Tuesday, May 12, 2009

"To err is human ...

... to forgive divine." - Alexander Pope

I glanced at the clock, and did the math in my head. I had plenty of time. I needed to get up to Tampa, but there was one more thing I needed to do before leaving Sarasota. I had to go eat at Barnacle Bill's Seafood. I walked the short two miles to Main Street then chose a table on the sidewalk. The server brought me a menu and informed me that all beer would be 2-for-1 until 3pm. I sat back and thought to myself, "I won $7oo gambling last night, I slept in this morning, I'm about to eat delicious sea food outside on the loveliest of days, and now the beer is 2-for-1?" The thought made my heart laugh and reminded me to be grateful for times like these.

I finished one frosty Amber Bock with my salad and ordered another when my meal came. As usual, the snapper was delightful and I looked forward to washing it down with another cold beer. I smiled again at the great day as I lifted my glass. Then I stopped just short of taking a drink and set my beer back on the table in disgust. The alarm on the crappy minivan parked less than six feet in front of me had started going off and making all kinds of unnecessary commotion, and that pile of shit was loud as hell. I spun into a dimension of pissed off that few have ever witnessed. I looked around, hoping I'd see someone hurredly fumbling for their keys to shut it up. Instead, I just saw the other patrons looking at me quizzically, wondering what I would do. I swiveled my gaze back to the honking whooping ruining my lunch van and back around the sidewalk once more as I stood up, flinging my napkin onto the table. As I stood there shaking my head in bothered disbelief, my server hurried out and offered to move my meal inside to the bar. Just as I turned to walk inside, the alarm stopped. I looked around again, trying to spot the idiot responsible for all the noise, but didn't see anyone. I sat back down at the table and finished my lunch, stopping every few moments to angrily glare at the rude van in front of me.

I signed the bill, grabbed the book I was reading, and started walking back to Becky's condo, still kinda pissed about the whole shitty van incident. I hadn't gotten very far when I realized I'd left my pen at the table. It was a pretty nice pen, so I turned around and went back for it. Just before I reached the table, I saw a nervous-looking middle-aged portly man step out of the shop next to the restaurant. He looked around quickly and then scuttled over to the offensive van. As I took the last few steps to the table and grabbed my pen, I turned and looked at him with a burning red laser stare. He stuttered and fumbled with his keys as he said, "I'm really sorry about earlier, I really hope I didn't ruin your lunch." I took a deep breath, preparing to spew some snide cutting remark. Then, somehow, in just that one short breath of time, I saw so many of the bonehead moves I've made in my life. I remembered how many times I'd made honest mistakes, but still deserved to be chastised for them. I also remembered how relieved I'd felt every time someone took mercy on me and forgave me without a tongue lashing. And then, I remembered for the second time that day to be grateful. I could tell he'd already rebuked himself enough, so as I exhaled a scold-less breath, I said, "It's cool, but you might wanna adjust the sensitivity on that thing."

I smiled at the sun and felt good about myself as I turned to walk back. Then I giggled when I looked at my restaurant tab and saw "1 Shrimp Cock - $6.95."

Don't judge. I can't be mature about everything.

Friday, May 08, 2009


"What a dipshit," I thought as I watched the jackass across the table push another fifteen bucks out to split his Kings against the dealer's face card. With my chin in my hands, I watched the guy's one winning hand turn into two losing hands as the dealer pulled another face card to beat everyone at the table. The click click click of chips stacking punctuated the steady rumble of slots spinning and dreams dying. The last swig of my ridiculously not free beer reminded me that I should visit the ladies' room before long. As I stood up, I politely asked the dealer to hold my spot and he said, "I need you to take your chips with you and I can't hold this spot for you." Now, mind you, I've been playing Blackjack since before I was actually old enough to legally gamble. Never has getting up to go to the bathroom been an issue at any casino with any dealer, so I don't think I was out of line to ask, "Is that a new rule?" The dealer officially became a dick when he replied with, "No, it's always been that way." I tried to call bullshit and responded with, "I was in this very same casino not one week ago and several different dealers held my spot for me." He came back with, "I don't know where you play, but we don't hold spots here and I'm not responsible for your money." While I stood there reeling from the blatant lies, the lady next to me offered to play my spot till I made it back. In the following fraction of a moment, I simultaneously pocketed my chips and plotted my revenge. "I'll be right back," I spit, as I sprinted like a Kenyan to the nearest restroom. I nearly knocked over the attendant as I barreled into the first stall and took care of my business. A few seconds later, she just stared as I washed my hands in a fury of soap and water that she'd likely be wiping up later. I slammed a one dollar chip on the wet counter not so much with authority as with a rarely seen sense of urgency as I dashed back toward the table. When I reached my seat, the dealer was taking bets for the next hand. He looked at me, waiting for my bet, and said, "That was really fast." I looked right back at him and as I pushed my chips in without breaking my spiteful glare, I replied, "I didn't wash my hands."

I lost that hand. Maybe it was karma. Maybe you just can't win 'em all. Either way, as the dealer took my chips with a smug glance, I smiled and winked, nodding toward the stack of now supposedly diseased chips in his hand.

No matter who you are, where you go, or what you do, you're gonna have to deal with a dick sooner or later. We all know there are many ways to handle such a situation, but sometimes, the most satisfying option is to simply out-dick them.