Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Don't Worry, Be Happy!

Here we go. This post is a result of a plea for ideas from my Facebook friends. It was a plea! I was dry. No ideas. I asked to be challenged.

The results I got were… weak.

Almost immediately I got the response, “Vaginal itch.”

To be honest, it had never bothered me.

Then I was asked, “Who would be the actors playing all the main characters in the story of your life.” I mistook this to mean who the people in my life were that appear as characters in the stories I tell. As I consider myself the only main character, I promptly replied, “I'm the main character. The rest of you people are secondary. Perfect for teaching lessons, saying funny things and dying horrifically.” The intent was to select actual paid actors that might portray myself and the horrifically dead. My bad. I guess if I were hiding the fact I studied Shakespeare in college, the secret’s out now.

“Three Leaves and a June Bug.” This one was almost too awesome to include. Ever have one of those inside stories that’s just too freakin’ good you don’t want to share it? The actual details are boring, but needless to say it involved a lot of drinking, hanging out at the pool after 2:00 am, and the kind of conversation where everything was deep and serious. It was totally gonna be our band’s name in the event we learned to sing and/or play instruments. “There is a time and a place for everything; and it’s called college”. – Chef.

The messages back and forth included a warning to not google “blue waffle”. Someone did not heed my warning. I mention this only because this is how the Facebook conversation went. DO NOT LOOK FOR IT. DO NOT GOOGLE IT. Now you too have been warned.

Other suggestions included how my wife and I met, why cats always sniff your finger, and the most tragic day in my life.

The answers to those three are quickly now: On a bus rigged to explode if it’s speed dropped below 50 mph; because it’s not about the finger, but where it’s been; IT WAS FIVE GALLONS OF BEER! *PSH* the carboy EXPLODED and all my preciousness spilled out onto the kitchen floor. This happened nine years ago. I’m still seeing a therapist.

The winner is Cindy Collins for her suggestion of, “Cleaning chinchilla cages.”

My very first job, at age 14, was cleaning chinchilla cages for a lady whose day job was as a high school counselor in Killeen, TX. This was in 1988-ish. I haven’t the slightest idea how I came to this job except that I wanted one, I needed one, and my Dad took me there and picked me up.

This lady kept two buildings on her property with about 250 chinchillas, each in their own cage. The place was kept at a chilly 60° and absolutely reeked of urine. Every Saturday we cleaned cage after cage after cage. New pine shavings. New buckets of ash. DON’T LET THEM ESCAPE!

For those that didn’t feel like clicking the link, chinchillas are bred & kept for their fur. Very soft. You know those winter jackets that have fur around the hoods? Yup.

The funny thing about these South American mountain rats is that they have an escape tactic. If you try and grab them, they jump out of their fur. Literally. You try and get the little sucker and *poof* you are left holding a handful of fur. Like those lizards that drop their tails. My boss didn’t like it when they tried to escape. Only one ever got away from me.

Well, eventually; after week after week after week of cleaning cages it came time to harvest. My boss had this special stand built with jumper cables and clamps. That’s right, they got “the chair”.

One day, after cleaning all the cages it was time to collect the pelts. We’re frying them one after another when, on the radio, comes my bosses’ favorite song. She literally stopped in the middle of electrocuting a chinchilla to turn up the radio and stood there holding the volume knob.

She’s jamming to, “In your life expect some trouble, But when you worry, You make it double...” meanwhile a chinchilla, firmly clasped in its bonds, waited for the governor to call.

I stood there and debated the pros and cons of switching places with the critter.

Eventually both the song and the chinchilla met their end. And so went Bobby McFerrin’s career too. I can’t help but wonder if I had something to do with it.

So… don’t worry! Be HAPPY!

Go. To. Hell.


  1. totally wish you hadn't chosen this topic. Still saddens me you had this job :(

  2. Eric that is nasty! Poor chinchillas!
    The one that got away is the lucky one!

  3. Poor chinchillas! That's so sad. =(

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