My Trip Around the World

I won a trip around the world. No strings attached. Free air travel (coach), free accommodations (1.5 stars or less), daily stipend for food and excursions.

I won the trip at my wife’s company Christmas party. I was to leave on January 1st. One-year time limit. I could go anywhere I wanted, but I was not to return to the U.S. until the following December, on the day of the next Christmas party; otherwise, all costs would revert to me; this was because the plane ticket deal would terminate with any trip back to the U.S.

The idea behind the contest? To allow an average American to discover the planet and all the diversity it offers. I was to send back an email from time to time, describing my adventures.

I had some doubts. I’d be away from my new wife for a year. I thought that perhaps she could join me, here and there, now and then, but she said, “Honey, I’ll be so busy at work, it just won’t be possible.”

She works for her company’s boss, Frank, and he picked my name out of a big hat. I guess he warned my wife in advance that she wouldn’t be free to come to me anytime in the coming year, due to business concerns. My wife is his right-hand man.

She wouldn’t hear of me turning down the trip. She told me it was the chance of a lifetime to, how did she put it, learn something worth knowing rather than sitting on my fat ass watching TV for the rest of my stupid, boring life. It made sense.

I visited more than 100 countries. I lost count after a while. One thing that I noticed was that very few of them have TV in English. Also, very few of them know or care about football. Most of them do not refrigerate their beer. Finally, most of the hotels I was able to stay in seemed to have a lot of lonely women around.

The cost of calling my wife was not covered by my prize, but I did it anyway sometimes. She always seemed bubbly and happy to hear from me and when I called and caught her in bed at night, she was so happy to hear my voice that she would pant and moan in delight.

The year of adventure has sort of dragged. I got beat up a couple of times. I caught a disease or two, or three, but I don’t know their names in English. Mostly, though, it was all OK, knowing that when I get back I will be more well-rounded and deserving of my wife’s love and respect.

I did get a phone call from Frank the other day, the head of the company. He told me that the company was going to repeat the contest for the coming year, and that since I would be back for the Christmas party, he would be putting my name in the hat again.

Blackberry Outage

Research In Motion (RIM) experienced a major Blackberry outage yesterday. I don’t use a Blackberry, but the event put me in mind of several outages I’ve encountered recently in my own life.

– I was on a hot date and the time had come to drink champagne from this hot babe’s navel. She pulled up her blouse and I discovered that she had an outie. Trying to drink champagne from an outie is a joke.

– I hang out with a bunch of guys in what we informally call The Hooters Club. We go to the bar in town and drink some beer and comment on girls’ hooters and just have a good old time. The latest issue of Out! magazine listed every guy in the club except me as a closet gay. These guys have been pretending to like hooters because our town doesn’t have any other place to drink beer! Was I interfered with? I was drunk. I didn’t know what I was doing.

– I suffered an electrical power outage at home that lasted a week. The power company refused to recognize my problem as an outage because, they said, I hadn’t paid my bill and they had simply turned off the electricity. They relented on payday when I sent them the money I had budgeted for food. I spent the next two weeks dumpster-diving, which I consider a food outage of sorts.

– I had a “God outage” last Sunday when the pastor of our church removed me from my post as Sunday School teacher for the fifth-grade boys and told me I could return only when I had a doctor’s certificate proving that I had had a chemical castration procedure – another outage!

President Jones

As the head of our family, I’m often referred to as “President Jones” by the other family members, in tones that vary from ironic to disdainful (not distainful).

I’m the man. I’m the boss. That’s the way things work around here in Spreadtoe, Iowa. The wife and children might not like it, but this is a democracy. How many women and children signed the Declaration of Independence, or the Constitution, or any of the other important historical documents that I’m probably forgetting? How many women were on the Supreme Court before the nuts in California and New York took over?

Politically, socially, and in every other way, I’m middle-of-the-road. I did not seek the presidency of this family; it was thrust upon me by tradition.

My wife is black, Jewish, liberal, and liberated. She married me during a period of severe mental illness and has never been able to sunder the union. She remains with me for the sake of the children, whom we adopted in the period before she recovered her senses.

Our son is independent of mind, neither liberal nor conservative. He is open to persuasion when called upon to vote in the family on some issue. He was born in China and as a second son to his parents, was dragging them down. We adopted him at the age of twelve.

Our daughter is a raving tea-bagger. We adopted her in Liceoff, Mississippi at the age of seventeen. Twice we’ve had to pull her off her brother before she could seriously injure him for voting with his mother on something or other. She carries a razor and considers any rules or chores imposed upon her as “taxes.”

Our most recent family vote centered around the issue of whether our dog could marry our cat. My wife thought that it was a wonderful idea, seeing as how they’re already living together. My daughter pointed out verses in the Bible forbidding this. My wife, being a Jew, pointed out that the verses were in the New Testament and thus bogus.  That got the two of them into the whole thing about mom having murdered Christ and so on.

My son and I were open to persuasion on the subject of the proposed Boots/Barky nuptials. My wife explained to us that there would be no little half-dog/half-cat babies running around. I didn’t exactly get it, but I took her word for it. My daughter explained that the next thing we knew, the boy next door would be marrying my motorcycle and taking it away from me. Persuasive argument for a No vote!

In the case of a tie, with our son voting with his mom and me voting with our daughter, we’d be calling the grandparents for a ruling. Before we got to this, however, sadly, Barky was out chasing cars, in spite of a thousand warnings from Boots not to, and got run over.

Debt-Limit Crisis

Visa contacted us recently and informed us that we were about to reach our debt limit, but that we had the option of increasing our limit if we acted before our current limit was reached, which I calculated would be in about two weeks.

My wife told me that we’ve increased the limit before and we should do so again, because we have obligations that we must meet.

I told my wife that I would not agree to an increase in the limit unless we dramatically cut our (her) spending. Fewer donations to charity. Fewer guns and knives for her purse, to be used for self defense. Less spending on frivolous visits to the doctor for her and the kids. Let’s get rid of some of these damned pets.

My wife told me that she would consider making some cuts, but that I needed to agree to make some more money. I told her no way, that would cut into my free time; that if I made more money, she’d just spend it; that making me work more and then taking my earnings away from me was just like taxing the rich; that we needed to “starve the beast.” She pointed out that my income has been flat for twenty years or so and that it’s just common sense that we need more money if we want to continue to live decently with a larger family. She pointed out that in this case, “the beast” was my family.

Did I mention that my wife is African-American? I’m a white guy from Iowa. My wife is a bleeding heart who never saw an undocumented alien she wouldn’t hire to mow our lawn.

“If we don’t get this done,” she said, “I won’t be able to send my parents a little money this month. You know they depend on it.”

“Baloney,” I said. “The day we reach our limit happens to be the day I get paid. We can send them some money and pay the interest on our Visa, no problem. With a little left over for food.”

“What about getting the grass mowed?”

“Tell Jose you’ll pay him later, or mow it yourself.”

“What about our trip to St. Louis?”

“We’ll go to Lincoln instead, and stay with my brother and his family.”

“Your brother keeps using the N word when I’m there. Our children don’t like it. They don’t like it when he uses the half-N word about them either.”

“Babe, I’ll be honest with you,” I said. “If you can’t cut spending, I’m going to go out and find a white Iowan woman who will.”

“I’ve polled the children,” my wife said. “75% of the members of this family have decided to increase our revenue by placing all your belongings on the front lawn and selling them.”

My Wife Gets Some Work Done

My wife insisted on getting some work done. I tried to talk her out of it, but to no avail.

“What if you lose that special combination of features that I find so appealing?” I asked her.

“I’m doing this for me, not for you, buddy. You never look at me anymore anyway.”

She used a clinic in Omaha, which her sister swore by, having had a lot of work done there herself. My wife was away for a month, visiting all her family members in the area while she was there.

Before she left for Nebraska, I warned her that if she went through with it, I was going to have some work done too.

“Go ahead,” she said. “It can’t make your face any worse.”

I came home from work the day she got back and found her in the kitchen. She faced me with a smile.

“What do you think?” she said.

“Not bad,” I said.

I unbuckled my pants and dropped them.

“What do you think?” I said.

She let out an ungodly shriek and took a step back.

“Get that thing away from me!”

I Spill the Beans

I  spilled some pinto beans on the kitchen floor this morning. I missed a few when I cleaned them up and my wife later stepped on them, slipped to the floor, and hurt her foot.

“Do that again and it’ll be Beanogeddon,” she said.

“At least it won’t be a Pintapocalypse,” I quipped.

“Beanogeddon would be worse for you.”

“A Pentapocalypse would be a total disaster for both of us. I’m not talking about the revelatory aspects of the word here, just the common meaning that it’s taken on. Meanwhile, Beanogeddon would just be a big fight.”

“A Pentapocalypse would be me falling again and breaking something. Yes, a disaster. Beanogeddon would go more like this.”

“Ow! Hey! Lay off!”

“You’re on Mount Megiddo, Babe. Get those dukes up. It’s the end of the world.”

“Ouch! Stop it! Ok! Ok!”

“Beanogeddon is over,” my wife said. “The good guys won.”