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09:19:48 - 2000-07-14

THE MASTER BEATS THE SHIT OUT OF THE STUDENT

Man...I'm beat.

It's 5:05 a.m. and I just got to sleep three hours ago.

My internal alarm clock wakes me up every morning between 4 and 5 a.m....no matter what time I went to bed.

Last night, I went to bed at 10:30...watched TV until 1, then tossed and turned for another hour before I fell asleep.

Now ... here I am. Grouchy as a mofo.

Went car shopping again last night at a tent sale held in the parking lot of an abandoned supermarket.

I'm beginning to HATE car shopping.

More specifically...I'm beginning to HATE car salesmen.

Last night we had barely made it out of our car before a big, sweaty kid came barreling over to us.

"How ya doin'? I'm Hunter," he said, pumping my hand furiously.

"I'm Uncle Bob," I said. "This is my wife, the pregnant Susie. Please don't squeeze her hand as hard as you squeezed mine. You could kill her."

"How ya doin' Susie," he said, pumping her hand like he was going to win a prize if he pumped hard enough. "Are y'all lookin' for a car this evening?"

Shit. No Hunter...we just wanted to get out and enjoy this glorious 103 degree evening. You know pregnant women... always wanting to be in the stifling heat and all...

"Yes Hunter...we're looking for a car," I sighed, waiting for the whole "hyper car salesman pitch" to start.

"I'm going to put you in a new vehicle tonight," Hunter grinned and clapped his hands together like a mad scientist. "I can FEEL it."

Wrong move, Huntster. Don't force jack shit on us. We've been doing this for six weeks now and nobody else has been able to sway my wife to actually purchase a vehicle...don't think that your "wet behind the ears and under the arms" tactics are going to work on us.

We started looking at mini-vans. They had three "left".

Which basically means...they didn't have enough mini vans on the lot. My wife likes a wide selection to choose from.

My wife spotted a Dodge Grand Caravan, which was one of the few mini vans she had yet to test drive.

Sweaty assed Hunter goes and gets the keys and we hit the road with the stinky one in the back seat.

"Do you mind if I ask how far along you are," he asks my wife, due to the increasing bulge in her belly.

Before she answered, I said "She's not pregnant Hunter. She's just fat. And she doesn't appreciate comments made about it."

Susie laughed...trying to break the tension...and informed him we're halfway through with pregnancy.

Hunter shut up for about 0.3 seconds before he was Johnny on the Spot with another question.

"May I ask what you two do for a living?"

Susie spoke up first and told him she was in Human Resources.

I could tell by his expression he had no idea what Human Resources was. I think he thinks she clones sheep or something.

He looked at me and waited to hear about my thrilling job as a guy who sits at a computer all day and tries to think of funny shit.

"I'm a writer," I said quietly.

"Oh wow," he said, adjusting nervously in his seat. "What do you write? Have you written any books??"

"Yeah, but you've never read them," I assured him. "I write for the newspaper."

Apparently, a few years ago, we had written something in the paper about him when he played football for one of the local high schools. He still had the clipping from the paper in his scrapbook.

That's fucking wonderful, Hunter. Now shut the fuck up, so we can see just how quiet or loud this vehicle actually is.

Of course...I DIDN'T say that...merely thought it.

But I SHOULD have said it.

Another 0.3 seconds crawled by before Hunter asked his third question.

"May I ask what type of payments you're looking for?"

Oh shit.

Susie has done her homework. That is the ONE QUESTION that car salesmen will almost ALWAYS ask you that you're NOT supposed to answer.

In the past several weeks, Susie has made grown men cry with her answers, which usually amount to "No ... you may NOT ask that question."

She basically said "I don't want to talk payments right now," as she took a turn rather sharply, almost propelling Hunter out the side door.

Hunter then decided to keep quiet.

... For a total of 0.8 seconds. A new record for the chatty one.

"I can tell you guys are going to buy this mini van," he lied.

My wife had just about had it with his pressure selling.

"I don't think so, Hunter," she said. "Why would I buy this van that's almost two years old with 24,000 miles on it, when I can go down the street and get a brand new Plymouth Grand Voyager SE which is basically the same vehicle as this one with ZERO miles on it for $100 more than what you're asking for this one?"

Hunter was stumped. Dejected. Almost in tears.

"Does the Plymouth have rear air," he said desperately.

"Of course," she replied.

I sat in the passenger seat, looked out the window and grinned quietly while I watched the master (my wife) take on the student (Hunter).

"Wow," he said...racking his brain for anything of merit that may help him take home a commission so he could feed his kids.

"What do I have to do to sell you this mini van tonight," he said, still holding on to that slim hope that we may be dumb enough to buy a used mini van for $100 less than we could get a brand new one.

Susie didn't answer. That usually means ... "Nothing."

I decided to finally pipe up.

"Give it to us for $12,000," I grinned.

Hunter paused for 0.5 seconds.

"So...if I can get you this van for 12 grand, you'll buy it tonight??"

Susie grinned. "Yeah Hunter. When we get back to the lot and your boss tells you we can have it for 12 grand, we'll write you a check right there on the spot."

This poor, poor sucker.

Apparently...Hunter has only been selling cars for a few weeks. Gosh...as if that wasn't obvious, he pointed it out to us.

We pulled up into the lot and he waddled over to his boss for a little conference.

The laughs that came from his boss could be heard in Mexico.

Hunter walked back to us, all dejected, and said "If we can help you in any way in the future, please let us know. Here's my card."

It was a generic Budget Auto Sales card with his name carefully printed on the top.

That poor kid.

Thinking about it, I DO feel sorry for the kid. But hell...one thing we've learned...we HATE high pressure salesmen who PROMISE us we're going to buy one of their cars.

Hunter has a lot to learn.

And his first lesson is...don't fuck with my wife.

She will eat you alive, bub.

****************************

As I've stated earlier...we've got company coming to town today.

Patricia and Ehab are the ONE COUPLE that I looooove hanging out with.

And now that they have a little boy, Max, who just turned one...they're my PERFECT COUPLE because their lil boy can be our lil boy's buddy.

I think I told y'all before about Ehab's former job...gynecologist at the campus hospital at Florida State University.

THIS job...when he was only 25... was the ultimate in jobs. There are days that I think I'VE got it made...well...I don't spend my days between the gorgeous, tanned thighs of college girls who are minutes from the beach for eight hours nonstop every single day.

So, my boy Ehab wins the "Coolest Job EVER" Award.

Currently, he's an ob/gyn in Atlanta, but they are moving to Charlotte next month.

...And he's one of the greatest guys I know. Bar none.

Patricia...heh...I knew her when she was Pat.

Fresh out of high school, I met Patricia when I started working at a bar in 1986. I was the bouncer and she was a waitress.

It was hate at first sight. Both of us were catty, sarcastic and rude.

...So of course...we clicked immediately.

She and I used to go out after work and get TOTALLY WASTED and go dancing 'til dawn.

We would make up the STUPIDEST dances and didn't care who watched us.

There was one bar...Adam's...I remember they had cages up above the dance floor that people got in and danced.

We got in a cage one particular evening and did the cheesiest moves we could think of. Think "Saturday Night Fever" if it was remade by mentally handicapped children.

We both sucked in our cheeks and stared into each other's eyes, acting like we were taking this whole thing seriously as we did moves that were usually reserved for grandparents on cruise ships.

Like the old vaudevillian move of putting your hands on your knees and opening and closing your knees while switching your hands back and forth...I'm sure you've all seen that move...but I'll be damned if I can explain it any better than that.

Shit like that.

THEN...I met Susie. And pretty much dumped Patricia for Susie.

A few months went by of dating Susie. Then I got her a job waitressing at the club that Patricia and I worked at.

...And the two women hit it off as well as I had hit it off with each of them.

Seven years later, we added Ehab to the mix, and now we're all best buds.

Anyway...I'm really looking forward to seeing them in what will probably be the last time we see them for a few years.

********************************

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