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5:43 a.m. - 2002-03-08

TEMPORARY INSANITY ISN'T AS FUN AS ANDREA YATES MAKES IT OUT TO BE

I don't know about you, but every now and then I take every single bit of common sense that I've collected over the years and toss 'em all out the window of life.

I'm not sure how to explain it except that I turn into a brainless moron for a few minutes for no apparent reason. Usually it's when I've been caught off guard by something unexpected, but when you're sitting at your desk and the phone rings and you answer it, most people would know how to deftly handle that situation.

...Every now and then I completely screw it up.

So yesterday, I'm sitting at my desk and the phone rings.

So far, so good.

"Montgomery Indy," I say as I answer the phone.

The person on the other line is quiet so I say it again, before I hang it up.

"Montgomery Indy," I say a bit more perturbed.

Oh.

Wait.

The Montgomery Indy was my OLD job. I haven't worked there in nine months. But for nine years, that's how I answered the phone. I'm sure that explanation will work fine with the person on the other line.

"Ha!" I chuckle. "I mean...this is Uncle Bob! I uhhhh...I used to work at a place called the Montgomery Indy and that's why I answered that way and I ... and I....and I...."

...That's where the record began skipping. I totally couldn't think of anything else to add to that statement.

"This is Olivia Rodriguez," the woman whose name has been changed to protect the innocent said. "I'm with the Atlantic Bank."

None of this rang a bell with me. Yet, this happens a lot in my job. People call me, tell me who they are, then tell me where they work. And it flies right over my head. I'm dealing with 140 different businesses at my job right now. Luckily for me, I'm not required to memorize the CEOs of each company. But NORMALLY, I would just say "Yes Olivia, what can I do for you?"

Yesterday, I shortened that response somewhat.

"Who??" I said.

"Olivia Rodriguez from Atlantic Bank" she said again. "I'm returning your call."

Okay.

I STILL had no idea who the woman was. Two weeks ago, I called each of the 140 businesses and left voice mails with about 130 of them. I'm sure that had to be the case with Olivia. I had probably just called to set up an interview time with her. I got back on track and gave her my patented spiel.

"Oh. Hi Olivia. The reason I was calling is...."

....Then I just went blank again.

I KNEW why I was calling. To set up a freakin' interview. But I just could not find the proper words to relay that message.

So I stalled for time.

"Who are you with again?"

The woman audibly sighed. One of those sighs that takes the phrase "Are you some kind of fucking idiot?" and turns it into a sigh.

"This is Olivia Rodriguez. I'm with the Atlantic Bank," she said like a pissed-off mother.

"Ah yes," I said, still racking my brain to try and think what I should say next. Still not able to find the right words to ask her to give me a date for an interview, I kept stalling for time.

"How's the weather?" I asked.

HOW'S THE F'N WEATHER??

This lady clearly did not call to give me a weather report in South Florida. She was the CEO of a major bank chain and had better things to do than amuse a retard.

"It's nice," she said, very curtly. "I was just returning your call from a few weeks ago and ...."

"Oh, I know," I said, cutting her off. "I was just calling you to see when would be a good time to conduct an interview with you about the book."

"What book?" she said, beginning to think to herself that she had somehow been accidently patched through to Joe the mentally ill janitor of the building.

"Okay," I said, trying to dig myself out of this mental black hole. "I'll be honest. I was writing a story and was completely submerged in it and you called and my train of thought is still with the story that I was writing and it's going to take me a few seconds to adjust to what the hell is going on."

Yes. I used the phrase "what the hell" with a client who has paid us thousands of dollars to represent her company in a professional manner.

Meanwhile, Olivia is convinced she has interupted my afternoon crack break.

I tried to cover for myself.

"I mean 'what the heck is going on'," I said, but it was too late and only drawing attention to the fact that I had used the word "hell" with the CEO of a business that is known for being stiff and stoic.

"Should I call back another time," she asked, sensing I had a gun pressed to my temple and was speaking under some incredible duress.

"No!" I said. "Just a second."

I cleared my mind as quickly as possible. Then I took a deep breath and spat out my spiel.

"I was calling to arrange a time and date to conduct an interview with you in order to discuss your business for a profile that you've already agreed to participate in for a book on South Florida that we are publishing for the local Chamber of Commerce."

The "Hallelujah Chorus" rang loud and clear in my empty skull. I had done it.

There was silence on her end for about five seconds.

"Next Friday, 2 p.m. my time," she said.

"Thank you," I said.

"I hope your day gets better," she said.

I wanted to explain that I was having a great day but her call completely caught me off guard. But I thought that in my current state if I tried to say all that, it might come out "I once fucked a duck that wouldn't quit quacking at me funny."

So I just said "Me too."

She hung up. I hung up.

And I buried my face in my hands for a minute and desperately pulled my mental shit back together.


SURVIVOR SPOILER!!

If you still haven't seen "Survivor" from last night and don't want to be spoiled by what I'm about to say...then I don't know what to do with you.

If you don't watch "Survivor" and could care less what I'm about to say, then I hate you and I hate your ass face and I just hate you. I hate you!!

...That was my impression of Corky St. Claire from the wonderful film "Waiting for Guffman". Rent it today.

Anyway...man...the Survivors took my advice and kicked Grandma to the curb!!

And not a moment too soon! Grandma was just starting to come out of her shell and be a productive member of the team, which could have REALLY screwed up my selfish plans to keep Sarah and her magical breast implants on the island.

All the playa haters on the island hate Sarah because she has magical milk jugs that hypnotize Uncle Bob whenever they're on the screen. I can't even tell you what the girl looks like in the face.

But I've got those big fleshy sweat glands burned in my memory forever.

After Sarah's narrow escape from the chopping block last night, I thought about starting a letter-writing campaign to keep her on the island.

And yes, I know the series has already been shot and it goes in order. But dammit, the producers could get a little creative with it and jumble it up some so that somebody ELSE gets kicked off the island first. I mean...air the episodes out of order and leave her on until the end.

And make sure she stays in that bikini.

IS THAT ASKING TOO MUCH, CBS???

I don't think so.

I (heart) Sarah's boobies.

And I'm not ashamed to admit it.

Alright.

I'm slightly ashamed.

But as long as my wife doesn't read this, that shame is short-lived.


Speaking of the wife...she got a job tip yesterday on a job that is on our side of town.

Right now, she works on the complete opposite side of town. What we in town refer to as "the ghetto, crackhead side of town".

She doesn't like it. I don't like it. She routinely looks out her window and sees crackheads lurking around the cars in the parking lot, trying to see if there's any car stereos worth stealing in the cars. They carry towels and crowbars with them to break the windows of the car out while protecting their arms. At least once a week, the police are called out there to run the crackheads off. It's a weekly routine out at her job.

This new job would have her working about two miles from our house.

AND making almost twice what she's making now.

My wife and I...we both like to stay with the same job for long periods of time. We get comfortable with our jobs. Or lazy with them. Whichever way you want to look at it.

She's been at her job for eight years now and is ready for a change. She's tired of driving 60 miles round trip each day for work in a place where she has to keep one eye on her work and the other one on her car all day.

Plus, she looks like Marty Feldman when she gets home at night.

So today she's calling the company to inquire about the job opening there.

One bonus...she knows the supervisor of the position there pretty well. When she was studying for her big certification test last fall, she studied with that supervisor. So that's a plus.

Anyway...if she starts making double what she's making now...our whole world changes.

New house.

New neighborhood.

Say goodbye to the gang member down the street.

Hallelujah.

Keep your fingers crossed for us.

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