Wednesday, March 20, 2019

A Vegan-Free Celebration

I just finally figured out the main reason I’m not a vegan. Besides their whole incomprehensible No Bacon policy, I mean.

It hit me this Sunday on St. Patrick’s Day. While 99.9% of Americans were joining me in celebrating our Irish-ish heritage, the vegans were left out again. I think this might be why many of them seem so bitter. Vegans are sadly incapable of properly celebrating anything.

There are two key components to a St. Patrick’s Day party. Green beer and corned beef. Assuming the green beer dye was not animal- or insect-based, the vegans could get half, and arguably, the most important part, Irish-ly speaking, of the celebration. But they can’t have the full-meal-deal, as it were. Corned beef is amazing, and they are missing out on it.

Corned beef is traditionally cooked with potatoes and cabbage. Those are vegan-approved, but not when cooked with the corned beef in the crock pot, as God intended. So, along with their green beer, vegans are forced to eat regular cabbage – probably uncooked and raw, knowing them – and boring potatoes with no butter, sour cream, or even bacon bits. Just dry potatoes with chives. Chives are meant to be held onto your potato bites by sour cream, nature’s delicious adhesive. They probably just fall off onto the plate or into your lap without it. That’s no kind of celebration.

And this self-inflicted holiday exclusion continues year-round. Thanksgiving turkey? Nope. How about some Thanksgiving tofurkey? There’s nothing to be thankful for there.

Christmas Cornish game hens? New Year’s polska kielbasa? Valentine’s Day milk chocolates? Easter ham? Cinco de Mayo carne asada street tacos? Memorial Day burgers? Independence Day hot dogs? Labor Day meat lover’s delight pizza? Columbus Day leg of lamb? Veteran’s day shish kebab, abalone, or meat and cheese fondue (your choice, because freedom)? Nope, nope, nope, and more nope.

And forget holidays for a minute. What do you do when you get the big promotion at work? Or for your anniversary, or birthday? You go out to dinner and you get the steak. Or the lobster. Or the crab. Or salmon. Whatever.

How does a vegan even celebrate good news? “Hey, I just found out we’re getting a huge unexpected tax refund. Let’s go out to dinner tonight. We’ll order the whole eggplant!”

I had never understood why vegans are always trying to persuade other people to join them on their meatless non-thrill ride. I mean, how can you go through life never eating pulled pork nachos? It doesn’t make any sense. In light of this new revelation, I think it might be a “misery loves company” thing.

Now that we know they’re secretly unhappy, I think it’s time we turn the tables on them. We owe it to every vegan we meet (meat?) to extoll the benefits of beef and pork products. If even one or two of them can finally know what it means to truly celebrate, it will all be worth it.

But be smart about it. Offer them some of your omelet or grilled chicken sandwich at first, just to start them off slow. Don’t start with baby back ribs or a T-bone. You learn to drive in a Honda, not a Ferrari.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


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Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Free Shipping at UPS

Besides hosting one of the greatest author day events in the history of organized education last week, with free books for every student, I think one of the teachers at the elementary school has just given us all the gift of free shipping. Allow me to explain.

Yesterday, UPS showed up with a good-size box addressed to me from Warrior Sports – the company that I bought Son Number Two’s lacrosse gear from. I hadn’t ordered anything from them recently, so I had no idea what it could be. Son Number Two tore into it and produced a box of Lucky Charms cereal, a package of cookies, a book of stamps, and a Happy St. Patrick’s Day greeting card addressed to him.

This seems like a strange thing for Warrior Sports to be sending my son. Are they just the most Irish, most customer-centered company in the entire world – so much so that they send strangely random and personalized St. Patrick’s Day gifts to every single one of their customers every year? Seems unlikely, but here we are…

Upon opening the card, it had a nice note wishing our son a fun-filled St. Patty’s Day, signed, “Love, Mom & Dad.”

Uh… Hmm…

Honey, did you get a second job at a hockey and lacrosse equipment company and forget to tell me?

No? Me neither. Umm… what the heck is going on here?

Then we flipped the box over and saw the second UPS label – the one with a white sticker covering up the bar codes – and my handwriting in Sharpie marker on the flap of the box.

Mrs. Smith – Fifth Grade – Room 12

*sound of light bulbs turning on in my brain, illuminating the dark, confused, hazy cloud*

Ohhhhhhh! Now I understand what is happening here!

This was the old box that Son Number Two’s lacrosse helmet came in, that I then re-used to hand-deliver a big stack of books to Mrs. Smith’s classroom last week. Mrs. Smith then repurposed the box as a St. Patrick’s Day care package for her son, who is presumably in college and enjoys sugary cereal and snacks and never writes home to his parents, and also shares a first name with my son. No one noticed the old UPS label from Warrior Sports on the bottom of the box, since apparently, I opened it upside down the first time. No one, that is, except for the UPS sorting machine that noticed two conflicting labels and kicked it out to the UPS This-Box-Has-Two-Labels-Fix-It guy, who then chose to cover up the bar codes on the wrong one. So, the very coincidental box came back to my house.

So, we peeled the cover-up sticker off the correct bar codes and put it over the other ones, then grabbed the packing tape from the garage and re-taped the cellophane packaging on the remaining cookies as best we could. Then we bundled it all back up for the poor, starving, possibly pre-diabetic college student.

Off we went to the UPS store, where we waited in line to talk to the young lady at the counter. I explained the situation to her and told her I wanted to make sure the label would still work to get it to the college student so he could finally write a letter home to his wonderful parents who have excellent taste in cookies, demanding to know what happened to over half of them.

She said, and I quote, “Oh, sure, no problem. It will get there. The labels don’t expire.”

“OK, great. Thanks.” Wait. What?

The labels don’t expire? How can that be?

The first label did work twice to get the box to my house…

*sound of more light bulbs turning on in my head, although this time much slower, like they were on dimmer switches*

Um… does this mean what I think it means? If you have someone you regularly send things to, I’m pretty sure you never have to pay for shipping again. Just ship it once back and forth with the labels on opposite sides, and never remove the labels. Then simply cover up the other label every time you want to send it back, for free.

I feel like, as a multi-billion-dollar worldwide corporation, UPS would have figured out a fix for this, like for instance, having the labels expire, but here we are.

Thanks, Mrs. Smith, for the life hack! And a very happy St. Patrick’s Day to the young Mr. Smith. Study hard, write your parents, and for goodness sake, don’t forget to brush your teeth.

As for the rest of you, enjoy your free shipping while it lasts. They’re bound to catch on sooner or later.

In the meantime, you’re welcome, America.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Free Books at Walmart

We interrupt this regularly-scheduled column for a severe hand cramp. I am typing this with my left hand and my nose.

It all started a few months ago when I was contacted by the vice president. No, not that one. The vice president of the PTA at one of our local elementary schools. She was contacting me to set up an author visit, which is a normal occurrence, but this one had a twist. She was in the process of trying to get a grant to buy every single kid at the school one of my books. I was immediately in favor of the idea.

She continued to work hard and I went about my daily routine, which is centered largely around snacking, keeping my cheese dust-covered fingers crossed that she could pull it off. Lo and behold, almost a month ago, she called to tell me the good news that she had secured the money, and every student would get a book!

I hadn’t asked originally, but I just assumed she was working with the school district, or some other education-based entity to get the money, so I was surprised when she told me the funds were coming from Walmart. I immediately began to wonder who I had gotten myself involved with, but she assured me that she didn’t rob the Walmart, like I naturally concluded.

It turns out that every Walmart and Sam’s Club store in America has ten thousand dollars per year that the store manager is in charge of giving away to local non-profit and charity endeavors. How cool is that!? My books may not be in Walmart, but they are sponsored by Walmart!

I immediately inquired to our neighborhood Walmart about getting some funds donated to the newly-established Schmatjen Family Mortgage Relief and Vacation Foundation, but they apparently have strict guidelines about charitable status blah blah, or something. I stopped listening after they threw me out.

So why am I experiencing severe, physically debilitating cramping in my right hand, you ask? Well, I was given almost an entire month to complete the task of signing all the books, so naturally I left it until the last minute.

The school visit is tomorrow and I’m not even half way through yet.

I have to stop typing now. My left hand is starting to cramp up and my nose is getting sore.

If you know any experts in forgery who would work for beer and snacks, I’d appreciate a quick introduction. In the meantime, I’m going to go duct tape the pen to my right hand and try to keep going.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

The Canine Loyalists

I had a strange new emotion last night. A friend of ours texted me looking for a hot date by today at the latest, and I got a little upset.

A little background is due at this point.

We have a beautiful yellow Labrador retriever named Remi. Our friends have her sister from the previous litter, and both dogs have the same pair of parents. Our dogs are virtually twins, even though they are a year apart in age.

Our dog Remi has been spayed, which resulted in some hard feelings between her and me at the vet, and two completely shattered plastic cone collars at home, because she just wasn’t having any of it.

Their dog, on the other hand, is not spayed, and as far as I know, has never shattered a plastic “cone of shame” on a door jamb.

They are currently trying to breed her.

The text last night was this: “Hey, we’re trying to breed our dog right now. She’s in heat and we’ve been trying with a young Lab for two days, but he’s just not interested. Do you know of anyone wanting to breed their male Lab?”

At this point, my first thought, of course, was that “Gigolo Retriever” would be a great name for a rock band.

My second thought was that unfortunately, I didn’t know any available male Labs looking for love, so I texted back saying no, and then, out of nowhere, I got pretty defensive.

What the hell is wrong with this idiot male dog? Why won’t he mate with our girls? Are our Labs not good enough for him? Our dogs are beautiful!

Hmm… where is this emotion coming from? My dog and I are not even involved in this failed transaction. Why am I taking this personally?

Still, though, what is wrong with our girls? Nothing, that’s what!! They are good looking bitches, and any pure-bred Lab yahoo would be lucky to even get to sniff their butts!

Wow. Seriously. Not even my dog. I don’t even know the male dog. I literally have nothing to do with any of this. Settle down.

At that point, however, I was too curious not to ask. “What’s wrong with the male?”

Our friend responded, “Not sure. He mounts her, does a few hip tucks, then jumps off and sniffs the grass. We think he might be gay. Ha ha.”

So, obviously, my first thought was “The Gay Labradors” would be a great name for an alt-rock bagpipe troupe.

My second thought was, yeah, he’s probably gay. That makes the most sense, because our girls are amazing.

Apparently, I’m weirdly loyal to my dog. Who knew? I think that’s probably normal, though.

At least, I’m going to decide it is.

Who’s the best girl?!!!

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


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Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

Hump Day

My wife has left us. All alone. For four days.

It’s Day Two and we have already descended into chaos. Pray for me.

I try to see the bright side of situations, but this one is tough. Sure, we get to eat out a lot, but that’s expensive. Sure, we could not shower and spend all day in our underwear, but they require you to wear pants at Chick-fil-A, and will insist that you leave immediately if you aren’t. We found that out the hard way.

As near as I can tell, there is only one pure upside to my wife being gone – I get to sleep on the hump.

You see, I’m in the second half of my forties, or the “complete physical breakdown” period, as it’s known. Some random part of my body is either hurting, aching, or simply not working correctly at any given moment of every single day. The only thing keeping me alive and marginally mobile is sleep.

A good night’s sleep depends on four main factors:
1) Making sure your kids are sleeping somewhere other than in your house.
2) Making sure your dog is sleeping somewhere other than in your house.
3) Having demonstrated the willingness to shoot randomly out of your upstairs windows at the first sign of late-night disturbances, thus eliminating loud parties and street racing in your neighborhood.
4) A good bed.

Of these four essential ingredients, a good bed is arguably the most important factor for an aging male, such as myself, since I’m mostly deaf at this point anyway. But having a good bed is not as foolproof as it sounds. At least not for me and my wife.

We have two main problems when shopping for a bed, stemming mostly from the fact that we’re both “frugal”:
A) Neither of us want to pay the Maserati-ish ticket price for the “premium-grade” mattress, even though we both need the premium-grade mattress.
B) Neither of us want to buy a new mattress after the recommended seven to ten years, because even after fifteen years, “we just bought this one!”

So there, in the master suite, sits a probably ten-plus-year-old “standard entry-grade” king-size mattress that has only one thing going for it – the hump in the middle.

By sleeping on our respective sides all these years, the weight and heat of our bodies have worked to shift many of the standard entry-grade mattress molecules to the middle of the bed. There, due again to the effects of pressure and heat, much like how diamonds are created deep within our earth’s crust, the sub-par mattress molecules have fused together into a magical longitudinal mass of premium mattress molecules, known as “the hump.”

The hump is a mattress within a mattress, if you will. It’s a three-foot-wide section of platinum mattress, hiding in plain sight in the middle of our old, worn out bronze model.

The hump is not available to me on regular nights, because if I tried to sleep there, I would be touching my wife while we slept, which would throw her delicate nighttime temperature regulation system completely out of whack, activating her “kick violently until the temperature regulation system gets back on track” reflex, which puts me in great nighttime physical peril.

So, the hump is only available when the king-size bed is single-occupancy, and this week, that single occupant is me.

When I woke up this morning, my hip didn’t even hurt. I feel like I’m forty-three again!

Happy hump day.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Google+ You = Just You

I received some disturbing news last week. Google emailed me to inform me that my Google+ account would be shut down soon. You can imagine my surprise.

My first thought was, I have a Google+ account?

My second thought was, What the hell is Google+?

I’m totally kidding. I know Google+ was the social media network that Google came up with in an afternoon as a means to compete with Facebook. Sadly, it never really took off, and by “never really,” I mean that only fifty-six people in the entire world ever knew about it, and most of them worked at Google. Maybe they should have advertised it on Facebook?

My guess as to why it never gained any traction is that it had a symbol in the name. It was like The Social Network Formerly Known as Prince. When you don’t actually spell out your company name, you leave it far too open for interpretation.

Is it “Google Plus,” “Google Add,” “Google And,” “Google Positive,” “Google Lazy Person’s Ampersand,” or “Google Insert International Direct Dial Code Here?” No one ever knew for sure.

Here’s part of the nice note I received from Google Celtic Cross:

In December 2018, we announced our decision to shut down Google+ for consumers in April 2019 due to low usage and challenges involved in maintaining a successful product that meets consumers' expectations.

Apparently, one of the “challenges involved in maintaining a successful product” is not accidentally leaving a giant security gap for an entire week. That apparently does not “meet consumers' expectations.”

Originally, they had plans to drag out the shutdown of Google Line Doodle until August of 2019, but then they found out that they did an update that had a huge bug in, leaving everyone’s accounts wide open for an entire week, so they have decided to pull the plug by April.

It’s unclear whether any sensitive data was leaked, but the good news for Google is that virtually everyone with a Google I Have Two Sticks account was a Google employee, and can’t sue them. Any class action lawsuits arising from the breach should only have about seven members, consisting of ultra-hipsters. Google can probably settle out of court with them for a few twelvers of PBR and some free Lyft coupons.

The nice note then had a ton of completely useless information about how I could retrieve all my photos from them. Apparently, they were still fooling themselves into thinking anyone actually used Google Swiss Flag, right up until the end.

The note concluded with this:

From all of us on the Google+ team, thank you for making Google+ such a special place. We are grateful for the talented group of artists, community builders, and thought leaders who made Google+ their home. It would not have been the same without your passion and dedication.

Yes, you seven dedicated thought leaders meant the world to us!

Also, if any of you talented, passionate community builders out there are hiring, we would love to synergistically leverage our failed Google Skewed X platform skills in your workspace, as early as next Tuesday.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, February 6, 2019

Beware the Turd Mobb

We here at Just a Smidge are constantly combing the news wires in an effort to keep you informed about the critical issues that affect us all. We’re here to keep you as safe as possible, America. So, we feel it is our civic duty to inform you of a grave new possible threat to our very way of life – The Turd Mobb.

Who is the Turd Mobb? What is the Turd Mobb? Why do they spell mob with two B’s? How many actual Turds make up a standard Mobb?

You have questions. We have very few answers. Here’s what we do know so far.

The Turd Mobb seems to be currently contained to Stockton, California, which, if you’ve been to Stockton recently, should really come as no big surprise.

The Stockton Police Department reports that Samantha Morrison, 32, possibly female, was recently arrested on 72 felony counts of vandalism, including spray painting the ominous moniker “Turd Mobb” on multiple businesses. (Side note: “Ominous Moniker” would be a great name for a rock band. “Turd Mobb” would not be.)

In an apparent effort to be a more well-rounded individual, Samantha was also charged with one felony count of being an accessory, seven misdemeanor counts of vandalism, and no doubt due to her love of aerosol canisters, one felony use of pepper spray. It remains unclear who or what was pepper sprayed, but based on the redness in and around Samantha’s eyes in her mug shot, she may have been snorting it directly from the canister. She also appears to have been awake continuously for the past several years.

According to a source inside the police department (Marge from dispatch), they have spent several months investigating the case. Morrison is reported to have racked up multiple counts of vandalism on behalf of the Turd Mobb, between August 2017 and January 2019, with damages totaling over $102,000, according to sources. (Marge, again.)

Sheriff’s deputies arrested the alleged Ms. Morrison near Waterloo Road and Belvedere Avenue, which, based on a quick scan of Google Maps satellite imagery, appears to be a pretty crappy section of town, even by the relaxed Stockton standards. Based on her appearance and where she was found, it seems the affected businesses will need to look elsewhere for financial restitution. There is no telling how much the financial empire of the Turd Mobb has in its coffers, but their lead urban advertiser doesn’t look like she has $1.02 to her name, let alone $102,000.

Morrison has been booked into the San Joaquin County Jail, but having her off the streets certainly does not guarantee our safety. As the old saying goes, one strung out meth head a mobb does not make. Did Morrison really have a black spray paint budget that rivalled her meth funds, or was she simply the only Mobb tagger to be snared in the massive sixteen-month Turd net?

Only time will tell if and when the Turd will resurface.

Until then, be vigilant, America. The Mobb is nothing to meth with.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 30, 2019

Ask Smidge - January, 2019

Since so many of our readers have not been asking for it, it’s finally time for another edition of Ask Smidge, the advice column that doesn’t limit you on a topic. We can give you marginal advice on any subject!

As always, you are encouraged to send your questions to our new email address – asksmidge@gmail.com

Now let’s get to America’s burning questions!


Smidge,
Social media seems to be getting more and more divisive and derisive by the minute, completely divorced from civility and decorum. What ever happened to a respectful discourse?
Signed,
Appalled in Albany

Dear Appalled,
nice big words mr dictionary   y don’t u just go back to ur loser book club cocktail party and shut up   how many followers do u even have on instagram   like 2?   lol



Smidge,
I can’t seem to find my glasses. Please help.
Signed,
Spec-less in Seattle

Dear Spec-less,
Since you did not include your age, here is a chart to choose from:
If you are… then your glasses are…
5-15 years old… on the ground where you threw them, currently under someone’s shoe
16-39 years old… I have no idea. Probably in your car.
40-55 years old… everywhere. Just go into another room and get a pair from any flat surface.
55-75 years old… on your head.
75+ years old… on your face.



Smidge,
We are thinking about putting in a pool, but it seems like a lot of money for something that will basically be a giant backyard water feature in the winter. On the other hand, it would be amazing in the summer. What do you suggest?
Signed,
Deep Decisions in Dallas

Dear Decisions,
I have a much better third option for you! Here’s what you do:
Go next door to your neighbors’ house and write them a $10,000 check to install a gate in your shared fence with unlimited access to their pool. Then, buy yourself a $40,000 four-wheel-drive camouflage golf cart with a Yeti cooler, GPS navigation, and a built-in barbecue. You’re still money ahead, and you’ll never have to pay a pool guy to flirt with your wife.



Smidge,
We’re thinking about getting a Ring video doorbell, but they sure are expensive. Are they worth it?
Signed,
Still Knocking in Knoxville

Dear Knocking,
We got a Ring for Christmas this year, and I would highly recommend it. If you’re like me, you probably don’t look at your phone nearly enough during the day. The Ring solves that problem instantly. I am now alerted, via a vibration and a fun tinkling charm sound, about motion on or near my porch at least seventeen thousand times a day. It’s great! I’m just like a teenager now, never taking my eyes off my phone. Downside: I walk into things a lot now. Upside: I have video of every single car, bike, pedestrian, and cat that has ever gone down my street!



Smidge,
It’s tax time again, and I heard there have been a lot of changes in the tax laws. What’s new, and how will it affect me?
Signed,
Overtaxed in Oshkosh

Dear Overtaxed,
It’s true, there have been a lot of changes this year, most notably the elimination of the personal and dependent exemptions. The standard deduction amount, however, went way up. Many new limits were placed on itemized deductions, but at the same time, the child tax credit has doubled. Here’s what it means for you: At this point, your best option is to be filing as a married person with a lot of children. If you aren’t currently married and/or don’t have kids, don’t panic. Just hook up with another single taxpayer prior to filing, and file together as if you’re “married.” The IRS, being a branch of the military, has to adhere to the strict “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy. And the only restriction on the child tax credit is that the child be under seventeen years old. They don’t specifically mention anything about whether the child “lives at your house,” or even anything about them being “human.” Last time I checked, your pets are probably under seventeen. My wives and I have already filed, and the tax credit for our twenty-three children really helped to offset any losses in exemptions or deductions. Happy filing!



Smidge,
Is romaine lettuce safe to eat again?
Signed,
Over Kale in Kalispell

Dear Kale,
Lettuce of any kind is never safe to eat. It traps E. Coli like a dolphin in a tuna net. It can be very bad for you, but get this: it’s even worse for the environment. How can a plant hurt the planet, you ask, alliteratively? Well, a recent article in Scientific American is headlined “Lettuce Produces More Greenhouse Gas Emissions Than Bacon Does”. That was all I needed to hear. (Literally – I didn’t actually read the article itself. Why would you?) So, put down the salad tongs and pick up a pound of delicious, bacteria-free bacon. And next time you’re out at your favorite lunch spot, forget the BLT. The BBB is the only way to go. The earth thanks you.



Thanks again, folks, for sending in your questions. Don’t forget to keep them coming to asksmidge@gmail.com

And remember, all advice columns are free, but Ask Smidge is the only one where you truly get what you pay for! You’re welcome, America!

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!


Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Live Like Number Three

Do you want to know how to live your life?

Do you want to know how to be happy?

That depends, you say. Does the answer involve Richard Simmons workout videos?

Of course not. All you have to do is be like Son Number Three.

He’s ten now, but back when he was five years old, he got himself a new hat. It was not an expensive hat, but he loved it. The morning he got it, he immediately asked if he could wear it to kindergarten that day.

“Are you sure you want to wear it to school?” I asked.

“Yes!” was his emphatic reply. “I love it!”

So, off we went down the path to school. When we reached campus, his two older brothers quickly scattered into the crowds on the blacktop, and I walked Number Three, hand-in-hand, over to the separate kindergarten playground.

Kids and teachers were stopping and smiling as we walked through the hallways, and Number Three was just beaming away.

On the way across campus, two teachers commented, “Wow! Nice hat.”

As we reached the kindergarten playground, my five-year-old son looked up at me, with his radiant smile, and said, “Two people already noticed my new hat.”

“Yep,” I said, as I squatted down and kissed him on the cheek. “They sure did. Have a great day at school, buddy. I love you.”

He yelled, “I love you too, Dad,” over his shoulder, as he sprinted across the blacktop toward the play structure, the picture of joyful, innocent happiness.

“Of course they noticed your hat, Son,” I said quietly to myself. “You’re wearing a lime green and purple cardboard Gogurt box on your head.”

Did Son Number Three care that he looked like a miniature Abe Lincoln mental patient? Of course not. He thought it was cool, so he rocked it.

That’s it, folks. That’s the key to happiness. It’s just that simple.

Stop worrying about what other people might think of your great ideas. Stop concerning yourself with anyone else’s definition of cool.

Rock your own style.

Simply be yourself.

Now, slap that empty Rice Krispies box on your head and go enjoy your day!

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 16, 2019

Say What?

There have been a lot of times in advertising and communications when I thought it might have been better to have a professional in charge. Or maybe even a third-grader.

These are a few of those times:

I heard a radio ad looking for volunteers for a weight loss study to test a “revolutionary new pill.” They said, To participate in this study, you must lose at least ten pounds.
Hmm… Not going to be much of a "study," I guess.

Lipitor commercial: Claims about Lipitor are backed up by over 450 ongoing or completed studies.
Umm… How can you back up a claim with an ongoing study?

I was exiting a Chevron bathroom with the door offering the new "touch-free handle." The picture showed someone putting their arm through it and opening it with their shirt sleeve.
That’s great news for all you germaphobes out there, but I have a question. Can we really still call this giant thing a “handle?”

Saw a sign on freeway runaway truck ramp – the ramp designed to stop an out-of-control big rig. The sign said, "No stopping anytime."
Uh, doesn't that sort of miss the point of the ramp?

I was in the McDonald’s drive thru ordering an Egg McMuffin and the lady on the speaker said, “That's with Canadian bacon, right?” My first thought was, do you guys not know how to make it?

I saw an official US Army bumper sticker in Spanish. It said, Yo soy el army.
Umm... Que? One of my main hopes for the army of my country is that everyone who has a gun understands what the guy in charge is saying.

I saw a license plate bracket that said “VFW Life Member.”
Isn't that kinda automatic?

Heard an ad for a pharmacy that apparently specialized in pet medicine. Does your pet run and hide when it's time to take their medication? We can turn your pet’s medication into a cream that you can rub on their ears.
If I'm giving them their meds by rubbing it on their ears, doesn’t that mean I’m taking their medication, too? That can't be a good idea, can it?

I heard a radio ad for some place called JustGuns.com, advertising high-end shotguns. Whether it’s waterfowl, upland game, clay pigeons, turkey defense, or tactical…
The words “turkey” and “defense” were said far too close together, so it sounded like the JustGuns.com clientele were constantly needing to defend themselves against attacking turkeys. I am assuming that is not the case, but I can’t be sure where these people live.

On a Folsom Lake Dodge-Chrysler-Jeep ad, in the monster truck radio voice – Giant Inventory! If we don’t have it, it’s not in stock!
Uh… yes. That is exactly what that means.

Heard on a radio ad for RingCentral.com, which billed themselves as an offsite phone system service for small businesses to have professional voicemail, etc.
Set it up online at ringcentral.com, or call 1-800-ring-one. If our agents are busy, please call again later.
What??

Mac’s Plumbing radio ad - This month’s special… We’ll unclog any drain for $99 or it’s free.
Question 1 - Why would I pay if you can’t unclog it in the first place?
Question 2- Isn’t it normally “the same day or it’s free” or something like that? I don’t understand “$99 or it’s free.” Can I bargain with you? How about, $1 or it’s free? That way we wouldn’t have so much to figure out.

Radio spot for The Mutual Fund Store - Do you change your own oil? Cut your own hair? Do your own teeth cleaning? Of course not. Why would you do your own mutual fund planning…
I don’t think I’m their target audience, because I answered “yes” to all three.

Seen on the wall at our local electrical utility: Accident Prevention Awards.
How are these distributed? I mean, how do you really know that you prevented an accident?

Ad for Mercy Orthopedics  - If you are experiencing joint pain or limited mobility…
I have been experiencing limited mobility my whole life, but I don’t think it has to do with bad joints. I’m just slow.

Saw “INKNPPR” on a personalized license plate, with a license plate bracket that said, “It says, Ink and Paper.”
If you have to explain your personalized license plate with the bracket, I think you did it wrong.

On the local talk radio show, the news guy was teasing an upcoming story. “Prepare to be shocked.”
Can you even do that?

Driving down in the rural California central valley I heard an AM station weatherman refer to himself as “KMJ 580 meteorolist”
I wasn’t sure I heard him correctly the first time, but over the next few hours I heard the meteorologist mispronounce his own profession at least four or five times.

This last one is different, and probably falls under the category of “unintentional marketing,” and I swear every word is true. We were early to Son Number One’s teeth cleaning visit and hadn’t gone into the office yet. Sitting in the car, facing the dental office, we watched one of the hygienists arrive for work. She got out of her car and walked right in the front door carrying an 18-volt DeWalt power drill with a twelve-inch-long drill bit.

Took me fifteen minutes to catch up to my son.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 9, 2019

The Elway, the Truth, and the Life

I love sports, I love Jesus, I love crazy stories, and I love college and professional athletes that use their social influence in good ways, so I have no stinkin’ idea how this story eluded me until this week. I guess I was busy in 2012.

This entire thing has been fact-checked by ESPN – the gospel of sports – but you can look into it if you want. And if you don’t believe in God, you can chalk this “crazy coincidence” up to whatever you want.

You be the judge.

Tim Tebow was the quarterback for the University of Florida Gators, and on January 8, 2009 they won the national championship game. All year, he and his teammates had written little messages on their eye black. Tim is a Christian, so he had chosen a bible verse – Philippians 4:13 – which says, “I can do all things through Christ who strengthens me.”

He had “Phil” under one eye and “4:13” under the other for the entire season. As they advanced during the year, Phil 4:13 became a big thing on campus. Tim saw that happening, and going into the championship game, he decided to change the verse. He knew it would be news, and he knew millions of people would be watching, so he wanted to choose a bible verse that would be best to spread the word about his faith. He settled on John 3:16.

If you are unfamiliar with it, John 3:16 is basically the essence of Christianity in a sentence. It says, “For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life.”

So, out goes Timmy with “John 3:16” under his eyes, and during the game ninety-four million people Googled “John 3:16.”

That’s pretty cool.

Fast forward to 2012, and Tim is now the Denver Broncos quarterback, and exactly three years to the day, on January 8, 2012, they were facing the Pittsburg Steelers as the wildcard. Tim and the Broncos took the field at home and proceeded to knock the Steelers out of the playoffs in overtime.

Another 90 million people Googled “John 3:16” during the game, and it became the number one trending phrase across most social media platforms for the night.

That’s pretty cool, and also pretty easy to explain.

Now, you might think the Broncos knocking off the Steelers was the only miracle that night, but here’s what else happened in that game:

Tim Tebow threw for 316 yards.

Tebow averaged 31.6 yards per completion.

A pivotal interception by the Broncos came on 3rd and 16.

The Steelers time of possession for the game was 31:06

And CBS’s final quarter-hour ratings for the game – at the time when Tim Tebow threw the game-winning eighty-yard touchdown pass, the longest pass in postseason overtime history – were 31.6.

Those “crazy coincidences” are a little harder to explain.

Like I said, you be the judge.

The Broncos’ 2012 run ended there, and Tebow’s football career is now over, but he’s switched sports and is working his way up in minor league baseball.

I know what you’re thinking – his batting average is probably .316, right?

No, not quite. That would take a miracle!

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, January 2, 2019

About the Author, 2019

Here at Just a Smidge, we continue to gain new readership each year. This past year alone we have documented as many as two new readers. So, for both of you just joining us, welcome! Let’s start the New Year with a little meet and greet, shall we?

Hi. I’m Marc Schmatjen, aka Smidge, and I’m the lone staff writer and head janitor here at Just a Smidge. Based on how much money I make writing this column, it would be inaccurate to call this my job, so let’s just go with “hobby.” It would be fun to be able to contribute to the mortgage payment and the food bill, however, so if you know anyone looking to syndicate a humor column, there’s an imported beer of your choice in it for you in exchange for an introduction.

I am a forty-six-year-old husband of one and father of three. My wife is an amazing woman who teaches high school kids math, which means she was born with an unnaturally high level of patience. This is a good thing, because it makes it possible for her to love me (or at least tolerate me), and it also allows her to do her job. Most days, however, the high school kids eat into her patience reserves a little too much, not leaving enough left over for dealing with me. I sleep on the couch a lot during the school year.

We have three boys, whom we affectionately refer to as Son Number One, Two, and Three. Two of them are teenagers and all three of them are loud and smelly and they eat a lot.

Anyway, enough about my wife and kids. Let’s talk more about me. Here are twenty other things that you should probably know about me:

1) I am a phenomenal driver, an amazing cook, and a first-rate housekeeper.

2) My grandfather killed General Patton's dog. That is the single most historically outstanding thing anyone in my family has done. We are a proud people.

3) Walking out into bright sunlight makes me sneeze. I am one of only an estimated seven people in the world with this disorder. We have a club. I inherited this trait from my grandmother, whose husband once killed General Patton’s dog.

4) I am loosely related to a U.S. president, but I’m not sure which one. I think it's either Grover Cleveland or Woodrow Wilson, but I don't care. I would only be excited if it was Teddy Roosevelt, and it isn't.

5) A few of my literary heroes are Roald Dahl, Erma Bombeck, Michael Connelly, and Dave Barry. My grandfather did not kill any of their dogs, that I am aware of.

6) I believe society would be better served if we could bring back these words into everyday use: Bailiwick, Hootenanny, Skullduggery, Scofflaw, Ballyhoo, Shenanigans, Donnybrook, Catawampus, Chicanery, Cajoled, Hullabaloo, Besmirch, Boondoggle, Melee, Befuddle, Flummox, Hoosegow, Wiseacre, Tomfoolery, and Kerfuffle.

7) As an author and a writer, I am not afraid to say that books of non-rhyming “poetry” with sentences like, “My mind is a seedless grape, grasping to comprehend the melancholy oration, drowning in a cacophony of humanity…” etc., are written by people who are too scared to attempt to write anything that is required to make sense.

8) I am slightly over six feet tall, I weigh around 200 pounds, and I have the bladder capacity of a four-year-old. Unfortunately, Son Number Three inherited this trait. He is ten and has the bladder capacity of a hamster.

9) My three favorite flavors are burnt pepperoni, slightly burnt bacon, and well-toasted sesame seeds. Basically, if it has caught on fire, I want to eat it. Except for my s’more marshmallows. Those should only be browned.

10) I was in shape once. I swam 100,000 yards in one week when I was in high school. I could not swim more than 50 yards or so today without needing a floatation device, an oxygen tank, and a defibrillator.

11) I love bacon and I sit all day. See number 10.

12) I constantly get my left and right mixed up. This makes driving directions with my wife fun.

13) I am a recovering engineer, so I know there are only 10 kinds of people in the world: those who understand binary, and those who don’t.

14) My favorite joke of all time is:
A guy walks into the psychiatrist’s office wearing nothing but underwear made out of Saran wrap. The psychiatrist takes one look at him and says, "Well, I can clearly see you’re nuts."

15) I like writing dialogue.
“You do?” they asked in unison.
“Yes. I do,” he said solemnly.

16) I love most foods (see number 10), but I have a deep, abiding hatred for cantaloupe. If bacon is a 10, cantaloupe is a negative 3000.

17) I love to travel and I love to stay home, but I don’t want an RV. Go figure.

18) My absolute favorite thing that has ever happened on this earth – and I am including my marriage and the birth of my children in that – was when the Oregon State Highway Division tried to disintegrate a dead whale with a half-ton of dynamite in 1970. I wasn’t around yet, but thankfully they had video cameras back then. (Just Google “Oregon Exploding Whale.”)

19) Coincidently, my favorite thing ever said on television – and I am including anything ever uttered on The Newlywed Game – came from KATU Channel 2 newsman Paul Linnman in 1970 after the whale dynamite was detonated. When large chunks of whale rained down on people and cars over a quarter-mile away, Paul noted, completely deadpan, “The blast blasted blubber beyond all believable bounds.”

20) My wife is still laughing right now about number 1.

So, there you have it, folks. You now know everything you need to know about me. We'll be back to our regularly scheduled programming next week.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2019 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 26, 2018

Be Best Life! - Repost

I remember it like it was yesterday – that wonderful Christmas in 2016 when I received the best Christmas gift of all time. Unfortunately, the last two Christmases were – and I fear, all future ones will be – marked by the sad reality that no gift will ever compare to the joy I received that day from Son of Wang. At least my family and I will always have his words of wisdom, and I want to share them again with you.

So, I urge you, dear reader – no matter howvexed your nonutility be, if your food has become depraved or you need to have protection against the tide, have no fear. The Supersealer will not help in any way, but the box will make you laugh until it hurts.

 “The simplicity is comfortable.”

Enjoy!


I got the best Christmas gift EVER this year. It’s a crappy ninety-nine-cent as-seen-on-TV plastic bag sealer that is really hard to operate and works poorly. I could care less about the bag sealer. I am in love with the little cardboard box it came in.

The WORKWONDER SUPERSEALER is made in China by a Chinese company that obviously has two copywriters. One of these people has some background in using the English language. We’ll call him Bob. The other has to be the owner’s son, and after disappointing performances in many different departments, copywriter was the least harmful position his dad could think of to stick him. We’ll assume the owner’s name is Mr. Wang. Mr. Wang doesn’t know any English either. Bob is obviously terrified of Mr. Wang and won’t tell him that Son of Wang partied continuously for four years at the international university in Beijing and knows no English whatsoever.

In a few places on the box, Bob invites me to Just slide SUPERSEALER across bags to seal in freshness!

Son of Wang tells me, Relaxed onepulls, guarantees quality to retain freshness. Based on what we get from Son of Wang in his main paragraph, I guarantee Bob helped him with the last half of that sentence.

Here’s Bob’s effort on selling us on the amazing benefits of the SUPERSEALER:

Finally an inexpensive and easy way to perfectly reseal unused poutions of food. This amazing new SUPERSealer creates an airtight seal that locks in freshness.
You simply slids SUPERSealer along the edge of any bag and it’s sealed airtight. It’s that easy. You’ll not only save on storage bags, but you can save even more buying bulk at warehouse clubs. Just use your SUPERSealer to reseal any unused portions over and over again!

I never claimed that Bob was great. I just said he has some background in English. He’s not the best speller, but I do have to give him credit for using American sayings like, “locks in freshness,” and “it’s that easy.” That would suggest that he has a better than average grasp on American English than your standard WORKWONDER employee.

Here’s what Son of Wang had to offer us. I swear, I am not making any of this up, and keep in mind, folks, this is written on the SAME BOX as Bob’s paragraph.

Have sometimes been able to affect your state of mindbecause of a lot of situation such as damp , becomingmildewed , depraved , water leaking from in the dailylife, have used you feel very vexed , good under this , have had the convenient plastic bag of new model seal implement , have all have made stable , no matter howvexed your nonutility be. Collection such as all food , clothing and other articales of daily use , postage stamp, you have put plastic bag lining inside as long as with them , seal machine has taken form lightly with convenient adheaive tape of new model as soon as the fault , one have protection against the tide , mould proof, the herm etic sealing bag retaining freshness. Such is simple , the simplicity is comfortable, be best life!

After reading the box about a hundred times (and laughing out loud every single time), I have to assume this conversation took place at the WORKWONDERS office prior to printing the box:

“My dad wants you to proofread my copy, Bob. What do you think?”
“This is the most unintelligible thing anyone has ever written. What the hell, Wang?”
“My dad is the owner. I’ll have you fired.”
“Looks great. Let’s print that box!”


Thank you, Son of Wang, for giving my family our new motto:

Be best life!

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 19, 2018

The 2018 Do-it-Yourself Christmas Letter

What is the matter with you? You’ve done it again, haven’t you? It’s December 19th and you haven’t written your annual Christmas letter yet. And now there’s no time left to concoct a fairy tale that might be able to put some lipstick on the pig that was your year.

Sure, just like your hopes for the future, things look bleak. But have no Christmas fear! While I can’t do anything about your annoying in-laws or your Aunt Ethel’s impending fruitcake delivery, I can certainly help in the communications department.

The 2018 DIY Christmas letter is here, just for you.

So, pour yourself another glass of mommy or daddy’s special holiday cheer, bubble in the appropriate choices with a #2 pencil, fill in the blank if needed, and you’re all set.

No need to thank me. It’s just what I do.


Christmas 2018

Dear
O   relative or loved one,
O   tolerable neighbor,
O   marginal acquaintance,
O   begrudging work or social obligatory holiday recipient,

Merry Christmas from the
O   Smith
O   Gonzalez
O   Lee
O   Johnson
O   Other _______________

family!

We can’t believe
O   how time flies.
O   winter is here again so soon.
O   how depressing this year has been.
O   we have to send this damned letter to so many of you.

What a year! We
O   are so blessed.
O   are, we must admit, a little tired.
O   are relieved it’s finally over.
O   seriously need to just sell the kids and move to an island.

2018 started with
O   joy in our hearts
O   a ridiculous amount of snow and ice
O   anxiety
O   a whole lotta mood-altering substances

and is ending with
O   gratitude and peace.
O   even more *%@#&$ snow.
O   dread.
O   jail time, most likely.

Dad can’t seem to
O   sit still,
O   stop complaining,
O   snap out of his funk,
O   put a cork in it,

and he
O   continues to volunteer at the church and the shelter.
O   won’t shut up about gas prices.
O   lives in his pajamas.
O   was on a bender and MIA at least half the year.

Mom hasn’t
O   lost a step
O   lifted a finger around the house
O   shut up
O   been seen

since her
O   record-breaking hip replacement recovery time.
O   epic hangnail incident.
O   lottery numbers were “only three away” from the “big money.”
O   parole officer reported her for not checking in this summer.

Sister lives
O   near us now.
O   day to day.
O   on borrowed time.
O   above a strip club.

She
O   moved back with her family for a big promotion.
O   pretends to be holding it together, but a relapse is obviously coming.
O   is the president of her biker gang, and the DEA has been investigating their activities.
O   was named employee of the month at Big Tony’s Gentlemen’s Club and Laundromat.

Brother is
O   switching parenting roles with his wife and staying home with the kids
O   never too far from the couch
O   making one bad decision after another
O   spiraling out of control

while his
O   wife continues to climb the ladder at her amazing job.
O   unemployment checks continue to roll in.
O   bookie keeps contacting us regarding his whereabouts.
O   childhood hopes and dreams slowly circle the giant toilet bowl of life.

The grandkids just keep growing
O   up
O   outward
O   bolder
O   weed

and we wish
O   we could slow time down somehow to enjoy it all a little longer.
O   they would lay off the McCrap and eat a vegetable every once in a while.
O   their parents would actually call their insolent little butts on it.
O   the court system would be tougher on minors.

We hope this letter finds you
O   thriving and loving life
O   before Christmas
O   relatively sober
O  

this year, and we want to
O   extend our warmest holiday wishes to you and yours.
O   let you know we are still alive, despite what you might have heard.
O   make sure we keep in touch, so we have a “what not to do” example for the kids.
O   be done writing now.

If you ever find yourself in town,
O   please come by, we’d love to see you!
O   don’t hesitate to let us know you were here.
O   just remember, we’re away a lot.
O   I’ll bet you’ll be wondering how you got here, you lush!

Have a merry Christmas and a happy New Year!


You’re welcome. Now just sign, copy and send. You’re all set.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!

Wednesday, December 12, 2018

Death by Cabover

Because I used to be a power forward for the Portland Trailblazers, I am still a pretty big deal in the NBA community, and as such, I was given an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of the Sacramento Kings’ Golden 1 Center last night. One of the neat features of the arena is a series of air vents located under the seats, spaced every so often in each section. You can text the arena during a game and ask them to heat up or cool down your section as needed.

We had a chuckle when someone asked if they could look at the data of the text requests and graph them by gender. Everyone on the tour, both male and female, agreed that it would probably be roughly 99.95% women requesting a temperature change.

It brought to mind one of my very first columns ever, titled “Hot Chicks and Cool Dudes,” where I explored my Universal Truth that men are comfy in a thirty-degree temperature range, which is the same for all men, and women are only comfortable in a three-degree range that is different for each woman, and can vary wildly throughout the day.

That got me thinking about one of my other Universal Truths – Times You Almost Died. Us men are far, far dumber creatures than women, and that Universal Truth shines brightly when you ask someone to tell you about a time they almost died. Most women will be hard-pressed to come up with one or two stories, but every guy in the world will have ten stories right off the top of his head, and two of them happened last week.

And THAT got me thinking about one of my stories: The Old Ford Cabover Incident.

In college I worked for a landscape products company called JJ’s. It was owned by Jack and Joanne Lord, but it was named JJ’s prior to them buying it. No kidding. Anyhow, they were fantastic folks, and over the course of my first year working there, I trained to become a delivery driver and got my Class B driver’s license so I could drive the big dump trucks. We had two main deliver trucks – a newer International truck and an old Ford cabover.

A “cabover” truck gets its name from having the entire cab of the truck sit directly over the top of the engine, instead of having the engine out in front like we’re used to. The mark of the cabover design is the fact that the driver’s windshield is basically the very front of the whole truck. When you want to access the engine to do any maintenance, you unlock the cab release and the entire cab – seats, steering wheel, dashboard, pedals - everything – tilts forward on a big hinge located just behind the front bumper, exposing the engine underneath. Needless to say, you don’t leave your coffee sitting on the dashboard when you need to tilt the cab, unless you really like cleaning coffee off the inside of the windshield. Anything loose in the cab – maps, empty soda cans, sunflower seeds, etc. – ends up on the windshield when you tilt the cab up to get to the engine. (Note to millennials – “maps” are what we used to get ourselves lost before Waze was invented.)

One fine, sunny day I loaded up the old Ford cabover with six tons of decorative river rock, and headed out to make the delivery. JJ’s was set back off a two-lane highway on the outskirts of San Luis Obispo, and a long sloping gravel driveway went down one side of the property and teed into the highway. I bounced down the driveway in the old Ford, whistling a happy tune, and pressed on the brakes at the start of the downhill run about twenty or thirty yards prior to reaching the highway tee.

Seat belts are an amazing invention, and I highly recommend to all my young male readers that you always wear yours, even when inside your own home. My seatbelt was the only thing that prevented me from crashing headfirst through the windshield of that old truck and being ground to a messy pulp on the gravel driveway that day, as I realized halfway through my exciting semi-circular ride around the hinge axis that some idiot had forgotten to lock the cab latch.

My seatbelt kept me attached to the driver’s seat, but try to imagine everything in the cab of your truck staying in the same place relative to you, but having the entire cab lift up and try to do a front somersault. While you’re driving.

Braking down the hill caused the entire truck cab to flip to its full-open position, so if a truck mechanic happened to be running alongside, he would have had excellent access to the engine. As the driver, I was left hanging upside-down from my lap belt, chest being compressed into the steering wheel, with my face inches from the windshield, watching the gravel driveway race by less than six inches away from the glass. It was exciting.

My feet were now behind me and above my head, and even though the pedals were still there, I really didn’t have a good way to press them anymore. As my truck picked up speed downhill toward the busy highway, I hung upside-down watching the road go by my face and wondering just what to do about this little predicament, and also wondering if I was the idiot who forgot to lock the cab latch.

I might also have been screaming.

Prior to making it all the way into oncoming traffic, enough blood was forced into my brain due to gravity to kick-start an idea. The air brake button was located in the center of the dashboard, which, in my current cab configuration, meant it was off to the right, out away and slightly below my right ear.

I found it and pulled it out as fast as I could. By the grace of God and the Ford engineers of the 1960s, the air brakes can still be controlled from the dashboard, even if the dashboard isn’t where it’s supposed to be.

With the high-pitched squeal of beautiful, life-saving compressed air, all the tires instantly stopped rolling and started sliding on the gravel road. I was probably only going fifteen or twenty miles an hour at that point, and my seatbelt held fast, but the weight of the big truck combined with the twelve thousand pounds of rock in the back trying to come to an abrupt halt managed to stretch my torso and elongate my spine enough that my face was able to be completely pressed against the windshield as the old Ford C-Series beast slid to a stop. I was two inches taller when I finally got my heart restarted and rolled my way off the door and back onto solid ground.

Men die from heart attacks far more often than women, but I don’t think that’s because our hearts are weaker, or even because of all the extra bacon. I think we simply do quite a bit of preliminary damage to them over our lifetimes with all the minor heart attacks along the way.

See you soon,

-Smidge


Copyright © 2018 Marc Schmatjen


Check out The Smidge Page on Facebook. We like you, now like us back!

Also visit Marc’s Amazon.com Author Page  for all his books. Enjoy!