The “Crazy as a Shithouse Rat” Files

 

How can you say no to a request like that?  I, for one, will be absolutely sure to keep my munchables good and far away from the toilet brush holder.

My grandfather (my Dad’s Dad) was one of the most taciturn individuals I’ve ever known- I think he could go days with little more than a grunt or a “yep” or “nope” when asked a direct question.  He could read Louis L’Amour or Zane Grey and watch Westerns for days on end without saying a word to anyone unless he was asked a question.  Grandpa didn’t usually talk unless there was something worth talking about. 

There were certain people in the public eye who he would comment on, and when he did, the tirades were priceless.  For some reason he didn’t much like Jimmy Carter. When President Carter was in the news, Grandpa would go on and on as to why Jimmy should have stayed down in Georgia picking peanuts.  Nor did he like Ted Kennedy, or for that matter, the whole Kennedy family, who he saw as being “Nazi-loving tomcats.”  I always wondered about that statement as a child, but in light of evidence suggesting Joe Kennedy’s pre -WWII support of Hitler and Nazism when he was Ambassador to England, I believe Grandpa actually did know what he was talking about regarding the Kennedys.  Grandpa didn’t care a whole lot for Reagan at first, either (I’ll forgive him for that) as he wasn’t much of a fan of his acting, and Grandpa thought him too old to be President,  but he did gain a lot of respect for Reagan after the assassination attempt. 

But when Grandpa had a really low opinion of someone, he would consider them “crazy as a shithouse rat.”  I have been known to use that simile myself in regard to certain people, but coming from Grandpa the phrase had a deeper dimension to it.  Until the early 1960’s they did not have an indoor toilet.  He used an outhouse for many years and probably encountered real live shithouse rats.  I remember an incident from when I was maybe five or six years old that helped illustrate the point. 

Back in the 1970’s there was still an open sewer that ran parallel to the railroad tracks that were not even a block away from my grandparents’ house.   We didn’t really understand what it was, we just called it the QuQua ditch, and we knew that the water in it was really dirty. It was OK to float paper boats in it- if you could stand the smell- but you dared not wade in it or even touch the water.  It was several years before I learned why this was so imperative.

An absolutely huge rat – and this is no exaggeration, it was the size of a small dog- came up from the sewer grate in the street (not far from the open ditch, as the storm sewers ran directly into the QuQua, along with lots of other unspeakable things) and was leisurely strolling about in broad daylight when we kids were playing outside.  I was completely freaked by this and ran back, screaming, into my grandparents’ house.  Grandpa looked out the window, saw the rat and got a shovel from the garage.  As the rat sauntered ever closer to the yards and the sidewalk, Grandpa ran up behind it and bashed its brains out with the shovel.  He scooped up the dead rat with the shovel and dumped it in the trash.  All he said about it was that we kids should never get near any rats or possums that come up from the sewer in the daytime because they have rabies and if they bite you’ll get the rabies. 

Nobody wanted to get the rabies, believe that.  We didn’t understand what rabies is, but we didn’t want to get it either.

That was probably the closest I ever got to a literal shithouse rat.

I have had pet rats- they are smarter than gerbils or hamsters- but they still have the common rodent problem of no bowel or bladder control.  Somehow a pet loses some of its charm when it is constantly going to the bathroom on you.  Our snakes eat rats (I have a ball python and Jerry has a red-tailed boa) which is sort of difficult because the snakes like their food live.  I know, it’s weird to have snakes, but Jerry likes them, and even I have to admit they are cool to watch.

Which brings me to today’s example of “crazy as a shithouse rat.”  Sadly, he’s from Ohio, albeit the northeast corner of Ohio where the lunatic fringe tends to congregate.   Dennis Kucinich is in the news again- for suing the government over an olive pit.  And I thought Obama’s priorities were screwed.  Compared to Kucinich, Obama almost looks reasonable and sane.

Why, oh, why, don’t the voters send their space cadet of a Representative back to the mistake on the lake where he belongs?

And speaking of being a space cadet, Kucinich claims that he saw a UFO while hanging out at Shirley MacLaine’s.  And I’m the Queen of England.

It may be unfair to the rats to compare them to Kucinich- he’s truly a nut job.  However, infamy is still a form of fame.

Beam me up!

Exploits of the Inane, A Case for Devolution, and Early Bird Birthday Requests

I don’t deal with the general public very well.  Perhaps my cynicism and wafer-thin tolerance threshold comes from years of dealing with retail parts customers and (worse) service customers.  I have no problem dealing with the technical aspects of automotive repair, etc. but dealing with people when they’re being ignorant, stupid, or just plain out of control really gets on my nerves.  I think I lose my patience the most when I explain things to people multiple times and they still fail to get it.  As Ron White put it, “You can’t fix stupid.”  Even so, some people have problems with spoken and written language (not necessarily foreigners…) and perhaps it may help to have things explained to them in pictures.  This must be the logic behind today’s traffic signs.

I remember when I was growing up you would see signs like this when there was roadwork ahead:

This sign seemed self explanatory to me.  Somewhere up ahead some dude with a flag will be waving traffic past.  Apparently as time went on, political correctness crept into the world of road signs.  “Flagman” apparently implied that women weren’t allowed to wave traffic past, so someone came up with a new term and a new sign:

I always thought “Flagger” sounded kind of dirty.  It isn’t, but it should be. 

Then of course, because no one in state governments or Congress has the stones to insist that if people want to live, work and be in this country that they need to speak, write and understand the English language, the sign was changed yet again:

See how humanity has devolved in the past 30-40 years.  Devolution has been going on since the Fall, but I truly believe it’s picking up momentum.

Some people (rapists, murderers, child molesters, animal abusers) should not be permitted to suck up valuable oxygen.  Others are simply crazy as shithouse rats, and should be protected from themselves and the greater society.  Unfortunately, when you work with the general public you WILL encounter them.  The good thing is today I have my GPS equipped cell phone handy, and 911 on speed dial.

The most memorable “crazy as a shithouse rat” individual from my days of being a service advisor actually tried to throttle me, as in pushing me against the wall, grabbing me by the neck, and attempting to asphyxiate me.  White powder (i.e. cocaine) was a real problem back then. As we found out later, the dude not only was one of the biggest drug dealers in Delaware County, he had made the most common mistake of drug dealers- getting high on his own supply.   Had this happened in more recent times (this has been almost 20 years ago) I would have called the cops and had the dude charged with assault.   I was happy enough when my boss heard the fracas, (as well as I would assume he could smell the techies’ sneaker smoke as they were all running out the side door-the pussies!)  ran out, told the guy to leave, and threatened to call the cops if he ever came back.  Hell, I had the license number as well as the guy’s address, phone number and VIN.  Could have, should have, would have called the cops, but hindsight is 20/20.  My boss didn’t want any further trouble.

It would possibly been different if I’d done anything to deserve a throttling, but this guy was torqued for a really illogical reason.  He had bought an extended warranty on the car for which there was a $50 deductible for every visit– no matter how much work the tech did on it.  Most customers who have this program and who are endowed with any sense will tell the advisor, “fix anything the tech says needs attention,” and the tech will gleefully oblige.  This guy (did I mention he had a white powder problem) brought this late model Camry in and requested we repair the torn CV boot ONLY and nothing else, which I noted on the repair order.  Unfortunately the only thing the tech saw was the extended warranty, so (like any normal flat rate tech would do when basically given carte blanche) he went over this car with a fine toothed comb.  He fixed a few minor transmission leaks, replaced a wheel bearing and hub assembly,  replaced the distributor shaft seal, CV boot, water pump, and made some other repairs typically required on a high mileage Camry.  99.9999% of customers would be overjoyed to get all this work- about $1500 worth- done for $50.  This guy was out of his mind in more ways than one.  He was truly shithouse rat crazy as he went into a rage.  I just had the bad luck of being the nearest target.

Thankfully, two weeks later this dude and a few of his friends’ drug ring got brought down.  I wonder if he’s still in prison.  Being an asshole, as well as a white powder sniffer, has a way of biting one in the ass.

I need to watch the Three Stooges more often. There were a few episodes on AMC last Sunday and it was most enjoyable watching them.  The Stooges are still funny, albeit predictable, after all these years.  I happen to believe this is a perfect illustration for how I see golfers:

The major difference is the Three Stooges were less pompous and better dressed than most of the PGA wannabes I encountered at the Infiniti dealership.   From what I’ve seen of golfers and the holier-than-everyone-else attitude they emanate,  they can keep their hoity-toity sport all to themselves. 

Yes my birthday is coming up and since nobody gives a rat’s ass, and my odds of receiving birthday gifts I might actually want are slim to none, I might as well request big. (in order of most to least outrageous)

1. Bahamas/Caribbean Cougar Cruise- as in ten days of delightful sailing on the tropical seas, where I am The Cougar, and the rest of the ship is staffed with buff young men between the ages of 21 and 30 who are ready and willing to cater to my every whim.

2. Total body laser hair removal- all of my unwanted/superfluous body hair, gone forever.  I would never have to shave, pluck out the Unibrow, or Nair my face again!

3. A year’s membership to the “Y” so I can go to the indoor pool whenever I want.

4. A day at the indoor waterpark.

5. 10 3- packs of Hanes Her Way size 7 white hi-cut undies (thought I forgot about yesterday’s request, didn’t ya?)

6. A $25 gas card.

7. A 12 pack of Diet Dr. Pepper.

Knowing my luck my Mom will buy me some more cookie cutters.  The gift that says to the diabetic, “Hurry up and die, already?”  She will remember my birthday, but the older she gets, I am afraid to think with what.

Diabolical Sabotage, How Not to Get Things Done, and Basically Farting Off

I really wanted to Get Something Done today.  Yeah, right.  So far I’ve been mollycoddling idiots, which is not my favorite thing to do.  It’s a few rungs above cleaning cat boxes, or my least favorite activity- which would have to be anything involving cleaning and sorting and/or getting dirty.  I am glad as hell I don’t have to go outside to work, and I am thankful for many other things I don’t have to do.  Still, it gets old when you’ve told the fifteen thousandth ass-pilot of the day that their stuff is not there yet because they are in the middle of a snowstorm.  Your route may potentially be delayed if the freeways are down to 10 miles an hour and zero visibility.  Look outside, you jackwagons!

Anyway I generally don’t like to fart off but my attention span is about that of paint right now.  As soon as I try to concentrate and get something done someone pesters me with something stupid, something that can wait, something I have no control over, etc. and so on.  If we weren’t short handed today I’d put my phone on voice mail and then see how many people solved their own problem/answered their own questions tomorrow.  I would say 85% of the people I talk to with an “urgent” problem either a.) have the answer to their own problem, or b.) are totally farking clueless to begin with, or c.) need to be talking to someone who can actually address their problem and do something about it.   The other 15% usually have a legitimate bitch, and/or something I can actually fix.  So I’m glad I don’t talk to people as much as I used to.  I’ve said it before but I’ll say it again, intelligence is a constant, the population is growing. Unfortunately my patience with stupidity is shrinking which is probably not a good thing, being that stupidity is becoming ever more common.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH

OK.  I’ve released some of my frustration with the unwashed masses of humanity.

I am generally not the “huggable” type, even on a good day.  What I would really like to do is go home and have a nice quiet evening of “Dirty Jobs,” cop shows and Chinese takeout.  Unfortunately these are the kind of days I come home to Mr. Drama Queen going off on how someone said something to hurt his feelings at work, so he’s got crank up the stereo, stay up until 1AM and drink a case of Natties to forget about it.

Well, back at it.   I might get something done before the end of the day but I doubt it very seriously.