Magic 8 Ball

magic 8 ball

As a kid I was completely baffled by the transistor radio. I would turn it over and examine each side, much like a chimpanzee might study a locked suitcase or a dog sniffs around to find the beef jerky hidden in your pocket. I played with the dials, maneuvered the antenna, changed the frequency. Try as I might I never understood how a plastic box could capture sound waves traveling invisibly through the atmosphere and turn them into the sweet stylings of The Jackson 5.

I haven’t progressed much since then. I would make an aboriginal tribe look like a team of Microsoft engineers. I don’t know which knobs go with which burner on my stove. Elevators leave me with my mouth agape. Forget the Philae rocket, I can’t even tell you how my seat heater works.

The pace of advancement is staggering. Just yesterday I was made aware of bacon flavored Ritz crackers. Technology has left me gorging in its wake.

My daughter recently found an iPhone app for Algebra. Take a picture of the problem and the answer will appear. In 1980 I used a first generation app to solve algebra problems. I called my app “Paul Hawkins.”

My dad wasn’t much of a high tech guy. I did hear him speak once of checking his Give-A-Shit-O-Meter when I told him I was going to skip college and join a traveling jazz band. Apparently it was running low that day. He also had a fairly reliable “bullshit detector” he used nearly every Sunday morning during my high school years to ferret out my Saturday night meanderings.

 The only invention for which I can take credit is the “Snack Rack (TM).” In college, I duct taped a lucite envelope holder to the dash of my car to hold my Taco Bell burrito while I drove. The cup holder was for my Busch. Everything within reach, nice and tight. I’m not sure why it never caught on stateside but I hear it’s a popular contrivance in El Salvador.

 In spite of my failure to make any meaningful contributions to advances in technology, I am proud of my role as an early adopter. It began in the 1970s when I noticed an ad for Sea Monkeys on the back cover of Boys Life magazine. The ad claimed these creatures were “so eager to please they can even be trained.” I sent in my $1.25 and the package arrived two weeks later. I was so excited to get started I failed to read the instructions, a character flaw that plagues me to this very day. Instead of prepping the water with a salty brine I dumped the entire packet into a cereal bowl. When nothing appeared for three days I gave up and fed the contents to the Oglesby’s dachshund, Puppet.

I went on a bit of a “technology” jag over the next few months. A magic set, a joy buzzer, fake vomit. I even ordered X-Ray Specs which guaranteed the ability to “see through clothing.” The rims were black, the lenses thin, concentric red circles with bold letters at the top which read: “X-RAY VISION.” Needless to say it was difficult to be discrete but somehow I was still able to follow the school secretary, Mrs. White, around -undetected-for about 15 minutes. Granted it was an alpha test but the early results were not promising.

Then came the mother of all technological wonders- the Magic 8 Ball. It arrived in a plain brown package. For about two weeks following its purchase, the Magic 8 Ball sat on my bedside table where it was summoned on a frequent basis. Every day after school I tore upstairs seeking some semblance of certainty in a pre-pubescent world. It usually went like this.

 “Does Lee Stewart like me back?”

 “Very doubtful.”

 “What about Missy Lampkin?”

 “Outlook not so good.”

 This was getting serious.

 “Connie Johnston?”

 “Reply hazy.”

 I was running out of candidates.

 “Karen Munsell?”

 “My sources say yes.”

 Not my first choice but I wasn’t exactly a fourth grade lothario.

 After about two weeks of vague, unsatisfactory clairvoyance the 8 Ball met an ignominious end when my neighbor, Rod Hedges, came over.

 “What is that?” he asked.

 “Magic 8 Ball. It will answer any question. Try it.”

 He shook it vigorously and asked: “Is my brother a dick?”

 “Without a doubt.”

 A percipient start to be sure.

 He shook it again: “Will I have to go to summer school?”

 “Signs point to yes.”

 Magic 8 Ball was two for two.

 Then the killer. Rod asked whether his Dad was ever going to come back home.

He shook and shook with all his might until the white answer pyramid emerged from the inky water.

 “Better not tell you now” came the non-committal reply.

 Knowing the Hedges’ family situation as I did, one could hardly blame Magic 8 Ball for not wanting to get involved. Nonetheless, Rod would brook no more uncertainty.

 “This is a piece of shit” he declared.

 It was hard for me to disagree based on how things were going with Karen Munsell.

 We took Magic 8 Ball to the back alley. Rod had one last question.

 “Does my Dad still love me?”

 I was too naive to look away. Finally came the answer.

 “Yes-definitely.”

 We hit the Magic 8 Ball with rocks until it hemorrhaged purple.

 That day, I learned a lesson about human nature that all the advances in technology will never teach or replace. In the end it’s about love in its ever mutating form.

So go find it.

 And if you don’t like the answer you’re getting, ask a different question.

9 Things You Don’t Always Have to Have

blow out

1. An opinion. We form opinions about everything. People. Food. Countries. Religions. Music. It is human nature. Opinions, by their very nature, involve judgments. The problem with opinions is that we usually form them without being fully armed with the facts. Or we form them based on emotion or a limited perspective. How many times have you made a judgment about someone or something only to later learn that you were wrong?

Having an open mind allows you to reserve judgment. Reserving judgment is liberating. You can establish relationships and open yourself to experiences you might otherwise have prematurely dismissed.

2. A cause. Pink ribbons. Yellow bracelets. Ice buckets. Everywhere you turn someone is promoting a cause. I am not diminishing the importance of these. They give people a sense of community and purpose while raising money for worthy endeavors. 

But how much do you engage in simple acts of charity? Not ones that involve running a 10 k or pouring water on your head. I’m talking about everyday things: encouraging a child, smiling at a stranger, helping a friend. Over the long term, the sum of these incremental kindnesses will far surpass every Saturday morning marathon you ever log.

3A side. We love to choose sides. Israel or Palestine. Pro-life or pro-choice. Democrat or Republican. Typically our stance on something conforms to an overarching agenda or an unexamined, shallow ideology. This is easier than taking time to really understand an issue.

Here’s the problem with tidy one-size-fits-all belief structures. This is a complex world with complex issues. They require empathy, dialogue, patience, even nuance. We cannot settle deep seated problems in 30 second sound bites. We want to see the world in black and white when it rarely is. You don’t have to buy into this idea that you have to pick a side.

4. Agreement. We go crazy trying to convince someone that we are right. We try to persuade people to agree with us because we can’t handle standing alone or in opposition. We seek the comfort of consensus. Not everyone will agree with you. This doesn’t mean they are a bad person. It doesn’t mean they are evil. It doesn’t even mean they are wrong. It’s okay to disagree with someone. You might even be able to stay friends without being in complete agreement with them on major issues. Don’t let your disagreement define your relationship with someone else. Be open to people with a different point of view.

5. Security. You want money in the bank, a career with opportunities, a long term, committed relationship. You want stability and security. Life usually has other plans. The only certainty is uncertainty. You are always just a phone call away from a life altering event. Eventually you will lose a job, or get a bad diagnosis, or get cheated on. Security is a phantom state.

Even in the most secure of times you will have to fight off competitors, work like a dog, and side step con artists. You’ll never be able to let down your guard. That’s just life. It’s exhausting but you’ll be better equipped to face it when you let go of the fleeting illusion of security.

6. A reason. We hate it when we don’t understand the motivations of others. Why did my friend commit suicide? Why do deranged people kill? Why did my boyfriend cheat on me? We demand an explanation. We want to know why. This is human nature. We always feel as though there must be a reason for someone’s actions. Sometimes there isn’t. Or even if there is, it won’t be adequate.

In a similar vein, you don’t always have to have a reason or explanation for your actions. Just because other people expect or want a reason doesn’t make it your obligation to give them one. You may not even have one.

7. A calling. I know a few people who were born to be one thing. A musician, a priest, a doctor. Most of us don’t have the luxury of a “calling.” Still we ask ourselves: Why am I here? What is my purpose? What is my calling? Your calling may not be so apparent. You may not even have one. Or it may be one that is not readily apparent. Perhaps it’s being a good mom, or providing a stable work environment for others to thrive, or offering friendship to someone who is lonely.

There’s a misleading notion that if we look hard enough we will find fulfillment. Better yet, if we pray or work hard enough fulfillment will find us. Look, you may not ever find your calling. Or you may recognize it only after it has passed. Let go of this fantasy and your life will be much less frustrating.

8. A plan. Everyone wants you to have a plan. What career will you choose? When will you get married? When will you have kids? Where will you be in 5 years? 10 years? I’m not encouraging you to be a shiftless loser. But you don’t always have to have a plan. Sometimes it’s just as important to not have a plan. This will open you up to more possibilities. Even if you have a plan, you don’t have to strictly adhere to it. Once you have some clarity about what you want, you can formulate a plan. Don’t plan for planning’s sake. Stop and listen first.

9. Outrage. Are you in a frequent state of outrage over something? Congress, The President, Benghazi, spousal abuse, the price of milk, crappy cable service. Getting pissed off is an impotent impulse. It’s an outlet for ineffective people. Outrage is the only response they can draw upon. Do something constructive about the things you can affect. Forget about the things you cannot.

Aiding and Abetting

Raiders 49ers Football

I was feeling a little bloodthirsty the other day when a friend asked me to go watch the Dallas Cowboys. Just what the demons ordered. The opponent was San Francisco and their whiny ass coach Jim Harbaugh. That morning I gargled with warm salt water and did a few exercises for my middle finger. Good to go. 

When we got to the stadium we had to wade through a massive throng of beer soaked patrons who were gunning for some action. It looked like a casting call for Con-Air 2, a regular Murderer’s Row. I tried to maintain a certain decorum until the Cowboys called a play action on third and one from San Francisco’s two yard line. I know what you’re thinking already. Get a rope.  

Truth be told, I gave up on the Cowboys long ago so they don’t really beckon my basest instincts as much anymore. I can still work up a pretty good fervor at the college level. I don’t wish any permanent injury for a particular opponent. A temporary maiming usually sates my bloodlust. 

Watching the Ray Rice video was an eye opener of sorts. It shows Rice and his then fiancé (now wife) on an elevator. The footage is almost palpable. A forceful punch by Rice knocks his fiancé to the ground. It’s disturbing. 

The NFL initially suspended Rice two games for the first video which showed Rice merely dragging his helpless wife by her hair. The NFL knew about the second video of the blow in the elevator but claimed to not have seen it. 

So what did they think it showed? A neutral zone infraction? 

Shortly after the second video was released Rice was indefinitely suspended. This no tolerance policy made one thing about the League crystal clear. When the NFL’s image is about to take a tarnishing, they’ll sacrifice one of their own at the altar of brand management.

 Video replay is an unforgiving bastard with a long memory. For Ray Rice now there’s nowhere to hide. Only in the NFL can a man like Ray Lewis be respected enough to pass judgment on someone else. 

Enough with this bullshit that Roger Goodell is “doing the right thing.” Please. This is the NFL. Violence is not only encouraged, violence is the product. And we are happy to pay billions of dollars every year to feed our voracious appetite for it. 

Do you think for one second that the NFL gives a flying flip about the objectification and or exploitation of women? Look at the sidelines then call me. 

It’s Bread and Circuses, entertainment as appeasement. 

There’s another harsh truth in all of this. We are the unwitting participants-aiders and abettors, accessories before the fact. 

We deify the players. We buy their jerseys. Hell, we want them to hurt someone. We scream for it. Then when they do we conjure up a bullshit helping of false outrage.

Where violence is sacrosanct, violence will flourish. You can go and cheer it all you want. Just do me a favor. When it spills over to society at large, don’t deny you’re an accomplice. We all are.

9 Ways You’re Getting Played

 

IMG_00161. You act out of guilt or false obligation.

So there you are, going to the music festival with your friend Stacy. But you hate music festival. So why are you going? Because you “feel bad.” Or because no one else will go. Or because you think you should. Would it be possible to simply tell Stacy you don’t like dance recitals? Apparently everyone else has.

2. You won’t speak up.

Your roommate never takes out the trash. So you do. Your friend never offers to pay. So you do. Your co-worker takes all the credit. So you don’t. Stop being a doormat. Say something.

3. Your loyalty is a one way street.

You work hard for your employer. You are a trustworthy partner. You are considerate of your boyfriend. Do they reciprocate? If not, move on. Find someone for whom the virtue of loyalty is just as important as it is to you.

4. You don’t ask why.

If you don’t understand why you are being asked to do something at work, what do you do? If you are getting passed over for a promotion, what do you do? If you are being ostracized, what do you do? Here’s a simple suggestion. Ask why. It’s the most powerful and disarming question you can ask.

5. You form opinions (or adopt the opinions of others) without any basis.

I would probably hate that French movie. I would probably hate sky diving. I would probably hate Vietnamese food. I would probably hate that bitch who lives next door. You may be right, but try it anyway. You may be pleasantly surprised.

6. You’re too cool.

Too cool to dance. Too cool to wear a Halloween costume. Too cool to hug your best friend. Too cool to tell someone you love them. Don’t be so self conscious. You know who is really cool? People who don’t give a shit what everyone else thinks about them. And people who aren’t afraid to be a little vulnerable.

7. You’re soooo busy.

You volunteer for the humane society and the food bank. And you’re the room mom. You’re always available. Then you get angry when people don’t appreciate you or people take advantage of you.

What did you think would happen? You created that expectation. I was on a committee at our local University. I faithfully attended every meeting. I was prepared and interested. Another member of the committee showed up about every third time. When he did show up he would waltz into the meeting about ten minutes late, offer a few thoughts and leave. He fostered this notion that we were damn lucky he had the time to show up at all. This gave him an air of distinction and importance. People would hang on his every word. It’s human nature. When you’re always available people will take you for granted.

8. You’re too modest.

We live in a world of blowhards. Look at me! Look at my poem or my dog or my kid’s baseball team! Everyone is screaming so loud it’s almost impossible to discern shit from silver. You want your work to just speak for itself? That ain’t gonna happen. If you’ve done something noteworthy, tell people about it. Then tell them again. Then one more time. But please, only if it’s truly noteworthy. We’re all set with ab selfies and videos of drugged kids coming home from the dentist. (By the way, did I happen to mention my book, now available through Thought Catalog? There’s a link at the bottom of this page.)

9. You don’t exploit your connections.

When I was graduating from college a friend of mine came in and told me he had a job with the Dallas Cowboys. I was stunned. How? He always wanted to work for a sports franchise so he started to ask people he knew whether they had any connections. He kept doing it over and over. He employed the degrees of separation theory. And he kept at it.

Don’t think of yourself as an imposition. Most people would be happy to help you. Even if your connection is remote, ask anyway. Let people know what you are looking for. If you don’t ask them, someone else will.

 

 

 

 

 

The 10 Fears Keeping You Up at Night and How to Conquer Them

Insomnia can damage your health

I’ve been thinking lately about how often my thoughts are dominated by worry. Will I have enough money? What will happen to my kids? Will I be successful? Will I get sick and die? 

I wonder why this is the case. Do you do this as well? Do you ruin your present by fearing your future? 

Why are we constantly unsettled and consumed with worry? 

The purveyors of fear are everywhere. We are surrounded by fear because fear sells. We have a voracious appetite for it. And we don’t just consume fear, we are driven by fear, motivated by fear. 

What if you operated on a higher plane? What if you lived a life based on positive potential rather than loss avoidance? What would happen if you chose to dictate your own course rather than have your course charted for you? 

One way to start would be to take inventory of your fears. If you break them down one by one you will see how irrational they are. 

What are you worried about? I’ll dip into my vast inventory of worry and get us started.

1. Money 

Of course you worry about money. Everyone worries about money. If you are able to read this, you have enough money. Is it as much as you want? It never is. It never will be. 

I have a “love/hate” relationship with money. I hate how much I love it. 

But it’s not the money. Money is just a piece of paper. More than likely it is some numbers on a screen. This fear is directly related to the significance we give money. 

How do we value money? By tying it directly to our self-worth. If we didn’t attach so much significance to it, we wouldn’t worry about it. It would simply be a conduit. A means to an end. 

You have plenty of money. Believe me, there are those with much less who are happy. You just don’t have a proper perspective. 

You know who sits around and counts their money? Scrooge McDuck and Lil’ Wayne. Not you. A. You’re not a rapper or a cartoon character. B. You have a life to lead. 

As the saying goes: If your problems can be solved with money, you don’t have any problems. 

  1. Foreigners 

If you are holding a sign in protest of refugees (especially children) there’s very little I can say to you. This is America for God’s sake. We were built on embracing a stranger, not on xenophobia. When someone needs help, we help. We don’t hide behind some fear based contrivance. Fuck the politics and the cost and the so called “long term consequences” and open your heart, even if just a little. You’ll be surprised at what you learn about others….and yourself. 

  1. Death and Disease

You’re not really afraid of dying. You’re afraid you’re not living the life you’re supposed to live. When you live the life you are excited about, you’ll be too busy to think about anything but living. 

  1. The Future

There’s no such thing. You already know this. It’s illusory. Unfortunately you ignore what you already know because it’s too seductive. It offers the hope of something better than what you have right now. But what you have right now-right this very second-is magic. Look around yourself. If you’re reading this you have freedom to think, to spend your time as you see fit, to be leisurely. So why are you planning for the future? There’s only this moment. And at its very core, it’s great.

  1. Not Finding Love 

I’m about to reveal to you the sure fire way to find true love. Love yourself first. If you don’t love the person you are, no one else will either. Once you feel good and confident about who you are, you will be a magnet for others. I’m not talking about arrogance or conceit. Start with acceptance, grow to like, build to love. Then offer yourself to others. Reach out. 

And another thing: Life is not a popularity contest. You don’t need a thousand friends. One or two really good ones will suffice. Make the first move. 

  1. Not Finding Your Passion 

Screw finding it. The fun is in searching for it. I’m 50  51 and I still don’t know what I want to do with my life. 

  1. Commitment and Failure 

Commitment is an important part of your legacy. You can’t build anything of value without it. The corollary fear is failure. But you can’t go into anything with the belief that you’ll fail. You don’t plan for failure. You plan for success. Nothing great was ever built planning for failure or from a belief that you’ll let someone else down. That’s cowardice. That’s not fear. 

Of course, I can’t help you if you have no spine. There’s a difference. At least be honest about it. 

  1. Rejection 

The bad news: Most people won’t like you. The good news: It probably will have little to do with you or your ideas. So the people who you care about who openly reject you? They’re not worth it. Invest in people who invest in you. There may be just one or two and for periods of time it may be only you but that’s enough. 

  1. Religion/God 

If your religion scares you, you’re doing it wrong. If your religion makes you scared of God or other people or other religions, you’ve chosen the wrong religion. Just because your religious beliefs dismiss, or even condemn, the deeply held convictions of others does not mean that those others are evil. When you lie awake at night with worry, your spiritual beliefs should bring you comfort and peace of mind, not guilt and self-hatred.

      10. Bears

Of course you should be afraid of bears. Don’t be a dumb shit. 

 

Start slowly. You don’t have to be fearless. Just fear less. Either your worry will consume you or confronting your worry will.

Don’t Know Much

advice

(Thought Catalog is going to publish an e-book of my various articles. What follows is a prologue for the e-book)

At a wedding reception a few weeks ago, I decided to approach the DJ.

“Do you take requests?” I asked.

“Of course,” he responded.

“That’s wonderful” I said. “Could you turn it down a bit?”

And all of the sudden, there it was- as plain as the prunes on my plate. Old man disease.

I’m trying my best to stem the tide of old manhood but it’s a pretty formidable sonofabitch. I’m not doing one arm pushups in front of a mirror at 24 Hour Fitness or driving a corvette or wearing skinny jeans. I don’t even have a 30 year old girl friend.

But I am doing something just as cringe-worthy. Giving advice. Lots of it.

This would be fine except for one small problem.

I really don’t know shit. And the older I get, the less I know. It gets worse every day. It seems I now only add to my list the things about which I know nothing.

I’m not sure why I have a compulsion to dispense advice. My Dad wasn’t, by any means, a man who ever donated his two cents on issues writ large.

He was pretty good at truncating one of my whiny jags with his “no-excuses” ideology.

When we lost the city football championship to St. Charles in eighth grade, I cried because our star player was out with an injury.

“If Ronnie Hughes played we would have won” I whimpered.

“If your aunt had balls she’d be your uncle” said my Dad channeling Yoda. This was his version of “Do or do not. There is no try.”

But when pressed with a difficult question about life or religion, he’d just give a shrug of his shoulders. It drove me crazy.

I thought this was supposed to get easier. Someone has the answer key to life, don’t they? The one that grades your paper, tells the unassailable truth, explains it all in black and white.

Because for me a constant grey keeps creeping in, pushing away the clear lines. And it’s harder to see where one color ends and another begins.

Is life just random, disordered chaos or a perfectly harmonious universe where everything happens as it was preordained? What about destiny? And war? And truth? And suffering? And the popularity of kale? I’m only certain that I don’t know.

Neither do you. You think you do but you confuse belief with fact, opinion with certitude.

You’ve found clarity in religion or math or the stars or booze but in the candid corners of your mind, the shadows of your thought, lurks doubt. If so, then congratulations because you are at least asking questions.

I don’t feel as though I’ve earned a single bit of respect, a modicum of a free pass just because I’ve reached a certain age. If I appear to address you from a lectern, rest assured it’s a wobbly pedestal.

The only thing I can offer is my own perspective, shaped by time and my unique experience. And a friendly reminder of the absurdity of life and it’s randomness and that it’s an incredibly short trip. The larger answers, such as they may be, are for you to figure out on your own.

My advice isn’t perfect. It’s not for everyone. It’s not one size fits all. It won’t chart your destiny. It won’t bend God’s will in your favor.

It is primarily designed to encourage you to get out of your own way, explore alternate views, embrace others. If any of it deters you from finding your own answers or asking your own questions, kindly disregard.

Because the shrugs from my Dad? Turns out he was right all along.

My Wife Killed Uber

Lily-Tomlin (1)

My wife accidentally dialed her friend Susan a few months ago.

Susan texted back later: “Sorry I missed ur call. Did you need something?”

“No. It was just a booty call.”

…..Susan has been a little scarce this summer. So I had to tactfully explain to my wife the rather substantial difference between a “butt dial” and a “booty call.” Yes, I’m 51.

My wife has a history of bringing technology to its knees. Living in the netherworld between old and new, it’s Flintstones meet the Jetsons. Fred Sanford and Leland Stanford. She will order a pair of shoes from Zappos and try to pay for it with a check. She’d use a drone to spy on whether our neighbor ordered new pillow shams. She’s a dial up modem in a digital world. Alexander Graham Dell. Buffalo Bill Gates.

And as you can tell, there’s also the issue my wife has with the language.

It started with Siri.

My wife’s relationship with Siri began well. Siri was handy with directions to a new restaurant. She could assist with selecting a nearby veterinarian.

As their relationship progressed my wife began treating Siri as a fail-safe for her own faulty memory. So it went from simple commands to impossible recall.

“What was the name of that movie I wanted to go see last week?” was just one of many inquiries. Stupid Siri couldn’t remember.

“What was the name of that book Jill was telling me about, you know the one with the two sisters who get mad at each other and don’t speak for several decades until one is on their death bed and by the time the other sister arrives it’s too late?”

Siri stopped listening at “What.”

“Why is my husband such a jerk?”

Yeah Siri. Why?

It takes Siri awhile to get used to pronunciations and the subtle nuance of speech. It would take Siri even longer to recognize the influence of Chardonnay in my wife’s slurred syntax. This is why Siri was unable to help plan a trip to the quaint California wine country town of Simona; and was unable to locate fish dicks in the freezer section of any local grocery store; and couldn’t help my wife download the classic song by Smokey Robinson, “I Suck at that Emotion.”

I finally had to tell my wife that Siri called me and said she needed a break. My wife didn’t care. She was tired of Siri anyway.

As if running off Siri wasn’t enough, my wife then proceeded to kill Uber. You read that right. It’s uber for Uber.

“Have you ever heard of Uber?” she asked one day.

Mindful of my responsibility to humanity, I decided to tread lightly.

“Is that the all male nude German revue in Deep Ellum?”

“No. It’s this cool taxi service you can get with your phone” she said.

I prayed I wasn’t too late.

“I think it only works in Russia” I said.

I thought I had deftly avoided the issue until we were on vacation last week. We left our hotel and my wife started frantically dialing a number on her cell phone.

“What are you doing?” I asked.

“Trying to call Uber” she said.

Shit.

“Uber is an app. You can’t call them.”

“I know what Uber is. I used it yesterday to go down to the wharf.”

Confused, I asked: “Did you call them?”

“No. I used the app. But now I need to tell them something.”

“What could you possibly need to tell them?”

Starting to give up on finding a number for Uber, she figured I was her last resort for a semi-attentive ear.

“Well first of all, the driver yesterday had this awful scent in his car so I wanted to make sure they sent a different driver. I smelled like jasmine all day long.”

“There’s more?”

“I have a great idea for them.”

My silence gave her an opening.

“Instead of water bottles in the cup holders they should offer small glasses of wine to their passengers after 5 p.m. They can call it a ‘wine down’ service.”

“Sounds great. Give them a call.”

And I’ll be damned if she didn’t. Somehow she found a customer service number for Uber and regaled that poor bastard with the story of the stinky driver and her money making ideas. Over the next few days she was wearing the guy out so I had to tell her Uber had gone out of business.

No matter. She was talking to someone on her phone yesterday in the back yard when I got home. They seemed to be having a nice chat. When she came inside I asked.

“So who were you talking to?”

“Siri. I was telling her this great idea I have.”

“Oh really. What is it?”

“Siri told me not to tell you. She thinks you’re a jerk.”