Saturday, September 26, 2015

"So Pretty It Hurts"

Ok, so you guys know I'm a truck driver. And I've mentioned Molly several times. She's the one that's taken on the challenge of trying to help me better my life so that I can live up to my full potential. I thank her for that. It's certainly no easy task. To her credit, she's told me many times that she loves me as I am and wishes other people could see me as I am in her eyes. 
I'm hoping to remain lucky enough that she sticks around for a long time. After this past weekend I'd say she's in this for the long haul. Which is good since she's a long haul trucker. 

I've always considered myself "a work in progress". I just didn't know that the work was gonna be so...intensive. (Author's note: the following account is purely self inflicted. Though Molly loves me as I am I REALLY wanted to make a good impression on her dad and I didn't want him to think she's dating a bridge troll. Any man knows "meeting the parents" is a big deal.)

I've gotta give credit where it's due here. Women are tough. No disclaimer, no sarcasm. A simple statement of fact. And I'm not just talking about child birth but what they go through regularly like it's no big deal. Hats off to ya, ladies.

This past weekend Molly and I met up in Pennsylvania to take some time off. An exciting weekend is planned: I'm going to meet her dad. A big step in most relationships. 
Obviously, I want to make a good impression. I want to look my best and be on my best behavior. Neither of those are easy tasks for someone like me.

In an effort to look my best I brought along my "normal people" good clothes. No stains, no rips, nothing that reflects the slob I usually am. With any luck I'll be able to keep them clean for the weekend. This may require Divine Intervention. Who are we kidding? It WILL require it. 
But there's more to looking nice than just wearing the right clothes. Apparently looking nice requires deliberate effort and a degree of planning. Great, two things I definitely don't excel at. 

We meet up, get some laundry knocked out and have dinner. In the morning we will pick up the rental car and start our adventure. I'll be on my way to meet her dad. Surprisingly, I'm not even slightly nervous. 

Next morning we pick up the car and mosey our way down to Baltimore. We'll begin the prep work for "the meeting" then stay at a hotel before finishing the trip. Why the delay? Because we both know it'll take a full day before I can be integrated into society. Gotta ease Grog into this. I'm still not nervous though. 

So when we get to Baltimore we begin the transformation from caveman to "civilized". A few beneficial cosmetic adjustments and I'll look semi human in no time. "Grog not sure what to think about this. Grog fear change." Oh, it'll be alright. How can you be such a frightened caveman? Toughen up. It'll be fun. I just kept telling myself that. 
Fun, or so I thought, would start off slowly and work its way up. I'll just start off with paying for a haircut. Simple enough. I rarely pay for one for myself. Usually I just let it grow for about 6 months then shave it down to bald and start over. Cheap and efficient. 

"What's with all the choices? They're scaring me, Molly. Heeelp!" She reads all this just by the look on my face. When we got to Great Clips all I wanted was "just give me a guy's haircut." How hard can that be?
Apparently there's a whole menu now. Tapered in back, tapered sides, what number blade, sideburns off or on, blah blah blah. The list was seemingly endless. 
I'm pretty sure I looked like a fox in a leg trap. Had there been restraints in the "stylists" chair I'd have put them on myself. A "stylist". Aren't there just good old fashioned barber shops anymore? The kind I went to as a kid where I'd get a lollipop for sitting still long enough to keep from losing skin while I got my ears lowered? I've never missed them as much as I do at that moment. 
Grog was frightened of the lady wielding the clipper machine thing who kept asking "but what style do you want?" Grog no want style. Grog want haircut. Why lady no listen to Grog? 

Finally, after what seemed an eternity, the stylist and Molly had my hair looking right. If I'd thought it out in advance I would've just brought in a picture of J. Jonah Jameson and said "do that to my hair." Choices. I don't do well with choices. 
But, thankfully, my keeper is better at this than I am. So I spent the better part of the day just grunting approval and it went fairly seamlessly. Only a couple tasks left on the overhaul now that my mane had been tamed. 

"Ready, honey? I think you're going to enjoy this. It's like a massage for your hands." That's how I was introduced to the world of the manicure. I knew womenfolk went to some shaman who did something to make their nails pretty. So I'd suggested maybe they could fix my fish catchers. 
I also knew that the hands say something about the man and I'd read that women like men who take care of themselves. So I figured it couldn't hurt as I sat down to begin the declawing process. 

I'm not familiar with this ritual so I didn't know if the look of horror on the nail lady's face was normal at first. "Maybe she's just calling others from her tribe over because they've never seen a man in here before." I was hopeful that was what all the hubbub was about. It didn't take long to figure out there was more to it. 
I had 5 women standing in front of me with looks on their faces like they'd just spotted a yeti. Shock, surprise and horror all mixed into one look, the lady in charge of my paws kinda looked towards her tribemates and shrugged. There was a brief discussion in Korean or some Eastern language but I distinctly heard "dremel" at one point. I think they'd also just realized their standard menu pricing had just cost them a huge loss on this job. 

As one lady was calling around to landscaping companies for advice the first lady whipped out some industrial strength clippers. I have some weird way of metabolizing calcium so that my nails have the strength of granite so I'm thinking she was contemplating garden sheers. 
With two of these tiny women lifting themselves off the floor trying to trim my claws we got the job underway. They finally settled on first soaking my hands in some chemical seemingly designed to dissolve animal flesh. That softened the skin and nails just enough to let them do their job. 

Part of a manicure is cleaning up the cuticles. This essentially removes them. And everything trapped in them. Like a decade of "trucker funk". Which, I suppose, is why several of them equipped themselves with surgical masks. I knew I was a little rough around the edges but I didn't expect the hazmat team to show up like that. 
After tagging each other in and out several times they were making progress. As one lady would be covered in sweat and crawl away another would take her place. There were shouts all over the place as people were ducking the shrapnel flying from my hands. I even heard one waiting customer gasp as she saw my armadillo fingers. Molly had to chase away one lady who was coming at me with a belt sander. I'm sure it looked like "Edward Scissorhands Takes Shop Class". 

But these little samurai chicks were just getting warmed up. I'll admit I admired their tenacity. They chopped away, scraped and dodged as they steadily worked on the mess that was my mitts. 
As they worked I noticed them periodically pointing at my eyes and exchanging glances. Not familiar with the language of these oriental witch doctors I was clueless until one made a Chewbacca sound and they all laughed. Ah. My eyebrow was the topic. Gotcha. 
So these little ninjas wanted to do something with the porn 'stache that is my eyebrow. Yes, I use the singular because I'm aware I've got just the one that stretches nearly temple to temple above my eyes. "That camouflage. It help Grog hide in bushes. Grog carry bush on face." Nope. They weren't having it. 

Well, if I'm gonna make a good impression then I probably don't want to show up at her dad's with a bird nest on my forehead. Sure, let's clean that up a little. If they've got hardcore tweezers I reckon I'll let them give it a shot. Hopefully the root system doesn't go all the way into my brain or something. Eh, it'll be fun. Still not even a little nervous about meeting Molly's dad though I may be a little nervous about this next level of prep work. How bad can it be, right? 

They usher me to the back and into a nice, comfy chair. My head is leaning back a little and I'm thinking I could just nap while they pull a few hairs. In decades of fighting I've certainly experienced worse, right? 
Wrong. I was so very, very wrong. But I didn't know that yet. As I leaned back I felt them put something warm and wet right between my eyes. Presumably more of that muriatic acid they'd used on my hands. I figured they were just softening my pelt right there. To be honest, it was kinda soothing. 

I caught a faint hint of chocolate and thought they were preparing a treat since I'd been cooperative for the manicure. That's sweet of them. I'll have to remember to tip them; they've been through so much already. I even asked them, "is that chocolate I smell?" Yes. Yes, it's the scent of chocolate. Yay!
They rubbed me a little between the eyes, right where they'd put that warm spot. Wow, I'm really getting pampered here. No wonder women like it. They pet you and feed you chocolate. I should remember to buy Molly a spa treatment since it's so nice. 

My thoughts were interrupted by a countdown as they stopped petting me. I was thinking, "why are they counting down? And why are they giggling as they do it?"   That's when it happened. Just all at once there was a searing white pain right between my eyes. Oh dear Lord, I've been shot! With molten lava! What is that burning?! 
I sat bolt upright, nearly crushing the nose of this sadistic Oni. If she hadn't been rocking backward in laughter I'd have certainly connected with my forehead as I shot up. 
Chocolate? Yeah, chocolate scented WAX! This lady had just ripped a chunk of hair out with that stuff. There was no treat. I'd been deceived. They were trying to flay me! Oh, the pain! The agony! What have I just agreed to?! 
And they weren't done yet. But now I was committed because, for all the abuse, they'd only done a small, angled patch. These strategic little she-Devils had made it so I now had no choice but take more torture. 

Five of them clambered onto my shoulders to try to hold me down and force me back into the chair. I was looking around the room for a fire extinguisher. Certainly there must have been flames from the friction of them ripping my skin off. My forehead was on fire. 
They assured me there were only 2 more spots and they'd release me. "You look good when we finish. I promise." You promise?! Your promise is no good, you just violated our trust. I was just beginning to like you before you ripped part of my face off. 

Finally I relented, knowing I definitely couldn't show up looking like THIS now. I had no choice. Fine, 2 more spots and I'm done. Couldn't they gas me down first or something though? 
Another chocolate rub, this time right across the eyelid. Please, dear Lord, tell me that spot is less sensitive. I'll be good from now on, just give me this one wish. Nope. Denied. 

A crowd of the other patrons gathered as the lady rubbed the next strip on. All the women, customers and torturers alike, waited with bated breath as they began the countdown again. 

"3..." Wait. Wait. Can we negotiate? Please? I beg of you. "No. Sorry. Wax is already on. 2..." Wait. Wait. What if I pay you double? Can you just hit me with a hammer first? Make it swift and painless? "So sorry sir. Almost done now. You look good when finish. 1..." 
Riiiiiippp! Women dove for the floor like I was slinging grenades as I shot up out of the chair. There was a deafening roar that echoed as the windows rattled. One woman fainted, another got a nose bleed from the shock wave of my screams. Never had I felt anything like this! It was like washing my face in an active volcano! Had there been a fire I'd have stuck my face in it to cool myself off! 

I was afraid to try to close my eye because I was certain my entire eyelid had been seared off. They still had to do my right one?! Were they serious?! Please tell me we are doing shots of 151 after this. At the very least let me slip into shock and pass out. 
As they cautiously prepare to mangle my other eyelid I try to relax myself. I know it's going to hurt but I have this thing about symmetry so I can't leave with just one done. I remind myself that, mercifully, that'll be the last bit. 
As the last strip comes off I howl at a volume that nearly shatters all the windows up front. Air raid sirens sound muted in comparison. Two more women drop, bleeding from the ears and another rushes outside to call for emergency personnel. A couple of teenage girls were laughing to the point of tears and one of them made a point of telling me she gets her eyebrows waxed regularly. I think they were implying I'm a wimp. I stagger out of the chair, drop to a knee as I fight off nausea and tears. I've done it. I've survived the eyebrow holocaust. Now I understand why Molly says "beauty is pain". It hurts to look this good. 

As I weakly regain my footing Molly approaches and gives me a kiss as she smiles. The tears in her eyes are from her fits of laughter at my reactions to this torment women put themselves through regularly but I tell myself it's from sympathy for me. 
Hopefully tomorrow the swelling will be down enough that I'll be ready for presentation to her father. If not, I'll try to gain his sympathy by telling him she beats me. What's nauseating me the most is that, after this ordeal, Molly tells me all she wanted to do was clip my nails for me as she shows me the clippers she'd bought earlier. Oh good, I way overshot. But, hey, I apparently look better now. I better. I'm still not nervous about meeting her father. 

Right up until we pull into the driveway I'm convinced I'm not the least bit nervous about meeting the man who I may, someday, ask permission to marry his daughter. Once we hit that driveway the nerves hit so hard I nearly puke on myself. My hands shake uncontrollably, my legs become paralytic and my vision starts to swim as I open the car door. We are going to be staying here for 2-3 days....but that's a story for another day. 

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

"Communication Breakdown"

Sometimes I'm amazed at the lack of communication or efficiency in this technologically advanced world. Nikola Tesla seemed to think that advancements in energy and technology would really help to unify mankind. In some areas he'd be proud. In others he'd probably throw up. I know I periodically want to throat punch someone. 
Like today for instance. I show up to pick up a load I booked 2 days ago. An easy 2-stop load going into Massachusetts. I've called twice for directions and to let them know I'm on my way. They tell me to be there before noon because of lunch and stuff. Okily dokily. 

That went pretty smoothly, right? So I guess this is where I mention that when I arrive at 10:30 the people in the shipping office look at me like I just grew a second head. Since I haven't said anything sarcastic yet this is alarming. Turns out that they didn't have the materials to finish building the order for one of the stops. So now they're gonna call the builder to see if he wants them to just ship what they have. 
This automatically raises 2 questions for me. First, why did you book a truck to deliver freight you can't finish building? Did you think I was going to stop off at Lowes and pick you up some supplies? If so, ya gotta ask first. Twits. 
Secondly, um, these are basically DIY buildings sooo... What good is it going to do to ship this guy just a PART of one?! "Well, sir, we can ship you 2 walls and a section of roof. Does that work for you?" Are these guys effing idiots?? It was supposed to be a workshop for someone but now it's just a lean-to? 
So I couldn't help it. I had to ask. I try not to poke at hornets' nests too often (now that I'm an adult and shit. As a kid allergic to wasps? Pfft. I'm surprised I'm still alive) but this situation just BEGGED me to say something. "Um, did you say you're going to call the builder to see if they want you to send them just the parts of the building that you have?" She replied with, "yes. It may take a while to hear back from them so we don't know where we are going to send you yet. You may not be able to take this delivery." Ok. So I DID hear her correctly. Sooo..."excuse me, ma'am. Is there a restroom I can use? Oh, and on a completely unrelated you guys have drug testing for your employees? Just curious." Luckily, if she wasn't stoned she was just slow-witted. She gave me directions to the restroom and said she didn't understand why I'd asked about the drug testing as it seems an odd question. Not from what I'm hearing it doesn't. 

Now, the way I work is pretty simple. I like simple. I showed up at 10:30. Therefore, they have until 12:30 to decide what they're doing. Remember, I've said many times that my time is valuable. After 2 hours I start discussing how much they're going to pay me for waiting too. If they decide they can't load me then there's a fee for that too. I don't drive to these places for free. I'm in business to make money, just like they are. And I plan ahead when I can. That load to Massachusetts sets me up for a load from Boston to Buffalo. It's already booked. 
So if these guys don't load my trailer as promised then I miss out on more than just this load. I don't like having to look bad and call people to tell them I can't be where I said I would. Therefore, part of the fees I charge for cancellation are punitive. 

So, anyway, it's 12:30. Decision time. What have they decided? They cancelled another truck to offer me a load similar to the one I'd already had. Sure. I'll take it. Let's get to loading it up. (I should mention here that I openly laughed when the guy said "you kinda got lucky. We could've sent you to Kentucky instead". To which I promptly responded, "No. I didn't get lucky. You guys did. And, by the way, no one 'sends' me anywhere. I do what I want.")

But this happens relatively frequently. I'll show up to get loaded or to make a delivery and they'll give me a blank stare. "We weren't expecting this". Well, someone ordered the truck, someone loaded the truck and you paid for delivery. Somewhere along the line someone knew this stuff would make it to you. How do these things happen in today's age of technology? So you guys were planning on putting a roof on that building over there but you were shocked when I showed up with a load of shingles? Were you just gonna magic this shit from North Carolina to on top of this roof in Louisiana? 

Communication. Our world has technology where you can video conference between an office in Georgia and an office in Japan but we can't seem to communicate a delivery from 300 miles away? We honestly seem to communicate less thoroughly or efficiently NOW than we did when people were mailing letters via U.S. Mail. 

And, since I'm railing about communication, let me leave you with this thought:
All this amazing clarity in video conferences; all this crystal clear cell phone chatting and yet the drive up window at Taco Bell can't get your order? And when they try to repeat it to you it sounds like a snake using a kazoo."I'd like a Burrito Supreme please" comes back to you like "so you'd like to order a side of sour cream? Does that complete your order?" And you're left looking at the screen that's all pixelated and most of the letters/numbers are missing chunks. I usually cock my head sideways like a dog hearing a fire truck. "What?? No. A burrito supreme!" So they correct your order with "the American Dream? I don't understand. Can you repeat that?" 
I usually just sigh and finish with "Siri, is that you?! What the hell are you doing working here? Shouldn't you be screwing up my text messages?"
"Can you just pull forward to the window?" Oh, that part they get clear, huh? Once again, I just pull up, give them money and say "I don't even care anymore. Just take my money and give me whatever food you think is fair"
Technology. C'mon, guys, all these advances and we're still standing still. 

Monday, September 21, 2015

"You're Dead to Me"

Just laying around watching Ghost Hunters on TV. It made me wonder about a few things that don't make sense to me so I figured I'd share them on here. Maybe you folks will tell me I'm just being stupid. If so, that's alright I reckon. 
I'm usually the weirdo in the group. That guy who looks at things and starts trying to apply logic or reason to the situation. When I'm not busy laughing and making fun. 

Why would I be any different with this show, right? Of course I laughed. I even wished I was there to run up behind some of these guys in the dark and yell "boo". Just to watch them have a mini stroke or something. 
That would probably be cruel seeing as they have a pregnant girl on there as an investigator. It'd make for exciting TV if I scared someone into labor in a graveyard though. Tell me you wouldn't laugh a little. 

But here's where my questions start. Feel free to jump in with answers. First, why are ghosts so afraid of light? Every "paranormal investigation" I've seen so far has been at night with all the lights off. They walk around asking questions and chatting with the "ghosts" like, "I know it's hard for you to talk to us. I know you're not very trusting.." Seriously? Are they expecting Casper to sit down and discuss politics? Now THAT would impress me. 
"Howdy, living folks. I'm so glad you showed up. Can you give me a ride to the voting polls?"

Next question: back to the lights. We are living and afraid of the dark, I guess the dead are scared of the light? Why is that? I watched a couple of episodes, to be sure it was consistent. Every episode I watched, they'd have all the lights on while they set up then they'd turn them all off to investigate. They'd only investigate at night and walk around with some flashlights. Just a couple hours at night. 

One episode, at Fort Ontario in New York, they say "well maybe he doesn't know he's dead". Didn't they watch Beetlejuice? The dead get handbooks. These ghosts know they're croaked. Dude, you're wandering around a graveyard. Do they think the ghosts are walking around, seeing the graves and going "wow. That's weird, these graves weren't here when I laid down. How long was I asleep?"

At Magnolia Plantation in South Carolina: "people have reported the place settings being moved." Why not just set up a FLIR camera and leave it record for a week? Show us some freaky shit. 
I'd be all "it's night now, you can come out. Here ghosty, ghosty, ghosty. C'mon." Now I'm not saying that'd do the trick but it seems as effective as what they're doing. 

Instead they just wander around in the dark with flashlights. "I saw a shadow over there." No shit, it's dark. When you shine lights around you create shadows. How can you explain ghosts when you are amazed that lights in the dark create shadows? 

One of my favorite lines was from an episode at an old shoe factory in New Hampshire. A place called Topstone Mill. One of the investigators says, "if you can hear us and we can't see you, that means you're dead." Really? So they're dead AND stupid? Maybe the dead folks are saying "if you can't hear me or see me you're deaf and blind. And possibly dead."

Wouldn't it be cool if they proved these ghosts were real and capable of moving stuff? If they can't actually move stuff then they'd only have the entertainment value of a movie. 
Yeah, that'd be kinda fun to watch but I want the ghosts that move stuff. So what if they only do it at night, I can live with that. You leave your "denizen of the dark" buddy a note and wake up in the morning and your oil has been changed. For free since they don't need money. Pretty awesome, right? 

Thursday, September 17, 2015

"One of Those Days"

Today keeps shaping up to be "one of those days".  You know the type I'm talking about. The ones where you have a dream that you're walking through the truck stop in your underwear only to wake up and realize you're actually in the truck stop in your underwear. 
We all have those days. Ok, maybe not exactly like that but you know you've had days where nothing goes according to plan. Like "hey, I'll leave in plenty of time to show up early" then you get lost for 2 hours. 

Like the day you put the dog outside and took the kids to school. You walked in, opened the door to let the dog in and there are the kids looking at you and asking where you took the dog. If this kind of thing has never happened to you then you've clearly led a charmed life. 
Looking back, I should've known that today was gonna be a "do over" type day but I'm infuriatingly optimistic. I attribute that to my being mentally deficient. It's not my fault I'm too stupid to see disaster before dawn. 

So what makes today such a comedy of errors? Here, I'll give you the rundown...

Molly and I were to meet up today near Lexington,KY. I was several hours ahead of her so I parked in Berea at a truck stop to wait. To try to be helpful I told her I'd go pick up her prescription, in the interest of saving time we could spend together. 
Sounds easy enough, right? Not so. It all went downhill from there quickly. She and I both had one of those days. Of course. 

I deliberately chose this truck stop because when I called them to ask, they said there was a Walgreens about a mile away. Awesome. Turns out they and I have differing concepts of distance. But I'll get to that shortly. 
In theory this was to go smoothly. Theory and reality didn't get along today. She started her day by having to pick up a load that seemingly didn't exist. No one had directions to the place, the phone number rang through to a dead line and even her two GPSes (what's the plural for GPS?) couldn't agree. Excellent start to the day. 

As a result, she ended up on back roads in Fuqal Nowhere,Indiana looking for a warehouse that had only been open a few months. It was so new even its employees couldn't remember how to get to work yet. 
When she finally found the joint she called in to the Walgreens near where I was and got them started on the complicated prescription she needed. All was on target. 

An hour later they let her know the pills she normally pays $30 a month for are $100 this time due to some weird insurance mix up. Whatever. They're necessary so price doesn't matter at the moment. We can sort that out later. 
What's that? Another hour later they call back to say they don't actually have what's needed. That's alright, they call the Rite Aid across the street. The prescription gets filled quickly. 

Now comes the fun part. The walk. It's only about a mile, no big deal. Or so I thought. Turns out it was a bigger deal than advertised.
When the order was ready Molly told me there was no rush going to get it because the place was open until 6. Well, I thought I'd be proactive and leave right away because if I didn't I'd probably fall asleep and forget. We know what my attention span is like. Good thing I left early. 

I got myself together. Clothes? Check. Shoes? Check. Phone? Check. Alright, let's get going and earn my merit badge. A little over half mile away I realize I didn't grab my wallet. It's back at the truck. Crap. So I've gotta head back. That's ok, the weather is nice. 
Back to the truck, grab the wallet and vapor mod and head back to Rite Aid. I've got this. 

I cover a mile at a brisk walk. No sign of Walgreens or Rite Aid anywhere. That's ok, maybe it's just on the other side of this residential area. So I just keep moving. As I get into what seems like stores that are from the early 1900's I see a local walking and ask him if I've missed the Walgreens. 
He has no clue so I look up the number and speak with the pharmacist. I tell him where I started from and which direction I'm headed in. Turns out I'm still 3 miles away roughly. 
You've gotta be shitting me.  I'm on the right road, so that's good. But "about a mile" isn't even close to accurate. Well, I'm committed now so I reckon I'll just keep going. 

About a mile later I hit what appears to be the old town center while I'm on the phone with Molly. You know, as it starts to rain. Of course, rain. And? And a fork in the road. Naturally.  
I spot another native and ask directions again. He tells me to stay to the right as he looks at me like I'm radioactive. "You're gonna walk the whole way?" I smile and nod but really want to say "No, I've got a pick up truck in my coat pocket. I just don't feel like using it yet."  
I don't say that because I'm on foot in a backwater town in the rain. Best not to smart off. I could get killed and stuffed. Or stuffed and killed. It's a toss up with these folks. 

"Stick to the right" he says. Okey dokey. Quarter mile later the road forks again. So I do what? Right, I stick to the right. For another half mile until I get to the cemetery. Something tells me I've screwed up so I find one of the living walking amongst the dead. He was quite helpful in letting me know I stuck to the right one too many times. 
So I backtrack to that fork and go left. Roughly half mile later I can see a virtual metropolis as I top a hill. Looks about 2 miles in the distance. Certainly the Rite Aid I'm looking for must be here somewhere. If not then there must be cabs. This walking stuff kinda sucks about now. 

Feet beginning to blister (I'd definitely worn the wrong shoes for this) from the 4, yes FOUR mile walk, I make my way into the Rite Aid. And I'm thinking "what the hell did we do before cars?! This is insane!" 
The pharmacist is a friendly guy though. He's the same one I'd called once earlier when I got lost. He and I talked about the circuitous route I took getting there. Turns out there was a better way that would've shaved off a mile. Note the lack of shock on my face here. 

So I'm paying for the prescription plus the other item I was asked to grab since I was there. That's when the pharmacist asks me, "so how'd you get roped into picking this up anyway?" He knew I was picking this up for my girlfriend. Tired, wet and sore from the cross country trek I didn't even think, I just spoke. "It's birth control pills. I have what you might call a vested interest here." He just laughed and gave me that knowing nod. 

Was my journey over? Of course not. I saw a vapor shop about a block before I got there so I figured I'd stop by on my way back. It's not like I was in a rush at this point. 
Though they didn't have anything I wanted there I did see a young couple talking in the parking lot. Why not give this a shot? So I approached them, "excuse me, how'd you guys like to earn $20?" The guy quickly says, "no. Sorry.", as he looks at me like I'm recruiting drug mules. 
I recognize the look. It's the same one we give to beggars at truck stops. So I quickly add, "I'm just looking for a ride. It's raining and my feet are killing me. I'll gladly pay you for gas. I'll buy lunch. I'll give you cash. Please. I'd call a cab if this town had one. I'm begging here." I guess I'm fortunate that he saw I was sincere. He asked where I needed to go and I told him about my journey from the truck stop. 

As the three of us piled into his girlfriend's car he asked why I'd come all this way. I told him about our predicament of being truck drivers and there's never a drug store near a truck stop. Things were going smoothly. Until..

His girlfriend, driving, casually says "I just wanted to make it known that I do have a knife. In case you try anything." And I instantly responded with, "and I've got birth control and sleeping pills. If you guys have rope it'll be a party." I was tired, sore and frustrated. Apparently my humor wasn't appreciated. 

Now, imagine you're giving a random stranger a ride in the rain and he's carrying sleeping pills and birth control pills. I thought she was gonna wreck the car. 
I'm happy to report that, although they promptly kicked me out of the car, the half mile I had left back to my truck at that point was mostly uneventful. 
That thunderstorm I'd walked through for miles? Still going on. I can handle a little more wet though. What sucked was getting back to my truck to find out I'd left my windows down. Sub perfect right there. 

Monday, September 14, 2015

"I'm List Ending"

Earlier today I had the privilege of perusing a list: "25 things men over 30 shouldn't do". How nice is that? Since I'm over 30 I finally have a rule book to live by. Thank goodness, I don't know how I've managed for the last 13 years without this. 
And that got me thinking. Why haven't I looked for these rule books before? All that time in book stores and I keep forgetting the Self Help Section. I shudder to think that my life could've been so much better had I only thought to seek rules on social etiquette sooner. So let's take a look at a few of these rules, shall we? C'mon, it'll be fun. 

First off. It's in the title that this is a list of things we shouldn't do. So I'll start off by examining that aspect. A list. This denotes organization, a weak point of mine. Is this guy an accountant? Or is he Santa Clause? Is he making his list and checking it twice? Here's a list of things I don't like: 1. Lists. 
I don't even write down a grocery list. I work from memory. If this guy needs a list to remember what he's not supposed to do then the first item on his list should be a book on mnemonics. When a ship is listing it's a bad thing. Usually a precursor to sinking. Therefore, loose lips don't sink ships, lists do. 
Now I'm not saying it's not ok for you guys to make lists. Sure, have at it. I'm just saying I'm wired slightly different. That and I don't feel like employing elves or feeding reindeer. 

On this "list" of things not to do: 
"wear clothes that aren't ironed". Well, I'm sunk there. My job doesn't allow me time to get up and iron my uniform every morning. I've got 2 drawers and 2 milk crates full of neatly folded t shirts, shorts, pants, socks and underwear. I don't have room in my truck for an ironing board. According to this guy I should be ashamed of myself. For having a job that involves manual labor I assume. I imagine that when he asks men why they don't iron they just look at him and say, "because of these calloused hands, Nancy. Now shouldn't you go home and cook your boyfriend some dinner?"
I'll be honest, I tried ironing my clothes after I read this article. The biggest challenge was that I wasn't sure how much starch to use for my socks and underwear. I can report, through trial and error, that a full can for each is too much if you plan on bending your ankles or sitting. 6 cans of starch later and I'm walking around like Iron Man. 

"Lifted trucks". Yep, on your 30th birthday the rule book requires you to sell that big 4x4. Obviously the guy that wrote that list did not do so while sitting at a diner in Alabama. If he did, he certainly didn't ask any locals to proofread. 
I find this interesting. So is he saying those 26" rims are perfectly acceptable after the age of 30? You can't be a redneck after 30 but you can be a "gangsta". So I guess I need to go get me some gold teeth and a Tupac cd now that I'm a big boy. 

"Earrings or any body piercings". Well this one strikes a chord with me. For obvious reasons. I wear an earring. Just one. I used to have about 12 in my ears. I did that as an act of defiance when I was younger but now it's just the one. Why one? Because I like rum. I'm a pirate and shit, matey. 
Ok, so I'm not really a pirate. I don't have any real reason for wearing one other than "because I do what I want."  However, in a discussion the other day it was mentioned I knew a police officer who wears an earring as well. The response was "well being a cop doesn't necessarily mean he's not a bad person." Oh. Well I didn't know an earring made you a bad guy. 
I decided to test that theory and took my earring out. As it turns out, without it in, I can now do good. It's not guns that we need to control, it's jewelry. Ban male ear piercing and there will be less crime. 

"Drinking games". I rarely drink. I don't need alcohol to relax or to have fun. And I hate hangovers. So I don't drink much. But I'm familiar with drinking games, I've seen them and read about them. Looks to me like people having fun. 
Clearly this efficiency expert has it down. Drinking shouldn't be enjoyable. There should be no comradery. According to this guy drinking should be strictly about getting wasted. You should sit in your easy chair and upend a bottle of Jack. Alone in your living room, with your microwave dinner in front of you.
He specifically mentions beer pong, which I've seen but never played. My reason for not playing is simple: I have no interest. I'm fairly certain, though, that he's disparaging it because no one would pick him to be on their team. "No, Mr Etiquette, you throw like a girl. Now why don't you be a dear and go fetch us a drink?" 

"Don't argue online". Well that's a subjective statement. An argument to one person is a perfectly sensible debate to another. My understanding is that an "argument" is two people raising voices and calling names. I'm snarky and sarcastic but I don't generally call people names. 
I could yell at my computer but I don't see that doing much good so I don't do it. I do yell at the tv during football season though. I don't know if that counts. I do, however, run a blog wherein I will sometimes post sociopolitical articles or theopolitical articles that people will want to discuss or debate. 
According to this guy I shouldn't engage with my readers. By that thinking you guys are arguing with me online and you should cease and desist immediately. No disagreeing allowed anymore. We are all shiny, happy people. I guess REM had it right decades ago. 
Looking at his way of thinking, it's online that we shouldn't argue. He was clear about that. But it's apparently ok if we fight in public. Disagree with someone's post? Obviously the only answer is to meet up at the convenience store and "rumble" or have a dance off. If you're over 30 then knifing someone is ok by his standards. Even fist fighting I suppose. Which leads us to the next 2:

"Tap Out shirts". You can't wear those if you're over 30. Any of you MMA fighters, you've gotta find a different sponsor. Sorry, it's his rules not mine. (But you MMA guys, you can't disagree with him online. You've gotta disagree with him in person. That should work out well for him.) And I didn't read anything about a grey area so all the shirts I have from my old dojo are still in fashion. In fact, it looks like it's ok to walk around wearing a gi. So we know what I'll be wearing to the beach from now on. Of course, I'll have to take my earring out or all the good guys will want to fight and we already know the villain always loses. 

"Watching wrestling" is verboten if you're over 30. This may cripple the WWE and WWF as far as marketing and ticket sales. But it could make for a different reality show. Just imagine all those kids that like wrestling. Now they have to go to events unchaperoned. They can just point the cameras at the audience of preteen and teenage kids and watch them fight amongst themselves. Yeah, there'll probably be "20 somethings" there in the crowd but they aren't held to the same rules as us grown ups I reckon. 
It'll be like "Mortal Kombat" in real life. Kids kicking the crap out of each other in the "no parents allowed" wrestling arena. Fun times. Pay up your kids' insurance. 

"A bachelor pad. Even if you're a bachelor". Interesting. I'm a single father so I'm a bachelor by default. Not my fault. Quick, someone marry me so I'm not breaking the rules. Do I have stop signs and shit on my walls? No. I have oil paintings and pictures of my kids. Aside from that, my walls are pretty bare. Not because I'm all "bachelory" but because I'm too lazy to decorate. That and I'm still kinda caveman ish. If I start painting the walls then I'll probably end up with stick figure mammoths and stick figure guys with spears. Little hieroglyphs of fire and stuff. 
Nor do I have animal heads as trophies, bear skin rugs or taxidermied animals. The only stuffed animals in my house are the ones the boys sleep with. I do all my hunting at the grocery store. I'm lazy that way. 

I'm not going to list all of the "25 things that are no no's for guys over 30". This article would be way too long and boring. Not that being over 30 has to be boring according to "Mr Etiquette". For instance, there were plenty of things NOT on his list. Like...

Video games. Video games didn't make his list. I rarely play video games but I have kids so I can't say I never play. I beat "Lego Marvel Superheroes" so that my boys can use any character they want. 
I don't play "Call of Duty" or "World of Warcraft" but I guess Mr Etiquette does. At home alone drunk. He probably even has a character name like "Lone Wolf" or some shit. I'm not saying he's friendless. According to his article there's a dress code that should be strictly adhered to when playing golf. So maybe he has some golf buddies somewhere. Exciting. 
Now he does also strictly forbid paintball which is something I've never done. Not that it doesn't look like fun but because I'm just too lazy. Or intense. I'd probably rip the sleeves off my gi (acceptable wear per his article), tie a bandana around my head (he forbids knit caps or flat brimmed hats but bandanas seem to be ok) and run around in my go cart (I saw nothing forbidding those) screaming "Cobra Kai" and shoot anything moving or not. 

Ya know, looking back on this guy's article, I'm not entirely certain that Caitlin Jenner and Ru Paul didn't get together, drain a few bottles of wine and write that piece. They probably thought none of those things on the list were ladylike and wanted to speak out. Of course, a lot of guys wrote in outraged at the article. Fortunately, the writer wasn't able to disagree with them without violating his own code of ethics. I'm not outraged at all. I'm thankful I've finally got a rule book I can follow so that I can be perfect. 
Knowing me, though, there's a pretty good chance I'll look at the loopholes and work from there. 

Saturday, September 12, 2015

"Wrestling With Reality"

Once again I sit at the shop. I'm getting used to this lately. So are the people at Detroit Diesel. As I understand it they're ordering me a uniform. The name tag is supposed to read "indentured servant".
This, of course, led to some arguing because I clearly don't wear dentures. Just hateful that they call me names like that. I didn't mind so much that they gave me a choice between janitor and jester. I'm clearly never going to be a mechanic. 

So I chose jester for now. Mostly because I really dig the cool hat with the bells on it. As it turns out, they preferred that too so I couldn't keep sneaking up on them. 
I'm like an overgrown kid like that. "You finished yet? You finished yet? Can I leave now? Huh huh huh. Can I?" Then I dodge a wrench or screwdriver. 

While they're working I'm waiting in the Driver's Lounge. As usual, I'm the only one in there. I'm fairly certain there's another one, one where they let everyone else sit. The odds are either Molly or the company I'm leased to has an agreement with Detroit Diesel that restricts my public interaction. 
It's ok though. I like having a private room with a tv in it. It's kinda like being in the waiting room waiting for my truck to come out of surgery. Every time they open the door to announce either progress or another problem found I get excited. So long as they never open the door and tell me they pulled a Caitlyn Jenner on my truck. His name is Willy, never to be Wilma. When Molly decided to name my truck Willy it became a joke. Like "Willy make it to the shop or won't he?"

Today Willy is here because he has a timing issue. Since I can't really afford to be broke down right now I'd say this is poor timing in addition to the engine timing. Apparently shooting flame out of my smoke stacks is bad. Especially when the truck can barely move. I can't tell you how fun it is when people freak out. 
Here I was at a steel mill all excited "look! Behold the flame from the mighty dragon! I challenge any of you knights to slay this mighty beast!" Turns out all it takes is a security guard with a cell phone. Sadly. Ruined the whole day for me, I tell ya. 

"Sir. Sir! You're supposed to be wearing a hard hat and safety vest. What are you doing?! Get down! No, you can't tear your shirt off and run around claiming you're the 'Fire God'." 
Fortunately, I just claimed it was the fumes from the unburned diesel that impaired my judgement. 

So, here I sit, released on my own recognizance, watching tv alone. This shop has the most basic of channels so I stop on USA for a minute to see what's on. Wrestling. Eh, can't be that bad, right? 
Wrong. It's horrible. This WWF stuff is atrocious. Not only is it unrealistic but I've seen better acting by sock puppets. At least they were more believable. Even more unbelievable than the acting was the crowd. 

Grown people are there. Men and women actually paid money for those tickets. These folks are yelling and screaming like they actually believe this stuff. I can see folks in the crowd with banners. Some wearing shirts and stuff with these guys' names on them. 
So these people honestly believe that a guy can stand on the middle rope and punch another guy in the face 6 or 7 times but never break skin, cause any bruises or even swelling? Seriously? Or this "7 foot tall, 450 pound" guy called "The Big Show" can't hold a guy on the mat for 3 seconds? "He hooks the leg. 1,2 and he kicks out!" Dude, you're 450 pounds. Put some weight on him; he ain't going nowhere. 

Brain cells I'll never be able to regrow. Gone. Poof! So I'll just switch to something educational. My options at this shop are limited. History channel? They don't have Discovery here. Time to get my learning on. As I kick back with a cup of coffee and prepare myself for "Brad Meltzer's Decoded: The Spear of Destiny" I hear cheering from somewhere in the building..."yeeeeah! Pin 'em! You've got this!"
Oh. That's why I have my own room I guess. 

Tuesday, September 8, 2015

"Ask Me Another Truckin Question..."

So I was recently informed about some "common questions" asked of truck drivers. Well you know me, I like to be all informative and junk so I figured I'd take a crack at honestly answering these things. Why not, I've got nothing better to do.
I didn't even realize people were all that curious about trucking. They usually just look at me like "where's your beard and flannel?" when I tell them I'm a truck driver. Somehow being a trucker means I've gotta look like Paul Bunyan or something. 

So people wanna know: "why do you guys travel next to each other and slow down traffic?" 
Well, there are two different situations I should explain. The first one is what we call an "elephant race". Pretty self explanatory there. One of us is trying to pass the other one. Why? Because we hate being stuck behind someone as much as you do. I can't tell ya how many times I've come up on a slow rolling vehicle and started rocking back and forth in frustration, waiting a chance to get around them too. But, by then, I've been slowed down enough that when I pop out to the left it takes a few minutes to get the gerbils runnin full speed again. What, you thought we just did it to slow down your commute? Trust me, we've got better things to do. 
Another reason you might see this is if we are coming up on stopped traffic. Then we sometimes implement a "rolling roadblock". Why? Because people just looooove hopping into the lane that's going to be closing down so they can run up ahead and cut back into line. They're in a bigger hurry than everyone else I reckon. Their lives are more important so they shouldn't have to wait in line with us "common folk". But what they end up doing is creating a bottle neck that slows down everyone behind them. Not that the people creating the problem care. So we big guys "encourage" people to merge sooner and traffic flows smoother. You're welcome. 

"Why don't you guys get over so we can merge?" Well, I could ask why it's so difficult for you guys to look at the traffic on the highway and gauge your speed and merge point. Honestly, sometimes I just maintain my speed and lane hoping that the car getting on is driven by someone smart enough to do that. Other times I simply can't get over. Try this: when you're frustrated that a truck hasn't moved out of your way, look UNDER his trailer. Do you see a car on the other side? Is there one right next to his cab that you can't see? I notice cars aren't real inclined to let us over. Must be the blinker that confuses them. 
Wanna know a couple things that frustrate the hell out of us about merging? A) when we DO get over to let a car on and they match speed with us right next to us. Oh goody, now I can't get back over without slowing this giant down. No good deed goes unpunished. 
B) when we are pretty much forced to slow down for the potato head who isn't going highway speed. They hang out right there in the perfect spot to become lunch for my radiator because he's going significantly slower than me. Then, once I drop down to match his 45 mph, he suddenly realizes he's on the highway and takes off like a missile. Invariably we are back there wishing we had .50 cals mounted to our hoods. Ugh. 

"So, like, you guys have 18 brakes and stuff, right? So you can stop pretty fast". I was asked that by a college girl once. And was instantly saddened that she graduated high school. To answer the first part: "like, no, we don't got 18 brakes." You get 2 for each axle. Thats it; that's your allotment. It's not sauce for your McNuggets; we can't pay extra and get more. That's 10 brakes for most trucks. Sound like a lot? Your 2,000 pound car has 4. My 80,000 pound truck has 10. Guess who can stop quicker. 
The second half of the question is what saddened me. See, there was this guy named Isaac Newton. He developed a few laws regarding physics and motion. His third law relates to a thing called "inertia". "A body at rest remains at rest unless acted upon by an outside force. A body in motion stays in motion unless acted upon by an outside force" (I'm paraphrasing because I'm too lazy to look up the exact quote but I think that's pretty close) Bottom line: my truck has brakes. (The outside force to act upon the body in motion). The 46,000 pounds of steel pipe I'm carrying, not so much. (No outside force to stop that 65-70 mph of forward motion). Therefore: I stop but IT wants to keep going. I'm directly in front of it. I bet you'd ease this thing to a stop too. 

Here's an experiment I suggest to people: go home, get a hand full of dried spaghetti noodles. Make sure it's all evened up on the ends. Now, shake your hand up and down like you're shaking a soda before you give it to someone. Those noodles in the middle? That's what happens to our freight. Inertia. 
Ya know, I bet if they taught it that way in school it'd be easier to learn. "Class, what did Newton teach us about inertia?" That your noodles make a mess of your noggin when you stop too quick. 

Next question: "why don't you guys stop to help people on the side of the road?" Couple simple answers really. First and foremost: ain't nobody got time for that. 
Used to be that there were big warehouses for storing stuff and they'd just shuttle it over to the stores. Now we have what's called "just in time" deliveries. If I've got something on my truck today then someone needed it yesterday. 
Also, what am I gonna do? Seriously. I'm not mechanically inclined. I'm gonna pull over and go "yep, that looks broke. You should call a tow truck." What good is that gonna do you? 
Still want another reason? Ok. See the previous discussion on inertia. So I see your car on the shoulder of the highway. By the time I bring this beast to a stop I'm a mile past you. Want me to jog back and tell you to call a tow truck? As nice a gesture as it would be, you know you'd want to slap me. 
Yeah, trucks used to stop to render aid. Of course, now we have things like cell phones. If yours doesn't have a signal mine won't either. I suppose if I weren't in a hurry I could hang out and keep you company. Set up a grill and wait for more people to stop. Maybe have a block party while we're waiting for your tow truck. But then I don't see people in cars pulling over to help me tighten straps. Where's the love? 

"Why do you guys run red lights? Don't you know that's unsafe?"
Yeah, it happens sometimes. Know what's more unsafe sometimes? Trying to stop. I finally get this thing back up to 45mph and I get to a light just as it flashes from green to red. Sometimes that yellow is so quick it's like a muzzle flash. So I've no choice but go through the red light. Inertia again. Damn you, Newton, with your laws of motion! 
I suppose I could lock up my brakes, skid through the intersection, take up all four lanes trying to maintain control and finally stop while spilling my freight everywhere. But you're gonna like that option a lot less when I block off the road for most of a day in all directions. If I think I can make it through there without killing anyone then I'll lay on my air horn and not even try to slow down. Oh, by the way, make sure to look both ways before taking off at a green light, folks. Just like they taught you. 

Final question: "you guys are horrible. Why do you run over animals? Why don't you swerve?" My rule? If it's got more than 2 legs I'm hitting it. 80,000 pounds moves best in a straight line. It's that simple. If Rover got out of the yard and ran out in the street, I'm sorry but Rover is a goner. Big trucks aren't known for their remarkable maneuverability. And if you swerve to miss a cat and run into my truck? There's a good chance I'm gonna lay hands on you. You'd have been better off hitting Fluffy, I'll tell you that right now. 
Yes, I love animals. It sucks when I've gotta run one over. If I see it in time to safely avoid it I will. Most of us will. I don't want to risk damaging my truck or have to deal with the clean up afterward. But I'm not gonna wreck my truck for a cat either. One life down, 8 to go, kitty. 

Now I always welcome questions and suggestions. I also welcome you to share these tips with your friends. So, the next time you're doing shots of 151 at a party and someone asks about physics, you feel free to tell them all about Newton and how he screwed it up for everyone with these ridiculous "Laws of Motion". They'll probably thank you as they toss back another shot. You'll be the hero and they'll be better informed. Everyone wins. You're welcome. 

Saturday, September 5, 2015

"The Hypocrisy of Kim Davis"

Sometimes I like to get out of my truck to eat. It's good to get out in public and see how "the normals" live occasionally. I dress up in my "regular people" clothes that Molly got for me. Under Armour shirts, nice jeans, even a nice button up shirt over the t shirt like "look at me, I'm blending in". 
Don't get me wrong, we've compromised and I still get to wear my canvas Doc Martin's high tops. Or my Doc Martin's boots. So long as I'm wearing long pants and people can't really see my shoes. I can't express enough how much she really doesn't like my Kung Fu slippers or plaid wing tips. So the Docs are a decent enough compromise. I'm sure, in time, my other shoes will mysteriously "vanish" and more...acceptable shoes will appear. It'll be like the Bermuda Triangle of footwear. 

So, anyway, here I am dressed up all fancy with my "goin' out" clothes on and sitting at the main counter at the truck stop diner. Strategically placed to be able to interact with multiple people at once. If I'm gonna run for President then I need to practice my "smiley glad hands" persona. 
Directly across from me is a fellow truck driver. I figure I'll listen to his attempts to pick up the waitress behind the counter. It was interesting. And it got more interesting as more people showed up. 

I'm watching this guy across from me just laying it on as he goes. Now he looks to be in his mid 60's and Lisa, the counter girl, is probably early 30's. He's telling her that he's headed to Iowa or Virginia or something tomorrow. I wasn't paying attention, really, to where he was heading but I did catch that he could take her to 5 or 6 Lenny Kravitz concerts because he was hauling equipment for the shows. Every advance he made, she rebuffed. It finally culminated in her telling him she was married. That seemed to stave off the last of his attempts. 
When she walked off he and I got to talking about the concerts and stuff he's seen. Like most of us truck drivers he really just wanted conversation. I get that. I'm the same way. Being in a truck is almost like being institutionalized. 

As another couple drivers came in the talk turned to politics. I may have gently nudged the conversation in that direction. I mean, I did have a personal agenda there. I can't get people talking about my campaign if I don't get them started. 
It was going pretty smoothly. Even Lisa was taking part in the conversation. I'm no real public speaker because of my antisocial way of talking but it was starting to flow kinda naturally. I even had a couple people sitting in booths move to the counter. I'll admit, I was kinda proud of myself. 

It didn't take long before the conversation turned to the ongoing story about Kim Davis, the County Clerk who's refusing to grant marriage licenses to same sex couples. She states it's because of her religious beliefs. Ole Toothless, the concert driver, just HAD to know my stance on this. 
Oh good, we're going to mix politics and religion in public. This should be interesting. Crap. I'm gonna get in trouble no matter which direction I take. Well, here goes:

"Our constitution is pretty clear about separation of Church and State. However, for decades we've ignored this at our own peril. The ambiguity in the rule itself sets us up for failure. It's a slippery slope and we didn't merely "slip" down it, we got a running start like Evel Knievel jumping Snake River. (How's that for an obscure reference these days?) 

We set up a tax system and excluded churches. This made religion profitable. Which, by default, gave them money and power. Anything in America that generates that much revenue becomes powerful for the wrong reasons. Even within the church, power corrupts.  And that's what we've done here, with today's situation. We continue to violate the Church and State separation. 
Here's someone who claims to have strong religious convictions working in a field governed by the State. Whether she agrees with the law or not is immaterial. If she feels she can't perform her legal duty for religious purposes then she should seek other employment. 
Again, separation of Church and State. You can't have it both ways. If you don't want the government running your church then you can't cite religion as an excuse to break the law. Religions have been warring for millennia to no avail. The laws of the country are to govern your body, not your soul. 

Now, subsequently, I also believe the church is part of the problem. Because of its power. In an effort to gain followers, and therefore more financial gain, the church corrupted itself from the outset. And now people can claim 'religious belief' for or against pretty much anything. The palimpsest of the texts and tenets themselves for the sake of conversion creates muddied morals and principles. Sadly. 
The church wants to not be governed by the State yet wants to assert itself in the laws made by the State. If the church wishes to govern itself then it shouldn't meddle in State affairs. If it wishes to do so, then it should be taxed and treated as the business it is. 

Arguments can be made both for and against just about anything based on religion. The ironic part is that among her duties is filing divorce papers. Did she not know, the first time she filed those, that this job would violate her religious convictions? I find her excuse invalid and I hate when people pick and choose which parts of the Bible they'll stand behind."

There was only one argument against me. One of the guys at the counter said I must be gay and "homosexuality is an abomination". Well, tell ya what, you show me the passages that say "homosexuality is an abomination but divorce is ok" and I'll show you where it says the only way out of marriage is death. And, if you like, we can look at where it says God loves all his children. I missed the part where it listed the ones he hates. 

To his credit, he spent 10 minutes looking. I even offered other options. "Well, is there at least a section about marriage licenses? It's been a while since I read the Bible, my memory may be rusty. Or, do you think maybe it's possible this Davis chick has a personal belief the laws don't apply to her?"

It's pretty simple really. If you're a vegan and believe eating meat is immoral would you take a job at a slaughterhouse? If you did you can't refuse to do your job and expect there to not be repercussions. It doesn't make you a hero, it makes you an idiot. Get a different job. One that doesn't violate your beliefs. 
I bet this lady is one of those "Jesus is the reason for the season" people who doesn't realize: A) Jesus wasn't born in the winter and B) Christmas, or "Christ's Mass, was the catholic adaptation of Saturnalia, a pagan celebration that culminated in a human sacrifice on December 23rd. They eventually phased out the human sacrifice part while gaining followers. Sheer genius. 
What's her "religious conviction" on human sacrifice and pagan rituals? Hhmm. She's no hero. 

Logically, if the church were still smart, they'd use same sex marriage as a way to rewrite the texts again (that's what the church does, it's good business) and incorporate  homosexuals. 
More followers, more financial gain and power. But the power they already have has blinded them to how they gained power to begin with. They're missing a great opportunity to grow again and become stronger. 

Look, folks, I'm not arguing for or against Christianity. Your beliefs are your own. Personally, I believe that as inured as we've become to violence and unethical behavior, we could use a Higher Power. I believe that if someone else's lifestyle doesn't have an impact on your life, why try to prevent happiness. I AM saying that when you pick and choose which laws to obey and which sections of the Bible suit you you're weakening your own religious argument.