween is not for another three days. Be patient.” This went on every few hours until the big day, at which point, the incessant questioning accelerated to every 5 minutes.

Finally it was time for the main event. They looked so cute – Emmy in her princess tiara, sparkly gloves and Cinderella flowing gown, with the matching kitty ears, whiskers and a long purple dinosaur tail. Meanwhile Rachel was almost completely hidden underneath her Mighty Morphin Power Rangers invisibility blanket. Of course, once we ventured out into the 42-degree drizzling weather, it was actually hard to make out their costumes beneath their winter coats and Thomas the Tank Engine galoshes.

Everywhere I looked, there were pirates, super heroes, princesses and scary monsters – some of them in strollers – all in search of one thing: SUGAR! As soon as Emmy noticed all the other kids racing ahead for the same candy she was after, she started to panic, fearing all the good stuff would be gone by the time we got to the door, and people would be handing out pennies – or worse yet, toothbrushes. Like every year, we came upon a house with a sign next to a large wicker basket that read, “Please, take just one.” It was empty – of course. The time was 4:57 pm.

My girls rushed from door to door for what felt like three hours, but a check of my watch told me it had only been 35 minutes. It occurred to me that they might as well rename this Holiday “Disney’s Halloween”, because, as I looked around, it seemed that every girl under the age of eight was either Belle from Beauty and the Beast, Ariel from Little Mermaid, Jasmine from Aladdin, or Pocahontas. Although now that I think of it, there was that one seven-year-old girl dressed as a Zombie Princess / Egyptian Mummy carrying what looked to be a dead snake and a hula hoop. Not sure what her parents were thinking.

As we went from house to house, Rachel kept asking me to walk further away from her. She was only eight, but already she was embarrassed to be seen with her dad. I agreed to stay at the sidewalk while she took her sister by the hand to each door. Emmy got up the nerve to bravely demand, “Tick or Teat.” (She had not quite mastered the concept of the letter “R” yet.)

I looked at my watch again – and at their sagging, over-stuffed pillow cases. It was almost 7:30 pm. Over howling protests about me being a mean daddy – and their claims that all their friends’ parents let them stay out till dawn to trick or treat – I finally bribed them by promising not to eat all their candy after they went to sleep, if they agreed to come home now.

Then came the most important part of Halloween: The trade negotiations. Rachel and Emmy spent the next hour trying to outmaneuver their opponent.

Emmy: I’ll give you a Necco Wafers AND a Smarties for your Twix.

Rachel: Are you nuts? I’ll give you a box of Nerds if you give me your Nestlé Crunch.

Emmy: No way! My Nestlé Crunch is twice the size of that box of Nerds. I’ll give you all the candy corn in my bag for two Butterfinger bars.

Rachel: Nope. I’ll give you this box of Junior Mints for your Kit Kat Bar.

Emmy: Are you insane?

Halloween - bucket of candyIt went on like this for quite some time. In the end, I believe the only trade actually made was two pieces of bubble gum for a tootsie pop.

After they were asleep in their beds, I did what any loving father would do. I pilfered through their haul to collect my Dad Tax – you know, my fair payment for having spent almost three hours standing guard 30 feet away at the sidewalk when I could have been home watching the game. I doubt they’ll miss a couple boxes of Milk Duds or that Clark Bar. And don’t worry. I didn’t touch their Kit Kat or Twix bars. I would never do something so cruel. I settled for an Almond Joy because Emmy didn’t like coconut.

The next morning, I woke up to see my kids having breakfast together. Quietly. Calmly. No fighting. No name calling. I couldn’t believe my eyes. And then it became clear. They were too busy stuffing their pie holes with Gummy Bears and Reese’s Pieces.

I thought about intervening and shouting something about getting a healthy breakfast. And then I thought, why ruin this rare moment of tranquility. Emmy even gave me a Kit Kat bar (I think she stole it from Rachel) and invited me to join them. That breakfast with my two kids, scarfing down all that candy – yeah, that was the best breakfast I’d had in a long, long time.

Happy Halloween, everybody.

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.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015

How I Got Crabs

How I Got Crabs

Yum, Yum. Look at this crab pot filled with so many mouth-watering Dungeness Crabs. At the grocery store, it can cost up to $9 a pound. That’s pretty darn expensive. Save money by doing it yourself. All you need is a $3,000 boat and $500 in crab pots, rope and buoys.

Not long ago, my wife and I moved to Camano Island, a tranquil, semi-rural community with lots of retirees. People here love four things: God, country, family and crabbing – but if they could only pick one, for sure it would have to be crabbing. People here are seriously into this activity. Just how serious? As you arrive on Camano Island, you’re greeted by a giant metal crab sculpture. The local newspaper is called The Crab Cracker. And if you confide in someone, “I’ve got crabs”, they won’t recoil in disgust. They’ll reply with, “Fantastic! Mind giving me some?” 

Having lived here for two years, I’d never bothered to find out what all the fuss was about. But after relentless pressure from neighbors whose constant nagging included questioning my patriotism, in the end I caved. Last week I finally went crabbing.

Most “crabbers” own their own crab boat and equipment. To get started you need the following essentials:

  • A motorboat – or if you’re cheap, then a rowboat
  • At least one, and ideally two or three crab pots
  • A buoy marker and approximately 100 feet of rope for each crab pot
  • Bait – typically chicken or turkey legs, or if you’re in a pinch, Lifesavers candies – the crabs grab onto the little hole in the middle and get stuck. Let me know how that works, dude. (This last bait option should only be used if you’re a complete idiot.)
  • A case of beer, to dull your senses and help you forget about what in the hell possessed you to take a rowboat instead of a motorboat with 25 mph headwinds out there
  • A sharp knife to kill your small crustacean victims in cold blood – or to take your own life if you have rowed out too far and you suddenly realize you’ll never make it back to shore before nightfall

Continue reading “How I Got Crabs” »

A Story of Sex and Debauchery from My Youth

A Story of Sex and Debauchery from My Youth

This is the steamy story of Leonardo – and his many romantic conquests. His sexual desire was insatiable. The fairer sex was no match for his animal magnetism.

This is the steamy story of Leonardo – and his many romantic conquests. His sexual desire was insatiable. The fairer sex was no match for his animal magnetism.

When I was a young child, I had a very unusual friend who, how should I put this delicately – had some rather strong urges. His name was Leonardo. I met him when I was in seventh grade. Leonardo was the unemotional, quiet type. But there was one thing I noticed that was a bit odd about Leonardo. He seemed to have an unusual sexual appetite, particularly for someone so young. He fooled around a lot. When it came to romance, Leonardo was an animal.

He pursued sexual relationships with too many partners to recall. There were Lucy, Angel, Daisy, Chloe and Pepper, to name a few. But Leonardo didn’t always stay in his own lane. There were also Charlie, Toby and Max, and many others. Honestly, I couldn’t keep up with Leonardo’s endless series of objet’s d’amour.

His relationships never seemed to last very long. As soon as he got bored with one partner, Leo, as I called him, was off to his next roll in the hay. This went on for years. From what I could tell, he never gave these dalliances a moment’s reflection. Before long, Leonardo was off in search of his next Mona Lisa.

To be honest, I never said anything to Leo about my disapproval. I had no idea what his appeal was. What was his magnetic power over all these girls – and guys? What exactly did they see in him? Even at his youthful age, it was obvious to me that Leo had no discernable skills of any kind – other than his apparent sexual prowess. Not to be judgmental, he never came across to me as being very smart. It was not like he had six-pack abs or a killer smile. And he never cleaned up his place. It was always a total pigpen. But none of that seemed to matter in his relentless pursuit of sexual partners.

Then one day, a few years into our friendship, I introduced Leo to a new friend – Alexander. I thought they might hit it off as buddies. When I first saw them interact, I noticed that they just stared at each other, completely speechless, almost like they knew each other from somewhere but couldn’t place it. Then Leo whistled at Alexander. I have no idea why. But I could tell that they seemed to connect in some odd, almost intimate way.

As time went on, Alexander and Leo hung out together every day. They were almost inseparable. I never could quite figure out the nature of their friendship. Leo never talked about it – at least not with me. But it became clear that he had feelings for Alexander.

Then one day, I stopped by to find Leo and Alexander lying together – with a baby. And not just any baby. It turned out to be Leo’s baby! That’s when, to my shock, I discovered that Alexander was in fact Alexandra – a girl!  But she had never once corrected me when I called her Alexander. I had no idea. Leo was way too young to be a dad, I thought.

I am not one to judge, so I tried to be happy for Leo and Alexander, er, I mean Alexandra. But I wondered quietly, how long would it be before Leo abandoned Alexandra and their offspring? I was 18 when this happened. And it was time for me to head off to college.

I remember the day I finally said goodbye to Leo. I was at a loss for words. He couldn’t speak either. As I headed out the door, Leo just looked back at me, silently, with those impenetrable dark eyes. He too must have been sad because he couldn’t even muster up a smile. He just whistled and turned away. Then he started eating a carrot, something he always liked to do. Because Leo loved carrots, just like any other guinea pig.

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

Note: This is a true story. Leonardo was my guinea pig. I got him for my birthday in seventh grade. He routinely had sex with any guinea pig placed in the same cage with him, including Alexander, who I purchased (thinking it was a male) at the pet store to keep Leonardo company.

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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 2019