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1:25 p.m. - 2001-11-28

I SHOULD HAVE NEVER DROPPED OUT OF AUTO MECHANIC UNIVERSITY

Every day as I inch closer and closer to my inevitable death, the entire concept of "Karma" becomes more clear.

Last night I let the baby fall on his head?

Today I pay.

I'm driving to work this morning on our city's populated bypass. Rush hour traffic's moving pretty freely. I'm jamming to the Afghan Whigs "Honky's Ladder" and screaming "Got choo where I want you Motherfucker, swallow, time to moooooove" or whatever the hell the guy's saying.

Suddenly, the car loses power.

I think I may have mentioned it once or twice before in this diary...but I need to reiterate ... I'm about as mechanically inclined as an infant. So when my car suddenly loses power in the middle of the morning rush hour, I do one of two things. I either scream like a cat on fire or I begin to sob uncontrollably.

I screamed. There was still plenty of time for sobbing later.

I checked my rear view mirror and with the most proficient moves ever seen away from a NASCAR track, I jerked the car into the far right lane and let it coast into the grass next to the road.

I turned the car off. Then I went to start it again.

It wanted to start. Everything was going good. It just didn't catch properly.

I took note of my surroundings. There was a KFC about two blocks away. A post office right next to me. And a Roadhouse Grill about a block back.

I saw a blue "Phone" sign outside the Roadhouse Grill. Ladies and gentlemen...we have a winner.

I hiked through the mud and weeds to the Roadhouse Grill and began digging through my pockets. Thank God I had a pocketful of change that I hadn't deposited into my son's piggy bank.

I made the first call to Triple A. Everyone who is as clueless as I am about automobiles should have Triple A. It's the best investment I've ever made, unless you count the cock ring I bought on our honeymoon.

I'm kidding, I'm kidding. I bought it on our tenth anniversary.

So anyway, Triple A says that I still have coverage with them (Thank you Susie for paying at least ONE bill this year) and that it'll be an hour or so before they can get a tow truck driver to me.

Not a problem. I have another dollar in change, a wooden bench to sit on and it's a beautiful sunny day. I had no interviews scheduled for this morning, so I was cool as a cucumber.

I called my evil boss Wendigo and left a message with her to please send somebody to pick me up as I had broken down on the side of the road and was about 20 seconds away from sobbing. Since she's well aware of what a colossal wuss I am, I knew she would jump to action fairly quickly.

I then called Susie at work to let her know my car broke down and that I was a big wuss and was trying not to cry while standing stranded out in front of the Roadhouse Grill. But I was tough, I was hanging in there, I was hanging tough, I was Donnie Wahlberg, I wasn't going to cry. She sounded about as enthusiastic as your average phone operator.

Mr. Johnny On-The-Spot, Edweird showed up to shuttle me to the office. I don't think I've ever been as glad to see him as I was this morning. In fact, I know I haven't. Usually I dread seeing his ugly mug. This time it was a welcomed relief. As he exited his car, I ran across the parking lot and jumped into his arms, hugging him and smothering him with wet kisses.

He wasn't impressed.

So we hung out in the parking lot for thirty minutes or so, talking about "Fear Factor" and breasts, which is pretty much what we always talk about because we're guys. Thank God the subject didn't turn to fuel injectors or anything, or my wussness would have shined through like a flashlight beam through Mariah Carey's ears.

The tow truck driver showed up at exactly 9:30. I ran to him and debated jumping into his arms but he seriously didn't look like he could support my slimming, yet still massive frame.

"You got a flat?" he asked, staring at my tire buried in the weeds.

"Uhhhhh...no," I said. "I've got a hurtie on my car. It hurts. It made my car cry."

He stared at me like he wanted to slap my eyes out of my head and then hooked the car up to some chain on his truck.

He got finished hooking the car up and then said "You riding with me?"

I could tell by his phrasing that he didn't want my pansy ass riding with him back to the mechanic's place. He would have rather chained me to the back of the truck than have my fat button-downed khaki ass riding in the cab with him.

"Uhhhh...no, I've got a ride," I said, hooking a thumb in Edweird's direction.

It then came time to discuss payment. Apparently, I'm no longer a "Plus" member of Triple A...I've been downgraded to a "Basic" membership.

A basic membership will get you towed three miles for free. After that it's a buck per mile.

I figured the mechanic's place was roughly seven miles away, meaning I owed the guy about four bucks.

I decided to give him seven, just in case.

He told me it was TWO DOLLARS per mile...not one.

Then, all of a sudden, I was in a "National Lampoon Vacation" movie, playing the role of Clark Griswold.

"The lady on the phone said it was a dollar per mile," I reiterated.

"Nope. She's crazy. It's two bucks per mile," the guy said, spitting his tobacco juice out dangerously close to my left shoulder.

"Well," I drawled, pulling my wallet out of my pocket. "I'm not sure I have much more money."

"Well, how much you got?" he asked.

Right then...RIGHT FUCKING THEN...I should have said "Look you uneducated piece of oily trash...just because I don't know shit about cars doesn't make me a fucking idiot. You'll get what you deserve and not a penny more, you miserable cretin."

What I ENDED UP saying was "Fourteen dollars, sir."

He snatched that fourteen dollars out of my hand so quick it left a skid mark on my palm. He started mentally calculating how much Budweiser and pork rinds he could buy with fourteen bucks.

He hopped in his truck and told me to have a nice day as he drove the 3.2 miles to the mechanic shop.

Edweird and I hiked back to his car and came back to work.

I downloaded Morpheus because Gawain told me to and I try to do whatever he tells me to do because quite frankly...I think the guy's a little mentally unstable.

Nothing has downloaded for me yet. I'm waiting on a Fatboy Slim video to come in. So far...nothing.

Thanks Gay Wayne.

Thanks for ruining my day, you bastard.

Hope you believe in karma too.

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