Who Shot Dallas’ J.R. Ewing?
What question was the burning question in the late 1970s and the early 1980s? It was not, did Robert Blake kill his wife, not Did OJ Simpson kill his wife Nicole Brown Simpson and her supposed lover waiter Ron Goldman, and not how or why did Princess Dianna die? Of all the events that occurred during these two decades, and plots in television, past or present , what captivated audiences the most was who shot J.R. He was played by Larry Hagman and was the most hated villain in all of TV. It just goes to show you where our priorities lay. It is a wonder that it has taken until the 2020’s for our country to start failing. But that is a story for another time. It just so happens that I was in the hospital with pneumonia when the secret was finally divulged on prime time TV. It remained the most watched TV episode of all time until it was finally eclipsed by the series ending episode of M*A*S*H which was aired in February 28, 1983. Of course, it did not live up to its hype but it was great anyway. I, being young and not unattractive and it didn’t hurt that I was watching Dallas, had every young nurse on my floor in my room watching this episode with me. Boy, was I in hog heaven. Ah, the simple pleasures. Spoiler alert, his wife Ellen’s sister Kristin who J.R. previously gotten pregnant, ended up being the one who shot him. You had to know that they weren’t going to knock off a main character. So it was a bit of a let down. I don’t think she was on anybody’s radar, either.
So you probably guessed it, this chapter is going to be filled with orphan stories that would only muddy the main storyline. These stories are not only I believe funny, but they also help to explain some of the actions of my parents, siblings and other main characters in my life. So buckle up and be prepared for a fun roller coaster ride through my life in this sixth chapter, “Orphan Side Stories”.
Boy, you have a hard head.
My current wife says, I am either accident-prone or a shit magnet. I prefer to think of myself as an adventurer. But it can’t be denied that I do get banged up on a regular basis. In this particular event, I was playing in the playground at our elementary school. I was so engrossed in my fun that I misjudged the distance to the overhead steel bar on this slide. Well, as luck would have it, when I stood up my head hit the bar. After I stopped seeing stars, I resumed my play. When out-of-nowhere, one of my playmates informed me that my head was bleeding. So, I reached up and touched my head, low and behold, my hand came back red with my blood. Well, of course, I got scared. So I made a beeline to the all too familiar school nurses office. It just so happened that good old Dr. Haber was at the school on business that day. He just seemed to be everywhere, he really was amazing. He took one look at me and just shook his head. He asked what had I been up too. They subsequently contacted my mother by phone, and the resulting howl informed me that she was aware of my status. So, he shaved part of my head and threw in 3 more stiches to my collection. I was fast becoming a legend at my school. All I was missing was a scar on my cheek.
Mike Tyson, I am not.
It was the last day of school of 2nd grade. I was one of the popular kids at the time, and I had yet to experience the misery of grade three. So, in other words, I was your typical brat and not a very empathetic one at that. Every class has a screw up, and our 2nd grade class was no exception. So, a group of us decided to pick on him after school. Nothing too bad. So I thought. When we finished ruining his life, we all went our separate ways. For some reason, he chose to follow me and with the goal of exacting his retribution on me. I was loaded down with all my school papers that my mother would all too promptly dispose of. So, needless to say, I was none too nimble. So outrunning him was not an option. So I did the next best thing. I went on offense. I put my prized possessions on the ground and I gave him a good haymaker right in the face. I hit him so hard that he felt it in his toes. I basically knocked him to the ground, and I split his cheek for good measure. But the bad thing was that he was bigger than I was, and he was able to with some effort shake it off. I picked up all my treasures and hauled ass. He, however, unburdened as he was easily caught up to me. He proceeded to beat the living tar out of me. I went one way and my papers went the other way. They were flying everywhere, it was quite a sight to see. So, after he finally got tired of using me as a punching bag, he left. But with all that, it was only my pride that was hurt, and after all I had drawn first blood.
My Aunt And The Plumber’s Crack
While I have mentioned the camp ground Fish Creek Pond a few times, I have yet to mention Macomb Reservation State Park. This was my Aunt Barbara’s favorite camp site, because not only was it close to her house it was dirt cheap as well. Being that we lived close to the Canadian border, our families had several Canadian Friends. One family in particular was a nice childless couple that for some reason enjoyed my Aunt Barbara’s company. I remember the man’s name was John, but I for the life of me can’t remember his wife’s name. The only problem with John was that he was obese and he a had plumber’s crack. Well after camping with John and his wife on several occasions my aunt could not take it any longer. When the event took place he was bent over building a fire, showing his trade mark butt crack. This time my aunt did not ignore it and she snuck up behind him with an evil look on her face took a stick lying on the ground and stuck it in is butt crack. We were all speechless. None of the family could believe that she had done such a heinous thing. Well good old John never said a word. He quietly stood up and too the branch out of his pants and proceeded to break camp. They left with out saying a word to any of us and were never to be heard of again. So in my aunts typical fashion she tried to laugh it off and stated that he deserved it. Of course she was in the wrong. If she would have had half a brain and common sense at all she would have talked to him in private about his butt. Instead she chose to embarrass him in public.
Where Did All The Water Come From?
This is a little side note that involved the trip we made to Alabama to visit my Sister Tina. As a special little treat her and her husband thought it would be nice to go to Panama City and camp on the beach there. It was a short drive from where he was stationed in Alabama to the beaches in Panama City. Unfortunately, during our visit it was the rainy season as well. My sister’s husband John brought two tents and air mattresses and blankets for the four of us. They had one tent and Mom and I had the other tent. Everything was going along swimmingly and I was having the time of my life sleeping on the air mattress. Our mother was not fairing quite as well. Finally she did fall asleep. However our peaceful slumber was not to last because I woke up when my hand felt wet. I was also having a strange sensation that I was moving. When out of nowhere a loud crack of thunder jolted me wide awake and a bright streak of lightning illuminated the inside of our tent. We were actually floating in our tent, well at least I was floating, Mom weighed a little too much to float. Her mattress for that matter was also quite a bit thicker so she had not gotten wet yet, but she was now wide awake as well, due to the load clap of thunder. Well the next thing you know the four of us were all in my sisters little car, where we spent the rest of the night like four drenched rats. The deluge continued for the rest of the night. I expect if it lasted much longer we would have needed an ark. Needless to say our stay in Panama City was cut short and we promptly returned back to Alabama in the morning.
Basic Instinct Curtain Call
I mulled this one over for quite some time about whether to include it or not. I finally decided to include it. I will, however, do my best to protect the identity of the individuals in this story. I won’t even mention how I am related to them nor will I mention what state they lived in. I used to stay overnight at this relatives house on a regular basis. She had two daughters, one approximately 13 years of age and the other, about 16 or so years old. I was in the third grade, so I was quite young and certainly not worldly in the way of women, to put it politely. These two young ladies were quite lovely and had fully blossomed into womanhood. They used to wear short cotton teddies that rose well above the knee. This was my first experience with a women’s delicate parts. I was soon to discover that undergarments were but an afterthought with the both of them. They also wore these outfits in the living room where there was a perfectly positioned coffee table that they both liked to rest their feet on. I was, of course, positioned opposite of them in the living room. All I was missing was the popcorn, because both of them put on quite a show. Three things you should know. First, I had no idea what I was looking at. Second, I couldn’t take my eyes off of the site before me. I must have known I was seeing something really cool. Third, they knew I was looking. They were not bashful in the least. I just got little smiles and conspiratorial looks between them. It was great to be me. However, it all came to an abrupt end when their mother discovered what was going on. You would not believe how fast undergarments appeared in the picture. So, I had my own Basic Instinct moment. I was just too damn young to truly be aware what was going on.
Thank God for Sudsy.
My aunt in order to save money would buy all of her meat in Canada. I think Canada should have stayed with Maple Syrup and hockey. They had no business selling meat. To give you an idea, I think it could have been used for shoe leather. The meat was so tough and so full of fat that I would almost gag when I chewed it. I tried hiding the pieces under the edges of the plate. It worked until my aunt cleared the table. Guess what, she definitely was my mother’s sister, because now I was eating it cold. With no exaggeration, I would chew so damn much that my jaw muscles actually hurt. My muscles got so strong that I think I could have bitten through a tire like a fighting dog. Well, enter Sudsy…their French poodle. He must have had Canadian blood in him, because he loved that meat. So, my life was saved. We became the best of friends at dinner time. My aunt marveled at how I finished eating all my meat. She actually thought I liked it, so now she gave me a bigger portion. Something about a growing boy. I just couldn’t catch a break. Even Sudsy couldn’t rescue me. He was a poodle for Christ’s sakes, not Cujo.
Was it a chainsaw or my aunt snoring?
When my mother was dating my soon-to-be stepfather, she would stay at her sister’s house. You know, the meat woman. I don’t know how it always worked out this way, but I always got stuck sleeping with my aunt. Why in the hell didn’t my mother sleep with her, I will never know? Oh, I know, she snored so damn loud the walls vibrated. I would lay there and just listen to this woman saw through one cord of wood after another. I tried using pillows to cover my ears. I even slept under the damn bed, all to no avail. I couldn’t even sleep on the couch in the living room, because my mother had it staked out already. She thought she was being good to me, seeing how I was young and needed my sleep. Boy, parents can do and say the dumbest things. Well, I didn’t fall for it. She couldn’t sleep with the snoring either. There was a reason my aunt’s husband slept in the basement. Thank God, my mother finally got married and we got our own place.
Where’s Aunt Rita?
We finally got our own house…that ginormous rental house I mentioned. Well, with all the snow we got, you thought we lived in Siberia. Global warming, my ass. We had so many snow days, we had to extend our school year to make the days up. What a crock. As if anything we learned at hell school was worth the extension. So, as luck would have it, my mother’s sister had a snow mobile. So, her son would ride over to our house and pick us up one by one. The roads, of course, were closed. The snow plows just could not keep up. My aunt would always invite us over on these occasions. For some reason, she thought we enjoyed her company, it certainly wasn’t her damn cooking. Thanks to her, I almost became a vegan even though, I didn’t know what one was. But if it meant I did not have to eat her Canadian beef, it was worth a go. So, he picked me up first, with no mishap. Then he went back to pick up mom. Shortly afterwards, he arrives back at their house, but this time he is all alone. When he pulled up to his house he turned around to say “We’re here!” to my mother. It was only then that he realized she was missing. Well, my cousin was good at only three things… he could ride a unicycle, he was good at backgammon and thirdly, he could giggle. It was this skill that now came in handy. He could not stop laughing. It was so infectious that the three of us, my aunt, myself and him just about died laughing. It tickled his funny bone because he had realized immediately what happened. He had to save time, cut across an open field. When he hit a bump she must have fell off the back of the snow mobile. So, he turned around and went back to look for her. Sure enough, she was right where he thought she would be. She was stuck in a snowbank covered in the powdery substance. She was too pissed to be cold. When they finally got back to her sister’s house she was actually laughing. Because nobody could stay mad at my cousin for long. Especially, with his giggling super power. She was still upset about her stick of butter which was all mashed up. All things considered, it could have been worse. Eventually, after she put on some of my aunt’s dry clothes we all had another good laugh. My mother could be a good sport when she wanted to be.
Playing hot potato with a watermelon.
Have you ever played hot potato? Probably not, it is a stupid game where you toss a hot baked potato back and forth. You can’t hold it for long because it is too damn hot. Well, my braniac brother Robert decided to use a watermelon instead. We must have really been bored at good old Fish Creek campsite. Of course, I was the weak link in this game. My brother and his friends were at least twice my size, I don’t know how they thought I could handle a 20 -pound watermelon traveling at the speed of sound. Well, you guessed it, I valiantly tried to catch this green missile coming at me. It hit me so hard that it knocked me down and continued traveling totally unimpeded until it came to a dead standstill when it imploded on a very hard oak tree. I, of course, was covered in watermelon slime. You remember mom’s flyswatter? Well, Robert experienced the business end of it. I was was summarily marched into the Winnebago where I was scrubbed clean with what felt like a steel wire brush. Needless to say, we had no dessert that night after dinner.
Pie For Everyone
I am not sure what the occasion was but we had a lot of family over at the our lake front rental house. I know we had a lot of people there, because the table was full of hungry guests. I had mentioned previously that my mother had two super powers, you probably guessed it the second one was cooking and baking. No matter who showed up, announced or not she always was able to whip up something tasty to eat. This time was no exception, She also would make up pie shells in advance, and would have dozens of them frozen in her freezer. So it made making pies quite easy. Or course she had all kinds of cans of pie fillings in her pantry and fresh baking apples were always hanging around. You could never tell when an emergent need for an apple pie might arise. So as mom is single handily whipping up this unplanned dinner for 20 people, she of course baked up six pies. My mother’s specialty was pies, she was not so good with cakes, but she reined supreme in pies. So when it came time for the desert, the first person she served could not make up his mind, so he said he would like a sliver of all six pies. I don’t remember who the guest was, but Mom agreed to do it. That turned out to be a mistake, because everyone wanted the same thing. Somehow she managed to cut all six pies into 20 slices. Everybody thought this was the greatest thing. Mom was in her glory that night. She was always at her happiest when she was feeding people.
Sporting Events Destined Not to Make It Into The Olympics
(1) Sliding down the banister. One of the most amazing things about the rental house on the lake was the size of the rooms on the first floor. The kitchen was enormous with a large walk in pantry. The living room had an enormous fireplace that could accommodate a 48inch log. It had a huge Mantel and red velvet padded benches on each side of it. Truly an imposing site. Part of the rental agreement is that the owners could throw two parties a year in the house. Each party had about 200 guests. That gives you an idea how truly large the living room really was. There were as I remember eight couches and approximately 20 chairs in the living room. The dining room table could easily accommodate 20 people. That is how many chairs they had for the table. There was room for more. The table was so wide that you could easily seat two people at each end. But the most amazing part of the house was the incredible staircase with a landing. The railing was at least 4 inches across, so it was incredibly sturdy. The ceilings on the first floor were all 10 feet high, so you had a really long run on the banister. My mother being extremely fastidious kept the railing well polished, which allowed for some really fast rides down the railing. So needless to say I almost never used the stairs unless I was carrying something. By the way the stairs were at least eight feet wide. You have to say one thing that old man certainly had style. While sliding down the banister was fun and good for an elevated Heart Rate, it just wasn’t going to make it to the Olympics. The biggest problem is how to have a uniform way to judge the contest.
(2) Indian Leg wrestling. One of my families favorite activities was a contest of both strength and speed. Two opposing individuals would lie on the floor with one of their legs in the air, positioned butt to butt, and their other leg lying flat on the ground along with their arms flat on the ground as well. On a count of three they would each swing their legs free and pump them 2 times, the third time they would lock them together. Then they would try with all their strength to flip the other person over. My brother Robert was the uncontested champion in our family, that is until my stepfather entered the picture. He flipped my brother over like he wasn’t even there. I never recalled by brother engaging in that activity again. Lots of fun, but definitely only good for local appeal. Flatulence was definitely frowned upon.
(3) Family Logrolling contest. While this event is fun, it certainly will never make it into the Olympics. Most living rooms of the day could accommodate only two people lying end to end on the floor. Well our rental house could accommodate 6 people with a good 30 foot run. So we would all lay on the floor end to end. Having stinky feet earned you a handicap, and if bad enough resulted in an immediate disqualification. And then we would just roll as fast as you could down the track in the living room. Of course you did this right after you ate a full meal. The anguish of the contestants just added to the hilarity of the event. To give credit where credit is due, nobody every vomited during the race. Lots of fun , but no international appeal.
Randy gets even
My brother Robert was not only eleven years older than me, he lifted weights and was a least a 100 times stronger than me. Being a true bully, he always thought it was a lot of fun to wrestle with me. Well, needless to say, I was tossed around like a cotton ball in a tornado. That is, until I found out about fighting dirty. I didn’t even know that I was doing it until my brother was writhing around the floor in a fetal position. You all know from my previous stories, my punch was like a mule’s kick. When it contacted, it did some damage. All my readers, being really smart must have already guessed where I hit my brother. Come on, it’s really easy…I gave you enough hints. Yep, you guessed it, a roundhouse punch right smack dab into his testicles. Which resulted in an ice pack to Robert’s nether regions and a serious ear-bending from our mother to me. You may ask revenge for what? Winnie the Pooh, that’s who. You think I forgot the part he played in poor Pooh’s demise? Well, to be honest I had no idea my punch would have the effect that it did. But a win is a win. Paybacks are a bitch. Don’t worry, good old Robert is good for several more stories.
Randy Gets High
When I was a young child, glue sniffing was not a thing. Our family, living a very sheltered life, of course, never heard of the effects that model glue could have on you. So, building models in my closet seemed like a good idea. What could go wrong, you ask? Initially, nothing seemed to be out of the ordinary until I started having these crazy dreams where my wallpaper patterns became alive and started attacking me. I, being a young boy, absolutely loved dinosaurs and had dinosaur patterned wallpaper, too cool, huh? That is until I started hallucinating and I was being eaten alive by T-Rex. It became a real problem when my mother found me all rolled up in a cocoon of my blankets and wedged in between the wall and my bed. I was just lying there whimpering, quite a pitiful site. I had tried to get away from the dinosaurs and had fallen out of bed and was stuck fast there. So, my new father being a science teacher started investigating what could be causing the problem. He went through all my toys and eventually worked his way to my models. He took a one whiff of my model glue and knew immediately what must have caused the problem. They made me use Elmer’s glue for the longest time, until they could find a safe alternative. By the way, Elmer’s glue doesn’t work very well, as my models always fell apart. So, being the trendsetter that I was, I started the whole glue sniffing craze in the 70s and 80s.
Rocky and Apollo Creed re-match
Being your typical kid, I enjoyed any opportunity that afforded us the chance to get out of the classroom and into the fresh air. On this particular trip, we went by bus. I don’t remember too much about where we went or did, because I had this vey irritating boy sitting behind me both ways in the school bus. We had assigned seats in the bus to make roll-call more efficient and accurate. He kept harassing me both ways, by “thwapping” my ears with his fingers. By the end of the day, my ears nor I could take it no longer. I am not sure why he thought I was a pushover or someone who could be trifled with. But needless to say, he ruined my road trip completely. But as you should know by now, I always manage to get my pound of flesh. So, the day finally came to an end as we pulled up to the school. Thank god, it was a Friday, so I did not have to see him the next day. So, when the bus pulled up to the school and as we all started standing up to leave, you did not stand up till it was your turn to walk out of the bus, all orderly-like. When I stood up, I turned around and without saying a word simply punched him in the mouth. I had 8 hours of pent up rage in me, so I hit him with everything I had. His head bounced against the back of the seat he was sitting in and his mouth immediately started bleeding. Without saying a word, I turned around and walked out of the bus and for a change, my mother was on time and was waiting for me. The kid ran up the front of the bus crying and yelling and spitting up blood. The teachers tried to stop me as I walked by. One of the chaperones said I was going to have to go and see the principal. I never did even when I went back to school on Monday. The whole matter was simply dropped. Even the parents did not cause a ruckus. While his two front teeth were loosened up some, they did not require any dental work. Apparently, after investigating the event, the school realized that while they did not condone the violent action, it was well-deserved. Chalk one up for the good guys. That bully never bothered me after that. When our paths crossed he simply went the other way.
The Tiger By The Tail
You may recall that my sister had a little boy, who I named all too appropriately as Hellboy. They had just come back from their two years of stay in Europe, and were living with us before they went to her husband’s next base, out west. Her young devil spawn was still quite the hell raiser. Only now he was soon too finally meet his match. We had a house cat named Princess who was mild mannered and loved to be petted and to cuddle. So, when the following events transpired, we were all caught off guard and quite speechless. Even now, over 40 years later her son, now fully grown with grandchildren of his own, can still laugh at it. He has turned into quite a successful man, and our family is quite proud of him. Well, ever since they had gotten back to Florida, he had been teasing poor Princess. Nothing too overt, otherwise Mom would have stepped in and stopped it. Her cats were everything to her. Well, it appeared that Hellboy had pushed Princess’ last button. They were both under the kitchen table when we heard this loud hiss and a howl from Hellboy. Of note, All our cats had their front paws declawed and were quite harmless. Princess had taken a swipe at him, and then proceeded to chase him around the table and all of the kitchen chairs. He was howling and bawling all at the same time. He was quite terrified. Princess would just not give up. Of course, our family being such a loving and caring family, just started laughing and cheering on the cat. Finally poor Princess got tired of chasing Hellboy and simply pranced off with her tail held high. As she walked off, she gave Hellboy who was now quaking in the arms of his mother, one last parting look and a hiss for good measure. Princess one and Hellboy zero.
Run, Randy, Run!
At an early age I realized one thing, I was flat out faster than most of my classmates in running. You may ask what happened at the end of second grade? Well, that doesn’t count, I was loaded down with all my school treasures. You would be surprised how much you accumulated in one year of elementary school. Throughout my life, this ability would come in handy. It helped me chase down school buses in the third grade for one thing. I truly did not know empirically how fast I was or how I rated respectively until I went up against the fastest kid at a local elementary school. I believe everybody has a skill or superpower. My stepfather was finding people to put us up on trips. It seemed that we were always parking our Winnebago at some stranger’s house on our trips. This trip was certainly no exception. I don’t remember where we were, except that I remember getting up at all god awful times in the middle of the night to go out fishing on bridges and stuff. My father’s friends had a young man child that I became quite friendly with. One thing he liked to do was run. So we would run around his yard like a bunch of damn fools for what seemed like days on end. What I noticed was that I always beat him. His father said I must be fast because he was the fastest runner at his elementary school. So, joy of joys, I was finally good at something. I started this particular story this way for a reason. I wanted to explain why it always seemed like I was running in my stories. I guess the answer is I liked to run and apparently, I was pretty good at it. So this brings me to the reason for this story. I, being a catholic of sound mind and soul had to go to religious school. I remember that it was on Monday evenings and the school was about 2 miles from our house. On this particular night, the priest had to cut the class short because he had to go perform the last rites for some poor soul. So, as I mentioned everybody has at least one superpower. My mother had 2 powers, for brevities sake I will only mention one right now. She had a knack for always being late. As she had never worked at an organized job before, just housekeeping where she worked on her own schedule. She also never liked wearing a watch. Frankly, I don’t know how well she even told time. When she would pick me and my friends up after we watched a movie at the local theater, she was always at least an hour late. To make sure we did not miss the start of the movie we wanted to watch, I had to lie and tell her it started earlier than it did. So now, I was in a bit of a quandary, do I call my mother and ask her to pick me up early and risk not seeing her until sunrise the next day or do I just bite the bullet and run the 2 miles to our house?
You guessed it, I opted to run home. Well, what happened would have made Carl Lewis for my older readers and Usain Bolt for my younger readers proud. I was minding my own business and running at a nice relaxed pace on the edge of the road, when out of the corner of my eye, I saw two silent black figures cutting across the yard. They were coming right for me. I felt like I was in a Magnum PI show, yep, they were Doberman Pinschers…fully grown ones to boot. Well, I let out a howl and I lit the afterburners. I swear, smoke was coming out of my ass. I think I looked like I was in a funny movie scene where everything is speeded up. I was going that fast. I was weaving in and out of traffic, and it did not matter if it was oncoming or not, those damn hell hounds followed my scrawny ass. After running for at least 20 miles, the dogs finally gave up and went home to look for easier pickings. Thank god for all the running I had been doing. A lesser mortal would have been nothing but a Scooby snack for those demon dogs.
A New Year’s Baby
One of the more embarrassing moments in my life, and boy, have there been a few lulu’s, was on a New Year’s Eve family party. My sister twisted my arm and got my sorry twelve year old ass to dress up as a New Years baby, diaper and all. Besides the diaper, the only other thing I was wearing was a banner with the year on. Not one of my finer moments, but my family appreciated my good nature and willingness to efface myself.
How much shit is too much shit?
Well, my brother Robert has moved out and started his family. While we had already moved to Florida by this time, Robert had not followed us yet. Every summer, Mom and Dad would drag me up to visit our family in New York. We had this great motor home and all it ever saw was the back side of their houses. What would my wild and crazy parents do, you may ask? Play cards. They would drive 1,300 plus miles to play cards. So, I would sit in the motor home and read from sun up to sun set. Some summer vacation. The only fun I would have was when it was time to visit Robert. Well, if you could call it fun, he always put me to work. Well, this particular time, he wanted me shovel pig shit into a wheelbarrow and roll it down this 45-degree hill and dump it into another pile. I have no idea why I was moving pig shit from a pile at the top of the hill to a pile at the bottom of the hill. But I did what I was told. I was just a stupid tall skinny kid. Hell, the wheelbarrow weighed more than I did. I don’t see anything wrong with this picture, do you? Nah, all I know was that something smelled really bad. So, I now have this wheelbarrow full of pig shit, and it weighed about 10,000 pounds. You know how fast I was going down this hill? If there would have been a cop around, I would have got a speeding ticket. Do you remember my bicycle and me going zig zag down a hill? Well, my wheelbarrow started wobbling and going all over the damn place. The next thing all I know is that I, and that damn wheelbarrow, are all tangled up and are rolling down the hill like a big brown snowball. Pig shit was flying all over the damn place. It was in my eyes, my nose and even my mouth. And it was all over that damn hill. The only place it was not on was the damn pile at the bottom of hill. So, after what seemed like an eternity, I finally came to a stop at the bottom. My brother finally came out to see what all the ruckus was and that was when he saw all the carnage. And after, he went back in and changed his drawers because he shit himself from laughing so much. He simply handed me a rake and said “Clean up the hill”. What the hell? I guess he remembered me punching him in the nuts.
Randy and newspapers don’t mix
So just when I stopped tasting shit whenever I saw something brown-colored, my brother Robert moved to Florida. As usual, he had some get rich scheme brewing. This one involved delivering newspapers. Well, in Florida with all the elderly citizens there, newspapers were big business. All old people like reading a newspaper. So, being new on the delivery circuit, Robert got the shittiest route. The one where you had to hand deliver it to condo’s. Newspapers weighed the most on Thursday and Sunday. So, that is when he needed help. He was working two jobs, so he had to get the route finished quickly. So we ran the hand delivery part. We each had two big canvas bags full of papers slung crossway, so that they would balance each other. On Sunday, I think the two bags weighed more than I did. The stories I can tell you. You would be surprised on how many people were naked when they opened their doors to get their paper. Most of them just left me speechless. Whoever the contractor was, thought that drip chains were more attractive than drain spouts. The chains were painted black and were virtually invisible at night. Well, I was going 90 miles an hour carrying two bags full of Sunday papers when I cut the corner too tight and ran smack dab into the chain. Did I forget to tell that they were cemented into the ground? Well I went right through that chain and it pulled right out from the cement. I never stopped and just kept on motoring. Well, damned if my brother didn’t have to go back and re-cement that chain back into the ground. I give him credit he did not get mad. How could he, he barely paid me anything. Between helping him with his paper route and mowing lawns, I barely made a dollar an hour.
I should have ducked.
In all the years that my brother Robert had a driver’s license and owned a vehicle, there was something that either was broken or did not work properly on it. The blue station wagon he used for delivering papers was no different. On this car, the passenger door would not open without applying pressure on the outside door panel so it would open up. Try doing this when the vehicle was going 10 miles an hour. That was the speed he went when he ran his newspaper route. I sat in the passenger side and threw papers out on that side, and he threw them on the driver’s side. This way he only had to go down each road once. He just drove down the middle of the residential neighborhood’s road this way. It was three o’clock in the morning, so we basically owned the road. Well, I didn’t know the route that well and every once in a while I would throw the paper to the wrong house or the paper would slide under a bush. So, the customer wouldn’t see the paper. He only had a few extras so we had to make sure we did it right and so, I would have to get out of the car. My brother at least would stop to let me out, but he would immediately start driving again, so I would have to chase after his damn car. Well, it was a bitch to try and open the door. So, I thought I would be smart and simply dive through the window as the car is rolling down the road. Well, I jumped too high and hit the top of the door frame. The only noise I made was a moan as I crumpled into a ball and fell to the ground. Well, my brother being the loving and caring brother that he was, stopped about 50 feet down the road and finally backed up when I did not immediately get up, to see if I was alright. I, of course, had quite a knot on my forehead and was still seeing stars when I finally was able to get back in that damn car of his. We had a good laugh at my expense and continued delivering his papers.
Bug spray tastes like shit.
Anybody living in Florida in the summer months can’t deny that we have a biting insect issue. Well, in the 70s and 80s, they used to have bug spraying trucks drive around spraying residential areas to reduce this irritating problem. It was working so well that it pissed off the environmentalists. So, they first reduced the spraying and then stopped it all together. It has been 20 years since I lived in Florida, so I don’t know if they restarted it or not. But needless to say, it was still going full boren at the time my brother used to deliver newspapers. So one night, we are minding our own business and driving like maniacs trying to deliver 1,000 newspapers in 30 minutes. Of course, my brother’s car did not have a working A/C, are you seeing a family trend here? As a result, not only were the two front windows open for missile launching, the rest of the windows were open too. So, as we are making a right hand turn at an intersection on 2 wheels, the bug spraying truck comes down another road and dumps about 500 gallons of bug spray right into our station wagon. You thought I was going to exaggerate, didn’t you? I know my brother’s car was a piece of shit but we weren’t infested, for God’s sake. We immediately drove onto a neighbor’s front yard and came to an abrupt stop after tearing up half the yard when we proceeded to cough up our lungs for about two hours. Once we finished expelling all the toxins from our respiratory tract, we started laughing so hard that we actually started having our eyes tear up, which seemingly helped to rinse our eyes out as well. By the way, men don’t cry…their eyes water due to irritants and pollutants in the air. FYI, if you are looking for a new perfume or mouth wash, bug spray is not suitable for either of these purposes. It tastes like shit, not pig shit either.
Well, enough of my brother Robert’s and my experiences for a while. So, I will take a slight tangent and discuss one of my peculiar hobbies when I was a teenager.
Hornets Make Poor Pets
Did I tell you that my parents were poor? No, I think you are lying. I am sure I told you this little fact already. So, I had to come up with ways to entertain myself on the cheap. OK, guys get your mind out of the gutter, will you? I decided that it would be fun and all too appropriate to collect insects. Seeing how Florida had a greater biomass related to insects than it did to mammals and humans. And besides, we had our own private rain forest in our back yard. See, how everything ties in together? So, I made my own butterfly net and used jars, of course, were cheap. My father had turpentine, so I had the ingredients for a killing jar as well. My dad, being a science teacher also had access to a lot of extra junk that was suitable for displaying said insects. I would spend hours out there collecting insects. One thing I notice is that, it was hard to catch winged insects, except for butterflies…they were pretty slow at flying. A new product had just came out about this time called hornet spray. It could spray a deadly stream of bug toxins up to 15 feet. Too cool, I was the Steven Seagal of insect collecting. No insect was safe, neither was any bird or low flying plane as well. Damn, that shit was powerful. Well, being that this is my story, you must know there is going to be something bad happening soon. If you have been entranced by my memoirs you will know that I wear glasses. So, I am out one hot and sultry afternoon decimating the flora and fauna in my rain forest, when out-of-nowhere I got hit by what felt like a baseball bat to my right temple. Not only did I get hit once, it was repeated several times. So, being any red blooded American boy I proceeded to act in an orderly fashion by running around in circles, swinging my arms and howling at the top of my lungs. Eventually, as you can well imagine I soon was blinded, because my windmill routine dislodged my glasses and they went flying to god only knows where. Immediately, the pain stopped. Well, that damn hornet had gotten lodged between my glasses and my forehead and proceeded to sting the hell out of me. Well, being totally f–king blind I knew I would never be able to find my glasses. So, I stumbled out of my rain forest tripping and falling all the damn way back home. By the the time I got back to safety, I was a perfect Quasimodo stand-in for the local Hunchback of Notre Dame play. Since I did not have a pair of backup glasses, and to this day, I still do not have a backup pair. My only backup is my swim goggles. So, my poor father had to go out and look for my glasses. After searching for what seemed like an eternity, and when I had all but given up any hope that he would be successful, I heard a loud “Eureka!”. I was so grateful that he had finally found them because I know I would be back to those black plastic nerd glasses again. But just as he said this, I heard this loud howl which was followed immediately by a loud thrashing that reminded me of a elephant stomping through a jungle, but only faster and louder. The next thing I saw was my father flying through my forest with arms flailing all around him and with a look of absolute agony on his face. So, now the local play had two understudies for the role of Quasimodo. Apparently, he found the hornets nest because they had been holding my glasses for me. Needless to say, this ended my insect collecting days. Randy Zero – Insects One. Hornets definitely make poor pets and besides they have no sense of humor.
Randy Peddles Produce.
My Florida story would not be complete without at least including my work experiences with My older brother Ronnie. After Ronnie lost his disability from his cardiac event, he tried different career paths, he tried opening up his own deli. He could not seem to make ends meet. Our mother would help out in the deli during the lunch time. Even with his son and wife working their for nothing he just wasn’t making any money. So he tried a produce delivery business where he made deliveries to restaurants. This is where I come in. I would help make deliveries to many of the restaurants. He actually made up a secondary route where I would use his smaller truck to make deliveries. He paid me well for Florida wages anyway. I did this for one year. It was hard work, and I think he expanded too far too fast. He thought if he could have his own warehouse he could buy in bulk when the prices were lower on certain items, I even helped him build two coolers. When his son graduated from high school, he helped him some. Tim had other plans though, he wanted to be a cop. I was also too busy with college to really work much with him. besides my brother Ronnie was just too hard to work for, he expected total loyalty for $4.00 per hour. So I quit after a while. The final straw was when Tim got admitted to the police academy. His health began to fail him as well, so he finally gave up on it, the work was just too hard. He finally chose real estate as a career path. He did very well and was making big money, when he started getting too big for his britches, he divorced his wife of over 20 years and started dating one of his assistants. It was when he got his 2nd DUI, that things fell apart and he almost lost everything. He went back to his wife and they finally remarried. It was out of necessity, because he had no drivers license. He scaled way back in real estate and never truly was able to build back his business. He was forced to sell his big house and he moved on a large lot and put a single wide mobile home on the property. This is when I would help him on his computer network in his new office. Of which I already discussed. Ronnie’s health would continue to deteriorate over the years, and he would die just a month before my father did.
I think I have regaled you with enough of my childhood stories, so I will wrap this chapter up with a story involving my sister and her husband. I could honestly go on forever with these stories. In a couple of chapters later on, I will tell some more stories about the adventures in my adult life. And you thought I would grow out of this shit. Nah, I am almost 58 and I am still getting into messes.
Things you shouldn’t do in a waterfall.
My family, besides being absolutely crazy were pretty normal and as a result, we liked family get- togethers. Since we liked the outdoors, our activities revolved on parks and local watering holes. This park was in Georgia and was a favorite haunt of, you guessed it, my brother Robert. It was a headsprings for one of the rivers near his house. It had a really cool waterfall and all kinds of cool little soaking areas with crystal clear water. In this particular event, Robert was there with his four kids and my Sister Tina was there with her spouse and two kids. I was also there with Mom and Dad. I believe Robert also had a couple of abused kids staying at his house as well. My brother while he had a small bank account, had a big heart and was always taking in strays…human and animal alike. I swear he was like Dr. Doolittle, he made pets out of all types of animals, from raccoons, woodchucks and even squirrels. But I digress, so back to my Sister. My sister thought it would be nice and refreshing to go and stand under the waterfall. I can hear my readers yelling right now, “No Tina, no Tina, not the damn waterfalls”. Did I mention to you that my sister was wearing a two piece bathing suit, and my brother-in-law was not wearing a proper bathing suit at all, just a loose fitting pair of running shorts with no draw string. He was very prime and proper and did not like how he looked in baggy swim trunks. So, you don’t have to be a brainiac to know that their plan was ill-fated from the start. First of all, the waterfall was only slightly smaller than the Niagara Falls. So, all was going well with them both standing under the falls. They must have instinctively knew that the water was coming down very hard, so they were holding up their suits. My sister had the bright idea that she wanted a photo of them standing under the falls. So, no sooner than she started shouting and waving her damn hands to get our attention, then shit started to hit the fan. Of course, she had done a wonderful job getting our attention, because we were now all turned towards her when the following events transpired. When she had raised her hands to wave to us not only did her top come off, her bottoms did as well. Her husband immediately saw the problem and jumped in front of her in an attempt to cover her up. Too late, the whole family got an eye full. But we are not done here. So, with her husband being preoccupied with maintaining my sister’s modesty, his hands were not where they were most desperately needed. You guessed it, down went his swim shorts. Well, after we all had a great big laugh, brother Robert grabbed two towels and went in and covered them both up. The children eventually found the swim attire in the pool. My sister and her husband though, good sports, were very embarrassed. So, ended one of our most memorable family outings.
So this seems like a good place to end this chapter. The next two chapters will be about my life in Las Vegas and will take you up to the present. See yah soon.