I Just Kicked a Woman Out of the Men’s Bathroom, Only It Wasn’t the Men’s Bathroom

I just kicked a woman and her two young children out of the men’s bathroom at the Fred Meyer’s Department Store in downtown Portland.  Only… it wasn’t the men’s bathroom.

Because I can’t blame myself, I’ll blame the store for its poor bathroom labeling practices.  (I should sue them.)

Here’s how the whole thing went down.

I walk into the Fred Meyers with my wife and promptly announce to her that I need to go hit the can.

I march upstairs to where the bathrooms are, and I see the “Men” sign.  I hit a hard right and push through the door.

There, standing smack dab in the middle of the bathroom is this short Latino woman with a young child right next to her.  Another small child is just emerging from one of the stalls.

Needless to say, she sees me and looks shocked. 

I’m a little startled myself.

I say to her something to the effect of, “Hey, this is the men’s bathroom.”

She quickly gathers up her kids and marches for the door.

Because I’m a super sensitive guy, and I feel sorry for her embarrassing error, I say to her, “It’s no big deal.  Don’t worry about it.”

This whole thing would have gone unnoticed, but just then, my wife comes marching into the room, sees me and says, “What are you doing in here?”

(I feel compelled to note that I didn’t appreciate her accusatory tone, but I decided not to make an issue of it.)

I reply to her, “This is the men’s room.”  (Although, at this point, my confidence is beginning to wane.)

We all walk out, and to my great disappointment – Yes, as unbelievable as it was, someone had switched the bathroom signs in the mere moments I was in the bathroom.

What are the odds?

How You Can Be a Big Fat Hero in Three Easy Steps

According to Mr. Google, 71.6% of Americans are overweight.  I am one of those proud Americans.  However, I am currently on a diet.  My diet works like this:

Step 1. Wake up in the morning vowing to only eat freshly picked lettuce and cucumbers until I have lost 40 pounds.

Step 2. End the day polishing off a quart of Chunky Monkey ice cream.

Okay.  So, it might not be the best diet.

In the meantime, I have discovered a new technique which enables me to enjoy the admiration of others.  It’s very simple, and I urge my fellow 71.6% fat friends to follow my lead.

Here’s how it works:

Step 1. Place yourself in a social setting where you are surrounded by total strangers.  (This is critical – You must be around COMPLETE strangers.)

Step 2. Mingle until you find someone who looks like he or she bench presses Dusseldorfs three times a day and whose diet consists entirely of protein powder. 

Step 3. Engage this person in small talk, and when the opportunity arises, casually mention something like, “You certainly look like you know your way around the gym.” 

Here is where the magic happens.

Mr. or Ms. Athletic will answer with something along the lines of, “Yeah, I do put in a little time.”  (They’ll do this while casually sizing up your physique with thinly veiled distain.)

This is when you volunteer, “I’ve been putting some time in the gym myself lately.”

“Good for you,” they’ll say encouragingly, like a parent praising the mess of a fingerpainting their five-year-old just drug home.”

Here is where, like a bullfighter sliding his sword into the heart of an 800-pound beast, you deliver your coup de grace.

In your most casual tone, you say, “Yeah.  So far this year, I’ve lost 119 pounds.” 

Then bask in the glory as the person’s face transforms into total awe.

Here, feel free to shrug modestly.  

At this point, your next move is critical:

Get the H-E-double-toothpicks out of there and hope you never see this person again. 

I Just Watched Top Gun, and Now, at a Youthful 61, I Must Join the Navy

The last thing I want to do is make military service OR saving the world from rogue third-world counties ALL ABOUT ME.  But let’s take a moment and make it all about me.

I just watched the new Top Gun movie, and after nearly two hours of powering down a fifty-gallon drum of buttered popcorn, and feeling adrenaline coursing through my veins, I have officially decided to join the Navy. 

There is only one problem.  According to the Navy’s website, the oldest you can join the Navy is 39, or 42 as an officer candidate.  This blatant age discrimination stands in the way of my piloting a F-18 fighter jet.  Yes, the exact plane that Tom Cruise uses to save the world from an ambiguous, yet unnamed, rogue nation trying to develop a nuclear weapon. 

My niece, who for purposes of the column I will refer to as “Elise,” because her name is Elise Erickson, is currently a US Marine officer.  Her service brings tremendous pride to our family, and by all accounts, she exemplifies the best that the US Marines has to offer.  However, I fear that not even Elise can pull the “right strings” to convince the bureaucrats in Washington to waive the mere 19-year gap between their arbitrarily established “so called” maximum age of 42, and my very youthful, and may I say SPRY, age of 61. 

My only chance to serve my country is if I use the technique employed by so many teenagers at the beginning of World War II.  That’s right.  I’m going to lie about my age.  In 1942, any number of 17-year-olds claimed to be 18 to join the military.  AND they got away with it. 

I’m going to do the same thing, only in reverse.  I’m going to wipe a full tube of Grecian Formula through what’s left of my hair, and then I’m going to rehearse saying into the mirror, “Hello, I’m Jack Edwards, and I’m 42.”

It is only then that I will finally be able to achieve my destiny:

Flying a Navy jet to save our country from the dangers of ambiguous, yet unnamed, rogue nations. 

And in my spare time, of course, I’ll buzz the tower.

I’ve Decided to Start Living Dangerously – I’m Drinking Tap Water

I recently entered a new phase of my midlife crisis. 

No, I’m not buying a motorcycle.  (I think you have to be an organ donor for that.)

No, I’m not jumping out of a plane.

NO, I’m not appearing on Naked and Afraid. 

Those things are pedestrian, even mundane.

I’m throwing caution to the wind –

I am drinking TAP water! 

(I should point out that I do not live in Flint…  Hey, I’m not suicidal.)

Let me now shift back to reality –

Who came up with this bottled water insanity?  My guess is the Evil Nestle Corporation, but keep in mind that my guess is always the Evil Nestle Corporation.  I blame them for nearly everything.  Everything, that is, except those tasty Toll House Cookies.  God bless you, Evil Nestle Corporation.

Yes, there are places where the water tastes like crap (like Los Angeles).  But it’s perfectly fine over most of this Great Land we call the good ‘ole US of A.  Be that as it may, if you dare raise a glass of tap water to your lips, you risk a concerned citizen diving on you to save you from that liquid poison like a war hero diving on a grenade.

And we don’t just drink bottled water.  We drink bottled water from Fiji! 

            and Italy –

          and France –

            And Iceland –

            It has to be “perfectly” pH balanced –

            It’s got to be Zen –

It hit me if that if we’re importing all this fancy water from around the world, we should start exporting ours back.

[Drumroll]

Introducing: Lewis and Clark pH Balanced Water!  Bottled straight from the source!  (We won’t mention “the source” is the Portland Municipal Water District.)  They’re going absolutely LOVE it in France!

If You’re Alarmed By The Millions Of Tons Of Carbon Released Every Day In India and China By All Those Smoke Spewing Jalopies, Relax, I Just Bought An E-Bike

If you’re someone concerned about global warming, I’ve got good news.  You know all those millions of three-wheeled jalopies spewing plumes of black smoke into the air each day?  Zillions of them?  Throughout Asia? Pouring millions of tons of carbon into the atmosphere.  You can stop worrying!

I bought an e-bike!

What I’m trying to say is this:  I’ve saved the earth.

With the rise in the earth’s temperature, and concern about the future of our planet, you might have already guessed the main reason I bought an e-bike.  And that reason is, of course-

I’m lazy.

After researching e-bikes for months, I learned a lot.  First off, there are three basic categories of electric bikes:

“Category 1” e-bikes.  These bikes require that you pedal, but they help you pedal with a feature creatively called, “pedal assist.” 

“Category 2” e-bikes.  These bikes, like Category 1 e-bikes, can help you with “pedal assist.”  However, they also have a throttle! These bikes can zip you along at up to 20 miles per hour without your feet ever touching the pedals!  So, if you’re a wise e-bike consumer, and by wise, I mean lazy, you can just twist the throttle and off you go! 

Finally, the “Category 3” e-bike.  These bikes also have a throttle, and they can speed you along up to 28 miles per hour.  But sadly, most jurisdictions require that you have a license and insurance to ride them.  AND, you can’t ride them on the bike paths. 

So, if you’re too lazy to pedal, and you also happen to be cheap, the Category 2 e-bike is the one for you.  That’s my Category 2 e-bike in the picture.  It’s a Lectric bike.  No, that’s not a typo.  The company just left the “e” off the word electric and named their company “Lectric.”  Their creative team must have spent the better part of three seconds coming up with that marketing gem.

So, if you see me zipping along the bike paths of the greater Eugene, Oregon area, feel free to give me a wave and thank me. Remember, I saved the planet.

I’ve Decided To Start Using The Word “Adroit” To Make People Think I’m Smarter Than I Am

I just watched Shark Tank, and someone used the word “adroit.”  The word caught my attention.  I immediately stopped trying to confabulate some contraption to appear on Shark Tank and make my fortune.  I thought to myself, ‘I need to start using that word.  It’ll make me sound smart.’

So, that’s my new plan. 

First, I had to do some research, and by “research,” I mean, I had to find out what the word meant.  I was surprised to discover that that word has nothing to do with droits.  (Which is, believe it or not, a REAL word!  I immediately ruled out ever using the word, “droit,” because I didn’t think using it would make me sound smart.  A “droit” sounds like a creature that lives under a bridge.

But I digress.  Back to adroit.

It turns out that the word “adroit” has French origins.  It’s actually the French word for bunion, as in, “I need to see the podiatrist about removing this enormous adroit.”  Just kidding!

I asked Google to tell me what it meant, and it said: skillful, nimble, clever. 

Not to shock anyone, but Alsea Elementary School never got around to adroit.  Our teachers were all too busy threatening us with extreme bodily harm.  That or I missed that day. 

I’m now in the planning stage of using my fancy new word. Here’s what I have chambered so far:

On my next visit to the podiatrist, I’m going to casually say, “Doctor,” (Yeah, I know he’s not a real doctor, but he likes it when I call him that), “Doctor,” I’ll say, “I’m hoping you can use your adroit skills to remove this bunion.”

If things go smoothly, I’ll move on from there, maybe to my optometrist, and then on to real doctors.  If things DON’T go well, I know one thing –

I’ll feel like a complete droid.

I Was Going To Buy A Pizza Oven, But I Didn’t Want to Pay One Million Dollars A Slice

I love pizza as much as the next pre-diabetic guy, but this whole “pizza oven craze” is bonkers.  A big, stand-alone oven exclusively to make pizza? 

Let’s think this through:

#1. How many times are you really ever going to use it?  I mean, as an actual pizza oven, not a boat anchor.

#2. How many days will it take before you start using it to store yard equipment, like your garden hose?  Prepare yourself. The temptation will be tremendous. Have you seen these things?  They are the perfect shape to hold a garden hose. (I say this as someone who shamefully has a pool table, I mean a storage table, taking up 25% of my garage.)

#3. News Alert:  Recently (and by “recently,” I mean since 1925), you can now order a pizza delivered DIRECTLY to your home.  AND, it will arrive with the precise toppings you PERSONALLY requested.

I have done the math, and these new-fangled contraptions just don’t pencil out.  Don’t believe me?  Here’s the formula:

Cost of the pizza oven (more than you can afford) ÷ the number of pizzas you’ll actually make with it (“one” – and, frankly, not a very good one) = You’re an idiot if you buy a pizza oven.

And keep this very poignant question in mind (be honest with yourself when you answer it):  What are the chances that you might never climb off your big fat patootie and bake a pizza?

The answer is 39%.  (And I’m being generous.) 

Now that I think about it, the next time someone really irks me off, I’m going to go on Amazon and order a pizza oven sent to their home.  At first, sure, they’ll be thrilled.  But revenge is best served cold…  Give it a week.

My point is this: Don’t do it! Spend your money more wisely.  Here are a few examples of how you can better spend your money:

Option 1. Donate it to charity. 

Option 2. Deposit it in your kid’s college fund. 

Option 3. Flush it down the toilet. 

On the other hand, there is something to be said for having a convenient place to store your garden hose.    

How to Confront a Psychopathic Drone Owner

I visited the beach yesterday.  A sign posted at the entrance point had four pictures on it – A crab, a cigarette butt, a sand dollar and a starfish.  It read: “Which of these things doesn’t belong here?”  My heart sank.  Have we really reached the point as a society where we’re banning crabs from the beach?  I was so disgusted that I threw my cigarette down and stomped it with my sole.  Just kidding!  I didn’t want the ember to burn my rubber Nike sole, so I bent down and crushed it into the sand.  Just kidding again!  (Author’s note:  I don’t smoke, except fictionally, as needed humor purposes.)

Say what you will about chain-smoking beachcombers, but if we don’t want people tossing their cigarette butts on the beach, why do we put sand in ashtrays?  Uh-huh?!

Enough about chain-smoking beachcombers. Let’s talk about drones. 

You can now buy a drone for less than the price of Taco Bell Chalupa.  As a result, every psychopath is now free to terrorize the neighborhood, or in my case, the beach.

It was cold and windy, so my wife thought this was the perfect time to torture me with a walk on the beach.  For obvious reasons, few people were on the beach.  Suddenly, I hear a whirling.  I look up, and a drone is hovering 20 feet away.  I don’t know much about drones, but it looked like it was spying one me.  There were two zillion square feet of vacant beach in all four directions, but this thing was hovering over me like a bee circling a flower.  (No, I do not think of myself as a flower, but the only other simile that came to mind was, “like a fly circling a pile of horse manure.”)  So, yes, a BEE circling a FLOWER.

I did what any other red-blooded American would.  I picked up a rock and threw it at the drone.  I thought, what are the odds I’d hit it?  Turned out, 100%!  Nailed it smack in the center.  It hung in the air for a moment, and then it spun out of control and crashed into the waves.  Except…

I didn’t throw the rock.

That’s because in real life, I’m a lawyer.  So, I just THOUGHT about throwing the rock, and then I thought:

1. What if the owner chases me down and pummels the daylights out of me?  (I was wearing Crocks for crying out loud!)

2. What if the owner calls the police?

3. What if the police officer is psychopathic drone owner?  (I put those odds at 93%.)

So, I did the next best thing.  I gave it the finger.  Just kidding again!  My minister, who for the purposes of this column, I will refer to as, “Steve,” because his name is Steve Hill, would tell me that would be the “wrong thing to do” (most of the time, anyway). 

So, like a said, I didn’t throw the rock.  The only thing I threw was my cigarette butt down at a nearby crab.  Wasn’t he banned from the beach anyway?

How to Get Your Husband to Buy You a New Wedding Ring Without Really Trying

I lost my wedding ring.  When I confessed this to my wife, I was surprised to learn that she wasn’t upset.  She took it calmly. She simply set down her phone, looked at me with her gentle, loving eyes, and yelled, “What?” at the top of her lungs.

I had developed the habit of slipping my ring off my finger and fiddling with it.  Whenever my wife saw me do this, she would scold me.  “You’re going to lose it,” she warned.  “No, I’m not,” I replied each time.

Thankfully, my beautiful, loving, wonderful wife, isn’t an “I told you so” person.  She’s an “I told you so,” (pause) “I told you so” person.  This posed a small problem for me in that she had indeed “told me so,” many, MANY times.

“I’ll find it,” I replied with as much confidence as I could muster given the fact that I had already search everywhere.  TWICE. 

My wife and I then searched frantically.

Thereafter, every so often, my wife would ask me if I had given up looking for my ring.  “I’m still looking,” I would reply without taking my eyes off the latest episode of Gold Rush. 

I was having just as much luck finding my ring from the living room couch as OJ was having finding the “real killer” from the golf course.

Then came the BIG DAY. 

My wife announced that she had found me a new wedding ring, and she wanted me to go see it.  She drove.  When we pulled up to the most expensive jewelry store in Eugene, it took every ounce of my strength to keep from peeing myself. 

We entered, and the salesman greeted my wife like an old friend.  (This should have been my first clue.)

“You brought your husband to see the ring!” he said.

He directed us to a display case and pulled a ring from the case below.  It was a gold band with etchings of waves circling it.  I had always told my wife that real men wore plain gold bands (as was the one I lost).  Unfortunately, my delicate predicament didn’t leave me much room to begin making demands. 

“I like it,” I announced firmly, much to my wife’s smiling satisfaction.  Meanwhile, the salesman stood wearing a smile brighter than the grill of a ’57 Buick.

The salesman’s next statement struck me with the subtly of a 2”x4” whack to the cranium.

“Would you like to see your matching ring?” he asked my wife.

He reached down and pulled out a second ring.

The second ring was identical to my ring with one minor exception:

It was encrusted with DIAMONDS!  Beautiful, sparking, EXPENSIVE diamonds!

My first inclination was to cry out, “Hey, that’s not a matching ring!”  But miraculously, I was able to catch myself and withhold my (very correct) objection.

“It’s beautiful,” I choked out.

Naturally, I found my original ring within the month.  It had fallen into a small pocket on one of my coats.  My first thought was, ‘Hey, maybe we can take the rings back.’

I decided to keep that little suggestion to myself.

The REAL problem with ordering People magazine is that they start SENDING you People magazine

Every once in a while, I make the tragic mistake of subscribing to People magazine.  It isn’t that I WANT People magazine, it is that People magazine skillfully uses a sophisticated entrapment technique to coerce me into subscribing.  It happens at my work. 

It goes like this.  They send you a color flyer depicting a cover of People magazine with the sales pitch, “54 Weeks of People, Just $47!”  That catches your eye, and when you look closer, it says a two-year subscription is just $95.  And, get this, a three-year subscription is only $134!  And if you subscribe for five years, they actually pay YOU money to take it!  Okay, I’m just kidding. They don’t pay you money. They just give it to you for free. Just kidding, again!  The deal ends at three years.  But still, that’s about 85 cents an issue.  In a world where a cup of coffee is four bucks, that’s an amazing deal.  And I’m from Alsea, so you can imagine my internal struggle.  My cheapskate id starts wrasslin’ with my just-spotted-a-bargain id. 

The REAL problem with ordering People magazine is that they start sending you People magazine.  EVERY week.  Week after week, month after month.  It NEVER ends.  It’s relentless.  Issues start piling up.  Stacks of People magazines begin growing throughout the lobby.  The stacks sprout everywhere.  Pretty soon your office lobby is like a corn maze.  You find yourself trying to navigate through the unsteady stacks looking for the front door while desperately trying to avoid becoming the embarrassing victim of a People magazine avalanche.  (A tragedy People magazine would gleefully publish on it’s cover!)

What I’m trying to say is that when you are walking through the airport, and you see a copy of People magazine for sale at its standard cover price of $200 (or whatever its insane “cover price”), BUY IT.  Buy that ONE copy.  Covet it.  Alone.  It doesn’t need any brother or sister issues.  It’s fine being an only child. 

I implore you.  If you’re itching to do something crazy, go bungee jumping, or maybe skydiving.  Heck, sign up for a naked bull riding contest.  Just don’t ever, and I mean EVER, lose your mind and subscribe to People magazine.