I was talking to a friend last week when I told him about some old posts I wrote a long time ago. If I remember correctly, they were written in 2007 and 2008. Boy, I’ve been doing this a while. Jeesh…
Anyway, I told me friend that the posts had to do with the funniest things that ever happened in my life. Now, I know that many folks out there can’t remember the funniest things that ever happened to them – and that’s partly why I decided to jot my experiences down while they were still somewhat fresh in my mind – partly. The other part was that the stories are extremely – well – funny. They mostly have to do with friends of mine who are real characters. Man, growing up with these guys…let’s just say it was an experience.
Since the person I was talking to last week had no idea what I was referring to, I decided that I should show those old posts here. To read them and to laugh heartily, simply scroll down below. And after you’re finished reading each one, don’t forget to leave a comment at the bottom of the page. I love comments, just to let you know.
Oh yeah. Here it is…the moment you have all been waiting for…the funniest thing that ever happened in my life – #1.
What happened to number 3 and 2? Well, as you can clearly see, I have had a little trouble with motivation. I thought I would jump to number one and then follow up with the others later. Trust me, they are almost as funny.
You know the times when you just laugh and laugh? If it’s during dinner, you usually blow milk out of your nose. Yeah, I remember those times. They don’t roll around that often anymore, but when they do, they feel really good. If you get a stomach ache, even better.
Craig owns a tree service. He has probably run it for fifteen years. One of the main problems he has is finding good employees. Things are smoothing out now, but locating good workers has always been a tough hunt.
Early on, it was even harder. Sometimes a customer would call up and want a job done. Craig, being eager to please and equally as eager to make money, sometimes had some tough choices to make. Should he hire a full time professional, or…err…just get the job done. That’s where Rob and I came into play. Can you guess which choice we were? Yeah, we would bust on the scene and clean house.
Oh, how many times we have heard, “I will never work the two of you together again in my life.” Even that statement made me chuckle because I knew I would be standing in his driveway at 7AM the next morning, smelling the diesel burn, while his truck warmed up. In a few minutes Craig would walk out of the house and ask, “Where’s Robert?” I would say, “I don’t know.” “He’s in bed, that’s where he is. Let’s go get him,” Craig would say. I always knew Rob was awake and just running late, but I liked to make waves. For some twisted reason, I always got a kick out of watching Robert get yelled at by Craig. Craig was always yelling and Rob was always trying to explain his way out of it. I really wish you could meet these two guys.
This particular morning was a very nice one. It was summertime and it was a perfect day to work…warm enough in the morning, but cool enough not to sweat all that much. We had a small job to do in Westchester before lunch and then another one across from one of Westchester’s many reservoirs after.
There we were, sitting in Rob’s driveway, honking the horn. “This guy, I swear,” Craig said. “What’s up with Robert, anyway?” I was sitting there thinking to myself, “Why do you call him Robert?” A few moments passed and Rob flew out of the basement door and ran towards the truck. Craig couldn’t stay mad at Rob for too long. I’m not sure anyone can. I hopped out of the truck to give Rob the middle seat. He never complained because he knew how much I liked to sit near the window. Craig put the truck in reverse and we started heading toward Sunoco, down in town, for breakfast.
Craig always bought. He probably still does today. That’s just the way he rolls. I could win the lotto and Craig would still grab the check. This always happened, except for one time when Craig, Laura and I were in Vermont. Craig informed me that I was paying for dinner while he was in the middle of ordering another main course. He and Laura were drunk. She was trying to cut her pork chop, when it flung on the floor (carpet). Craig leaned over and picked it up. He put it on his plate and proceeded to eat it. That is another story for another time.
As usual, Rob and I were standing at the counter ordering our bacon, egg and cheese sandwiches. This guy at Sunoco always made the best sandwiches. This, of course, was before the time when the guy handed Rob and sandwich and informed him that the eggs were “a little gooey.” Rob didn’t like that very much and never ordered another sandwich from that gas station again. This morning was different. We ordered our sandwiches while Craig filled the tanks of the truck and chipper with fuel. What’s wrong with this picture…we order breakfast that Craig will pay for while he works…
Anyway, we hopped in the truck and started to eat. We slowly made a left turn out of the parking lot and headed down the road towards town. Craig always said he didn’t want a sandwich, but continuously asked Rob for a bite of his. This was during the era of “Mustache Craig” and one of the other reasons I liked to sit near the window. Rob would hand Craig his sandwich and I would watch Craig take a big, wet bite out of it and hand it back to Rob. I always watched Rob look at the sandwich…inspecting it to see if there were any mustache hairs in it. Poor Rob’s stomach is easily turned and I’m sure this would’ve been it for him.
I don’t remember the first job all that much. We probably did our thing and got in a fight. That was typical. Craig would scold us in the truck and express the importance of not yelling at any passing cars or people while there was a huge sign with his business name and phone number on the side of it. I guess he was right. We would go eat lunch at some deli and take a nap for a few minutes. The hardest thing was always trying to get up from laying on the ground under some apple tree on the deli’s property. I always dreaded what job was next.
I used to hate the days with two jobs. I wanted to go to one, get it done and leave. I wanted to go home, take a cool shower and then walk out in the road a few minutes later in my nice, clean jeans and no shirt. Craig would usually stumble out of his house a little while later and we would discuss current events. Rob? I am not sure we would see Rob again until the next morning.
We pulled straight in the driveway of the customer’s house, stopped and put the truck in reverse. We backed out to park on the side of the road.
I remember the job well. The house was big and beautiful…typical Northern Westchester. It was white with some stone work. The driveway was a straight incline, aimed directly at the house. There was a large oak tree in the front yard and across the street was a reservoir. Along the road was a row of tall pines. That was our job…to remove some of the pine trees. I am not sure why. Perhaps they were too tall? Blocking the view? Who knows… Yet, we were there to get the job done.
We worked for a few hours until the hard part of the job was completed. I really think we worked well during that portion of the day. There were no incidents. Craig would cut the brush from the tree while Rob and I would drag each branch to feed it to the chipper. It was grunt work…that was part of the problem with finding good employees.
When the big stuff was done, it was always time to clean up. This is what separates the men from the boys. Some companies come to your house, make a mess and leave it there. Real companies leave your place the way they found it, or better. We were a real company.
There were usually some tools we would use to clean up a property…rakes, a big barrel for sticks and a backpack blower. You know the kind of backpack blower I am talking about…it straps to your back and you hold the tube in your right hand and walk around like a tornado. They are pretty fun to operate.
Rob and I would usually race to get to the backpack blower. Whoever got to it first was the lucky one because they could just walk around blowing things off, while acting like some sort of a supervisor. The unlucky one would get stuck raking and filling that awful barrel with sticks and leaves. The heavy barrel had to be emptied in the back of the truck multiple times, which really sucked.
This particular day, I made it to the backpack blower first. Yes, I was the lucky one. Rob grudgingly grabbed the rake and barrel. We worked for about fifteen minutes. There wasn’t all too much to rake up, because the trees were right off the road. This put Rob in a good mood. I just walked around the whole time, happy as a woodpecker, blowing off the driveway and road. We were both eyeing one another, looking for a cue that our clean-up job was good enough.
One of the most annoying things about tree work is wood dust on your clothes and skin. The dust would get on you and make you very uncomfortable. It would make you itch and scratch. The wood dust, mixed with a good dose of body odor, wasn’t much fun. Rob and I, while working with Craig, had a long standing tradition of using the backpack blower to blow the dust off one another at the end of each job. Now, you have to remember that this backpack blower is very strong. If it is pointed at your face, it could make your skin ripple. This day was no different than any other, so I began to blow off Rob’s clothes and hair with the blower.
Rob must’ve gotten drunk the night before, because he did something very odd. Right at the point when I was pretty much done cleaning him off, he bent over and looked right at me. He opened his mouth and told me to point the blower at his face, so the air would fill up his mouth and make his cheeks really big. I guess he wanted to act like a dog, hanging his face out the car window, while driving at 120 MPH. I didn’t really understand why he wanted me to do this, but who was I to argue with Rob, who was just trying to have a little fun at the end of a hard day’s work? The real question was why Rob would trust me to do this. Did he really think I was going to simply point the blower at his face and then walk away without doing anything else? To this day, I wonder what gave Rob the impression that I wouldn’t mess with him. Poor Rob.
I had a little stirring in my stomach as I raised the end of the blower tube up to Rob’s face. I just couldn’t believe that it was actually Rob’s idea for me to do what I was about to do. In neighboring towns, you couldn’t pay someone to let you do what I was doing.
I lowered the throttle and began to lift the tube to Rob’s face. He looked so eager. He thought he was a genius. He had such passion in his soul. His cheeks have never been as big as they were about to be. His eyes were wide. He was just thrilled. I raised the tube and pointed it right at Rob’s mouth. His cheeks immediately filled with air and expanded like a hot air balloon. YEAH, he was doing it…ROB WAS DOING IT!!! He was flying high, higher than he has ever flown. I raised the throttle to full speed and the force of air got much stronger. It was like a rush of water being forced out of a fire hose. If you put your finger right next to the stream of air, you would feel nothing. If you moved your finger a quarter of an inch towards the air flow, your finger would flip backwards. The end of the tube was about a foot away from Rob’s mouth. I am sure there has never been more air in anyone’s mouth in this part of the state. Rob’s cheeks were huge and his hair was blowing around like he just jumped out of an airplane at 30,000 feet.
Then I spit. Right in the air flow.
Yes, you read correctly. Maybe it was Rob’s nice parents who raised him to look at all the good in the world…to trust others. Why Rob didn’t think I was going to do this is probably best left for the great thinkers of our time.
Thwap…right to the back of poor Rob’s throat. We had been drinking sports drink throughout the entire day, so there was some good ammo.
I think I started giggling even before I let the beast out of my mouth. My knees were shaking from all the joy I was about to experience.
At the moment of impact, Rob’s head snapped upward and his eyes bulged at least a half inch larger than normal. His whole world came crashing down around him. I can only imagine the thoughts shooting around in Rob’s head at that moment…”What just happened? Where’s Craig? Who am I?” The molecules in Rob’s head were bouncing around in overdrive. Our eyes met and Rob’s look of question turned to horror as the whole idea of what just happened began to gel. A look of betrayal quickly took the place of horror.
I couldn’t believe I hit the target. The chances of this adventure actually being executed this perfectly in someone’s lifetime are statistically nonexistent. My lips began to quiver as every muscle in my body lost its strength. My legs slightly gave out as I burst into the heartiest laughter I have ever experienced. Rob began to run.
He followed his instincts. Earlier in the day, he noticed a hose attached to a spicket on the side of the house. He ran towards it with me in tow. I was laughing so hard, I couldn’t turn the throttle on the blower down. There I was, chasing Rob up the driveway with the backpack blower on full blast. The tube of the blower was whipping around like a garden hose turned to full with no one holding the end of it. It was like one of the snakes on Medusa’s head having a spasm. Tears were rolling down my cheeks. I almost didn’t make it.
I wanted to see what Rob was going to do with the water. How he kept from swallowing the whole run up the driveway, I don’t know. Rob grabbed the hose and turned it on. The angels were on Rob’s side that day because water started flowing out of the hose. Can you imagine if the hose didn’t work? Rob shoved the end of the hose into his mouth for a few minutes until there was nothing more he could do. I stood there laughing; now with the blower on idle. I turned it off and hovered over him, looking at a mere shell of what once was a strong and vibrant friend. His face was all wet and dripping with water. He was completely beaten down. Who knew that such a promising day could end like this? We walked back down to the truck.
The good thing about Rob is that he never stays mad for very long. We probably made up within minutes and things probably returned to normal. I am not sure if he is aware of the gift he gave me that day…the gift of experiencing the absolute, number one, funniest thing that ever happened in my short stay on this planet.
Now that the job was complete, we walked over to Craig and asked him if he needed us to work the next day. Craig replied, “I will never work the two of you together again in my life.”
He should have never bought that gun.
You know, for the past few days, I have been agonizing over how I am going to make this story good. On the surface, it seems like a simple task, but the more I have been thinking about it, trying to make someone smile through writing is a challenging feat. I knew I had to start writing soon because I had already committed to it a few days ago. I’m not sure who wants to see this story on my blog more, you or me.
Recently, my Aunt, who is a writer, told me that she really gets a kick out of what I jot down here. This means an awful lot to me because she is in the writing business. Truthfully, I have absolutely no training at all when it comes to expressing myself through text and it’s a little intimidating knowing that someone with years of successful stories behind her is on the other side of the screen. I mean sure, I attended English class back in high school and college, but I’m not sure I retained anything. When the day finally came where I wanted to get something off my chest, I started to learn.
I asked her to give me feedback if she saw a glaring error. Actually, I would appreciate feedback if I make a small mistake, like using “it’s” instead of “its.” What would be great is if she let me behind the scenes regarding strategy. How do I start a story off? What should be the first line? Where should I begin the crescendo, like in music or a verbal story? These are all things that can make or break what I, or anyone else, writes.
As you may have noticed, some of my posts are better than others.
Sometimes, an entry comes out nicely when I least expect it, like my recent post, “Snowboarding Is Back.” I really just wanted to get something down quickly, but after I started getting into it, I got more and more motivated.
Sometimes entries don’t come out so nicely. I think I had high hopes for my, “The Rules Of Blogging” post, but I was a little perturbed when I sat down to write that, so it didn’t come out as planned. I actually had to delete an entire paragraph from that one because I thought it came across mildly abrasive.
When I think about what is going to make or break a post, like trying to figure out the answers to those questions I asked above, I think it’s entirely up to me. If I took lessons from someone, the story wouldn’t be entirely mine and it might seem “forced.” It depends on how I feel right at that point of what I am doing.
My Aunt tells me that she enjoys the details. I enjoy writing them. If I can express to someone how all those little green blades of grass feel when they are softly tickling my toes, I think that’s a success. Otherwise, we have a bland story, and no one wants that.
Just a few minutes ago, I was standing in the shower trying to raise my body temperature. As the water got hotter and hotter, I began thinking. I guess the water temperature got my brain moving. I had so many thoughts running through my head about just how I would explain the beginning of this post. So many thoughts were good, although I’m not sure I just spent the past fifteen minutes expressing any of them. I forget so easily. If I could figure out a way to lay my thoughts out faster, I might be on to something, until then, this is what we get.
So it begins…
When I graduated college, I had zero dollars. I was broke. I’m not sure I was in a position to do anything with my life other than to live at my parent’s house and find a job. At least I would have had someplace to sleep and I would be fed. Looking back, I think that might have been a good idea, but that really wouldn’t have put me where I am today. I took the challenging path, which is the one I usually end up taking.
In the past few years, I have had more conversations about how other people live their lives than I care to admit. “If I did it, then so should you,” is how I would usually end a conversation. I probably got that line of thinking from my father. It frustrates me when I see people not working to their potential. I’m not sure why, because seriously, it’s none of my business. It’s just that when I think back on all the adventures I have had through life, I guess I want others to share in those kinds of adventures too. If they are taking the easy way out, then they are missing many of the challenges and rewards that life has to offer. When you take the hard path and accomplish something, you tend to realize it once it’s done. That, my friends, is a good feeling.
A few months before graduation, my friend Rob and I decided to look for a place to live. We had been hearing many good things about Atlanta, Georgia for a while and decided to hop in the car for a trip down South. I actually had a professor who used to live in that city, so I would pick his brain during our student/teacher meetings. I am sure that time could have been better spent (at the rate I was going), but now I’m not so sure. What really struck me was his recollection of Lake Lanier, North of Atlanta. He said it was very active, very deep and very cool. I have always wanted to live near a lake, so hearing this only made me all the more excited for our trip.
Rob is a fun guy to travel with. He can be trusted behind the wheel and the conversation is good. We seem to be on the same page a lot, which makes for a good amount of agreement when it comes to really trying to analyzing something, such as a new place to live. If you had been sitting there, listening to us that first night in Atlanta, you would have heard a, sort of, agreement fight. We were so involved in what we were agreeing on, it may have been viewed as an argument. It’s funny to engage in and I’m sure it’s even more funny to watch.
I remember a little something about our first drive South to the town nicknamed, “Hotlanta.” We were cruising down one of Virginia’s most scenic highways, Interstate 81. Rob was behind the wheel of his Honda CRX and I was in the passenger seat, trying to get some sleep with one eye open. I generally don’t trust anyone behind the wheel besides myself, but as I said above, Rob is okay, hence, only one eye being open.
The car was already a mess. For some reason, it is impossible to take a trip that lasts more than three hours without the entire car being filled with garbage. This is a phenomenon I will never understand.
I am not sure what began the exchange, but when I opened the other eye, I peered over to see Rob giving someone in a bright blue pickup truck next to us the one finger salute. I got all excited and told Rob to cut the crap. I said, “Rob man, these people aren’t like us. If they somehow get the cops down here to pull us over, they are going to tear our Yankee asses out of this car and no one will ever see us again.” Of course, Virginia is only a few miles past the Mason-Dixon Line and I was at a very ignorant point in my life. Rob tried to explain that the pickup truck had cut him off and the finger was warranted, but I wasn’t having any of it. All I wanted was to get to Atlanta in one piece so I could make a decision that would affect me for at least the next year of my life.
We drove for a while longer and eventually forgot about the whole exchange. The conversation was fluid, but we both agreed that it was time to pull over, get some gas and browse the service station aisles for its best and healthiest food. After all, we were already at the bottom of Virginia and had been driving for a good long time.
We found an exit that had a huge “Gas” sign next to the exit ramp. We pulled off the highway and made a right. We quickly made another right into the gas station.
While Rob was creeping along, trying to figure out the best place to fill up, something made me glance out the back window. A few moments after I did, I managed to force out an, “Uh oh.” Um, yeah, you guessed it, a bright blue pickup truck was pulling in right after us. Mind you, this was like an hour after we had seen our last bright blue pickup truck.
We stopped in front of the gas pump.
I saw Rob stiffen up when the pickup truck guy start walking towards the car. I had no idea what was about to take place, but I was ready to pounce. I was going to let this good ol’ boy know what it felt like to get his ass whooped by a young and limber red headed Yankee.
As he approached the car, the pickup truck dude finally said, “What are you doin’, showin’ me your age?” to which Rob replied, “I don’t know what you are talking about.” The guy responded, “Don’t act like it never happened. I saw you back there giving me the finger.” Rob came back with a swift and forceful, “I didn’t give you the finger, that would be road rage.”
Okay, after I realized the pickup truck guy wasn’t going to try to tear either of us out of the car, I let my guard down and loosened my grip on the fist of death. There would be no Southern altercation today. The gentleman, who actually ended up to be quite pleasant, walked away with another story to tell his friends and we filled up the tank, did our thing, and continued on, headed South.
We made it to Atlanta, and after a few days of driving around, we decided against moving there after graduation. We thought the culture was oriented too much around work. Everyone seemed to be working all the time. Work, work, work, work, work. That went against the grain of Jay and Rob, who honestly weren’t all that much into the whole work thing. We left and headed up to Nashville, Tennessee. Now, that’s a story for another time.
A few weeks later and after hanging out up North for a while, I made the call. I said, “Rob, let’s move down to Atlanta. What the heck. It would be something new and if we don’t like it, we won’t stay past the first year’s lease.” He agreed and we decided to move on down after I came back from college in Binghamton.
Rob helped me out a lot those first few months. As I already mentioned, I had no money. The complex we lived in had a pretty sweet deal…either take the first month’s rent for free, or spread a discount across all twelve months of the lease. Since I moved down about a month earlier than Rob, I said that we should take the first month free, and then we would split the remaining ones after I get a job.
The job didn’t happen until a few months into our little adventure. We took the first month’s rent for free and then Rob covered the next month. Right at the end of that month, I finally got a job and started paying Rob back. He had payed for more than just rent. He payed for the groceries, the utilities and everything else. You know, he didn’t even make a peep about it either, perhaps that’s why I never made a fuss about what happened next.
One day, Rob decided that it would be a good idea to buy a .22 caliber rifle. That’s right, a rifle. Now, this wasn’t a big, powerful gun, it was basically a step up from a BB gun, but still, it could do some damage. Rob walked into Wal-Mart with a wallet and walked out of Wal-Mart with a wallet and a gun. It seems like Georgia actually encourages this kind of stuff.
There was one thing I knew for sure; Rob should, in absolutely no way, own a gun. He has a little history with guns that I will tell you about right now, in numerical order.
1. One day while twirling my BB gun in the front yard, Rob shot the out neighbor’s house window.
2. One day, while shooting targets with my BB gun in the backyard, Rob missed the target and the BB ricochet about three times and hit me in the temple.
3. One day, while standing at the end of the driveway twirling my BB gun, Rob blew out the back window of our friend’s Mustang, while it was driving down the road.
The fact that Rob owned this gun made me nervous. Luckily, neither of us ever saw it again in Atlanta after the day he bought it. He must have put it in his closet for protection or something.
I will move ahead about a year to get this party started.
After our Atlanta experience, we decided to move back up North. I decided to stay at Craig’s house for a month or so, before moving back to Binghamton for grad school. Rob ended up back at his parents’ house for a short stay before renting a house down in town.
Craig owned about 40 acres of land up in Oneonta, NY. We would all visit about once a month to see what he was up to. When we arrived, Craig was usually straddling some earth moving machine in an effort to either create a road, a dirt bike track or a pond. Every time we were there, Craig was working on some project. Over the years, Craig had collected quite the array of machinery to assist him in his effort to transform his 40 acres into the land of his dreams.
Craig was quite dedicated and Craig was quite serious.
There was one particular visit I remember well. Both Rob and I were on slate for a weekend visit to “the farm.” Since I was already there, I don’t think it qualified as a “visit” for me. For Rob, the three hour drive definitely made him a visitor.
During the few weeks I lived at Craig’s, I witnessed him acquire a few neat little machines. These were basically farm type things and I really don’t know what some of them were used for. I know one spread around manure. It was a cool trailer type machine that, when towed, spread cow crap all over the fields for various reasons, such as fertilizing the grass and, well, getting rid of the manure.
Another piece of equipment Craig acquired while I was there was an old dump truck. It must have been from the 60s or 70s. It was old and rusty. This was his pride and joy.
I remember the day he rolled in the driveway with it. I took one look and said, “What the hell are you going to do with that? Does it run?” He replied, “Of course it runs. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to get a good running work truck like this around here for so cheap?” He looked so excited and I didn’t want to burst his bubble, so I just kind of shook my head and walked away.
Well, Craig decided it was worth talking about, so he chased me. He explained that this work truck was going to save him countless hours of time. Instead of moving dirt around with the machines, now he could fill up the dump body of the truck and haul the dirt where ever he wanted. His eyes were so bright when he told me about what this truck could do, he almost glowed. I hadn’t realized it, but he had been looking for a truck like this for some time. They were so scarce because none of the farmers in the area ever let them go. They were all using them for their own purposes.
Okay, if it was important to him, it was important to me. I wouldn’t make fun of it.
Rob wasn’t there for this conversation. Rob had no idea how much Craig loved that truck. Rob showed up and wanted to drink beer and ride dirt bikes, of which we were both only too happy to oblige.
We had a good time the night after Rob arrived. We ate and drank and told stories of all the crazy stuff we used to do. Craig showed us the shiny new rifle he recently bought, but hadn’t fired yet. Living on a farm in the middle of no where, I guess one needs a huge rifle that uses 3 1/2 bullets. I saw them and they could probably penetrate tank armor. Craig was pretty excited about this and said he was going to see how it shot the next day.
It just so happens that Rob decided to bring his gun too. Sure, it wasn’t nearly as powerful as Craig’s new bazooka, but it would be fine during target practice. I just had to be sure the stay the hell away from Rob when he was firing this thing. At the time, I thought it wasn’t a bad idea to bring that gun up to Craig’s, since it was on a hillside in Oneonta, NY. There was virtually no one for miles.
You know, come to think of it, at no point that night did Craig ever express to Rob the importance of his new work truck.
We woke up the next morning. As usual, Rob was up first, looking to get a jump on the day. He was always so damn chipper when he was up there, it was annoying. I wanted my beauty sleep, but I guess I was kind of excited too. After all, this was the day we were going to see two guns that had never been fired before, fired.
We took showers and walked downstairs, but couldn’t find Craig. We strolled around for a while, got some coffee and decided to sit on the couch and talk. The house was silent and kind of boring, but we didn’t really want to get into doing farm chores…we would leave those for Craig. We were there to have fun.
After a few minutes of some pretty lazy conversation, we were shaken by a huge “BA BOOOOM!!!” Our eyes shot wide open and poor Rob almost fell off the couch. I think my heart skipped a beat when I heard that enormously loud explosion. I looked at Rob and Rob looked at me. We both thought we were under attack. Rob started to get to his feet, when another “BA BOOOOM!!!” knocked him back on the couch. I felt so bad because he had no idea what the heck was going on. Neither of us did.
We got to our feet and raced to the back window, the one overlooking the mountainside. There, we saw Craig standing and smiling with a grin so wide it went from ear to ear. He was standing there with his huge new rifle in his hand and a new wake up call. He was staring straight at us and obviously knew he was going to scare the heck out of us. I’m not sure if he was so happy because he scared us or that he mutilated whatever it was that he just shot.
I just stood there staring out the window, frozen, when I saw Rob whiz past me and run down the back porch stairs. Oh no, he had his gun too. I guess I had been in a trance longer than I thought because Rob had actually run upstairs to grab his gun and bullets, got his sneakers on and made it outside before I even knew what was going on.
I quickly pulled my sneakers on and tightened up the laces nice and snug. I flew outside to meet Rob standing a good distance in back of Craig. Craig was setting up for another shot and we didn’t want to be anywhere near him when we heard the…”BA BOOOOM!!!” again. Yeah, that was it, he took another shot.
We were both standing there next to each other when Rob asked, “What in the world is that?” He was looking at Craig’s new truck. I said, “Oh, don’t ask. That’s Craig’s new work truck. Like he needs another hunk of junk around here.” Rob said, “Seriously.” and began walking down to Craig, who was filling his rifle up with another bullet.
I remember standing there when I saw Rob stop about half way between Craig and me. He put his hand in his pocket and pulled out a bunch of bullets. He took the clip out of his gun and filled it with the bullets he just pulled out of the pocket.
At that point, things started to move in slow motion…very slow motion.
When Craig woke up early in the morning, he walked down to the new work truck and placed a shooting target on the very rearmost, highest tip of the wooden boards used as sides to the dump body. The main dump body was steel, but there were two 2x10s on each side of the bed to hold more material. This target was placed neatly on the uppermost corner, far out of reach of the rest of the truck. It was almost invisible from where Rob was standing.
When Craig shot his gun, the bullet was so powerful and so fast, it simply sliced through the paper target and splintered the wood. The bullet easily exited the backside of the board. It was almost like there was no damage from the small missiles at all. Craig hit the target three times and the board was still clearly intact.
Craig had loaded his gun and Rob had loaded his gun.
No one ever told Rob that there was a target on the back of the truck.
Craig set up to take another shot when we both heard, “PAP PAP PAP PAP PAP.” It was Rob’s gun going off. I think Craig liked it because now Rob was getting into the mix. Rob was standing there like he was a hitman taking down a rival gang.
“BA BOOOOM!!!” again. Craig made another shot. “PAP PAP PAP PAP…” Rob kept firing. I think his clip held 20 bullets and he had emptied them all. “BA BOOOOM!!!” Craig had fired his last bullet. What a morning it was.
I stood there watching the whole thing from behind them both. What struck me as odd was the angle of Rob’s gun. It wasn’t lined up with the target and it kept moving from side to side. Craig’s, on the other hand, stayed straight and steady, like it was in the hands of a trained marksman.
I stood there in disbelief. My mouth parted slightly and hung open as I realized what had just happened. The corners of my mouth began to curl upward. I started walking toward both Rob and Craig when I overheard them congratulating themselves for the massive amount of firepower they had just displayed. I just kept on walking, one foot in front of the other.
When I reached them, the three of us started walking down to the truck together. We were quiet during this time and for some strange reason, no one said a word. The silence was deafening. All we heard was the crunching of the dried dirt beneath our feet.
We had about 100 feet to walk in total and about 50 feet were left. When we reached 20 feet, we all heard a “HISSSSSSSS.”
Craig’s head quickly snapped over to look at Rob when he belted out, “ROBERT, WHAT DID YOU DO???”
I felt a tear forming in the outside corner of my right eye. My upper lip began to tremble in anticipation of the discovery we were about to make. My feet started shifting in my shoes.
A few steps closer and the hiss got louder.
That’s when all three of us simultaneously saw bullet holes peppered out over the entire side of Craig’s new work truck…his pride and joy…his saviour of countless hours of hard labor.
I began making quiet screaming noises inside my tightly clamped mouth. My eyes were only half way open and my forehead has scrunched up more than it had ever been. At this point, tears were fully formed and rolling down my cheeks. I really tried to hold it in.
As we got closer, we found that the tire was punctured, the windshield was shattered, the side of the truck had about 10 bullet holes in it and the front fender was hit multiple times. There were no bullet holes anywhere near the target at the back of the truck.
I turned around and began walking back up the hill towards the house. Craig looked over at Rob and started yelling at him. I finally let a breath out and nearly broke down in the middle of the field. I looked back to find that they had popped the hood of the truck open. Rob had shot the fender, which sheltered the engine. Apparently, Rob’s bullets made their way through the distributor cap, the radiator and the valve covers. The truck was unusable.
I kept walking up the hill and heard the yelling get louder. It was like a cartoon. A few more quick glances and it felt like someone slipped peyote in my morning drink. I was full fledged balling at this point. All I could do was walk away and dream of brighter days ahead.
I love Rob. I love him to death. The gifts he has bestowed upon me are immeasurable. I am not sure he will ever know the joy he has brought to my life.
This, my friends, was the second funniest thing that has ever happened in my life and I enjoyed sharing it with you very much.
Now, I know that only a few people on the planet will think this is funny. Some of you may even think it’s vulgar (no, not like the movie). Anyway, those people…I’m guessing…would be, Rob, my sister Laurie and my other sister Stephanie. Up until a few weeks ago, I thought Rob and I were the only ones at this event, but I was wrong. Laurie and Stephanie both told me they were there, and by the way, requested that this story be one of my posts. Craig would probably get a kick out of this too, just because he knows how Rob is.
It was a bright and sunny afternoon, a lazy Saturday, if I remember correctly. I was sitting at home, just eating my turkey sandwich watching some television. I think I was petting my cat, Smokey, who was sitting next to me on the couch.
Now I know this is not Smokey, it’s Simon, and he is not on the couch. I thought that if I posted a cute picture here, someone might stop to read the post. It’s all marketing, baby.
Anyway, I was just minding my own business when Rob called me on the phone. “Hey, can I come up?” he asked. “Sure,” I said, and hung up the phone. It wasn’t a very long conversation. He lived two houses away, so it took him about three minutes to get there. He knocked on the front door and I yelled for him to come in. He walked over and sat next to me on the couch…on my right side. We both sat there for a few minutes. No words were exchanged. He was probably wondering why I didn’t offer him any of my turkey sandwich. I didn’t care, I just wanted to finish the sandwich because I was hungry. Maybe during the four minute wait, I gave him a look or two and perhaps he smiled back. Being friends for as long as we have been, we didn’t need much as far as pleasantries.
This is where it gets interesting…and I have no idea why I did what I did. Every day of my life I look back and wonder why I did some of the things I am guilty of. We are all guilty of something, but I may be more than others, especially to Rob.
Ok, the TV show had just ended and it just so happened that I had just put the last bite of my sandwich in my mouth. I was chewing and trying to get everything down. A few more moments passed and I was basically done. A couple of commercials had gone by and I was at the point of using my tongue to clean out any excess turkey from my mouth. I am sure we are all aware of what I am talking about. This is the disgusting part…and by all means, close this page if you are offended by disgusting things. I had one little chunk of turkey left in my mouth (about the size of a “Nerd” candy), when all of the sudden this urge came over me. I looked at Rob, who was watching the television and I said, “Hey.” He turned his head towards me and his gaze settled upon mine. I worked up the chunk of turkey on the tip of my tongue and used a forceful blast of air to propel the chunk in poor Rob’s direction (I am really trying to keep this clean). The chunk of turkey struck Rob somewhere, but I wasn’t sure where. In my mind, I thought, home run! Rob’s head flew backwards just like Kramer’s did in that episode of Seinfeld when he thought he was spit on by Keith Hernandez.
You are probably sitting there thinking, “Jay, that’s not very funny.” I assure you, it was funny, but not as funny as what happened next. Rob has a very special way of reacting to such events in his life. He doesn’t get upset for some time…and surprisingly enough, his initial reactions are very subdued. Rob recovered from his sudden jerk backwards and straightened up his head to face my general direction. I was laughing so hard. He didn’t even say anything. All he did was slowly lift his left hand up to his left eye and pull down his left eyelid. Low and behold, there was the chunk of turkey, sitting on the inside of his lower eyelid. How it managed to get lodged in there, I will never know. At this point, I was on the floor, laying face down, pounding it with laughter. He still didn’t say anything. He slowly got up and walked into the bathroom. This is where it gets a little fuzzy, because both Laurie and Stephanie say they went into the bathroom with him and saw him pull his eyelid down again to remove the turkey. Can you imagine being Rob and having to walk to the bathroom…all the way, feeling the pressure of a Nerd sized chunk of turkey in your eye? Stephanie says she almost lost it when she was standing on the edge of the bathtub and began to realize what Rob was going through. Laurie says she was a witness too…who knew?
Rob got everything taken care of and really didn’t even say anything to me about it. I think the extent of his comments were, “Jay, what in the world would possess you to spit a chunk of turkey in my eye?” To which, I responded, “Whoops?”
I want to take this moment to warn you about two more episodes that have to do with Rob that I will write in the future. I can guarantee that you will agree that they are the most incredibly hilarious things you will ever hear of. Stories #5, #4 and #3 are wickedly mild compared to what you are in store for in #2 and #1.
I just have to write these things. Usually, when I am out to dinner with more than one person, I bring up the funniest things that have ever happened in my life. I know this sounds strange, and you may be asking, “Jay, how do you remember such things?” Well, let me tell you…I have been thinking of these events since I was about 17 years old. I have them in perfect order in my head, from #4 to #1. I giggle even thinking of them.
Let me first give you a little background into those involved. I have two best friends. One I like much more than the other, but I won’t tell you which one. Just kidding, I thought that would be funny to make them wonder. But seriously, one is much better looking than the other. Anyway, there is Rob and there is Craig. To sum up their personalities is this; they are both waiting for the big one…the lotto, the settlement, the hot stock pick…the big one. I suppose we are all waiting for the big one.
Rob is a very special person. He is the kind of guy who likes to give you a hug. There is no one person on the planet that I play off of better. I remember a trip once where we were driving to Atlanta. We were in Pennsylvania and just passed the exit for Phillipsburg/Bloomsbury. We both thought those two words were kind of funny and continued to say, “Phillipsburg/Bloomsbury” with a female English accent well into Virginia. He would say it and then I would say it. Very funny and got funnier as time went on.
Rob and I used to help Craig out sometimes with his tree service. At the end of each day, Craig would profess to us that he was never going to have us work together again. He would be all pissed off that we joked around all day and that the customer watched as we made asses out of ourselves. Then, we would give him a hug and ask what time he wanted us ready for work the next day. 7:00…just like every morning. Then yet again, I would show up at 7:00 and we would hop in the truck to roll down to Rob’s driveway and honk because he was still in bed. Those were the good old days. Even today when I call Rob, there really is only a window of about 3 minutes where we are serious. After that, we are back to the regular old us.
Craig is also a very special person. He is the kind of guy who likes to get hugs. Rob gives ’em and Craig gets ’em. Who knows.
Craig is the guy who thinks he is serious. He really does. Of course, being around us, this lasts for only a few minutes. He could be rescuing people off a sinking ship when Rob and I would show up. A few moments later, Craig would be floating on his back laughing so deeply that breathing would be difficult. People would be diving off the boat and Craig would be trying to stay afloat. Our chemistry is remarkable.
Craig is a teacher. He likes to offer all sorts of information about all sorts of stuff. In general, his brain holds a good chunk of knowledge. At times though, I would ask him about something that he knows absolutely nothing about. If speaking to the average layman, his offering of information would be completely believable…but to me, not so much. I would question him about it for a while and then we would both come to the conclusion that he knows absolutely nothing about what he is talking about. He would start laughing and I would start laughing and then…the hug. Rob got us into the hugs.
Well, back to the reason for this post. There are 5 distinct things that happened in my life that are funnier than all the rest. These are the only stories that anyone will actually let me finish. In the days of cutting each other off before we finish our sentences, this is pretty special. I have narrowed the stories down, refined them and discussed them. I finally decided that these are the ones. Unfortunately, for those involved, I am usually the cause of the humor, not the recipient. I am hoping that these stories become my legacy. I know that is not the highest of goals, but it’s mine.
One day in July, Rob and I were hanging out on the corner of the street. We knew this as “Sunset.” My house was about 30 feet away. Rob lived two houses down the street and Craig lived one up. We were all neighbors all of our lives. The corner was the intersection of Hickory Drive and Sunset Drive. More things have happened at this intersection than I would care to discuss…motorcycles, quads, basketball, cops, love, hate, tears, sweat and blood. Meet me at Sunset became a common term for us.
Many times, I would be working on my car in my driveway and Craig would be working on his. I had a Camaro and he had a Barracuda. This particular day, Rob walked up the road and I was in my driveway, like usual, working on my car. Craig was inside doing who knows what. We talked for a little while and decided to give Craig a call. I picked up the phone and dialed. I could hear the phone ringing in his house. He answered and I told him to come out…we were just chilling in my driveway. He agreed and hung up. For some reason, Craig always took a while to come out of his house. It’s almost like he was eating a gourmet meal or something. I can imagine it this way: I would call and Craig would answer the phone. We would discuss meeting outside. He would agree and begin to finish his meal. He would have four more conversations with three more people. Then, he would remove his bib with the lobster picture on it. He would go to the bathroom, shave, slick back his hair, put on some cologne, boots a belt and then go outside. I, on the other hand, just get up and walk outside. To each their own, I suppose.
Rob and I got a little bored waiting for Craig, so we headed for the corner. The whole reason we wanted him to come out is because we had a fresh shipment of bottle rockets. I did mention it was July, right? About 15 minutes went by and Rob and I were getting extremely itchy to light these things off. We already burned as many leaves as we could and were getting bored when Rob came up with an idea. We would lay some bottle rockets on the ground, facing up the street. They would shoot horizontally about 100 feet and explode right in front of Craig’s house. This would be too much for him to resist and he would finally get the heck outside.
We started lighting a few off. As expected, they flew straight up the road and made a big bang right where we wanted them to. Where the heck was he? Who knows…we just kept lighting them and they kept exploding. After a little while, we forget that he was even coming outside…but right at that moment…it happened. Picture this in slow motion…Rob and I laughing at something stupid, slapping our knees, when I light off the next bottle rocket. WHOOOSH…straight up the road. 25 feet…50 feet…75 feet…still going. At that very moment, we both look up to see a hint of the color black and two white dots. The black was the knee of Craig’s favorite pair of Z Cavarichis and the white were the big tongues of his white Nike hightops. A little further…we notice the purple of Craig’s IOU sweatshirt (tucked in) and the black of his belt. His pants were tucked into his socks and his hair was glistening in the sunlight. No wonder he took so long. He was getting all gussied up.
The bottle rocket was inching up the street. Craig was in a great mood…he was almost dancing across his yard and making his way onto the road…the same road the bottle rocket was blazing up. “NOOOOOOOOOO!!!…,” we yelled. Poor Craig was oblivious. All he wanted to do is to hang out with his best friends. The rocket was red glare and Craig was skipping in the air. I even thought I heard him singing a soft lullaby. Closer…slowly…WHOOOSH. Craig made one step onto the road when the bottle rocket made a slight turn to the right. These things are very unpredictable, you know. Craig looked up and said, “Hey, what’s up gu….” when the rocket tore a little bit more to the right and headed straight for poor Craig’s head. Craig saw this and stared straight at the rocket coming right at him. I think I even saw his eyes go crossed as it got closer. “WHOA…!!!” he yelled as he tried to move his head with a bob and a weave. He did a good job, but not good enough. WHOOOSH…SLICE…right across the left side of Craig’s neck. Suddenly, the rocket exploded. Luckily it was a few feet in back of Craig. He whipped his hand up to hold his neck and starts yelling. Rob and I just stared at each other. Craig walked slowly down to us, still holding his hand to his neck. He arrived and just gives us this look…one of disappointment. He removed his hand from his neck and I could almost hear the pee dribbling down Rob’s leg. We both burst out laughing. Craig had a red stripe across the whole side of his neck. I know this might not sound funny, but it wasn’t a bad injury. Just thinking of the shock Craig just had was funny enough. One minute he was dancing across his front lawn and the next, he was all shook up, when all he wanted to do was show us his new Cavarichis. We all broke out in laughter and continued to shoot off the bottle rockets. No harm done, but one funny ass event.
The moral of this story…don’t wear Z Cavarichis.