Category Archives: Rant

On the Origins of a Vile Institution


Gloria Steinem famously quipped, “The truth will set you free . . . but first, it will piss you off.” Hopefully, this will stir some emotions in any of my former colleagues who may still read me from time to time. I’m saying what you can’t so print this out and leave where the “right people” can find it. Because, my teacher and librarian friends, TADA! It’s back to school time and that can only mean one thing — days of MEETINGS and, even worse, INSERVICES!!

Never a good sign of productivity ahead.

Probably the most hideous part of any year for a teacher is the “Read the Handbook” Meeting on the first or maybe the second day of school. If you’ve ever taught, you know exactly what I’m talking about. It’s where the principal gathers everyone together in — usually — the library and serves stale doughnuts and OJ or weak coffee. After a little small talk, he or she says, “We’ve revised some policy this summer so if you’ll open your handbooks . . .” and three hours of droning monotone, the verbal equivalent to the Chinese water torture, begins. Geological ages later when everyone is finally released to get rid of the coffee or OJ borrowed earlier, the only policy change is tennis shoes are now allowed on Fridays with “school spirit related” t-shirts — but still no jeans.

Have principals never heard of this wonderful invention called EMAIL? Anyway, no one really cares about the morning meeting because they are all headed in a mad dash to the two or three restaurants to grab a bite of lunch with their respective cliques so they can get back for a “very important and informative inservice” that will last the rest of the day and most of tomorrow.

Beginning of the year INSERVICES! You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy. In my 15 years of mediocre teaching, I dreaded BOY inservices and meeting worse than a proctological exam. At least the doctor gives you a little “magic pill” to reduce the pain and degradation of the experience.

So, for the last few years since I “retired” from teaching, I’ve tried to trace the source of these instruments of the devil and I’ve finally found out enough to publish my findings. I hope you help me pass the truth along so others can be as pissed of as we are at the monumental wasting of our time.

Typical BOY meeting

First, we have to consider the birth of the inservice. I’ve concluded from my research that inservices are born out of desperation and/or greed. Some teacher struggling along somewhere puts together a unit or tries a made up classroom management system and — glory be, Jehovah — the dad-blasted thing actually works! It works so well a couple of other teachers on her hall try the idea and, OMG! It works for them as well. This is about the time someone says to the original teacher, “You know, this is SO brilliant! You should write a book or make a DVD lecture series so other teachers all over the world can share in this Red-Sea-parting level miracle of pedagogical genius.” So the teacher does just that very thing and six months to a year later, voila! A brand new educational “idea” is born and marketed as “the next great new thing.”

I was and remain cynically skeptical of any educational “new thing.” I desperately want to see these places where all this amazing teaching and learning takes place. If you dig around long enough, you find the majority of these authors have something in common — their schools aren’t anything like yours. They’ll pitch their goods to “poor” schools because their program was developed “the deep inner city.” Well, technically that’s a true statement but they leave out the part where the school is actually a magnet school or a charter school or something other than a real, live tough as nails inner city school.

Still, all these books would remain on the shelves of professional libraries everywhere for brand new teachers struggling to buy with those first meager paychecks hoping to catch lightning in a bottle if it were not for the second member of this dastardly duo — principals, ap’s, or vp’s. The school or district administration finds these programs and that’s when the trouble starts.

See, here’s the thing about administrators in the majority of schools most people don’t like to talk about — they couldn’t teach. I know of exceptions, but they are exceptions. For the most part, the average assistant principal is a former teacher who was really just not very good in the classroom. Usually, they know this fact about themselves but by the time they get it figured out, it’s four years, a mortgage, a car payment, and a kid or two down the road. They have neither the time nor the money to pursue another career which would need a totally different degree so they scrimp and sacrifice for three semesters and two summers to get their principal’s certificate.

Okay, great for them. I admire them for staying some course, but here’s the problem — once they leave the classroom, they almost immediately forget what it was like being a teacher. To make matters worse, if said AP is good enough at “butts, buses, and books,” he or she is probably going to get a school of her own to run. By this time, you have a person eight to ten years out of the classroom (where they pretty much sucked anyway) but they are making decisions affecting what every teacher in the building is doing!

I once swore I’d never use a lolcatz in my blog, but sometimes you just take what they give you!

In a worse case scenario, you have an ex-coach who’s a likeable enough guy but he majored in PE twenty years ago and will gladly talk your ear off about being the backup running back on his high school’s state championship team or about walking on to the Clemson University football program and he actually got in a game in the 4th quarter of a rout and TACKLED someone! Now this guy, who knows much more about whistles than literature, gets word from the district he has to provide X number of hours of inservice for his teachers. So he picks something based on what he saw at a conference or a seminar somewhere. The package was awesome and the presentation was slick and, after all, IT WORKED FOR THEM!! So, we’ll bring everyone in for coffee and doughnuts and drag them eye-rolling and head-shaking through HOURS of what might be an excellent program — IF our school was LIKE THEIRS!!

So there you have it in a nutshell — you have to sit through hours of BOY inservice totally irrelevant to your teaching situation while the whole time you are dying a little inside because “Meet the Teacher” night is two days away and yesterday was the first day you could get into your classroom because the waxing and painting crews from the district ran two weeks behind this summer! You have nothing run off that you need and your room is a mess, but your AP found this “great” program at HIS conference or seminar and showed it to the REST of the administration . . .

So here you are . . . miserable, tuned out, and desperately wanting to get your desk in order so you can be ready to do your JOB on Wednesday when the children (anyone remember THEM?) come back.

Folks, you have my sympathy. Know that, as always, I love y’all.

Keep those feet clean and good luck.



Paolini’s Worthless Inheritance


"Copy one source and it's plagiarism; copy a bunch of sources and it's research . . . or The Inheritance Cycle.

One of my beloved Budge’s greatest strengths to me as a wife is her ability to hold up her end of the conversation in most of our realms of discussion. She’s as smart as she is pretty, which means she has quite the formidable intellect. It’s also safe to say we agree on many more things than we disagree on. One thing we don’t see the same way — AT ALL — is Christopher Paolini’s “Inheritance” Trilogy +1.

Budge just finished the fourth book of the series and pronounced it quite a good read. I read Eragon and Eldest and stopped because, not to put to fine a point on it, I’ve come to realize Christopher Paolini is a no-talent hack at best and an unrepentant plagiarist at worst. His talentlessness exceeds even Stephanie Meyer, which is something I never thought I’d say. At least Ms. Meyer was “original” (read: moronic) enough to take on vampires in a new and idiotic way because . . . wait for it . . . VAMPIRES DON’T FREAKING SPARKLE!

Paolini, however, is as unoriginal as a peanut butter and jelly sandwich . . . and has about as much taste. Now here’s the thing — I’m not the only one who recognizes what a horrible writer / copyist he is. In fact, ever since the publication of Eragon by Knopf back in ’06-ish, scores of scathing blog entries have eviscerated his childishly vapid and overwrought prose as well as his shameless appropriation of at least one major trait of every decent fantasy series since Tolkien.

Want ten reasons why Paolini is overrated? Check out Blair Mathis’ list.

Doubt the plagiarism? Read this review and see how, point for point, Eragon is Luke Skywalker with a dragon instead of an X-Wing and a sword instead of a light saber.

Finally, you can go to the Anti-Inheritance Wiki and see VOLUMES complete with page numbers, etc. showing just how horribly written and fraught with errors this drivel is.

However, I want to be frank and quote a REAL author, in this case Margaret Mitchell, by saying  “my dear, I don’t give a damn” about any of the errors in the book or the prose or the magic system or the plagiarisms. No. What pisses me off to no earthly end is all the press and fame Paolini has gotten making it look like he’s actually DONE SOMETHING! Make no mistake, this guy is not, as we Waffle House devotees like to say, “all THAT and a bowl of grits.”

What has he done? Well, he’s written a book. Correct. He was fifteen years old when he wrote Eragon and Eragon reads like a book a fifteen year old Tolkien / Star Wars fanboy would write. Nothing more. You can actually do a web search for Tolkien fan-fiction and find BETTER works by YOUNGER writers. I taught high school English for ten years and I can say with some expertise nothing about a 15 year old kid writing a book as bad as Eragon is exceptional. I had plenty of girl and guy freshmen fantasy addicted emogoths write novellas approaching or exceeding Paolini’s quality in ONE CLASS PERIOD (on the 90 minute block system just to clarify.)

No, Paolini is not exceptional. Exceptional is S.E. Hinton writing The Outsiders while still in public high school. If Eragon is still selling 500,000 copies a year in 2056, maybe I’ll reconsider my opinion. Personally, I doubt it will still be in print (physically or electronically) in 20 years, let alone 45.

Speaking of Hinton and public high school brings to mind another problem I have with Paolini — he was homeschooled. Now don’t get me wrong; I’ve got nothing against homeschooling per se. I don’t believe all the hype that would make every homeschooler out to be a genius, but that’s another post for another time. What I’m saying is how many novels could one of my emogoths have churned out if he or she’d had all day to work on such a passion at leisure?

"Why YES, yes I am quite the smug little prat! Thank you for noticing!"

My bottom line where Christopher Paolini and his lack of talent is concerned is simple — Eragon would NEVER HAVE SEEN THE LIGHT OF DAY if Paolini’s parents were not somewhat wealthy. They had enough money to get his pet novel published by a vanity press and last time I checked, that ain’t cheap.  They had enough money to send him on “book tours” to libraries and schools to do “readings” of his “work” to captive audiences and Carl Hiaason’s kid happened to be in one of those audiences and the rest is history . . . and hype, good lord, don’t forget HYPE. After all, if you don’t have talent, you’d better have marketing!

How many teens have the beginnings of a much better novel than Eragon sitting in a composition book or on a computer hard drive? We’ll never know most of them because those teens have to go to school and a great many of them have to work and not rely on Mommy and Daddy to fly them to the next “reading event.” If Mama had been rich enough to vanity press some of my work, I’d have had a few books out before college, too. As it is, Mama kept a roof over my head and food in my fat belly and I’ve got a box of rejection slips instead of bank notes.

But I’m not bitter.

If it seems like I’m being harsh . . . well, I am. Paolini represents a lot of the things I despise in the world. To me, he’s an arrogant “HAVE” thumbing his nose, very undeservedly, at all the “HAVE-NOTS.” He’s proof — like Paris Hilton and the Kardashian clan — that money can buy fame, but it can’t buy talent.

Love y’all, keep those feet clean, and remember —  Friends don’t let Friends read crappy fantasy books!

Frodo lives!

Survivior 2012: Washington, DC


As much as I hated to see it come, another Presidential election year has arrived. For the next twelve months, the American people will be inundated by ads on television, radio, Twitter, and probably Facebook telling us how great this candidate is and how horrible all his (or her) opponents are. Whoever comes out of the Republican Survivor Series gets to face off against the reigning champion / President, one Barack Obama.

Here is where it gets wildly interesting because ALL the Republican pundits from Glenn “Cry Me a River in my Sweater Vest” Beck to Rush “more Oxy than Billy Mays” Limbaugh are predicting a huge landslide win for the Republican candidate — whoever that turns out to be.

I highly doubt it.

Now let me get one thing straight from the beginning. I am not a political expert or commentator. I’m writing this post because I’m sick of the endless Republican presidential Debates ALREADY. People haven’t really started putting out yard signs and wearing bumper stickers yet and I’m already OVER IT. So I just want to point out why I think things are not going to turn out the way all the “experts” believe they will.

I don’t really care who wins because none of the candidates or President Obama share my views. I’m an Anarchist in the V for Vendetta mode. Read the book, you’ll understand.

Anyway, here goes my amateur breakdown of the upcoming Republican defeat. If I’m wrong, please comment. Also, I don’t usually ask this, but pass this one along because I’m SICK and TIRED of hearing all this politico-babble.

First, and this is the big elephant in the room people don’t want to talk about but, Teabaggers and other really rabid Conservatives forget the fact that President Barack Obama is the first African-American / person of color / Black POTUS. Now I know he’s actually biracial. My wife’s FOURTH graders know he’s biracial. That doesn’t really matter. He’s the first non-lily white man to get elected and a BIG chunk of the population of the USA is REALLY proud of that fact, and they have every right to be. Obama is THEIR man. If you don’t believe it, look at Herman Cain’s “numbers” among Black voters. Small single digits.  The people of color in this country are going to vote for Obama.

Second, Teabaggers and other really rabid Conservatives forget the fact that this country has many, many more poor people than rich people. Also, “rich” is relative; to a man living in a van down by the river eating government cheese, I’m probably looking like Warren B. himself. Anyway, all those great unwashed masses of poor people VOTE for President. They might not vote in off-year elections or any other election from Senator on down to dog-catcher, but they will vote for Presidents.

Didn't anyone tell those people what "tea bag" means before they picked the name for their movement? I mean, c'mon people, Wikipedia is your friend.

Now poor people — deserving and undeserving — have a vested interest in making sure all the entitlements stay in place. Word is starting to get around that the candidates who are going against Prez O want to mess with those entitlements. That’s messing wit’ they check! You ever been to a post office in a small town on “check day” third of the month? All those people standing in front of open PO boxes waiting for “they check” WILL vote in 2012 and they ain’t voting for someone who might “mess up they check.” Poor people are going to vote for Obama.

Third, Teabaggers and other really rabid Conservatives forget the fact that this country has as many — if not more now — OLD PEOPLE than young people. Old people LIKE Social Security. After all, “they paid into Social Security all their lives and THEY DESERVE TO GET THEIR MONEY!” Now, you and I know that Social Security doesn’t really work that way and who they were paying for were the retirees of 20 years ago and such. Most old folk don’t know that AND they don’t care to learn it. All they know is people like Romney and Co. are CONSIDERING fooling around with Social Security. Heck, they might even DO AWAY with Social Security and if they do that “I’ll lose all that money I put in over the years!” Old people are going to vote for Obama.

Let me interject a bit of knowledge here so you’ll know that I’m not a dumb as I sound sometimes. The Teabaggers, rabid Conservatives, and even I know that the welfare entitlements and Social Security are slowly but surely bankrupting the country. They aren’t doing it alone, I know, but they are a big chunk of the problem. I hear people all the time on TV talking about “don’t these people know the country can’t sustain this level of paying out?” To answer that question — NO, they don’t know that AND if they DID, they wouldn’t CARE.

Have you looked at Greece lately? It’s been in the news when they needed something to pull away from the pressing drama that is the “Penn State Sex Scandal” or the all important latest doings of one or more Kardashians. Greece is FLAT BROKE. They are just BARELY paying their bills. They are about to go under. As a result, the Greek parliament has passed “austerity measures” designed to cut spending and they’ve raised taxes some. Do you think the Greek people have jumped on board and agreed to tighten their collective belts to help ensure their country’s solvency? HADES NO! They are rioting in the streets! Those people are PISSED! They don’t CARE if the country is broke as long as “they get they check.” What will happen when they check stops because the country is BANKRUPT?

Told you! I ain't lying.

Think fire. Lots and lots of fire. For some reason, pissed off people like to burn stuff.

Does anyone REALLY think the people of America are going to be any better as we near economic collapse? No. Most people in America have no idea what country-wide economic collapse IS. All they know is “they got to get they check” on the third so they can make a payment on the trailer so they won’t have to live in the van down by the river. You tell them it’s going to mean higher taxes and THEY DON’T CARE because THEY DON’T PAY TAXES ANYWAY! Zero increased by 50% is still ZERO.

Any candidate — Presidential or otherwise — who runs on a platform of cutting entitlements or changing Social Security is NOT going to get elected or re-elected and politicians are all about the elections because being up on “The Hill” is a pretty sweet gig if you can get it. The hours are good, the pay is good, and the retirement is phenomenal! In all, being a politician is a great way to “get a check,” and we all know that no one — politicians included — wants ANYBODY to “mess with they check.”

Love y’all. Keep the faith and the feet clean.

Thoughts on Veterans’ Day 2011


I would like to thank all the brave men and women throughout our country’s history who have served under arms waging war and keeping peace. It is because of the sacrifice in time, emotion, energy, and — all too often — blood, that the United States of America remains the envy of the rest of the world.

I wholeheartedly support our troops — past, present, and future. Always have, always will.

Having said that, I need to make clear that I am adamantly against the two current “wars” our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and marines have been fighting for the last ten years. Furthermore, even though I was not yet born, I stand retroactively and historically against every war and conflict this country has been involved in since 1945.

Again, to be crystal clear, I SUPPORT OUR TROOPS. My immediate family has sent many brave men to fight our country’s wars including my grandfather, father, father-in-law, and brother-in-law. If I pull back to look at my extended family, the number of veterans quickly becomes too great to list.  As a teacher, I watched more than fifty of my former students go off to fight. To my everlasting sorrow, two of them returned home in flag draped caskets after making the ultimate sacrifice for their country.

I have never admitted this to anyone before tonight, but I was prepared to leave college in 1991 to enlist in the US Army in order to fight in the First Gulf War (the semi- justifiable one) when it looked like we were up against a real army and it might be a somewhat long war. I went to Fountain Inn one early fall afternoon and spoke to Papa Wham alone. Papa, with his eyes tearing up, asked me to please not enlist. He said, “Frankie being in Vietnam almost killed Mama (he always called Granny Wham, Mama) and me. I don’t believe either one of us could stand to see you go to war.” I didn’t enlist, but even though I am grateful to have honored Papa’s wishes, I still feel like a little part of me is missing and I’ll never be able to hold my head quite as high as Papa Wham and Daddy with no test of combat under my belt.

Papa had passed away by the time of the 9-11-2001 attacks when I would again contemplate enlisting, but by then, I was 30 and the recruiters all said I was too old so once again, I did not get to fight. My deepest and greatest regret is having never served my country in uniform.

In any event, though I was willing to go fight myself, I do not support the way our military is being used and has been used for the last forty-five years.  I believe, and I feel justified in my belief, that our government, for whatever real or stated reasons has decided to make the United States the big brother / policeman to the entire world. We are spending our sons and daughters’ precious blood on soil where we have no business being fighting for causes that are not our own.

Please look through the following list of the MAJOR wars and conflicts America has participated in and see what we gained.

  • American Revolution — gained our independence and became a country.
  • War of 1812 — gained nothing for the US.  This war was so unpopular at the time the New England states almost seceded from the United States.
  • Mexican War — Our first aggressive war. We got most of the southwest, which we’d been claiming anyway for years. Oh, and we trained a whole generation of officers for the next war.
  • The War of Northern Aggression — The Confederate States were forced to remain in the Union at the cost of hundreds of thousands of lives both Blue and Grey.
  • The Spanish-American War — Our first war started and fought under completely false pretenses. We gained an overseas empire and a bad reputation.
  • World War I — We fought for one year and acted like we won the war single-handedly.  WWI put us on the world stage as a major player, but we could have just as easily sat it out and still emerged as a dominant power in the world. Wilson just HAD to get us in the fight though.
  • World War II — The continuation of the First World War after a 20 year intermission. We could have sat this one out as well so long as we kept Great Britain and the Soviet Union supplied from The Arsenal of Democracy, but the Japs had to sneak attack us (well, sneak attack for Pearl Harbor. FDR knew all about the coming attack) We gained nothing except superpower status. This is also when we started the annoying trend of blowing the hell out of an enemy and then going in and rebuilding them even stronger.
  • The Korean Conflict — Never a declared war. Still technically going on today since no peace treaty has ever been signed. We gained NOTHING from the Korean War except thousands of casualties and the basis for a mediocre but long running television show.
  • Vietnam Conflict — Never a declared war. We lost nearly 60,000 brave young men for NOTHING. Our government committed acts tantamount to TREASON against our troops then a bunch of dreadlocked hippies had the gall to spit on our boys as they came home. This war destroyed any innocence our country might have retained and gained us NOTHING.
  • Gulf War I — Bush I managed to get us cheap oil for a little while longer.
  • Gulf War II —  Bush II managed to get rid of Saddam Hussein in one of the most unjustified actions of aggression against another sovereign nation (albeit it a sorry, lowdown, and wicked sovereign nation) since we exterminated the Indians and paved the way for one of the only non-theocratic Islamic states in the Middle East to become a theocratic Islamic state. Oh, and also did away with what was left of Daddy Bush’s cheap oil.
  • War In Afghanistan — Ten years to kill one man and when we leave, and we WILL leave, the Taliban will come right back in and reinstall Islamic law, destroy all the schools we built with our boys’ blood, and start cutting women’s noses off again if they get “uppity”.

So, I support our troops whole-heartedly and will happily fight anyone anytime anywhere who think I do not. They are doing their jobs despite the government’s ability to tie their hands at every opportunity. They are fighting, not for “our freedom” because our freedom is not endangered by al-queda’s terrorists. Al-queda can kill Americans, but they cannot kill America and if we stayed out of their miserable God-forsaken countries, they wouldn’t be able to kill as many Americans. 9-11 was a lesson, but unfortunately, it has become the entire curriculum.

At the close of this Veterans Day, Thank You once again to all our Veterans, past and present, living and dead; and to our government let me say loudly and clearly,




A leading news story this week is following the happenings at Penn State University where long time assistant football coach Joe Sandusky has been arrested for multiple counts of sexually abusing children — allegedly. These allegations have already ended the careers of two other former Penn State officials and are threatening to bring down several more, not the least of whom is 84 year-old head coach Joe “JoePa” Paterno who has become the winningest coach in FBS (Division I) history in his 46 year tenure at the helm of the Nitanny Lions.

What catches my attention is the nature of the alleged crimes. Sandusky is accused of sexual abuse. Of all the crimes a person can commit in the 21st century in America, NONE causes more nausea and media hype than sexual abuse of minors. Even if the abuse is alleged and not proven. I don’t know the intimate details of this case and Sandusky may very well be the worst sexual predator since Richard “the Night Stalker” Ramirez terrorized Southern California. He may, however, be an innocent man and that is the problem.

Sexual abuse and sex crimes in general are the witchcraft accusations of our day and age. In medieval times, to accuse someone of witchcraft was the fastest way possible to legally assassinate that person’s character — if not his or her physical body. Accusations of sex crimes accomplish the same insidious results today.

Let me go on record right here that I have no sympathy or softness for criminals of any stripe be they murderers, rapists, or politicians. I think anyone who forces himself upon a woman or child sexually should not be tried but taken out and shot. Luckily for many people, I don’t make the laws.

I have no problem with laws against sexual abuse. What I have a serious problem with is hypocrisy and no part of our legal system in the USA is more hypocritical than crimes and allegations dealing with sexual abuse. To accuse a person of sexual abuse is to end his career and smear his character beyond all hope of redemption. Proof is handy, but not necessary. All that is needed is the allegations. THAT is what I have a problem with.

Back in the middle ’90s when I first started teaching, the news featured a middle school teacher in New Jersey who was released from prison after serving five years for sexual misconduct with two of his female students. It took years of trials and FIVE YEARS of prison before one of the girls cracked and tearfully admitted the entire encounter had been made up by her and the other girl because the teacher spurned their advances. That was in MIDDLE SCHOOL. The worst part of the whole affair is the teacher, even after being released, has YET to clear his name because too many people seem to think along the lines of “even if those girls made up that story, he must be guilty of something else for them to think of doing that to him.”

Don’t laugh and please don’t dismiss me. This stuff happens.

Let me say again that I have no truck with sexual abuse or sexual misconduct — if it is proven. I just want the hypocrisy and the witch-hunting to end. To me nothing is more hypocritical than the various state and national Sex Offender Registries. Just about every person convicted of a sex crime of any nature is required to have his or her name placed on the SOR for THE REST OF HIS OR HER LIFE. The nature of the sex crime is immaterial.

This is hypocrisy at best and blatantly unConstitutional at worst.

Juliet was 13; Romeo was 14 or 15 at most

A violent serial rapist is placed on the same SOR with a young man who didn’t know and didn’t think to ask if the girl he took home from the frat party was over some arbitrary age of consent. This is wrong on both counts. The youngster has no business having his future ruined by a mistaken ID check and the violent serial rapist has no business being out of prison.

I have a buddy right now who is on the SC SOR for the rest of his life because when he was a 17 year old high school senior, he had sex — CONSENSUAL sex, mind you — with his 14 year old freshman girlfriend on prom night. Her daddy found out what the rest of us had known for a good while — namely his little Snow White had drifted. He had my friend arrested for statutory rape. My bud plead guilty (after all, he DID do it) to avoid prison, but he had to register on the sex offender list. He lost his college scholarships, had his college acceptance revoked, and to this day, he’s still on the SOR and it is nearly impossible for him to get a job.

A person commits a crime and is sentenced to X number of years to pay for that crime. If the crime is robbery, once the sentence is completed, the person is completely free. Even MURDER is the same way. We don’t have a National Murderer Registry. Let a person commit some sort of sex crime, however, and even after the person pays his debt to society in full, he still has a life sentence on a completely publicly accessible registry. In most states this means he will have a devil of a time finding a place to live legally, a job, or even a place to EAT.

Can someone PLEASE explain to me how this is not a violation of the Double Jeopardy Clause of the US Constitution?

One last time, let me say IF A PERSON IS A VIOLENT SEXUAL PREDATOR, he or — rarely — she should HANG. Pedophiles should be locked away forever, not put on a registry. Their crimes are too heinous to describe and study after study has shown they are incapable of being rehabilitated.

But what about the Humbert Humberts? Why should they be punished for a lapse of judgement with Lolita?

I think the most hypocritical part of the sexual attitude of the country in general and the SOR in particular is the egregious double standards found everywhere sex is concerned. “Children” in middle school sing along to their favorite songs like “My Milkshake brings all the boys to the yard” and “I wanna lick you like a lollipop” but when they ACT on those sexual overtones, THEY are not punished but woe betide anyone a little too old who falls under their spell.

The world has changed. I don’t like it. In fact, I pretty much despise it. For one thing, I want to know where all these “girls” were when I was in middle school. Most girls I went to school with couldn’t wear freaking LIP GLOSS until they were 15. I remember going to high school and seeing all the freshmen girls who were finally allowed to wear makeup trying to learn how. Poor things ended up somewhere between Mona Lisa and Tammy Faye Bakker.

It’s different now, though. Adolescents have always been curious about sex but now they are subtly ENCOURAGED by the media and the entertainment industry to ACT rather than just be curious. Then, when they do, it’s the “adults” who are punished. This is wrong and a miscarriage of justice on too many levels.

Back to Coach Sandusky. Maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. At the moment, the state’s strongest piece of evidence is the testimony of ONE janitor with perfect recall of an even that happened in 2002. I barely remember breakfast yesterday and this janitor remembers all the details of a fleeting event over 9 years ago.

Like I said, maybe he did and maybe he didn’t. It doesn’t really matter now though because in the minds of the public, a once lauded and supposedly conscientious man will forever be “a predator.” If he is guilty, he should bear the full weight of punishment . . . but can’t we wait until he is tried before we hang him?

Some people — allegedly — think that might be a good idea. I happen to be one of them.


An Open Letter to His Honor _____


August 15th

The Year of Our Lord 2011

To the Honorable Judge _____

Your Honor:

Sir, I take pen (or keyboard) in hand in a state of highest dudgeon and fiercest wrath to address the grievous, near unbearable wrong you have perpetuated upon two of my dearest friends. I am speaking in regards to the mockery of justice which you — in your obvious, painful ignorance of morality, decency, and legal matters in general — handed down Friday last from the bench in family court of the capital of our fair state.

For reasons known only to God and no doubt sprung from His most rued creation, Lucifer, you have separated a caring, loving, hardworking, decent, God-fearing and law-abiding man of unimpeachable honor and impeccable upbringing from his dearly beloved son. You brought about this sorry state of affairs by granting full custody of an impressionable, naive child in the very bud of his adolescence – a time when he will need his father most of all — to a shameless hussy, inveterate liar, brazen barmaid, and unrepentant harlot.

To make matters worse — as if you in your ineptitude could manage such a feat — this Moll Flanders is recently wedded, if such “common-law attachments” are recognized in polite society, to nothing less than a slothful, n0-count, layabout sluggard unable to maintain gainful employment because he thirsts so for the waters of iniquity — Demon Rum.

Both of these pernicious and slovenly members of the dregs of society are known for wanton, unchecked consumption of opiates and narcotics gained by devious — possibly extralegal — means. Even the child is distressed by the amount and frequency with which this woman of the evening and her mewling consort take their ill-gotten “medication.” I maintain this lad is entirely too tender in years to dwell perforce in such a  chaotic state of fear and filth.

In stark contrast to the worthless, rum-addled companion of this remorseless camp follower, this young child’s father– after enduring years of loneliness spent tending only to the needs and care of his son — has but recently wooed and wed a veritable flower,  a guileless blossom of an old and distinguished Southern family. This true belle femme with education, refinement, and grace in addition to an angelic countenance has — in her brief time with the lad and his father — forged a strong and loving bond. The only logical reason for the boy’s near instant cleaving to this spotless magnolia bloom is she provides such a stark and complete foil to his opium-sotted mother.

Ever since making the young boy’s acquaintance, his stepmother has sought only his utmost good and had planned — before your imbecility of a ruling — to daily convey him to a quality school and from thence home again having never had to endure the complete lack of care he will experience in some wretched after-school day care facility. Of course, he will only be called upon to bear up under such adversity in the unlikely event his mother — if she can be called such in aught but a biological sense — and her ne’er-do-well companion manage to find someone charitable — or foolish — enough to provide either of them with employment.

You, Sir, who are sworn to protect the innocent, would rather thrust a child–  hardly more than a babe — into such a bottomless pit of perdition? And for what reason? The supposed quality of the SCHOOLS? The sex of the defendant? My good sir, it takes much more than test scores to make an excellent school and much more than a set of ovaries and breasts to make a mother! I see, however, that you are ignorant of such facts, which is all the more a shame as it is my understanding that men who sit upon Lady Justice’s bench usually possess vastly more mental acumen than you have exhibited thus far.

I press my case on by pointing out how this Corinthian woman claims to be a nurse — an angel of mercy — and yet I have seen personally a wound upon the boy’s person — obtained under her “watchful eye”  no less — infected upon the very cusp of blood poisoning. Did she avail herself of any of her “thorough and detailed medical training” to render succor and treatment to her child? No, she simply sent him off — wounded and suffering — to his father who, though not as educated in the arts of healing as this Lilith purports to be, cleansed the festering wound and bandaged it with tenderness and care so that within the weekend it was scarcely noticeable.

I allow to you that it grieves my heart to the deepest depths of my soul that this unbearable outrage, this incredible miscarriage of justice, did not occur in the halcyon antebellum days gone by. For if it had, IF IT HAD, I can assure you with utmost certainty I would forgo the posting of this missive in favor of having it delivered in person by my man with explicit instructions to closet with the suitable second of your choosing, there to make arrangements for us to settle this matter post-haste as men with implements of your choosing.

Unfortunately, decaying years and men’s callowness have robbed gentlemen — here I am generously giving you benefit of doubt as your conduct belies any notion you understand the term — of such final and effective means of gaining satisfaction when faced with such an act of reeking, ignoble dishonor as this which you have so callously foisted upon my kin and those nearest my heart. Such is the ignominy of these latter days that the only “weapons” I may use with impunity are the biting words of acerbic rhetoric.

In finality, Sir, I have no direct knowledge of your ancestry and so cannot accurately discern whether you be carpetbagger, Copperhead, or scalawag, but I am able to deduce from your actions that you are a scurrilous, low-born blackguard and a rank, base, and abject cur.

Good day to you, Sir. Good day and may Almighty God — who does not suffer the folly of the wicked but delivers true  justice in due time — reward you amply your due for this horrible, wicked act.


G.S. Feet, MA, SoCV, Esq.

Perils of Playing House


Consider yourself warned.

In this country, anyone wanting to operate a car, truck or motorcycle must pass a test and be licensed. If you don’t have a license, you are not legally allowed to drive. You may spend years in schools obtaining a medical or legal degree, but if you don’t pass the tests for the bar or for the medical specialty of your choice, you cannot call yourself a doctor or a lawyer and if you are caught trying to deceive people into believing you ARE a doctor or a lawyer, you will go directly to jail neither passing GO nor collecting $200.

BUT, any one man and one woman can pair up and, as long as they possess the correct anatomical and God-supplied equipment, make a baby and bring that baby into the world. In doing so, they often deceive people into believing they are, in fact, PARENTS. They are not. They are a sperm donor and a very sophisticated incubator. Making and / or birthing a baby doesn’t make you a parent any more than putting on a lab coat or a powdered wig (in England at least) makes you a doctor or a lawyer.

Therein lies the source of a huge amount of the problems facing the country today. Too many people are running around PRETENDING to be parents when all they are really doing is playing a cruel version of “house” just like kindergartners.

Why yes, I would like to get her started in her mama's footsteps as soon as possible!

If you want to know whether or not I am talking to you or if you should be giving me multiple loud “amen, preach it, my brother” outbursts is simple for me to ascertain with ONE question. Have you ever worried that you were not being a good parent or actually thought you were being a poor parent? If you have dwelt at any length on those statements, you are NOT a bad parent or — at the very least — you are trying. Just the fact that you CARE if you are a good parent or not says volumes.

Two of my favorite former students married, in due time, produced a gorgeous little tow-headed, blue-eyed girl just as pretty as her mama and as much of a smartass as her daddy. Her daddy has gone from being a favorite student to being a dear friend and he has said to me on more than one occasion, usually with tears in his voice, “Coach, I just don’t know if I’m being a good daddy to Lisa.” I tell him every time what I just told y’all, “Mike, the fact that you CARE whether or not you are a good daddy means you are trying really hard to be a good daddy and that is all any man can do.”

Entirely too many incubators and sperm donors today seem –by their actions at least — to view their offspring as accessories like a watch or a chihuahua, or maybe the next logical step in some middle class fantasy plan. Others actually see their children as INCOME producers and keep having them until the government says they won’t pay for any more. Worst of all, however, are those poor fools who see their children as “friends” and not “children.”

Here is a story I have told often and it still flabbergasts me more than ten years later. It illustrates the perils of poor parenting.

My second year as a teacher, I was in on a meeting with a 16-year-old tee-tiny white girl, her mama, the AP, the guidance counselor, and a few other assorted teachers. We were trying to explain to mama that baby-doll wasn’t doing so hot in the academic realm. When it came time for the mama to respond, she didn’t get three sentences out before her daughter spun around and unleashed a torrent at her that turned the air of the conference room a Smurfy shade of blue. This 16-year-old slip of a girl called her mama every name in the book and actually worked herself into such a rage that she had to be restrained and taken from the room.

Mama’s reaction? She put her head in her hands and started moaning about, “I just don’t know what to do with her. I’ve tried so hard to be her friend and get her to like me.”

Even then I was not known for having either volumes of tact or great reserves of self-control so while everyone else in the room (the older, more experienced ones) sat staring at the table, I got up and sat next to the poor woman. I put my hand on her shoulder and she looked up at me with red-rimmed eyes and I told her, “Ma’am, my mama is my best friend in this world. I love her like I love no other. She is 5’2 and weighs 110 pounds in a full winter suit of clothes, heavy boots, and soaked in a swimming pool. She has bad lungs from smoking for years and working in cotton mills. She is a bit past her physical prime. I am 5’10, 250 pounds (I was then anyway) have wrestled, coached wrestling, and fought in full contact karate tournaments. I’m in the prime of my life, but if I — TODAY — let alone when I was 16, said HALF of the words your daughter just said to you to MY MAMA, I know EXACTLY what she would do. She would walk over, pick up that nice heavy metal stool and proceed to disfigure the metal of the stool seat with the bone of my head. Once she had beat me unconscious, she would call Bull Street in Columbia and tell them to come get her son because he had OBVIOUSLY lost his mind. Ma’am, your daughter doesn’t need another FRIEND. She needs a MAMA.”

Well, she got all pissed off and I got another letter in my file, but I stand by what I said to this day. My mama has said many things to and about me and we’ve had our disagreements over the years but at NO TIME has my mama EVER uttered the phrases “I can’t do anything with him” or “I just want him to like me.” Mama never gave one tiny tinker’s damn if I LIKED her or if she was my FRIEND or not, but let me assure you she ALWAYS knew SOMETHING to do with me and it was the thoughts of what she COULD do that kept me on the straight and narrow most of the time.

This doesn't REALLY say "Juicy." It REALLY says "Mom and Dad don't care that perverted old men are going to stare at my butt."

Remember this — You are a PARENT. You RAISE the child. Teachers, pastors, day care centers, and TV stars don’t RAISE your kids. It’s not their job; it’s YOUR job and if you didn’t want it, you should have given little Johnny or Jill or LaKwisha or Jaquan up for adoption to one of the thousands of infertile couples like me and Budge who would love to have a child to raise but can’t. EVEN BETTER, if you didn’t WANT the responsibility of being a parent because it might CRAMP your style, you should have stayed off your back or out of that hotel room or out of the back seat of that car. As I have told more than one young person over the years when they were facing choices about sex, drugs, or rock ‘n roll, “If you don’t want to go to Atlanta, don’t get on I-85 South!” Stay on that interstate long enough and eventually you WILL end up in Fulton County, Georgia. Guaranteed.

Hope I didn’t terribly offend anyone, but I’ve just seen some stuff this weekend that has made me question how our species has made it this far! Unfortunately, the ones who need to read this the most will never see it! ***sigh***

Love y’all anyway and keep those feet clean!

Well Merry *bleep*ing Christmas to You Too, Jerk!


For 22 years, starting in 1659, our lovely Puritan forefathers banned Christmas. Now I don’t hold too much with Puritan beliefs. I’ve had enough commerce with modern day Fundamentalists (who are only a pale shadow of the Puritans!) to know most of their beliefs rest in the authority of men rather than Scripture. However, on this whole idea of banning Christmas — well, they may have been on to something. I just spent parts of three days at the mall with about 350,000 of my closest friends and I can testify to one irrefutable fact — a whole truckload of people would be better off mentally, emotionally, and financially if we just skipped Christmas.

Now, before anyone wants to skewer me as being a Jehovah’s Witness or irreverent towards Jesus’ birthday, let me get one thing straight. For those of you who don’t know, Jesus Christ was not born on December 25, 8 BC. The Gospels state that the shepherds were in the fields with their flocks. If you ever have the time, check out the Weather Channel for Bethlehem in December. Not all the Middle East is hot all the time. Suffice it to say neither the shepherds nor their sheep would have been out in the fields in December in Judea.

No, Christmas as we know and love (or loathe) it today is a pastiche of pagan traditions adapted by some early Christians to make their new religion more appealing to their pagan neighbors. They basically co-opted the traditional Feast of Saturnalia from Roman pagans and later on, when Christianity reached the British Isles, the Druids added a healthy dose of their traditional Winter Solstice or Yuletine celebration to the Roman underpinnings. Honestly though, I don’t care about the origins of the Christ Mass. Christ can be honored at Christmas just as much as people want to honor Him. Or not. Paganism has nothing to do with my musings on canceling Christmas.

I’d consider canceling Christmas because it has morphed from “Tis the Season to be Jolly” into “Tis the Season to be a Raging Douchebag!”

Face it, NOTHING brings the collective inner a-holes of society to the surface like the Christmas season. Starting somewhere around August these days we start seeing the first glimmerings of the tinsel to come. Then stores get fully decorated as soon as the black cats and witches hats come down for Halloween. Thanksgiving gets brushed off and then OMG!

It’s Black Friday and the world loses its freaking mind!

From the Friday after Thanksgiving until sometime around the first week of January, you take your life into your hands if you venture to within a mile of a retail establishment. People will SHOOT YOU over a parking spot at the mall. I have personally been given the middle finger by several little old blue haired ladies driving their stretched out Cadillacs around the parking lot of Haywood Mall like the Malachy Brothers and Pinky Tuscadero in a demolition derby.

The Bird — from GRANDMA! That’s what Christmas DOES to people these days.

If you want to visit a breeding ground for strokes and heart attacks, head out to the nearest US Post Office starting around the second week in December. I was in my local station last Thursday to pick up some stamps and this guy a few people back in line from me gets on his cell phone (I will refrain from my “cell phone in public places” rant) and starts pitching a fit with whoever was on the other end. He actually SAID, “I’ll be here for AT LEAST an hour because for some reason EVERY IDIOT in this town brought TEN BOXES to mail!”


And people accuse ME of going off at the drop of a hat! Dude, word of advice — buy a calendar and some Xanax! Better make it the PURPLE ones too, because you are BEYOND the orange ones.

What I don’t understand is WHY ALL THE FUSS?!

For nearly six solid weeks, the great mass of quietly desperate sheeple run around like AD-HD lemmings on meth buying gifts they can’t afford with money they don’t have to give to people they probably don’t like. Why? Men are forced at bayonet point to put up trees and string lights on those trees and many of those men resort to alcohol in an effort to deal with the madness of trying to make out the color of the one remaining microscopic fleck of paint on the tip of a boxful of artificial tree branches! Is it orange or brown! Makes a difference you know.

We won’t even TALK about the lights. I don’t have the raw numbers, but I’m nearly certain the three leading causes of divorce in America are fights over money, lack of communication, and STRINGING CHRISTMAS LIGHTS ON A TREE!

“YES, DEAR, I see the big gaping hole where we need more lights!!”

People don’t enjoy Christmas anymore. They can’t. The “retail therapy” pushers won’t let them. What should be a nice, calm time for friends and family has turned into a materialistic feeding frenzy! My two oldest nephews get more toys and gadgets and stuff at ONE family get-together than Wilson’s Five and Ten’s whole inventory when I was growing up. The push to keep up with the Joneses who don’t even know you exist has driven people to madness.

People will STEAL PRESENTS out of a car. That is almost, but not quite as low as stealing money out of the offering plate as it comes by (not making change in the offering plate, that’s different). I’ve just recently seen women get into hair-pulling, shirt-ripping cat fights over the last Elmo doll — WHILE THEIR KIDS WERE WATCHING!

It’s unbelievable! Folks get trampled to DEATH every year at Wal-marts and Target stores over a sale on DVDs or some such nonsense. A person’s life has become cheaper to society than a round piece of laser etched plastic.

I can imagine Jesus looking over this chaos that — once upon a time — used to be set aside to celebrate His birth and thinking, “Really, guys?”

So watch out for the bird-flipping grannies out there and if you MUST go out to a mall sometime in the next four days, PLEASE be careful! It’s a tinsel wrapped, tiny light strung jungle out there!

Love y’all! Keep those feet clean!

Stop Hijacking Jesus


As a matter of good raising, I don’t normally discuss sex, religion, or politics in polite company. Lately, though, a trend has developed that has me frothing at the mouth and I’ve reached the point of putting my irritation into print.  Therefore, this post will be quite religious and political in places. So, if you are an atheist or you hate religion or you just don’t like reading or talking about spiritual things, here’s your warning. Hit the bricks now and if you still read to the bottom, don’t send me some comment about how “weak-minded” or “old-fashioned” I am to believe the Bible is real or that God is real or that Jesus is real. I’ll take my chances, thank you very much.

So, you’ve been warned.

If you’re still with me, know that what’s driving me nuts (well, MORE nuts) is the growing tendency of people in all forms of public endeavor to drag religion into everything. What has finally pushed my quarter off the table is the rash of comments in my local newspaper by people claiming to speak for Jesus. It’s on my last nerve and it has got to stop.

People need to quit hijacking Jesus.

As an example of what I mean, watch any football game from high school to pro. As soon as a player makes a

I'm pretty sure He don't care, son.

touchdown, he hits a knee or points to the sky in some obvious move to “give thanks” for his touchdown.


I am not a seminary educated theologian, but I am willing to bet on a few things in the theological sphere and one of those is I’m pretty certain Jesus Christ is not a football fan. Or a baseball fan. Or basketball. Or hockey. . . you get the picture.

See, for those who don’t know, Jesus and His dad, aka. God Almighty, have tasked themselves with the creation and maintenance of the universe. Now, even though being omnipotent makes this task vastly easier and probably does leave time to take in a few quarters of football here and there if They so choose, I just don’t picture Jesus being a football fanatic. Of course, the Saints DID win the Super Bowl last year, but I think that was more on God-given talent than any divine intervention.

Leave Jesus out of the scoring celebrations!

The proper order is "get award" THEN "get drunk!"

Another group that boils my innards and boils my blood over their misappropriation of the Lord’s Name is the lot of “award winners.” Oscars, Emmys, and Tonys. CMAs, AMAs, and Grammys. Stage, screen, or stereo. The medium that is the source of the awards show is irrelevant. They all have the same seriously annoying habit. As soon as they get up on stage and take their pot metal statuette or crystal resin miniature from the vapid, chattering host or hostess, the first thing many of them do is lean into the microphone and say, “I’d like to thank God for this award!”


Again I appeal to my admittedly self-taught body of Biblical knowledge and I feel very comfortable saying God probably doesn’t care that you won your silly award. After all, He and Jesus sit on thrones (well, technically Jesus is standing at God’s right hand for the moment) in a room vastly beautiful beyond our finite minds’ ability to comprehend. They are surrounded by seraphim and cherubim that do nothing 24/7/365 (366 on leap years) but sing songs more glorious than our greatest songwriter can dream of. Do you really think They stop listening to an angelic choir just to hear Lady GaGa warble out “Bad Romance?”

I’m betting against it.

One other thing before I leave the entertainment industry alone and move on to the REAL target of my derision. If, after receiving your pot metal or crystal resin, you lean into the microphone and drunkenly or doped-upedly slur your thanks to the Almighty, I wouldn’t count on that thanks reaching the ceiling. I am no longer a teetotaler where faith and alcohol come together. My thought is Jesus’ first recorded miracle was turning fetid water into fabulous wine. I don’t think He has a problem with a glass of wine or a cold beer after cutting grass in July in the South.

The whole drunken slurring thing though? Probably not so good. The Bible has several instances of people (usually men) getting drunk and the results are always disastrous and ugly. You may THINK you’re different, but I can pretty much assure you, you’re not.

Leave Jesus out of the “awards ceremonies!”

Now, before I begin blasting away at my most despised blasphemers, let me make clear that I think anyone anywhere can respond to and accept the Gospel, be he a self-indulgent basketball star or be she a babbling, bacon bikini wearing songbird. I have it on good authority that one of my very best friends accepted the Gospel message halfway down a 150′ ravine during the third end over end flip of his 280ZX. One of my former students, a self-proclaimed atheist, hear Jesus’ call in a fighting hole in Afghanistan right after a Taliban bullet made a crease in his armor helmet.

Any time. Anywhere. 24/7/365 (366 in leap years).

Now for my true venom. The group that I despise the most and the absolute WORST Jesus hijackers are POLITICIANS! I am at the point of getting nauseous whenever I hear some scheming, conniving, back-door-dealing Washington sewer dweller talk spout out something like “Our party won control of thus and so because God is on our side!”

Let me go puke.

This wrapping oneself in the Cross covered prayer shawl is completely bipartisan as well. Elephants and Jackasses alike invoke the name of the Lord to hopefully win the passage of some “vital” piece of legislation or, much more likely, to appeal to the “folks back home” who expect their representatives to be moral, preferably Christian, men and women.  Nowhere is this malady worse than here in my beloved Southland. We are a devout people down here. Sure, we may go out on Friday and Saturday nights each week and drink ourselves blind. We may switch from bed to bed like our heads are on fire and our butts are catching. We may swear and spit and carry on, lie, cheat, steal, etc.

But we’ll be in church come Sunday.

We expect the same from our politicians and they deliver. If I hear one more politician say “I feel this is what God would want me to do,” I may collapse into an uncontrollable conniption fit! It wouldn’t be so brazenly blasphemous and hypocritical if the politicians were not so “cafeteria” style about their so-called “heavenly mandate.” A senator can vote to increase the deficit, increase taxes, increase involvements in wars — but he’ll still get elected by a landslide as long as he claims to be staunchly against abortion! A representative can back big business, spit on the middle class, and whore-hop around Washington, DC worse than a Heidi Fleiss call-girl working on a new Ferrari, but as long as he keeps pushing a bill to get prayer back in schools, the people will support him.

535 member congregation and every single one of them is a politician! Who'd a thunk it?

So it goes on with this party claiming divine favor then that party claiming some new revelation. They’ll get up on TV with tears in their eyes as they talk about their conversion experiences in a little country church (he or she may be from Atlanta, Nashville, or Jacksonville but it’s ALWAYS a little country church) when they walked the aisle and let Jesus into their hearts.

All I know is Jesus must be pretty lonely in there since He’s the only thing in that heart.

Let’s get one thing straight and clear once and for all now and forever. Jesus Christ is not a Republican. Jesus Christ is not a Democrat. Jesus Christ is a King and not just ANY king but the King of Kings. Neither He nor His Daddy give two toots in a tornado about our petty earthly politics because They know who ACTUALLY runs this show! It doesn’t make the slightest bit of difference to Either of Them that Barak Obama defeated John McCain to become POTUS. They. Don’t. Care. They have bigger fish to fry.

So please, all you politicians posturing on a false faith or even a genuine faith that you can’t stop ramming down people’s throats, stop. STOP!

Leave Jesus out of politics.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean.

Beam Me Up Adobe!


You ever just had one of those days?

People are baffling to me sometimes. I try to be caring and understanding of everyone’s little peculiarities and proclivities, but I can not tolerate stupidity. Ignorance, I can deal with. Someone ignorant can be educated and “fixed,” but as Ron White puts it so eloquently, “You can’t fix stupid.” Since I have hypertension already, I attempt to avoid stupid people as much as humanly possible; however, one arena exists where stupidity is not only impossible to avoid, but is also seemingly a prerequisite for the job. I’m talking about the Tenth Circle of Hell known as Customer Service.


This school year, Budge’s district switched from a bi-weekly pay schedule to a twice monthly pay schedule. They now get paid on the 15th and 30th of each month. Okay. Fine. Since we have such a definite system in place, I figured I’d try to make my bookkeeping a little simpler by setting up some automatic drafts. We only have two major bills each month — the car payment and the mortgage. Since the mortgage is due on the 20th, I planned to set up to have it drafted from our account on the 16th of each month. That way, the mortgage would get paid early but with enough lead time to make sure the paycheck went in the bank.

This being the 21st century since the Incarnation of Our Lord, Jesus Christ, I logged on to my trusty PC, went to the mortgage company’s website and couldn’t find a form to download and fill out in order to make this transaction happen. I was filled with sorrow because if it isn’t on the website, the only place to get the information is by making the call to (cue the creepy organ music) Customer Service.

Now as anyone knows, Customer Service is the worst misnomer in the long and storied history of misnomers. I am convinced that an IQ somewhere in the vicinity of warm milk, or maybe stale bread, is necessary to be a Customer Service rep. I have yet to only make ONE call to Customer Service anywhere and have my problem fixed. A three call minimum is my usual working plan. This adventure would crawl along similar lines.

I need to make the point right here that I’m talking about Customer Service, which is NEVER to be confused with the high and noble profession that is Technical Support aka “IT”. Tech Support is a horse of a decidedly different hue altogether.


REALLY? Why? What freaking good will it do?

Anyway, I screwed my courage to the sticking place, picked up the trusty Uniden, and called. I had no illusion of getting a human on the first ring and I was not disappointed. I was immediately confronted with a quite mellifluous female voice asking me to choose English or Spanish. Then came the litany of choices that included everything except what I wanted. The worst part was this company had gotten smart and pressing “0” didn’t do anything until The Voice gave the caller that choice and, wouldn’t you know it, that was the last choice!?


So I pressed Zed and listened to some horrid Muzak for about an hour during which I was reminded at irregular intervals that my “business is vitally important to us and we will answer any questions as soon as the next available operator comes on the line.” Just when I’d started tightening my grip a little unnecessarily on the phone, a woman picked up, gave me her name in a very disturbing nasally voice, and said, “Can I have your name, please?” Done. “Can you verify the address of the home?” Done. “Can you verify your home phone number?” Done. “Last four of your Social please?” Done. “and do you intend to keep the home?” Yes. “Now, Mr. Wham, how may I help you?”

This wasn’t my first rodeo with this company, so I endured this recitation with a certain grim stoicism and asked about the bank draft form. She pointed me to a wildly obscure corner of the website under a heading like “Miscellaneous Garbage Having Nothing to Do with Forms” then asked, “Will there be anything else, Mr. Wham?” I asked for a number I could fax the form to and she said, “Oh, that number is on the form, have a good day, Mr. Wham.” Then she was gone.

I pulled my newly acquired form from the printer and, guess what? NO. FAX. NUMBER. Checked the website. Of course not! Why put an unimportant thing like a fax number on the website? Only one thing to do — call back. Again with the pretty voice and the list and the Muzak and the reminders and then, “hello, this is [someone I can’t recall]” can I have your name please?” Done and at this point, you would think she would see that I hung up with her colleague not 30 seconds ago. You would think, but you’d be wrong. Nope. Whole spiel again, right down to the “Do you intend to keep the home” bit before the “How may I help you?” I asked for the fax number. She gave me the fax number. I thanked her. She hung up. I instructed my fax modem to call their fax. The number she gave me? It wasn’t a fax machine. None of the metallic / mechanical squawking associated with a fax answering a call through good computer speakers.

She gave me the wrong number.

I had to call back, again.

I wasn’t happy anymore.

Dial. Voice. List. Muzak. Reminders. “Hello my name is Slim Shady, can I have your name?” Once again through the entire run of blabber down to “Do you intend to keep the home?” I was sore tempted to say, “No, actually, I’d like to tow it down to your office and shove it somewhere” but I didn’t. I simply said I was given the wrong fax number. Then I asked her if I could just email her a pdf of the form with my voided check attached. She said no, that it had to be sent via snail mail or fax. I pointed out that a pdf would be much clearer and easier to read and that’s when she took the conversation from the ridiculous to the sublime. She said, “Maybe so, sir, but we have to have the check and your signature and you can’t email a pdf with the check and your signature attached.”

Had I not asked the next question, I’d have probably managed to salvage the day with a tiny bit of compassion left for the human race, but nope. Had to ask it.

“Ma’am, are you saying you need the ORIGINAL voided check and my ORIGINAL signature?”

“Yes, sir!”

“But you’ll take a fax?”

“Yes, sir!”

“Ma’am, by any chance do you know who installed your fax?”

“No, sir, why do you ask?”

“Because, honey, if his name wasn’t Montgomery Scott or Gene Roddenberry, that fax machine AIN’T GONNA SEND YOU AN ORIGINAL DOCUMENT!!”

And I hung up.

Without getting the fax number.

So I had to call back

. . . again.

Love y’all, and keep those feet clean!