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November 7, 2017 / themrtinney

Sometimes it’s just “not chunny!”

When one of my children was little, he or she would get frustrated when an adult, any adult, would laugh at something that wasn’t funny to them.  They would yell, in just-post-toddler frustration, “not chunny,” unable to yet get the “f” sound in place when needed.   Sadly, I am an older parent and can’t recall which one of my two it was… though I think it is the youngest – the strong-willed one.

I would normally ask my wife of all things memory – she has a memory like no other.  She can not only tell me which child it was that had this phrase in their 5-year-oldish mantra, but what the circumstances were when they first said it, and where we were at that moment… which brings me to current.

I’m sitting in a hospital recover room, or post-op as it’s labeled, watching my wife rest quietly, though not painlessly, in a recovery slumber.  She had surgery yesterday that lasted a nail-biting over four hours.  Thankfully, the intent of the surgery went as planned, and we now start the six-week road to recovery that, for her, will be difficult and involve permanent life changes and restrictions but come with life-extending benefits.  A trade-off worthy if ever there were.

For a half-rate writer who generally writes a comedy blog, however, this presents me with a completely screwy paradigm.  I have been with this beautiful creature for more than 30 years, and I’ve never worried more than I did yesterday.  It’s sobering.  It causes deep reflection… but I’d rather be here, right now, than anywhere else in the world.

Life just reminds you sometimes that there are those times when it’s ok to be “not ok.”  It’s fine to be a little beat-up, or even quite a bit, and just sit and reflect.  As I sit here writing with a cloud covered sun flowing into this room, it reminds me that the din of the daily struggle, the one that likes to whisper how important every little difficulty is, I am reminded of a wise little shit who often said, it’s just not chunny!

It will be again one day.  Today I’ll settle for thankful.  Grateful.  Blessed.

September 2, 2017 / themrtinney

Grunt until it hurts… or …this medicine may have side-effects

med ball

Credit: T Nation

I had this great workout at the gym today.  When I got there, I had the place all to myself, with the exception of one dude, who was sitting in a corner rocking back and forth and grunting like a wild-boar stuck in a bear trap or something.  Now, I have to admit, I’ve never come across a wild-boar, let alone one stuck in a bear trap, but I’d put some money on the idea that it sounds like this dude that was rocking back and forth in the corner of the gym.


I quickly decided to ignore this guy, pushed my ear buds in, turned up my work-out motivation music (Kid’s Bop 8) and proceeded to go directly over to the area he was at to get a better look.

So, what he was doing was some sort of pelvic thrust, medicine ball hug exercise.  Either that, or he had drilled a hole in the medicine ball and was having his way with it.  Honestly, we’ll never be sure here.

He would sort of hug it in a big bear hug with all his strength, lean into it as it sat on top of his crossed legs, and make a grunting noise with a whistling sound at the end.  The pelvic thrust seamed to be his go to move.  The medicine ball seemed unimpressed.

Now, I could no longer hear the wild-boar noises because the Kids on Kids Bop 8 were performing a stirring rendition of Kelly Clarkson’s “Since You Been Gone” in my ear buds, but I could tell he was grunting out that fantastically strange sound by the way he would grimace rhythmically.  Yes – people can grimace rhythmically.

He looked up as I was casually walking directly by him in an empty 4,000 square foot gym looking completely inconspicuous, and our eyes met for just a quick moment.  I nodded, as if to say, “I get it grunting medicine ball guy… I get it” although I completely did NOT get it and felt as though I might want to run.  He just gave me a friendly return glance that looked every so slightly apologetic, as if to say, “sorry it looks like I’m totally fucking this medicine ball in public, dude” and we parted company.

The remainder of my work-out was uneventful, except the fact that this fine young man kept switching from one size medicine ball to the next, as though he were searching for the right, eh-hem, ‘fit.’

To each his own, I suppose, but let’s just say my medicine ball tosses at the gym are on a permanent hiatus.  I just hope he stays away from the dumbbell rack, or I might have to find a new gym.


August 12, 2017 / themrtinney

Saturday musing… or …Where’s the damn spoon, Carl?

Just some random thoughts that swirl about in the area where my brain is supposed to be.  Such as:

  1.    Where do all the damn small spoons go?  Try this test yourself… reach into your silverware drawer, pull a spoon out of the spot where the spoons are segregated, and it will be a spoon the size of Rhode Island.  At some point in my life I had small spoons that would actually fit in your mouth, or a small pudding cup, or the kitchen.  Now I go to get a spoon to stir coffee or eat a small cup of pudding and it takes two hands to get it out.  I could scoop up a human heart with these things.  It makes me wonder – are the small spoons hiding out someplace with all those missing socks from the laundry?  Is there a spoon/sock coupe about to unfold?  Am I losing my mind?  Is Micheal Keaton not really the best batman??
  2.   I think I should write an apology letter to my liver.  If not for the prolonged sustained exposure to a variety of, mind you very quality, alcohols.. then at least for the party season of 1986 which also would put my stomach, cardiovascular system, and generally whole me up for an apology tour of sorts.  I’ll have to get that written stat.  The only question is do I address it Dear Sir?  Does your liver have its own gender identity?
  3.   I don’t mind this whole ‘working’ thing except for the part where I have to show up.  Let’s face it, if I could just get the direct deposit without the showing up part, my attitude would be vastly improved.  It’s all about priorities folks.  Working in a customer service industry as a verified misanthrope comes with some drawbacks.  Here is a brief list:
    1. Talking on the phone to people
    2. Talking in person to people
    3. Talking to people
    4. People
  4.   So body shaming is a big thing on the internet.  I’m not sure I understand exactly what it is.  I think it’s a version of bullying where people who consider themselves to be pretty, or thin, or particularly good at wearing stripes say nasty things about people like me who look like somebody violently stuffed a bear-skin rug with a frumpy 70-year-old.  I get it, but I guess I just have thicker skin than the average, out of shape American.  Or maybe it’s the bear-skin rug.
  5.  Final thought… If you could do anything you wanted today -anything at all- what would you choose?  I know, we are both thinking the same thing.  Let’s say it out loud at the same exact time: Drink!

    I’m left with the feeling somebody in the crowd said something like “go to France” or “save whale babies from global warming monkeys” and ruined that special moment.  Either way – have a great Saturday people.  I’ll handle the drinks for those of you heading off to France.



August 6, 2017 / themrtinney

Oh, I see… or …Go Crocs!

I’m going out to get glasses today.  This is a major defeat for me and my weak-ass brain.

I am supposed to wear glasses -bifocals actually- but when my last pair were damaged in bizarre accident involving my ass and the car seat, I stopped.  I tried going back to an older pair, but they were ‘old’ like people walking by me on the street immediately thought a time machine had whisked them back to the era of bell-bottoms, psychedelic drugs and Elvis side-burns (thankya… thankya very much).

So I embarked instead on a different journey.  I decided that my prescription was slight enough, both far and near, that I would just not get glasses again.  Mind over matter so to speak.  I went to my eye doctor and asked him if I had to wear glasses.  I mean, really?  He was very helpful and clearly stated it was up to me if I wanted to see or not and billed me fifty bucks.  I thanked him and walked into the edge of the doorway on my way out of his office.  This was a sign of things to come, but I couldn’t see it.

That was about a year or more ago.  Vonnie has found this ever so entertaining.  She’s always encouraging me and my journey to be free of eyewear through sheer willpower.  Helpful comments include:

  • That’s just stupid.
  • Oh my God, you are so cheap.
  • That’s what you get. *walked into something.  again*
  • The TV is 48 inches and you are three feet away from it for God’s sake!

My not choosing to replace my glasses comes up in conversations often for reasons I don’t quite follow.  Conversations that always end in “for the love of sanity, why don’t you just get glasses?” have included:

Me: *takes exit off highway*

Von:  “Why are you taking this exit?”

Me: “Duh, if I don’t get off at the exit we need, we’ll just drive forever and end up in Florida.  You don’t want to go to Florida do you?  Heat, crocodiles…”

Von:  “Alligators.  It’s alligators.  No – I don’t want to go to Florida, but you just took the wrong exit.  Again.”

Me;  “Did I?  I’m pretty sure alligators have the teeth outside like a reptile kind of boar and crocs have them inside.  Florida is crocs.”

Von:  “Oh, you mean like that college football team the “Florida Crocs?”  The only Crocs you find in Florida are those ugly foot Crocs.  Find a place to turn around, you’ve already gone 10 miles in the exact wrong direction and you are daft to boot.”

Me:  “I’ll turn around, but I’m not conceding on the crocodile thing.”

Or this one:

Me:  *squinting hard*  “Isn’t that Jane over there by that drink machine?”

Von:  *giving me the look* “That’s a cardboard sign for Subway subs.”

Me:  “Are you sure? Oh well – let’s go get a Coke.”

Von:  “That’s not a drink machine.  It’s a Redbox.’

Me:  “Red, Blue whatever.  I’m good with Coke or Pepsi.”

So after thousands of wrong exits, hundreds of miss-sightings (like the Black Bear in our yard that turned out to be a wood pile or the parking lot pavement that turned out to be a huge curb and a $265.00 tire) I’m surrendering.  I’ll have to admit, it will be nice to see things better again but I just hate spending the money on something I’ll probably sit-on in the near future.  I think the first thing I’m going to do with my new glasses is look up Crocodiles vs Alligators.



August 4, 2017 / themrtinney

What the Fall?… or … Is that a water bottle, or are you just glad to see me?

There are 2.5 million “Fall” leaves on my front lawn but it isn’t Fall yet, so I’m thoroughly confused.  Or maybe I’m bewildered.  The difference between those two have always confused me.  I think.

It’s kind of like that time I found a squirrel sitting on the hood of my car just staring at me like he belonged there and I was interrupting him chewing on the plastic water bottle he was clutching.  This was disconcerting in several ways, the first being there was a squirrel sitting on the hood of my car who had a severe attitude, one lazy eye and a look on his little squirrel face like “what you gonna’ do about it, bitch?!”

Second, he was eating a plastic bottle, which is really bad for anybody to eat, but I’m pretty sure this squirrel had eaten his share of plastic because he didn’t even pause while staring me down, which left me wondering if he crapped 3D art or something – I mean how would that come out exactly?

Third, it was disconcerting because no matter how close I got to the car, since I needed to get in the car to go to work, he didn’t move, so I was left with this vision of me driving down Jeff Davis highway with an angry, lazy-eyed squirrel chewing on a water bottle as a hood ornament.  Then again – that might fit in on the commute I have.

I’ve gotten distracted again, however, because we were talking about Fall leaves covering my yard without the common decency to realize its Summer and there are, literally, no Summer leaves or it wouldn’t be labeled “Fall” like it is.  I mean, come on, it isn’t like Summer goes around blasting 100 degree heat in early October with some attitude like “it’s not my season but, screw you, Fall, I can hang out in October.”

That would be tragic, because then Winter would probably be all jealous and send some snow in, let’s say, July.  Of course, that might screw with the squirrels and I can just see myself yelling “vengeance is mine!” as they all suddenly fall prey to the unexpected cold weather, unable to hold their water bottles and look snarky at people.  Which brings me back to the question of how a squirrel gets a lazy eye.  I mean, did he get poked with a water bottle in a gang related turf fight?

So the leaf thing is pretty much like the god of trees came down from tree god heaven and shook one of the trees in my front yard until it crapped the equivalent of two dump trucks of leaves (just a guesstimate) and I don’t know why.  I may never know why, I suppose, but I have seen some suspicious looking squirrels roaming the area and it just makes me wonder:  how hard can a squirrel shake a branch while holding a water bottle?

July 28, 2017 / themrtinney

Beaver Tails… or… Working Saturday Sucks!

My dog crapped on the deck and I have to work Saturday so I’m pretty much having the worst life that anyone has ever had.  I’m sure there are some other tough situations out there, but they are not mine, so that qualifies mine as worst.  This is my logic – you can disagree if you enjoy being wrong.

I left work today with the knowledge that it was Fake Friday.  I have three ‘real’ Fridays, where Saturday morning comes and the hangover I have is about 212% less prominent because I slept until 10am.  Then there is Fake Friday, where I wake up at 6am because I have to work that Saturday and I feel like my head is being bludgeoned by two giant badger tails keeping rhythm to a dubstep tune that only they can hear.  I don’t mind badgers… but lord do I hate dubstep.

So you would probably recommend that on Fake Friday, I don’t stay up until 3am drinking Crown Royal shots and chugging beer bottles like I’m trying to break a world record.  There you are being wrong again.  You see, our four fathers (yes, mainly four – like Washington, Lincoln, Nixon and maybe Justin Bieber) created America to be just the kind of place where you can stay up all night on Friday and not be punished by work the next morning.

That’s what working Saturday really is: punishment.  It’s like water-boarding, only mostly more dry.  It’s like being grounded to your room as an adult only your room has a work desk, computer and some guy named Adam who wants his oil changed.  Well no, Adam, I don’t want to help you change your oil on Saturday.  I’d rather be asleep while those beavers get exhausted trying to pound my brain to mush because I don’t wake up until they are finished, Adam.

If I were to write an open letter to Adam about having to come to work on a Saturday just so he can get an oil change it would look something like this:

Dear Adam:  Nope.

I don’t want to get up at 6am.  My alarm should be set for “beaver-tails have vacated the area:30” or not even set at all.   So trying to be wrong (again) you might say, “hey, Mr. Tinney – you signed up for these work hours when you took the job!  Why complain now, pal?!”  My response is three-fold – although it’s not really folded unless you print this page and fold it:

  1.  I am not your pal (depending on who you are.  If your name is Adam and you enjoy rollerblading, long walks on the beach and oil changes on Saturday I am definitely not.)
  2. Regret is a constitutionally protected right.  One of the Amendments says something about tyranny and not working on Saturdays.  If it doesn’t, it was supposed to; and
  3. Shut up.

So anyway… I have to go.  It’s Fake Friday and those beavers aren’t going to show-up if I don’t water my liver, Adam.

July 24, 2017 / themrtinney

Which wire is which… or… I can technician too!

So… it’s not everyday that I get to enjoy a good laugh at work.  Crying, moaning and bitching are on the regular – laughing not so much.   I work in an automotive repair shop as a Service Advisor, which is basically a customer service job that resembles being water-boarded while trying to operate a PC with your hands tied to your ankles while people yell obscenities at you… but more on that later.

I was talking to a technician today who was doing a wiring repair.  Having never been an actual mechanic, I had absolutely 0.000% clue what he was doing.  For all I know he might have been just standing there with some wires so that he looked like he was mechanicing something (that’s a real word, shut up).

I asked what he was doing.  His response:  ‘What I was told to do.”  So – I threw out the idea that he was fixing something and determined he was just fucking around with some wires because he was told to play with some wires.   There were three wires:  Red, Blue and Shit Brown.  I quickly determined that the red wire meant bad things – like ‘cut the red wire MacGyver!’ and should be left alone.  The Shit Brown one was, well, shit brown and should be hidden immediately out of sight.  The Blue wire made me think of happy thoughts, so that must be the good wire that makes the stuff in the car go.  I shared this with the technician.  We had a good laugh.  I’m sure he called me an idiot after I walked away and I don’t blame him.. but he resembles an actual Viking, so there’s that (shout out to Sven!)

Anyway… Service Advisor sounds like a very fancy position.  Like some translator of all things mechanical, I basically get paid to tell people what the technician says is wrong with their vehicle so it is more understandable.  Some people call this ‘layman’s terms’ but I call it ‘your shit is broke terms’ because I don’t know this Layman guy.  For example, a technician might say something like:

“Well, the farbulator demistified the contributor and overbobulated the whosit.”

Which I will tranlate to the customer as:

“Sir, your car is broke – that will be $1,500.00.”

One of my other roles, which makes me think of rolls and makes me super hungry, is to perform something called an ‘up-sale.’  People in retail will know this procedure, which is basically taking a customer who came in for, lets say, an oil and lube, and convincing them to replace their entire engine instead.

That may seem a bit exaggerated, but you get the idea.  My goal is to sell additional maintenance that the customer will benefit from and produce more income for the dealership as a result.  This is not a bad thing, although the world has painted it with an ugly brush.  A normal up-sale might be:

“Mr. Goshmebosh, your oil change is going fine, but your power steering fluid looks like dried up goats blood – we should do a fluid exchange to keep your power steering system from defecting to Canada.  That’ll be $129.00 if you authorize it.”

The world has demonized this process to some degree and might see it as:

“Mr. Goshmebosh, I am Satan himself come to steal your money and sleep with your spouse.  You need to flush your power steering fluid or you and your entire family are going to die in a very fiery crash – complete with helicopter news coverage – due to an inability to steer your car.  If you love your children, you must do this.  That’ll be $999.00 plus $9.99 re-occurring fees.”

The disparity between the reality of my job and the perception of my job is discouraging, to put it mildly.  If I have one more person shout “diagnostic fee!” with the same indignation they would shout, oh, “genocide!” I may lose my ever-loving mind – which is an interesting term because I’m unsure if I am loving “ever” or “mind” when I use it.

There is a book to be written about my daily life in the auto industry, but that is not for this blog.  However, a great title might be “Why I’m An Alcoholic:  Truth Bitches.”