Monday, June 8, 2009

Chapter 73: In which I shamelessly beg for forgiveness for not having posted anything but comic strips for the past five days

I know, I know…I hear the whispering out there. “How did that blog get so lame practically overnight?” You would think that an individual with such an incredible amount of free time on their hands (that would be me, by the way) would stuff TDOY with so many observations and other goodies that faithful readers would have to check back every hour on the hour for updates.

I have no excuses. What follows is sort of an explanation of what I’ve been doing to avoid posting anything of substance (although whether or not anything on this blog could fall under that category is certainly subject to debate) and all that I ask in return is a simple “Hey, big fella—we’ve all been there a time or two.” Honest, that’s all I want. (Well, that and a pepperoni roll from my beloved home state of West Virginia. But I’ve just got done with lunch a little while ago, so that can wait.)

Wednesday, I took temporary leave of my senses and agreed to accompany my Dad as his guest to a seminar being held here in Athens—the kicker being that if we agreed to sit down for an hour-and-a-half to listen to someone plug an Internet money-making scheme we would get not only a free lunch but an mp3 player (also gratis) to take home with us. (I was going to mention the people involved, but I’ve run this past the crack TDOY legal department—and I call them that because, yes, they are on crack—and they suggested it might not be such a good idea.) The lecturer assured us that there was cash to be had using the Internet, and all we had to do was sign up with this program and we’d be carting home the dough in trash bags.

When I was but a mere prat, my father used to say to the point of ad nauseum: “If it sounds too good to be true, it probably is.” A very wise man, mi padre—but somewhere along the way, the roles got reversed and it’s now me who’s giving him the same advice. (I also add for good measure, “If it were that damn easy, everybody would be doing it.”) My father has stubbornly convinced himself that the key to untold riches lies in the simple mastery of a Mac or PC, even though I have patiently tried to explain that an Internet business takes a hell of a lot of luck (and being in the right place at the right time) and like capitalism itself, “many are called but few are chosen.”

Case in point: Dad has once again become enmeshed with a company (no names, of course) whose previous sales pitch of “Ferchrissake, the money is just laying on the floor of the Internet, what the hell are waiting for?” left him a bit disillusioned. He tells me that he tried not to spend too much money on this venture but by his calculations he spent $500-600 on it and had since that time received a return of…wait for it…$100.

So I give that ever non-existent camera one of my Jack Benny-like stares, and then I turn to him and ask: “Dad…you do know the difference between one hundred and six hundred dollars, don’t you? I mean, if I were to lay down a C-note in this pile and six C-notes in another you could tell me which is the largest amount, right?”

He looks at me sheepishly and replies: “So you think I oughta quit while I’m down, huh?” And they say my family is dumb.

Unfortunately, he’s back with this group—because they promised him that if he didn’t make $2500 in the next thirty days he wouldn’t have to pay for the “double secret money-making method” they were going to sell him. He promised to split the profits with me 50-50, and since 50 percent of nothing is…well, nothing…I agreed to do the computer work. (Needless to say, I am not optimistic about the eventually results, particularly after I read just what the “double secret money-making method” was. (This is what kept me occupied on Thursday, by the way.)

I forgot to mention a bit o’hilarity involving Wednesday’s big seminar adventure. Dad’s been in Athens a little less than a year, and he’s still a little fuzzy on how to locate places—I’m not much better at it but I have a fairly good track record with knowing where someplace is in the vicinity. We’re on our way to the seminar place, and when we arrive at the street we’re supposed to be on (the streets in Athens have an annoying habit of changing names at the drop of a hat, much like Savannah) he tells me to look for a certain number. I can’t find any houses, only businesses—and there are no street numbers printed outside.

So we pull into a parking lot and go back up the street in the opposite direction. Still no luck with street numbers. He says to me, “We’re supposed to be looking for a place called the Foundry Park Inn.”

“Foundry Park Inn?” I asked.


“Well, this’ll make you laugh—we were just in their parking lot.”

He stares at me. “You’ve got to be kidding me. I didn’t see a sign; all I saw was a sign for something called the Hoyt House.”

“Yeah, that’s the restaurant there…the Foundry Park sign is above it.”

So, we turn around again and finally pull into the parking lot. It’s a nice little hotel/spa, which probably employs fairly competent individuals and no clueless security guards—although I could be wrong about this. So Dad looks around to see where the meeting is being held.

“Well, if it’s a seminar, I’d look for a building big enough for a conference room,” I helpfully pointed out. He glanced at a small building behind us and remarked, “This is probably it.”

“I don’t think so,” I argued. “It’s too small.”

So he went into the building (which was marked “Registration” something or other) while I walked down a small incline to what appeared to be the main building…and there was a sign marked “Hotel Ballroom” and a table outside with a sign reading “Registration: 11:15am.” I just stood around and waited until I saw Dad exit the other building and, after waving and yelling several times to get his attention, waved him down to the meeting place.

(Oh, in case you were interested, lunch was chicken salad and a croissant, potato salad (I can take or leave potato salad but they prepared it with new potatoes with the skins still on, which was a novelty) and a big chocolate chip cookie. I’m giving the mp3 player to my niece when she comes down for a visit in July.)

Friday found the other member of the ‘rents (mi madre) and I out on a Publix run because she and Dad will be visiting the aforementioned niece and my sister and brother-in-law in I-o-way for the next two weeks. (This trip actually saved my father some money; after the Wednesday seminar he had his checkbook at the ready to pay for the money-making scheme but since he wasn’t going to be able to attend an important super-deluxe seminar later on this month he took a pass.) Publix has a sale on Banquet frozen dinners until tomorrow (five for five bucks) and so I added a few to my cart to make dinner plans a little easier. (I recommend the turkey dinner but avoid the spaghetti and meatballs because the spaghetti tastes pretty much like noodles and ketchup…though the meatballs are tasty.) Saturday and Sunday was spent chatting at various times with my best friend in high school, goofing around on Facebook and working on an outside project for Radio Spirits.

And that sums up the riveting, action-packed life of yours truly. I promise normal blogging will continue come tomorrow. Honest.


Cullen Gallagher said...

That's quite the story! Usually when I forget to blog for a few days I don't have any excuse whatsoever, since I'm on the computer most of the time anyway.

Anonymous said...

Once again the old adage "There's no such thing as a free lunch" is proven to be partially incorrect.

If you are able to just say "NO!" several times, you can walk away with a partially filled stomach.

I think we all have more than one story about exchanging an hour or so of our time for something that is 'free'.

I think I now know what I'll add to my blog tomorrow.


This is good old what's his name at who can never remember his user ID and password.

Call it senility.

Flickhead said...

I gotta figure if someone has a legitimate plan to earn or pilfer a lot of money, the LAST thing they're gonna do is let other people in on it, no matter how much scratch they're willing to pony up.

HouseT said...

I was just telling a friend of mine that I'm so wary of "something for nothing" schemes at this point that if some random person on the street offered me a 20 dollar bill out of the kindness of their heart, I'd probably pass on it, positive that something wasn't on the up and up. Of course, that attitude does keep you out of trouble sometimes.

I've been so busy goofing around with Facebook and other things that I've been neglecting Casa de House a little. I'm making up for it this week, though. At least I hope I am.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Dude, you're not kidding about the Facebook addiction -- it's the crack cocaine of the Internet.

I blame Sam for introducing me to all of this...may God rest his soul.