Thursday, July 24, 2008

My wife coined a word that needs to become part of the English lexicon.

Apocochondria: Noun. An irrational fear of the apocalypse. Symptoms of apocochondria include stockpiling dry goods, ammunition, and firearms. Apocochondriacs are mostly harmless, and prepared in ways that are useful, but they live so focused on a fearsome future that they cannot control, that they often lose control of themselves in the process.
A couple of Saturdays ago I was standing in front of the store with the front door open talking to a customer. Suddenly a brown streak passed between us and into the store. I didn't get a good look, but the customer said it was a squirrel. I thought it was strange for a squirrel to run into our store in the middle of the day on the busiest street in the county. We have lots of more natural habitat here in Utah than inside a scooter shop.

The following day I got an alarm call. Having forgotten the squirrel, I rushed to the store to check things out. I didn't find anything amiss, but while looking around I heard the sound of an angry woodland creature cursing from the back room. I put two and two together and decided to lock back up and go home.

On Monday I went in early to meet with CFO-Lee. As we were going over the budget, we heard the woodland creature cursing. When we went into the back room to check it out, we saw it scurrying around behind the shelves. We decided it would be our store mascot, and as a matter of business we appointed it to the board of directors and named it vice president of international sales.

Tuesday morning I was also early. After going over some paperwork I decided it was about time to open up the store for business. But first I had some business to take care of in the restroom. As I approached the door I heard faint splashing sounds. Here is what I saw when I opened the door:

The poor little bastard was nearly drowned. After taking pictures I fished it out and wrapped it in a towel to dry off and get warm. It was surprisingly docile and sweet. . . until it got warm. Then it went all Kung-Fu on me and literally tried to kill me when I stroked it's back with a piece of straw. I had to let it go. Needless to say we are going to be looking for a new V.P. of International Sales.

In other news: I was working on a scooter a couple of days ago that seemed to have a clogged exhaust pipe. This sometimes happens due to excessive carbon buildup. But in this case, there appeared to be dry grass and brush stuck in the outlet of the pipe. After being unable to remove it with a pick, I connected my compressed air hose to the inlet and let it blow. At first nothing happened, and no air came out, but suddenly there was a loud POP and a stinky cloud of brush, seed hulls, and grey mouse-bits exploded from the pipe. There's a fairly good chance I have the Hanta virus now.

This was a scooter that was just in for a "tune-up." In case you were wondering, a tune-up involves replacing the spark plug, cleaning or replacing the air filter, and changing necessary fluids. It does not include removing cooked vermin from your exhaust system.

The sure fire way to know if a scooter needs serious repairs, is if the customer asks for a "tune-up." This generally indicates that the scooter is on the verge of breaking in half or bursting into flames.

In fact, every day I am faced with the difficult task of interpreting the following sentence: "Can you guys do a tune-up on my scooter?" Sounds pretty straightforward right? Wrong. It depends if by "scooter" you mean a motorized skateboard, a scooter, or an electric mobility chair, and if by "tune up" you mean perform routine maintenance, or unload an entire fire extinguisher on your flame-throwing carburetor. (By the way, this really happens sometimes. I have seen two Chinese scooters this year burst into flames when we've attempted to start them. Next time I'll get a picture.)

I do have one other picture to show you. I was up until 2:30 AM one recent night trying to catch up on some repairs. One scooter had no spark and I had the thing all taken apart testing the various circuits and connections when I finally found the problem. The kill switch was wired backwards. When switched to "ON" it was off, and "OFF" was on. I was very irritated. Imagine if your car left the factory that way. How long would it take Toyota to do a recall? But this kind of crap happens all the time with the cheap Chinese scooters. How am I supposed to explain the bill to the customer? "The factory wired your switch wrong. Since the place you bought the scooter from is out of business and there was never any warranty on it, you have to pay half of what the scooter cost in the first place because I had to test the entire ignition system to chase down the problem. Thanks for your business."

I chose a more passive-aggressive route.

Scootard:  noun

Definition: Me

Friday, July 18, 2008

Recently I learned a new word: Lactivist

From some online dictionary:
Lactivism (portmanteau of "lactation" and "activism") is a term used to describe the advocacy of breastfeeding.[1] Advocates, referred to as "lactivists", seek to promote the health benefits of breastfeeding over formula-feeding and to ensure that nursing mothers are not discriminated against.[1][2]
One form that lactivism can take is the staging of a "nurse-in" (a play on "sit-in"), which involves women gathering in public to breastfeed their children, usually to protest incidents in which a nursing mother was asked to cover up or leave a location because she was breastfeeding.[3][4][5]
Often during nurse-ins, breastfeeding mothers will sometimes wear clothing with the International Breastfeeding Symbol on it, to show their solidarity.[6]

I had never realized breastfeeding was such serious business. Learning about it got me thinking about all the meaningful breastmilk related experiences that have shaped my life, and I'm not just talking about the time my cat Spot tried to suck on my nipple either. (That was awkward.)

For example, when I was on my mission in Texas there was this single mom named Carmen Baltazar that used to invite the missionaries to dinner a lot. The thing was, she used to nurse her littlest bastard (named after me no less), right in front of us all the time. She'd be standing there in her doorway with her boob hanging out, kid lazily lapping up the flow, talking about who knows what, and I'd be trying to do anything but look her in the eye (or nipple). The worst part was that she lived right across the street from a gay bar called The Hidden Door. This was not the type of gay bar frequented by young, well-groomed Erasure fans. It was a seedy dive bar that catered to dirty-old-trucker Village People types.

I was faced with exposed motherly boobs on one side, and parking lot gay hookups on the other.

But I got off easy compared to a District Leader I had. He was once teaching a discussion and the lady of the house began nursing her baby. He riveted his eyes on the reading materials in the discussion, until he heard the womans children giggling. He looked up and saw that the baby had let loose the nipple, and the mother was playfully squirting the babys face with her milk. Then she began squirting her other kids. Then the unthinkable happened. The mother noticed the look of absolute horror on his face, and so she took aim and sent a stream of milk across the room and hit him in the arm.

Thinking about these experiences led me to conduct a scientific poll on public breastfeeding. I asked all the women in my household between the ages of 32 and 34 what they thought about it.

Here are the comments:
"I don't particularly like seeing some other womans breast. It's not my favorite thing."

"It's natural, but so is peeing."

Don't get me wrong, I love boobs. I think boobs are the best thing ever. And I'm all for breastfeeding too. I don't even mind if you whip it out right in front of me. I'll avert my eyes and play it cool. Just don't stand there and talk to me as if there isn't a huge lactating elephant in the room, so to speak. Also, please don't squirt me.

Sunday, July 06, 2008

I know the last post was weird. It's only funny if you happen to be familiar with the late great Wesley Willis, and have known the joy of owning a Ford Windstar.

Here's something with a wider appeal:

New Scooter Lounge Commercial

hope you like it.