My extremely miserable, horrible bad day.

The customer was extremely irate. She had a right to be, since it was 11 o’clock at night and I was still at her house trying to install her I-World service.

“Four hours, you said,” she said with her voice trembling with anger, “it’ll be all set up in four hours, you said. You’ve been here 14 hours and I still have no Internet service, no TV and no phone. I can’t believe I passed up playing cards with my friends so I could stay home and watch you fumble around. Are you sure you’re from WGT? What’s that stand for, anyway? World Global Telecom? Isn’t that redundant?”

In the meantime I was struggling to get her service up and running but was trying to resolve the multitude of issues that stood in my way, such as antiquated phone lines in her neighborhood and the distance from the source of the I-World service she had ordered. Add the fact that I hadn’t been working this job very long and that set the stage for one very miserable day. And now this customer was berating me, her mouth rambling nonstop and pushing me to the very edge of my sanity.

After trying once more to reattach the coaxial cable to its outlet on the wall, I decided to try once more to reboot the modem in the next room to see if the TV service worked yet. Of course, the customer followed me with her metal cane scraping the floor as she let loose yet another barrage of insults.

“I can’t believe I fell for this scam,” the customer ranted, “WGT makes billions of dollars a day yet it can’t even provide decent service for its customers. I knew I should’ve stayed with Adelphia Cable, but then I would’ve paid much more for Internet. But at least they have technicians who know what they’re doing instead of drunk monkeys like you-”

Suddenly her speech was cut off by a short, piercing dial tone that swiftly darkened the room. Immediately afterwards there were two bright flashes of light followed by the sound of something falling to the floor. Finally the room began to fill with the sickening smell of burning flesh. I nervously reached for my toolbelt and switched on the flashlight and the truth was illuminated in an instant.

The customer’s metal cane had touched the stripped phone line on the floor, creating a short circuit that sent the dial tone shooting out of her mouth before the electrical current reduced her to a smoldering pile of ashes on the floor.

Then my work phone rang. I knew who it was without looking at the screen.

“Hey, Mike,” my boss shouted, “I’m still waiting for you. I can’t lock up the yard without your truck back over here. Are you done yet?”

Your bad day doesn’t seem so bad anymore, does it?

In memory of Maximillian.


As Hurricane Irma raged through Palm Beach County, I was with my family at my mother-in-law’s house, monitoring the progress of the storm and witnessing the nasty weather unfolding outside. Then I was faced with the unspeakable task of taking her dog Maximillian for his afternoon walk. I borrowed a raincoat and braced myself for one soggy walk. The weather outside was horrific with the rain and very strong winds leaving leaves and small branches all over the street. Needless to say, I was quite miserable, but Maximillian on the other hand loved it. He had always enjoyed the water and this time was no different. He didn’t seem to mind the nasty weather in the least. I think there’s a lesson here somewhere, something about your attitude defining the experience. You can either be miserable because of the weather or you can exalt in it.

Maximillian passed away earlier this week, leaving behind a treasure trove of memories of good times and a life lived to the fullest. That walk during Hurricane Irma is my favorite memory of our time together. I will miss him.

The peanut butter circle in the sky.

Amid the bickering on the ground
Differences unravel
That which cannot be combed
Friendships discombobulated
Opinions separating us all
We stare at the ground
Grunting at the shadows of discontent
Disregarding the sight above
The peanut butter circle in the sky
Out of nowhere
Seeking to unify us all
At least those who believe
While clinging to many roofs of mouths
Of those too stubborn to ponder
What it is that defies all logic
No one knows how it got there
But it matters not to those who understand
And choose not to revel in its revelation
To avoid upsetting those
Who prefer the company
Of their shadows blocking the light
Forever concealing
The true beauty of the world

My digital diary.

Back in the 1990’s when floppy disks were the norm, I had one set aside that served as a digital diary of sorts. It contained text files containing my innermost thoughts and fears (such as getting drafted for the looming Gulf War) along with programs I wrote in various programming languages, including TI-BASIC.

Here’s an unabridged entry I wrote that describes an incident that took place while walking the dog at Tequesta Park in Tequesta, Florida. It also contains advice on how not to impress the ladies.

7-16-93 10:01:31 pm
Today I took Max for a walk at Tequesta Park. I walked over to the swings to play. I saw two women who were also at the playground with their kids. In the mood to impress them, I got on one of the swings and began to swing. Higher and higher I went. I soon was swinging high enough to almost fly off the seat, but I still continued going higher. Then, the swing went so high that I floated above the seat and began to fall, all while I held on. I landed back on the swing so hard that the seat broke and I slammed on the ground with my butt. My glasses flew off from the impact. There I was, lying on the ground, wondering why I wasn’t in pain. I rose to my feet.

Then one of the women asked me, “Are you okay?”

I said, “Yes, I’m okay, but I am a bit shaken.” I then began blowing sand off my glasses before putting them back on. I then walked away from the swing, never feeling better in my life.

Regarding the Dopey Drivers app.

Dear Tech Support,
I am having a problem with your Dopey Drivers app. Each time I try running it, I get the title screen but after that I get a blank screen and nothing seems to happen. Is there a problem with the app?


Dear Customer,
Our app is working fine. As stated in the documentation, Dopey Drivers plots the location of every dumb driver using black dots on a map. With millions and millions of these idiots on the road…


Dear Tech Support,
Say no more.

Happy 2020, I think.

mjbdiver> hello room!
ghost> OH NO
ralph> OH NO
*** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (OH YES)
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (OH YES)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> that was uncalled for
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> WHY DID YOU KICK ME
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (BECAUSE ITS FUN)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
ralph> why is it that i always get kicked when divers here?
ghost> must be his falling balls
ghost> OH NO
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (QUIT TALKING ABOUT FALLING BALLS)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
ralph> stupid we can’t talk about falling balls
*** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (ISN’T IT THOUGH)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> that was uncalled for
ghost> kick diver he started it
mjbdiver> lol
ghost> ARE YOU LAUGHING AT ME DIVER????
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (QUIT YELLING)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
ralph> wait we cant yell but dragon can??
dragon> YES I CAN
ralph> THEN I CAN TOO
*** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (QUIT YELLING)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> that was uncalled for
mjbdiver> Here we go!
ghost> uh oh, get ready for divers falling balls
ghost> OH NO
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (OH YES)
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (NO YELLING)
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (QUIT TALKING ABOUT FALLING BALLS)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> you kicked me three times????
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (MAKE IT FOUR)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
mjbdiver> 10!
ralph> 10 what?
ghost> 10 fingers?
ralph> 10 toes?
ghost> 10 falling balls?
ghost> OH NO
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (FIVE)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
mjbdiver> 9!
ralph> 9 what?
ghost> did you lose a finger?
mjbdiver> 8!
ralph> 8 what?
ghost> did you lose another finger?
ralph> divers falling apart
ghost> lol
dragon> lol
ralph> lol
ghost> lol
mjbdiver> 7!
ralph> well im going to bed
ghost> wait what comes after 7
mjbdiver> 6!
ralph> im getting tired of this
mjbdiver> 5!
ghost> wait what comes after 5
ralph> dragon do the honors please
mjbdiver> 4!
mjbdiver> 3!
ralph> DRAGON WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR
*** ralph has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (QUIT YELLING)
*** ralph has joined channel #chat
ralph> that was uncalled for
mjbdiver> 2!
ghost> DRAGON WHAT ARE YOU WAITING FOR
ghost> OH NO
*** ghost has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (SIX)
*** ghost has joined channel #chat
ghost> dragon you hurt my feelings
mjbdiver> 1!
*** You has been kicked off channel #chat by dragon (SEE YOU NEXT YEAR)

Vagrant busters.

I quietly made my way across the attic towards the light behind the door. Many years ago my father slept in the small bedroom behind that door, but now it seemed that anyone could sleep there now, including vagrants. Just because my dearly departed grandparents’ old house stood vacant and unsold for years didn’t mean anyone could sleep there.

I began pounding on the door. Immediately I heard a yelp from the bedroom, but I was only getting started. I kicked the door open and began switching the light on and off in rapid succession. The fact I was completely invisible to the vagrant amplified the poltergeist effect tenfold, effectively intensifying the terror inflicted on the terrified vagrant. He fled the bedroom and the rest of the attic, hopefully never to return.

One down, who knows how many to go.

Time to check the basement. I made sure the attic windows were locked before going downstairs to the kitchen which had a nearby door leading to the basement below. Already I had a feeling there was going to be several more vagrants to deal with down there.

I was right. There were three of them sleeping in the basement. Angered at this sight, I slowly tiptoed down the stairs and snuck past the sleeping vagrants as I walked to the small closet in the corner that doubled as a workshop. Inside, on a coat rack next to the door, hung my grandfather’s winter jacket and hat, still there, decades after his passing. I stepped into the workshop and closed the door as I put on the jacket and hat.

“Yaaaaaah!” I screamed as I kicked the workshop door open and ran out into the basement towards the terrified vagrants. Of course, I was invisible so only the jacket and hat were seen flying through the air. The vagrants fled the basement and I slammed the door shut behind them and this time made sure it was secured and locked. Hopefully that’s the last time I’ll have to deal with this problem.

Satisfied, I opened my eyes to be greeted by the moon shining through my cabin window. Maybe, just maybe, I can now enjoy my cruise without any further worries.

My ruined Christmas.

I answered the door in response to some rather frenzied knocking. There stood a short man with greenish skin, oh wait, that was from the green light outside my front door. Anyway, this man seemed rather upset.

“Ah, celebrating Christmas, I see,” he said after observing my holiday themed set up. “You may not remember me, but several months ago you cut me off and took my parking spot at the DOLLAR STORE WHERE YOU DID YOUR CHRISTMAS SHOPPING!”

Instantly there were audible gasps from the other houses surrounding mine. Great. Now everyone knows where I did my holiday shopping. I know I wasn’t not the only one seeking to save a little money this time of year.

Then my attention returned to the angry man at the door. “Wait a minute,” I said, “This was several months ago?”

“Yes, and I’ve waited this long just so I can ruin your Christmas!”

“And how do you plan on doing that?”

“You see, I am a THORCERER!”

“Don’t you mean sorcerer?”

“NO, I SAID THORCERER!”

Whatever.

Assuming that infamous stork karate pose, he chanted in a voice so deep it sounded like a long belch, “May everything associated with your holiday go BOOM!” With that, he turned around and disappeared into the night.

I was chuckling at what I just witnessed, but after I closed the door and began walking towards my living room I stopped chuckling because there was no longer anything to chuckle at, but if there was something to chuckle at, I would have been chuckling except I wasn’t chuckling, because there really wasn’t anything to chuckle at.

Anyway, my Christmas tree was growing abnormally large and stood 7 feet tall, which was really abnormal considering that the tree was only 1 foot tall when I bought it. Not only was the tree growing larger but also the ornaments appeared to inflate like balloons.

Boom.

Instantly the tree exploded, ornaments and all, leaving nothing behind, not even those pesky pine needles. All that was left were the presents on the floor, except they were now inflating like balloons.

Boom.

The presents exploded, showering the floor with shredded wrapping paper and unidentifiable fragments of plastic and metal. As usual nothing resembling batteries.

Boom.

I heard a loud explosion coming from behind and when I spun around I saw the showering fragments of what used to be the holiday garland strung along the wall. Next to explode were the Christmas cards on my dining room table soon covered with their dust. Finally I heard popping sounds coming from outside the window. Sure enough, I could see my holiday lights popping like firecrackers on a string. Then all was quiet.

I surveyed the remains of my Christmas decorations and realized there was one thing left that the thorcerer can never destroy.

My Christmas spirit.

Christmas trees dry up and die, holiday lights burn out and a majority of gifts fall apart, but the Christmas spirit is what remains intact, year in and year out. Impressed by this sudden insight, I began to feel something well up from deep inside, except it wasn’t my pride. It was my Christmas spirit, growing larger and larger, soon becoming so large that my head began to swell. Seconds later…

Boom.

This thorcerer really got me good.