Category Archives: Phoning It In

Coffee and News, Volume One

coffeeHave to do some Actual, Publishing-Related Writing today, so we’re just going to drink coffee and check out the news and then skedaddle. Believe it or not, nobody wants to publish a book of me being silly and taking pictures and driving cars. Fifty Shades of Tom? Nope – no takers, and a pretty misleading title, is the consensus.

Okay so on over to CNN, where we learn that the Bomber Whose Name I’m Not Going To Memorize And Who I’m Not Going To Call “Alleged” is moving to a different hospital. This one’s in a prison, I think, and he had some oatmeal and farted a little. Later we’ll watch him go to the bathroom, and then we’ll call his mom again and ask her if she ever saw him make any bombs. Maybe she’ll crack.

Anything not bomb-related? Well, sort of. Here’s a helpful article called Signs Your Loved One Has A Secret Life. I’ll bet that one’s going to come in handy. It’s chock full of helpful tips like:

“These (signs) include, but are not limited to: moody outbursts, paranoia, hidden financial transactions, increasing extremism, emotional abandonment and complaints of feeling victimized.”

HeisenbergAwesome. Thank God we read this article, or we wouldn’t know what to do with perplexing signs like “increasing extremism” or “hidden financial transactions,” which I guess aren’t quite so hidden that you don’t know about them. I think they forgot to put Secret Bomb-Making on the list, but still very helpful. Thanks, News Dudes!

Later they talk about Ruth Madoff, who extra super definitely did NOT know her husband was running a multi-billion dollar shell game. If I were writing headlines, I think I would have called this one On Plausible Deniability or What To Expect When Your Loved One Is Indicted.

Everyone’s all mad at Gwyneth Paltrow either for being too pretty, for not being pretty enough, for being mistaken for the Prettiest Girl In The World, or something. It seems like people have been mad at Gwyneth since I first saw her. I’m sure she’s used to it.

An odd concept, this Prettiest Girl In The World. Like when someone asks you, “What’s the best movie ever?”

That’s dumb. Because you can take your favorite movie, watch it ten times, and unless there’s something wrong with your brain, you’d rather watch something else now. It’s not your favorite movie if you’d rather watch something else. Which is why everyone’s mad at the magazine, and then the folks who are mad at Gwyneth are just mad because she’s Gwyneth Paltrow.

Wiggum undercoverOkay, let’s go on over to The Huffington Post, see what they’re leading with. It’s a story called Dial M For Messed Up, and it’s all about police posing as stolen iPhone vendors. They walk around telling people they have stolen iPhones and then if you buy one, a couple other cops arrest you.

I’m not sure why that’s messed up, let me just read further. Okay, the cops say that people wouldn’t “apple pick” if there was no market for the stolen iPhone. Apple picking is when you get your iPhone yoinked right out of your hand while you’re looking at it, someone just snags it and then hops off the subway car just as it starts moving, or bolts off into a crowd.

“We’re cutting the head off the serpent!” Says one cop. Shut up, dude, you guys say that about everything, it’s your favorite thing to say.

Still, I don’t think you should buy stolen iPhones, I’m kind of for this. Ah, the defense attorneys say that people are just looking for good deals on iPhones and have no intention of committing a crime until the cops create one. Yes, of course, buying an iPhone on the street from a stranger with a bag full of them – innocent as Judy Garland and a box of cookies.

Well, whatever. We’ll let the courts sort that one out, they’re good at doing that very, very slowly.

Meanwhile, let’s see what local news website is reporting. Ah – 16 Charged as part of Drug Crackdown on OSU Campus.

Hmm, undercover cops managed to buy pretty much every drug I can think of from not-very-well-trained drug dealers, who apparently just break off a chunk of meth to whoever walks up to them and asks for it.

She's the SheriffI remember when I was at OSU the cops had this terrifying undercover female cop who was very cute and also twenty years old. She’d just walk up to keg parties, ask the dudes for a beer, and once she got one (approximately one hundred percent of the time) the cops would swarm the place Miller’s Crossing-style.

Say boys, what’s the rumpus?

And notice their big sting was right around Earth Day. Good work, boys. Nothing trains people to be good drug dealers quite like rounding up the careless ones.

All right, and that’s it, coffee’s gone and I’m gone. See you tomorrow.


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Action Blogging, Volume One

Well, I don’t have much time today, I’m very busy and important, so you’ll just have to hop in my pocket and run around with me all day while I do the stuff I do.

Which means you’re up at six and we’re riding around in heavy traffic for two hours in a stony silence, because I can’t blog while I’m driving. Then it’s off to the park, where we run for two and a half very slow miles. So slow that at one point we pass a power walker long enough to have a brief conversation. Probably could have switched jackets.

But its cool, keep lurching. Finally it’s over and then again, no blogging in the bathroom so you’ll have to sit downstairs on the couch and then another short drive and I get to my building, and I find this going on:

Machine TwoIt’s strange. I have a lovely building and the staff is amazing. I have no complaints except sometimes the executives who own the place scuttle around in groups of six or eight, and they flat creep me out. Not because they all feel like they have to wear suits (which they don’t, it’s 2013), but more because I think they might be shapeshifting reptiles masquerading as humans. I have no concrete evidence, just the general vibe I was getting the other day when a bunch of them showed up in the sandwich shop and stood there watching me eat a bowl of chili.

But here’s the strange part. I have seen two types of window washers here at the Building I’m Not Going To Name. We’ll call this one Type A. The other kind is just a dude who sits on a board with a bucket and a squeegee and lowers himself down one story at a time from the roof. A time-traveling window washer from 1940. And it’s not like they got rid of him and then brought in this other guy with his gargantuan cherry picker. It’s more like they alternate. I’ve seen them both repeatedly, but never together.

I really wanted to ask the guy up in the cherry picker how they decided when to call him and when to call the guy with the board and the bucket. Does he know the guy with the board and the bucket?

Make a mental note, will you blogosphere? I need to remember to take that guy’s picture the next time I see him, and ask him if he’s just old school or what. He certainly does seem tougher than the man up there. Why does one get a 15-ton machine and one gets a rope and pulley?

Window Washer

So let’s go on over to his cherry picker, see if we can get him down here. But no, sadly, none of the buttons work and the brakes are on. I guess they make these things so that you drive them from up there, that way you only need one guy, and that way no one like me can stroll up while you are washing windows on the sixth floor, and drive you around the building to my window, go back up to my office, and then start asking you questions through the glass using paper and a Sharpee.

Clever bastards.

Oops, there’s security. Let’s go on upstairs and drink some coffee and Facebook for a while, make a few copies of stuff. Then back to the car and we’re headed out to the Licking County Courthouse where we have to walk into one office, hand them a piece of paper for them to stamp, and then walk into another office and have them stamp it, and then walk into another office and leave it with someone else. A monkey with a sign around his neck could do what we are about to do, but you can’t FedEx it in – someone has to walk it from room to room.

I’m their huckleberry. I love walking from room to room. Pretty soon we’re done and we are startled by this statue out front.

Statue One

First of all, I think it’s a pretty cool statue. It looks like real people, and that’s how I like my statues. It appears to be a little girl who is upset, and a nice gentleman trying to console her.

But look closer.

Statue Two

That’s a statue candy bar in the man’s statue hand. Does the little girl know this man? Or is this a statue of a little girl accepting candy from a stranger? We are getting a little bit creeped out by the statue, aren’t we?

Seems like I’ve seen these two before and the little girl’s outfit and her blankey weren’t painted last time. That’s a weird decision, out of the blue – Someone get out there and paint that freaky little kid statue’s outfit and her blankey.

All right now let’s take notice that people are frowning at us for examining the statues for too long. We’re just looking at them, dudes, that’s what they’re out here for, right? You guys painted them, some of you must have been looking at them. Do any of you clowns know where this girl’s statue mom is, I don’t like this guy. Dad Alert going haywire.

Yep, and there’s the crazy look, we get that a lot. Let’s just go ahead and hop back in the car and skedaddle.


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The Future Tom Question Bucket: The Final Chapter

Well, it turns out that the Question Bucket works better if you form it into a Facebook status and put it up on Facebook instead of a nail outside your Headquarters, so as the Year lumbers to an end, this would be a good time to empty the bucket out, answer every last question in there.  A matter of honor, for most responsible bloggers – no loose ends.

I remember when I had a giant tree chopped down in my front yard about ten years ago, and I had the lumberjacks (I guess that’s what they’re called) just slice it up into chunks, and then I set about chopping it up with spikes and a sledge hammer and a splitting maul and an axe.

Four cords of wood, total, and it took me most of four months, and at first all the neighbors sort of laughed and cheered, then they started getting sort of alarmed, then after a while they wouldn’t look at me, then when I finished chopping it up and carried the last chunk inside, they spilled out their front doors and applauded.

The same main question there as the blog, really – Why?  And the same answer – weirdness and stubbornness and an urge to get in shape.  I was in pretty good shape when I chopped up that tree, and writing-wise, I feel pretty good right now.  That’s reason enough.

Other questions are not so personal. 

For instance, the strangest and most suspicious question in the bucket is from Rebecah, who would like to know (from me, for some reason) what kind of public health impact we can expect from peeing in the pool, and the answer is, everybody already pees in the pool, so just look around.  I would never, never get into a public pool – it’s basically pee and slobber and hydrochloric acid.  Peeing in them is being nice.

Another involves what the proper response is to people who smoke in public places where they are not supposed to be smoking.  I said, murder, but my squawking pit of Blog Attorneys disagrees.  They think, no murder, no exceptions, and anyway, the smokers are already slowly killing themselves, so there’s no reason to push.

I would use constant, alcohol-fueled profanity, and I mean put on a wife-beater tee shirt, don’t shower, and get a real snootful of gin every single day and just sit there waiting for them, and then let your mouth do the talking, nice and slurry and loud.  Every single time, my friend.  They will smoke elsewhere – and they can’t complain because they weren’t supposed to be smoking there.

Also, bear traps are not legal, but five hundred mousetraps are.  Food for thought.

My sister wants to know if I’ll drive over to my dad’s to help him look for his dog, which sure, I would have, if I hadn’t received the message at the same time as discovering that he’d found the dog, and then I got sleepy and there were cheeseburgers, etc.  Also, your friend keeps poking me on Facebook still, but neither of you ever click “like.”  Jerks.

A few have asked where Rob Braithwaite went, and that is simple – he became the modern version of a monk, and renounced all of Facebook’s digital trappings, and traveled back to the material world, where he wandered about righting wrongs and solving mysteries with his hilarious talking dog.  Good question, no many people know that, it’s kind of a hip, best-kept-secret kind of thing. 

How are book sales?  Well, they’re freaking great, thanks for asking.  I’ve received several hilarious royalties checks, and I can tell you that they are real pieces of paper, and they don’t quite say Don’t Quit Your Day Job on them, but they should.  On the other hand, they are ten trillion percent higher than last year’s royalties checks, which didn’t exist, so it’s better to think of it in percentage form.

What was up with The Prophets of Lunch?  This is a question that only people who have purchased The Curse of Future Tom ask, because that’s where the story is.  It was supposed to be a religious allegory about different, arbitrary dogmas and their predictions and requirements, and some common responses to them.  You asked, tough guy.

Well, that’s it, and I’m afraid that’s what the Question Bucket has always been about – me getting away with barely writing but still technically writing.  Being in full compliance with my own regulations. 

So by all means feel free to continue putting questions in the Bucket, as they will always come in handy down the road, and you can also be immortalized in Blog Form, which you’ll no doubt enjoy.

As for me, I am shamelessly banging out one last paragraph in order to round out eight hundred words, and then I am shamelessly going out on my deck to smile at the sky for a while.  Everybody have a safe and blogtastic weekend.

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Posted by on April 3, 2011 in Phoning It In



Mini-Blog Value Pack Friday

Not everything can go on for eight hundred words, you know.  Like my NCAA bracket for instance – I can tell you all about it in just a paragraph or two.  I have the Harlem Globetrotters in every single spot except in the Final Four, where I have predicted a surprise upset by the Washington Generals, but don’t worry.  I’ve got them picked to lose in the final game, to the Harlem Globetrotters.  And I put a hundred dollar kicker on there being a wheeled see-saw involved.

So that’s just me being not only masculine and all-American, but also considerate, because I could have hammered on that one for eight hundred words and then skedaddled.  You already clicked on the link, there wouldn’t be anything you could do about it by the time you found out what I was up to, except leave. 

And if you think the Generals are due, that’s fine.  College basketball is about character building and gambling and tattoos and old, really popular white guys.  So fill out your bracket however you want, but don’t ruin it for the rest of us.

Honestly, I’m quite surprised that the NCAA tournament hasn’t been cancelled, because that’s the only way to show that our country has respect for anything, is to cancel everything fun, every time there’s a natural disaster.   Or at least they should have a secret tournament that no one is allowed to watch and no one gets to bet on, and then secretly they can determine who’s the best like at the end of Rocky III.

And then on a similar note, I thought about telling you all about the new Conan reboot, which on the plus side has Jason Momoa from Stargate: Atlantis in it as Conan, and also has Rose McGowan in it doing who cares what, but then on the minus side, Conan’s a pirate now and it’s PG-13, and the writers (all four of them) have a hilarious cavalcade of craptacular crapfests under their belts, including two of the worst screen adaptations I’ve ever seen.

That would be Sahara and A Sound of ThunderSahara was so bad that Clive Cussler – author of the novel it was based upon – nearly killed every man, woman and child involved with it, because he’d been refusing to allow movie adaptations of his work ever since Raise the Titanic.  I dont’ know how they talked him into it finally, but they were lying.  Yes, they sure were.

And then A Sound of Thunder – holy Christmas.  That’s based on a twenty-page Ray Bradbury short story, and they just absolutely, horrifically abused it.  I couldn’t even watch most of it, it was like watching Val Kilmer try to do something with a cereal box stuck on his head, or worse, trying to watch the fourth Indiana Jones movie (we don’t even speak its name around here).

Apparently the writers of A Sound of Thunder (and now Conan) decided that when you change history, they decided it would happen in waves of extinct animals.  Sure, so first prehistoric plants, then trilobites, then dinosaurs – quantum physics is tricky so just shut up and watch the monsters.

And that’s quite a stretch from the short story, in which they get back, realize history has changed because everybody talks gibberish, and then the one guy shoots the other guy for changing history.  BLAM – the end. 

So these guys figured, I’m not crazy about that story, let’s get rid of everything but the title and the characters’ names.  And see how that doesn’t bode well for Conan?

But again, I would agree – that’s about a third of a blog post there, and the clock’s ticking.  Rose McGowan’s in it, so none of that matters anyway – I’ll see it twice if it sucks.

And then finally, let me just switch gears completely and point out that although I’ve known for a long time that parking meters which take debit cards were on the way, I didn’t quite realize how sneaky The Man was being on that one until I pulled up to one this morning.  I’m used to crusing around looking for parking meters with a bunch of time left on them, from the last overly cautious guy who put in too many quarters.

Now they charge you for exactly how long you used it.  It all goes on the card.  So there’s never any left over time left on them for me to swoop down on.  Fortunately, there aren’t that many parking meters like that in the city and I just circled around looking for an old-fashioned on to swoop down on, and that worked fine.

But I wanted to be sure you were all aware that The Man wasn’t interested in conveniencing you when he made that switch, no my friends.  He was just trying to make sure nobody got something for nothing, because that’s the worst possible thing that could ever happen.  

It’s been a while since I phoned this sucker in so blatantly.  Felt pretty good.  How was that for you guys, all right?  A little light?  This is for posterity, so please – be honest.

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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Phoning It In, Uncategorized



Why Melissa Should Let Me Use Her Van Today

As the Emergency Broadcast System has hopefully already alerted you, my washing machine died yesterday, and no it was not a drill.  It’s an actual emergency, that’s why the signal you just heard was followed by specific instructions, etc.

Since I’m a square-jawed American who plays by his own rules, I sprang right into action once a replacement set of equipment was located – I went to Facebook and said, who’s got a truck for old Tommy C.?

And guess who showed up?  Mrs. Steve Spangler Herself.

That’s right – it seems like it was just last week she was chasing me off her front porch with a rolling pin when I brought Spang home two days later than the hour and a half or so we’d indicated earlier.  She was going all Andy Capp’s Wife on us – “You two goodfernothings!  You spent my butter and egg money!”

Thank God I had my pogo stick – she could have killed me.

Anyway, she pipes up like she’s forgotten all about the dozen and a half blowgun darts her Amish Furniture Store employees shot into my butt cheeks while I was pogo sticking away.  You should have seen the look on the pilot’s face when I came up over the hill.

Yes, and I do apologize, but for copyright reasons I had to digitally remove the pogo stick.

She says to me – get this – she says I have a moving van, but you asked for a truck.  So long, sucker!

And I said you stay right here I’m going to go blog the hell out of this and then you’ll be powerless.  Behold,  SIX reasons why Spang’s Wife Melissa should help me pick up my washer and dryer:

1.  Because if you send me and Spang we’ll just end up in a bar.  A serious matter calls for some Wife Chaperoning, and I know that Mrs. Spangler-Gilmore-Picard wouldn’t set foot in a bar.  She has her reputation to think of, thank you very much.  So, that’s the best reason:  You can’t watch your van and your husband all day long unless he’s sitting in the van.  And if you don’t help me out, I’ll come get one and then the other, and pretty soon the mystic cycle begins again.

2.  Because I Am A Celebrity.  Like Marge Simpson’s high school boyfriend, and I am SO RESPECTED, that if I don’t get my washer and dryer today, it would damage the town.  

3.  Because You’re A Girl And Girls Don’t Know Anything About Moving.  Moving heavy objects is Man’s Work – you wouldn’t understand.  I’m frankly surprised that the van salesman let you drive a real moving van off the lot – what did you put it in Spang’s name or something?

In any case, Moving Van decisions are best left to the Men who understand them.  That’s why you’re thinking, no, I’m drunk and I don’t feel like helping old Tommy C move stuff – it’s cause you don’t know what you’re talking about, you poor thing.

Just don’t worry your pretty little head about it, missie.  I’ll do the deciding for you.  All you need to do is clear off your afternoon and maybe get some gloves and a two-wheeler, and also your husband – I have a bad back and don’t really care for physical labor.  I find it crass and boorish.

4.  Your Mother-In-Law would dig it.  Very true, you must consider that.  Your stock would go through the ROOF.  I happen to have it on good authority that you’ve already been booted out of the will – this could be your ticket back in.  Don’t do it for me, Melissa – do it for yourself.

5.  I am Amish.  So, it’s kind of like we’re in the same gang.  If any fools ever step to you, I will without hesitation whip out my jammy and flat blast them, in keeping with Amish Customs As I Understand Them.  That goes for degrading ice cream cone attacks, too.  As you know, the Amish Murder Code is very clear – I’m willing to put some suckers on ice for disrespecting you, so it’s considered obligatory at that point that if you have a van you drive me around in it.  And Massey’s Pizza – the Amish are very specific about that, you’re supposed to bring a Massey’s Pizza with you since it’s right there down the road from you. 

Let’s flip a coin to see who’s buying.  I’m going to say tails.

It’s tails!  YES!  In your face, Melissa.  See you in half an hour.  No pineapple, for crying out loud.

6.  I’m Handicapped, You Monster.  I’m sure you think my physical disability is reeeeaaaallll funny, but I can assure you, anosmia is no laughing matter.  It’s in fact one reason why I should never be without a washing machine.  As a matter of fact, in fairness to me and my nap schedule, what you ought to do is just bring me your washer and dryer (I voted for Obama and he said I could have it) and then I’ll give you directions to where the other ones are, which you can then just pick up, take to the next place, swap out for another set, take that set home, and hook them up. 

Easy Peasy.  Zip Zam Zoom.  I’m going to get my shoes on and then start texting you every six minutes until you’re here.

Oh, I need some detergent, too, and some dryer sheets and a gallon of your second least expensive tequila.  Hurry up, too, I don’t have all day.

There.  Now that ought to do it.


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Sunday Feedback Roundup

You remember that teacher Spang and I investigated in Future Tom Blog Force: The Riddle of the Whiny Students?  Did you know I went over there and posted a comment with my blog link in it and she declined to publish it?

I mean, sure, there’s a good chance that was just out of total weirdness.  You click on the link and suddenly there’s me and Spang and the Golden Voice guy riding a boxcar, etc.  It was probably not easy to determine if I was really on her side or just being mystically ironic and hip.  Or she could have for example thought, “Hey, this guy’s a moron.  Why would I associate with this moron?”

Okay, fair enough.  But, that’s all the help she’s getting from me.  The next time I blog about her, she’d going to get an old-fashioned digital taunting.  You mark my words.

I’ll tell you one thing I noticed is she redirected her blog to a swank new website, so that must be the plan.  Roll this controversy up into a teaching blog and then a book deal.  You parents sure taught her a lesson about blogging, didn’t you?  Now she can blog all she likes about whatever she likes and she’ll still probably get a huge settlement when she sues the district back to the Stone Age.

Say, parents, after you finish paying teachers to blog instead of teach, make sure to oppose school levies.  Remember, you want teachers to behave like flawless ideals and you wants them to do it cheap, like we’re talking Bangkok-cheap.  You guys are making tons of sense.

Anyway, readers who were not teachers were simply impressed by the serpentine length of that post and my sudden, uncharacteristic use of the phrase “whiny little bitch.”  You know, it’s okay because I was having a fictional version of one of my pals use it to describe me, right?  It’s not like I was calling you a whiny little bitch or anything.  Jeez.

On the other hand, I was absolutely shocked by how many people do not find venereal disease/Valentine’s Day jokes to be hilarious.  I am afraid I have to plead ignorance on this one – I was absolutely positive that was pure hilarity, and in fact I even ran it by my wife, who said, “That’s some funny shit, TC.”

Ah, well.  Live and learn.  Blog on, as my old pappy used to say.

And then a startling reaction to yesterday’s post about a friend’s fridge.  First of all, she has sent me a photograph of the outside of the fridge, and it’s now clear she has a serious mental problem, possibly a separate and distinct personality named Vicki.  The person who cleans the inside of that fridge is not the same person who allows what has happened to the outside of it. 

It’s all scribbled upon in some forgotten language, like a big slab of Stonehenge rock in a Hellraiser movie.  I want everybody to stay the hell away from my Facebook friend Jessica until we get her figured out psychologically.  It’s a long road she has ahead of her, and I’m sure she’ll appreciate a little privacy while she recovers.

Also, I was not aware that a lot of people don’t like the word “fridge,” which is tough shit.  People shorten words, that’s how it goes.  You notice you aren’t reading The Curse of Future Thomas

I remember frat guys in college were like that.  They’d say, “Don’t call us frat guys.  You don’t call your country a count do you?”  Yeah I know – calm down, fellas, right?

Again, standing there talking to a guy no one calls Thomas.  Shut up, frat guy.  And you too, Bobo – that’s a fridge.  Refrigerator is eleven percent less funny as far as words go, and anyway, that took forever to type.  Since they both count as one word, and I’m trying to get to eight hundred right now, that’s how we’re going to play it.

You can type refrigerator out all you like on your own blog.  As for me – fridge, fridge, fridge, fridge, fridge.


And, an update on the lost keys, they were found in the normal bin on the desk, which means one of these girls had them, realized she had them, and then figured she better lay low and slither the keys back into play at some point when I wasn’t looking.

Probably the right move – clever girls, and I’m proud of them.  Watching them, but proud, yessir.

Now, if you don’t mind I will be going to watch eight or nine episodes of the BBC Being Human, and then I’ll compare them to the Syfy version.  Already I can tell you the Brits are feeling much more free to have their characters fornicate all of the sudden right there on screen.  No, not a lot of warning, let’s just blur out butt cracks and ship it.  It’s fine.

That’s fine with me, but you know how that sort of thing happens and it’s like suddenly you can’t find the remote anywhere? 

Sorry for the phone-in but it’s sleepy Sunday.  See everybody tomorrow.

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Posted by on February 20, 2011 in Phoning It In


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Legend Of The Lost Keys

She was a tall drink of water, and I’d been married to her for fourteen years so I was allowed to say that.  I took my feet off my desk in mid-blog.  “What seems to be the problem?”

“It’s my keys,” she explained.  “They’re gone.”

It turned out that the little metal frog hanging on the wall by the door, with hooks for feet where you normally are supposed to hang your keys, didn’t have her keys hanging from it.  Which was weird because she always hangs them there.  Always to the point where everybody else in the house has started to give each other funny looks whenever she comes in.

“Keys go here,” she sometimes reminds us happily, as she hangs them there.  A little creepy, but it’s cool.  A fine system.

Now she explains somewhat dryly that both the Tall Girl and myself have used her car in the past weekend.  “And so now, I have no idea where someone has put my keys.”

Using the kind of cheerful tone with a crisp edge to it, each word like a tortilla chip, her smile right out of the fridge.

“I know,” I tell her.  “Use my keys.  They include a key to your car.  See?”

I show them to her, and she accepts them, but then pauses, troubled.  “Of course,” she points out.  “I will still need my own keys, which someone else has put someplace besides the Key Frog.”

“I understand.”

“I don’t know who it was or why they would do that.”

“Of course.  What I’ll do is locate your lost keys while you are driving your car with my keys.  I’m sure everything will be resolved by the time you return.”

Then I take a minute to explain that the laser pointer on my key ring is not a toy.  One could get arrested, screwing around with a laser pointer.   How do I know?  Oh, I know.   Matter of fact, let me just go ahead and remove the laser pointer from the key ring.  There we go.  I’ll see you guys later, and I’ll most likely have your lost keys with me.

So then she leaves and she takes one of the daughters with her and then the other two sit around and watch me look for keys.  I could insist they get up and help, but they’d just kind of wander around looking in midair for the keys.  What do the keys look like, Dad?  It is substantially more frustrating than looking for keys.

Just never mind, I’ll find the keys.  I check all of the coat pockets and they’re not there, and then the bin on the computer desk with hair ties and alligator clips and crap like that in it – no keys.

I have no idea which one of us used the car last, but I know I used it yesterday evening.  I picked up one of the daughters from the school but drove to the wrong school first, frowning.  What did I do with the keys after that?

The Key Frog?  No – I’m not crazy about the Key Frog.  The Key Frog gives me the creeps.  I usually put the keys on the ledge beneath the Key Frog, and yes, I can clearly remember putting them there last night.  I remember, because I was thinking, Screw You, Key Frog.

And someone else has definitely used the car since then. 

That being the case, there is no point investigating who it was.  I can tell you right now, it wasn’t anybody.  Nobody in the entire house moved the keys from the ledge.  They’re simply not there anymore, and it’s best to accept that.

I check all the weird places – couch cushions and by the toilet and in the fridge.  The laundry room, in the washer, in the dryer.  On top of the fridge?  Why not?  But no.  Not there either.

Now I re-check all the pockets and normal places, since that’s usually where you find keys after you’ve been looking a while.  No dice.  I try to forget about it but the keys eat at me.  I can’t concentrate on Justified without those keys.  I start talking to myself like Gollum.

Then when I get back to blogging, all I can talk about are keys.  Where could they be?

Do you have them?  YOU have the keys, don’t you?


A slug of whiskey to keep the voices quiet, and then I burrow under the back porch with my sleeping bag, pass out among the worried, blinking puppy dogs.  When I climb out I’ve grown a beard and my hair’s all crazy.   Two little girls still sitting there in the living room, not looking for keys.

There’s the wife.  She has some new items she’s procured from the market.  She says, “Did you find my keys?”

“There ain’t no keys around here,” I tell her.  “There ain’t no keys and there never was!”

You know that frown that’s also a bird-like head cock?  There it is.  “What?”

“Don’t nobody know nothing about no keys!  Now go on, get out of here!  GIT!”

And so the keys drop out of the official record at this point, and become a myth, a fairy tale, a legend only whispered of in shadowy pubs late at night.  Etc.  If anyone has seen my wife’s keys please return them with great haste.  End transmission.


Posted by on February 13, 2011 in Parenting/Family, Phoning It In


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