Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Are we really to that point?

Random observation of the day...

Driving by convenience store today, I noticed the message posted on the store's sign read:

Help Wanted
Apply Inside

Driving on to have my mode of conveyance's oil changed and tires rotated, I thought to myself, "Should I be insulted?"

No, I'm not one to be offended by the idea of a business offering employment. (Such thinking would have me struggling to make a buck.)

The part of the message that irritated me like a bit of popcorn kernel stuck in my craw. (ed. note - Apparently humans don't have any "craws" to speak of. It refers to the preliminary stomach of things like fowl... Is this common knowledge? Or can this writing be considered educational?)

"Apply Inside"

If I were a job seeker looking for a position at a convenience store and I happened upon a sign that said "Help Wanted," I like to think that I would be intuitive enough to realize that the application process would probably begin inside that very store.

Have there been problems in the past, with job seekers crowding around "Help Wanted" signs, expecting to find applications at that very spot?

I can see it now... Dozens of dreamers - who hope to one day be able to sell cigarettes, soda and lottery tickets to all who walk through the store's glass doors - waiting patiently next to a sign, just hoping that the applications for the open position will soon appear.

One potential store clerk receives a call on his cell phone.

Job seeker: Hey man. (Please forgive the use of speech styles common among young folks today... Oh yeah, I'm hip.)
Job seeker's friend: Hey dude, we're going grab some chow. You in?
Job seeker: Dude, I'd love to... but, I'm applying for a job.
Friend: Sweet man. How's that going?
Job seeker: Okay, I think. I've been waiting by this sign for, like, three hours and haven't dozed off yet. The boss guy has to be impressed by that.
Friend: Waiting by a sign? Did the application say you had to do that?
Job seeker: No man. The applications aren't even out here... I think this is like a weeding out process or something.
Friend: So did someone tell you waiting there was part of applying?
Job seeker: No man. But there was a dude out here already when I got here.
Friend: So you're just waiting by a sign that says they're hiring. Did you go inside to ask about the job?
Job seeker: No, no, no... The sign doesn't say anything about going inside. It just says "Help Wanted."
Friend: Oh... okay. Cool man. Good luck.

If there really are people who struggle with this line of thinking to the point that they have to be told to apply inside, is adding that line enough? I think we may need to add further clarification. My suggestion:

Help Wanted
Apply Inside
This Store
Please ask store employee for application
Fill out application with a properly functioning writing utensil
Please return application to store employee to be considered for position
If hired, please report back to this location when your employment begins

I think we're going to need some bigger signs.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Wish You Weren't Here

Last night, the Kansas City Royals picked up as many hits (0) in their game against the Boston Red Sox as I did. Today, I found myself visiting both the dentist's office and the doctor's office. Believe it or not, all three of these happenings fall significantly short of my "Big List of Anticipated Events" (available at a liststore near you!). This line of thinking put my mind into action. If I were compiling a list of the places I enjoy being less than all others, where might these fall? Naturally, the only course of action left for me to take was to do just that.

What follows is a list of the nine locations that make me feel less comfortable than a hog on a spit. (Why nine? Because ten gets all the glory.)

9. Trendy clothing stores
A dose of breaking news here at The Writings: I'm not trendy. I don't dig wearing plaid shorts or several layers of collared shirts. Cool points be damned, setting foot in such places makes me feel like a Jenga block trying to be forced into a jigsaw puzzle.

8. Talking to the person that won't let conversations end
It's happened to all of us. You're at the market and you run into someone you know, but you don't know them that well. Nevertheless, you say hello, because you aren't a jerk. What follows is a lengthy diatribe from the other individual in the conversation, addressing topics from family to the hamburger steaks on sale at the end of the aisle. Any attempt to end the conversation on your part is either ignored or countered with an anecdote about their new business venture.

7. Ardmore, Okla.
The last trip there involved an incompetent hotel staff and a fast food employee who had to seek help with the register from some who was not even employed there.

6. A Jonny-on-the-Job
I'm not sure this one needs an autopsy.

5. The doctor's office
The sheer nature of the doctor's office promotes an anxiety-filled environment. On top of accepting the fact that health is in question, you have to sit in that waiting room... and - for reasons unknown - there is always that one person in the waiting room that enjoys staring. It's like they're trying to guess what you're in for ("Hmmm... All appendages seem to be intact. No whooping cough, projectile vomiting or cauliflower ear... I wonder what bird flu sufferers look like...). Staring back has little effect, either, as those truly dedicated to waiting room staring remain unfazed no matter what hurdle presents itself.

4. Speaking in front of a large group
I am an eloquent speaker in the same sense that Elmer Fudd was an excellent hunter. When it comes to public speaking, my mind may have good ideas as to what messages it wants to convey, but my mouth apparently has the power of veto and enjoys making me sound like a fool.

3. The dentist's chair
I guess I just have some hangup about seeing smoke drifting out of my mouth while the high-pitched squeal of a drill resonates in my ears. Apparently the adult contemporary music isn't quite enough to sooth my nerves.

2. Anywhere after watching the Wildcats/Chiefs/Royals lose a gut-wrenching game
Sure, I take sports a bit too seriously, but I can't recall being much angrier than I was after the Fiesta Bowl in 2004.

1. Lawrence, Kan.
"Faithful to our colors, we will ever be..."

Monday, May 12, 2008

It's the Little Things

A great man once said, "To truly get the most out of life, once must find joy in the smallest details."

... That may or may not be true. If no "great man" ever said that phrase, we'll pretend I fall in that category, solely for the sake of my introduction, as I've grown quite fond of it.

Such opportunities to take a sip of all life's tap has to offer can present themselves anywhere... even the gas station.

With the cost of gasoline getting ever closer to the "sell my car and research dromedarian sources of conveyance" point, I certainly did not expect the gas station feeling like I'd just won first prize in a Swedish spelling bee.

As I pulled up to the the second in a pair of pumps, I grew a little concerned, as I was not sure the length of hose available would be enough to allow the nozzle to reach the my gas tank. The car parked at the pump directly in front of me had not practiced smart gas station etiquette, and had left me precious little room to pull my car up. Luckily for the car at my anterior, my parents raised me to know it's not proper to rear end a vehicle in frustration when such a situation presents itself.

I exited my vehicle, swiped the card for my preferred payment method, and approached the moment of truth. Taking the nozzle in hand, I stretched for the gas tank.

It didn't reach.

I stretched further.

Close, but not quite.

Deciding I'd rather not transfer the gasoline from nozzle to tank via my cupped hands, I stretched one more time...


... But, there was one problem.

The hose was stretched tight enough that the nozzle would snap back like a rubber band unless I held it in place while fueling. Such a process was not entirely unfamiliar to me, but it hindered my plans on this very evening.

Because I am budget-minded (kind way of saying "cheap"), I had not planned to fill my tank all the way. I'd fill my tank to a price point determined via a popular vote among my car's governing board (e.g., me), and try to successfully achieve a Jerry Seinfeld-style* "perfect pump."

*See American Express commercial from around 10 years ago... Once again, The Writings hits all that is up-to-date.

Unfortunately, the angle at which I was positioned relative to the digitally displayed numbers on the pump did not allow me the opportunity to monitor the amount of gas I had put in the tank. I was working blind.

And so, it began.

Doing my best to make sure the gas nozzle didn't retract from my car, sling wildly like a possessed yo-yo, and strike someone in the face (mission: accomplished), and simultaneously trying my hardest to not look like an utter fool in front of the little blond wiping off her SUV next to me (mission: failed miserably), I did not even have the opportunity to try to count in my head the number of dollars rattling off as the gas was dispensed.

After an undetermined amount of time (it may have been seconds, it may have been days), I decided enough was enough. I put an end to the petroleum parade and placed the nozzle back in its receptacle. It was then that I looked to how much of my hard-earned cash would be devoted to the continued forward progress of my car on this occasion.

The pump read: $25.00.


Operating without sight, with no clue of any sort as to the amount of gas that had been dispensed, I achieved the perfect pump that had eluded me on so many previous occasions.

And I was pleased.

This, friends, is a great example of what I think the wonderfully astounding man referenced in the introduction was referring to.*

*It is also an excellent illustration of how easily entertained I can be.

Thursday, May 08, 2008

Rolling With the Punches

I must apologize to you, my loyal reader(s)... You know who you are.

I'm not apologizing for wasting your time, or for making you further ponder the unexplainable thoughts that invade my head. Those apologies are implied.

Apparently common practice in "web logs" is linking to things that you - as the author - played no part in creating. Yet, here I've been constantly paying homage to thoughts and ideas that would not be published (and probably would not exist at all) if it weren't for the control center of my central nervous system.

It is time to rectify this severe misgiving - and we'll do so with the help of wondrous online video library found at YouTube. What follows are videos that receive the 'DL Guarantee.' If you don't feel more like Derek Larson after viewing these videos, you get your pizza free (guarantee void in Oklahoma).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8C6KX-2HX1o - No matter how many times you've seen it, it's a must-watch for any K-State fan. Not only is it an outstanding summation of the greatest night in K-State football history, but it features the musical styling of Mr. Right Said Fred... If that's not a mind-boggling combination, I'm not sure what is. And yet, it works.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mIUu-nLx0lw - While we're on the subject of K-State football, I have to give some props to one of the newest members of the Green Bay Packers.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XMrPjl-927Q - The best in-game dunk ever... Please convince me otherwise.

... Sorry, I realize some of you don't appreciate sports (thanks, blog poll).

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ydpl0bgL_Kw - A long lost Chris Farley classic. After watching it again, I'm thinking I might head to the mall with an orange in hand this weekend.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HOiVaE-pKqM - Basically the greatest music video ever created. You can have your choreography and your "bling"... I'll take a lip-synching Chevy Chase, thank you.


Apparently the video library found at the aforementioned Tube of You has been pillaged like a-

ALERT! v2.0

Apparently my laptop has a drinking problem, because it tends to stop functioning entirely and black out at times. The most recent of these incidents (my laptop hates that term, and swears it has control over the situation... I'm kind of worried it might make a scene the next time I take it out in public) occurred as I was typing the last sentence about YouTube's library. The point of that very sentence was that several videos I had viewed on that very site at previous times have now been removed, apparently due to copyright issues.

Now, instead of watching videos featuring events like "The Pine Tar Incident" and Conan O'Brien's trip to Ireland, I have to enroll my computer in AA... and I better do it soon, because I think it just winked at my television. When questioned about it, my laptop challenged me to a fight... We may have a long road to travel.