Monday, April 29, 2013

Penguin Popularity

Have you noticed all the Penguins, lately?

They’re everywhere….

Commercials, movies, TV, the NHL…even popular music.

There was that movie a while back, “March of the Penguins” about that down on its luck Marching Band from the Galapagos that couldn’t get booked for any of the BIG parades, mostly because they kept bumping into one another with their instruments; not to mention the drummers couldn’t reach over the top of their drums. Plus, their Penguin Marching Band hats basically swallowed them up from head to toe…or what passes for a Penguin’s toe.

I didn’t actually see it but I think that’s what it was about, and I think it was a big hit…for some reason.

I guess because of its appeal to the aquatic flightless bird set, which is a lot bigger than you would imagine.

Then there are all those commercials for hotels and beer, which are apparently a big part of a Penguin’s lifestyle.

And I think Bieber’s doing a new pop version of that old Glenn Miller favorite, “Penguine the Beguine”.

Or something like that.

They’re becoming almost as ubiquitous as the Zombies.

In fact, a young Penguin family just bought the house around the corner.

Nice couple too.

Z and I ran into them the other day as we were heading out for our evening stroll.

I mean we literally ran into them because, to be honest, they’re a little on the short side, and we didn’t really notice them at first…at least until we heard the quacking.

And if you’ve ever heard a Penguin quack before…well, you know.

Actually it was just the dad Penguin that was doing all the quaking, and you can’t blame him.

I’d probably do the same if someone was stepping on my flippers, too.

The mom Penguin was actually very sweet…apologetic, actually, for waddling without looking.

At least I think she was apologetic…I mean, it’s just an assumption on my part. But she kept patting my calf with her little wing, so I took that in the only way I could.

Wouldn’t you?

And of course, there were those cute, twin little furball chicks, who I think were named…well, let’s face it; I have no idea what they were named. And I wasn’t about to repeat what I thought I heard, because who knows how my interpretation would be perceived by a Penguin.

I mean, why start off on even more of a wrong, foot, webbed or not, with new neighbors, aquatic or not?

That never ends well.

It took me months to smooth things over with the Zombies when they first shuffled over to say hello.

Really, who can tell when a Zombie is smiling…am I right?

But you can tell from the way dad Penguin took care of his lawn that these were going to be very conscientious Penguin neighbors.

Which, to be honest, we could use a little more of around here, if you know what I mean.

Not mentioning any names or particular species, but if I were you, I’d walk with my eyes forward and my nose held when I pass by the Werewolves’ place.

Just saying….

So it’s good to see the Penguins moving up in the world and buying in the neighborhood.

It should be great for the swim team.

And I’m sure they’ll put a pool of their own in pretty soon.

Can you say POOL PARTY!

Or however the Penguins actually say it…again, not really sure.

But I expect to pick up on their Penguin customs and ways, let alone unique dialect, sooner rather than later.

Z invited them over for a BBQ, as soon as it warms up a little.

Which, to be honest, I’m not sure was exactly the thing they were looking for since they literally shuddered and ruffled their feathers a bit at the mention of warm weather.

And of course, later it hit me....What were we thinking? 

Penguins have never been fans of warm weather or BBQ’s.

Everyone expects them to bring the beer….

Friday, April 26, 2013

The Season Formerly Known as Spring

Welcome to Sprinter.

Not bad, huh?

I just made it up.

Cuz it certainly looks like spring, but it certainly does not feel like spring.

It still feels like winter, at least around here.

So Sprinter….

Get it?

Our friends, “They”, say all this cold air is sliding down from Canada, which is what’s keeping the temperature down.

Thanks, Canada!

But could you save your generosity for August, when we can really appreciate it.


Still, all in all, despite the wintry chill, the tree buds are right on the edge of bloom.

Almost as if they’re just hanging there, waiting for a wave of warmth from the south to arrive.

I don’t blame them.  I mean if I were a leaf I wouldn’t come out in this either.

And the grass seed?  Forget it…they just look up at you and say…“Yeah, right okay…see you in May”.

That’s just how it’s been.

But it’s still pretty to look at, this sprinter season.

And it still promises of a warm summer season to come….


Of course the daffodils, and now tulips, haven’t been deterred by the cold.

They know they only have a small window to take the spotlight on center stage and aren't about to let that pass them by.

It’s bad enough they have to deal with some impertinent crocuses that don’t know when to say goodbye.

It’s even worse that they have to deal with some of the more reprobate Iris breeds that seem to show up earlier and earlier every year.


So pretentious.

I've also been able to pick up some chit chat from the more forthcoming maple buds, up on the big tree in front, and I’m happy to say it sounds like a lot of the old timers are coming back, along with a lot of new growth on the outer limbs.

Of course the hurricane or non-hurricane, super storm—whatever you call it for insurance purposes—took its toll, last fall, so the canopy crew might be a little sparser than in years past.

But from what I could pick up from the conversation—and it’s not easy eavesdropping on deciduous gossip, buds or not— it sounds like this younger group of foliage, is eager to get started and actually bolstering the resolve of the older folks up top to get blooming.

So I’m looking forward to a good year from the Maple.

Even the little Japanese Maple that took such a bit hit from—ahem—one of the big maple’s weaker appendages, is on its way back.

Whew…we were optimistic, but weren’t really sure what to expect from that little fellow.

Or at least I wasn’t sure…Z had no doubts…at least that’s what I’ve discerned after hearing about how she was right and I was wrong…32 times…33…34…35.

Sure, the little guy’s not the same, and probably never will be again, but what he’s lost in stature, he’s gained in character. 

And what can I say about our old faithful dogwood, as always leading the charge.

“Canada…what do I care about Canada”…she says. 

At least I think she’s a she.

Who can tell from trees?

Not that I would judge her…or him…or whatever.

As long as it’s out there flowering for us in sprinter, leafing in summer and blazing with color in fall, it can be whatever it feels comfortable being.

Nuff said.

Okay…my eyes are getting itchy from all the pollen in the air.

Another sure sign of sprinter…the season formerly known as spring.

And if you think I have an ulterior motive in writing about sprinter, you would be right.

Because the way things go, if I write to complain about something, it’s sure to change, and become the opposite of whatever it is.

So I’m expecting by the time you read this, the Canadian air will find out we don’t take their funny quarters here and head back across the border, where it belongs.

Then, the likelihood is it will actually warm back up to normal spring temperatures.

Just to screw up my story.

So let the blooming begin!

No need to thank me…again….

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Sheltering in Place

I learned a new term last week.
“Shelter in Place”.
Which pretty much describes the life of a freelance writer, every day.
We don’t get out much.
Not that we don’t have the time to get out…we do…more than most, really.
It’s just that we live in our heads so much that going out in the real world is a little disconcerting.
I don’t mean because of all the stuff that goes on out there, on any given day that we glimpse from afar on the news.
Or even just the mundane risks inherent in the pursuit of a life well lived.
No…there’s actually way more risk in my house…especially if I haven’t made the bed by the time Z get home from work. 
So we shelter in place….every day…unless it’s a beach day.
But that might just be me.
And there we sit, writing our silly stories, spinning our corporate propaganda and keeping our eye on Twitter.
You know, just in case there’s something important we need to be aware of, like the news anchor that unknowingly dropped the F bomb and the S word, moments before being introduced…on the first day of his first gig.
Don’t want to miss that, shelter or not.
But here’s the real funny thing.
We all assume we’re gonna live forever….

Which is why we stay in and watch “Storage Wars”.
I mean, if you thought your days were numbered would you really use one of your last allotted hours to watch Reality TV of any kind.
I wouldn’t…I’d only watch “The Price is Right”.
You know…because it’s important to keep up with consumer pricing…and those “Showcase Ladies” are nice to look at.
But we don’t think our days are limited because our brain just won’t wrap itself around the idea that our “expected” tomorrows are not guaranteed.
Just like that flat screen you bought from the guy behind the dollar store.
I mean, why would your brain want to do that: give credence to the idea that it will ever miss a 70% off sale at Kohl’s?
So we open our eyes, every morning, and immediately the bitching begins.
Another boring day in another boring life.
The bananas are over ripe.
The coffee is too weak.
Someone or something knocked over the garbage can, last night.
Your neighbor’s smile is annoying
The dog wants to go out…and you don’t even own a dog.
And lots of other people want to get to where you’re going, at the same time, on the same road.
Life…so annoying in its predictability…so annoying in its unpredictability.
That’s just how a lot of us think…every day.
You know who you are.
And I do too, because I saw all your names in the “Crabby Pants” newsletter, of which I am the Editor-in-Chief.
We can’t help it, though, we “Crabby Pantsers”; it’s just how we came out of the box.
Sure, we know that whole “every day’s a gift” mantra.
We all do, deep inside…we do.
In fact, some of us even try to tell ourselves just that, every morning, before our feet hit the floor…unless it’s raining…or that annoying guy with the weird head is on TV…or your 60th birthday is fast approaching.
Then all bets are off. 
It’s just another day like yesterday, and probably tomorrow.
Until it’s not….
Something changes….
And then we stop and think…and appreciate the gift we’ve been given, that others too had been expecting…but for them it never came.
So maybe we should stop all the bitchin…lose all the regretting…all the fretting and the worrying.
Sheltering in place or not sheltering in place.
Every day is a good day.
Every day is another day to live.
Every day is another day to give…to others…and especially to ourselves.
We can’t change the world.
We can only change ourselves.
So go enjoy your day…even with the traffic.

Friday, April 19, 2013

Stirred, not shaken

When your goal is to highlight the humorous, 3 times a week; to hopefully bring at least a smile to the folks who somehow stumble on whatever it is you’ve left behind that day, it can get a little dicey when the ugly side of reality takes precedence.

I don’t need to elaborate on what I’m talking about. By now you’ve seen and heard wall to wall coverage. It’s impossible to miss as the networks scramble to claim “Go To” status for breaking news.

There are just some things—unexpected things—that catch you so off guard, your body parts numb...including your funny bone…especially your funny bone.   

It’s kind of subtle and for the most part no one really notices.

We shake our heads, sigh the sigh of the resigned…and keep moving…numbness and all.

We’re well practiced; we’ve seen a lot and lived through a lot of Before and After’s.

To my generation, our first was...before 11/22/63 and after 11/22/63.

Our world changed that day; our innocence lost…but we moved on.

Before the spring and summer of 68—MLK & RFK and after the spring and summer of 68—MLK & RFK.

Before the 72 Munich Olympics and after the 72 Munich Olympics.

Before Jonestown and after Jonestown.

Before that December night at the Dakota and after that December night at the Dakota.

Before Challenger and after Challenger.

Before Lockerbie and after Lockerbie

Before Oklahoma City and after Oklahoma City

Before Columbine and after Columbine

Before 9/11 and after 9/11

Before Virginia Tech and after Virginia Tech

Before Aurora and after Aurora

Before Newtown and after Newtown

Before Boston and after Boston

We’ve been through a lot.  And with every event, we lose a little, harden a little and transform a individuals, as a group.

I’ve probably missed something and haven’t even mentioned the evil that’s happened and still happens, every day, all around the world that most of us barely acknowledge…until it hits in our backyards.

I guess it’s how we’ve evolved through all of it…because of all of it.

We know that evil comes in droplets and good comes in waves.

Evil announces with a boom...good with a whisper.

Evil shakes us….good stirs us.

It stirs us to move forward…it stirs us to strengthen our bonds…it stirs us together…to see the hope that rises, always swallowing the bad.

And eventually we laugh again…and slowly begin to heal.

It’s what we do…it’s how we are…it’s how we have to be.

Stirred, not shaken.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Brain Maps

The President is making a big push to map the brain.

I’m not sure which brain, but I’m sure he'll choose a good one.

There are plenty to pick from in Washington. In fact, not too many people there would even notice if theirs went missing.

I’m not sure how I feel about it, though. 

I mean, I’ve had enough trouble with my own brain over the years, as I’ve documented here.

I’ve also written about other brain related topics, in the past, such as how, apparently, all of us have these specialized neurons in our brain that “light up” at just the mention or sight of certain celebrities, such as Lindsay Lohan or Jenifer Aniston.

Nuff said….

I also chronicled various myths about the brain.

But I’m not sure about mapping it.

Mapping it would just draw a lot of attention to some of the seedier neighborhoods in there.

Like the section that can’t help thinking that James Carville just looks and sounds weird.

I don’t want a bunch of scientist finding out about that part of my brain.

How embarrassing is that?

Or the part of my brain that sometimes roots for the Russians on “The Americans”.

What if my neighbors got wind of that?

Or worse, that I might even think that my neighbors actually are sleeper KGB agents?

So there’s that….

But I guess there is an upside to Brain Mapping.

Just like they say there was a definite upside to Gene mapping; although why we need to know where everyone named Gene lives, is beyond me.

The hope is that Brain Mapping will lead to understanding and eventually finding a cure for many of the most debilitating diseases of the brain, such as autism, Alzheimer’s, epilepsy and schizophrenia, not to mention blogging and any other sort of internet related social media activity.

Who can argue against any of that…I mean, except some congressmen who would argue against apple pie if the President said it was his favorite desert.  

Maybe we could even get Google involved and create an App for it.
They could call it “Google Brain Maps”.

This way, if you’re dating, when you meet someone for the first time you’ll just type in their name, point your phone towards their head and voila…

Thinks James Carville just looks and sounds weird.

And you immediately know you have something in common.

It could also provide other valuable information about this individual such as:

Doesn’t believe socks need to be changed every day.

Partial to Ferrets.

Makes a perfect Martini.

All good things to know.

Bottom line is, if we have the resources and technology, why not go for it.  We’ve spent a lot of money on studies with a lot less of an upside….such as flatulent cows.

Besides, I think it would be pretty neat if they could find the spot in my brain that knows where I left the keys to my 1970 Maverick. 

The Maverick is long gone but I loved that Telly Savalas key-bob that was attached….

Friday, April 12, 2013

Questionable Compliments

I read an article, recently, that talked about women who pay men compliments that are really not compliments at all.

Needless to say, I found this disturbing…because a talking article is just weird….

And if it's really needless to say, then why am I saying it?

But I digress.

Seriously, though, because we all need to be serious from time to time--at least according to that judge— I thought it was something worth discussing.
You know, like when a woman tells her husband how cute he looks trying to fix the lawn mower. 
Granted, it’s a given that any activity that requires a ratchet wrench and motor oil is intrinsically adorable, but when a fella is trying to figure out what end of the mower the blade goes, adorableness is the last thing on his mind…although I suppose some things can’t be helped.

Besides, when one is engaged in serious “man business”, being equated to a puppy playing with a shoe is kind of rude.

Other so called compliments that tend to make men cringe are any sort of comments that reference “today”. You know things like:

  • You look nice, today.

What, I don’t usually look nice?

  • You smell good, today?

Same as above.

  • You didn’t screw anything up, today…at least not too badly…that can’t be fixed…someday.

Kind of backhanded compliments, don’t you think?

Then there are the compliments that begin with “I didn’t know”:

  • I didn’t know you could make toast.

  • I didn’t know you knew what a hamper was.

  • I didn’t know you could bathe.

And when a guy tries to do something really helpful, like doing the laundry—for some reason...some insane, unexplainable, yet well intentioned, reason—it’s not necessarily heartwarming to hear:

  • I appreciate your doing the laundry…even though I usually add water first.

  • It must have taken you quite a while to get these wrinkles spread out so evenly…over the underwear.

  • This looks good in grey.

  • Everyone has trouble with the on/off switch.

Compliments for being helpful in the kitchen are always appreciated, but try to avoid saying things like:

  • How could you have known you had to crack the shell open first?

  • Most people wouldn't even think to boil bacon.

  • Sticking Fritos in the hamburger meat is so creative.

  • It took me a while to figure out that milk is the white one, too.

And probably the worst kind of questionable compliments have to do with real manly activities, such as home repairs.

  • What I love about you is that you’re not afraid to think outside the box. Most people would never think to use that end of the hammer.

  • Great idea…fixing the faucet and washing the kitchen floor at the same time.

  • Most people would never use a ladder that way.

  • You know, I always thought that staircase was a luxury, anyway.

So try to keep all this in mind the next time you pay your significant other a compliment.  Everything is open to perception, and since we’re so busy criticizing ourselves most of the time, we think everyone else is too.
Even though, sure, I know…I can’t help looking adorable when I type.
It’s a curse….

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Warming Up

It’s finally warming up around here…I’m down to only two sweaters.

In another month I hope to lose the scarf.

But I’m holding on to my mittens.

It can get a bit nippy at the beach…in July.

If you follow me on Twitter @FreelanceRetort you read that last Sunday.

I cannot tell a lie.

Well, yeah…I can, with the best of them, but not here…not with my Peeps & Tweeps.

Did I just say Peeps & Tweeps?


I thought I should Tweet something clever, Sunday morning, so I came up with that gem between my OJ and scrambled egg sandwich.

I figure if I have the Twitter thing, I should at least try to live up to it once in a while. 

So you got a pre-view Tweet.

Actually, the Tweet gave birth to the post, and not the other way around.

So I inspired myself.

Plus, it did warm up…so why not use it.

Yeah…I know.

What can I say…ideas are hard to come by, sometimes. 

Can you tell this is one of them?

I’ve been doing this for nearly two years now…some 300 plus ideas, brought to fruition.

And since fruition didn’t want them, I posted them here instead.

Yeah…I know.

My point is, in the beginning you’re full of ideas.  Every can of soup, walk in the park or new pair of sneakers has a story in it…at least to you.

After a couple of years in, you think you've come up with something clever—at least by your lenient standards—and then feel like…hey, didn’t I do something like that already?

So you end up doing something like this, instead, where you just sit down and see where it takes you.

Yeah…I know.

Doesn’t always work.


Anyway, it has warmed up some, here, in the Northeast, US of A.

It was in the mid 70’s yesterday and it’s supposed to sneak up on 80 today.

I’m not out on the back porch in my summer position, but I do have the window open, next to my winter morning position, and the soft, warm air is kind of nice as it slides on by.

I even put my shorts on for the first time since, probably, October.

Well, if you don’t count the Cabo week in January.

See…can’t lie to my Peeps & Tweeps.


Folks can’t wait to break out the summer clothes at the first sign of warm weather.

Shorts, tank tops, sandals.

Unfortunately some of these folks shouldn’t break out the summer clothes at the first sign of warm weather...or even the second, third or fiftieth.

Too many winter bellies, hanging over tight fitting shorts…not to mention, lots of hairy legs and toes, everywhere you look.

And the men have their own problems, as well.

But I guess you have to take the good with the bad.

That’s what “they” say.

So it looks like maybe spring is going to finally nudge winter out of the way, at least for a few days.

Then it’s right back into the wishy washy 50’s for another week.

Or so “they” say….again

In the meantime, I’m gonna enjoy it while I can.

Despite the heavy labor that nice spring weather brings along with it.

Raking and….well, raking.

That’s all we’ve managed so far. 

Got to wake the lawn up, you know.

Otherwise it will just lay there until June, watching the daffodils and tulips do all the work, if you let it.

I've also got some power washing to do…the deck, deck furniture, the garage.

And if you recall, the power washer is not necessarily my friend.

Then there will be dirt to buy and flowers to plant.

Hmmmmmm…maybe we can skip spring and go right to summer.

Yeah…I know.

Win some, lose some.


Monday, April 8, 2013

The DMV & Me—Part 2

Picking up where we left off, last time...everyone has a memory of their first encounter with the DMV.

I guess the experience varies from state to state, but I’m pretty sure it was the same angst producing scenario for all of us.

If you’re of my generation, give or take a decade or two, you probably recall the anxiety of taking your written test.

Not you’re driving test…you’re written test.

You know, the one where they give you this little driver’s manual to study from cover to cover, just to make certain that before you even look at a road with intent, you understand what a yellow light signifies.

Sure, you tell yourself, everyone knows these silly little rules; at least everyone who has ever ridden in a car.

Green light, go.

Red light, stop.

Yellow light, speed up so you can beat the red light that’s about to come on.

And doesn’t everyone know that the proper distance to follow a vehicle, while driving down  a 55 mph highway, at 75 mph, is as close as you need to be in order for the loser to hear your horn as you try to pass them.

So you figure it’s a pretty intuitive test.

Needless to say, many a learner’s permit seeker was foiled by this tactic, simply by not knowing the inventor of the Stop Sign and the inspiration for its octagonal design.

Hint: It has nothing to do with the Amish…but you have to admit, that was a pretty good guess.

The other constant at the DMV, back then, were long lines…long lines everywhere.

There was even a line just to find out what line you were supposed to be on. 

Once you've made it to the proper line and subsequent window, for your specific requirements, you were greeted by a standard, government issued woman who could have been anywhere from 25 to 75 years old, if you had to judge by appearance only.

Fortunately, when you factored in the amount of time it took for them to sharpen their pencil, and how often they stopped to lick their finger while pursuing the three pages of forms you handed in, you could make a pretty good guess.

Throw in the quality of condescension emoted as they peered over their half glasses, which I believe were also mandatory Government Issue, and you could narrow it down even more.

Not that the age of this person had anything at all to do with the proceedings at hand, but after waiting on line, for what seemed like several weeks, hoping against hope that you were actually on the right line, your mind needed some sort of distraction, other than wondering how long a person could survive without urinating.

But, as I said last time…that was then…and things are better now.

Now, when you walk into the new 21st Century DMV, there is no sign at all of multiple long lines.

Now, when you walk through the door, the first thing you encounter is just ONE long line, snaking back and forth through a maze of what appear to be cattle restraints.

Of course, your first thought—mostly because you think of yourself as special and above such common treatment—is…this can’t be the line for me….

But alas, it is, judging by the sign posted right in front of you that states, ALL patrons must report to the Information Center upon arrival.

And even though your well-defended sense of denial side tells your brain…there must be another Center for MY Information…without such a line…your pragmatic side knows this to be false, and glumly shuffles it’s feet into the corral of the near undead.

Immediately, you’re hit with the smell of anxiety and the odor of way too many wool coats.

Someone, a few dozen places ahead of you, yet only a few feet away, due to the line’s snaking effect, says…“Well, at least it’s moving…” which is true, but still, you can’t shake the sound  of Pink Floyd’s “The Wall” meandering through your head as you creep forward in microscopic increments.

By the second turn, you amuse yourself by studying the faces of other new arrivals as they enter the room, battling their own defense mechanisms, trying desperately to convince themselves there is something they’re missing, as well.

By the third turn, you find yourself thinking about how easy it would be to just duck under the restraints and run maniacally to your car screaming “I am not a number…I’m a free man!!!!”

But are you really willing to just rashly toss away those first two turns?

And what about those behind you; is this really the example you want to send?

By the fourth turn, you can actually spy the faces of the “Next Ones” to be called.

It’s a look of hunger about to be sated; a look that infuses you with something you had thought lost…lost, what seems like turns ago….


By the fifth turn, you allow yourself a small smile. Perhaps it’s merely delirium setting in, but you hear yourself saying, aloud, to anyone who can still listen…“Well, at least it’s moving…”

Until finally, standing, toes behind the line, you hear those magic word…“Next!”

And as you step forward, past the line of magic dreams, toward the information window, you can’t help but turn back, not to gloat, but to offer a sign of faith to those who are still without.

It can happen to you…and it will…in its time it will.


You step proudly to the window, greeted not by some humorless old woman of ambiguous origin, but by a smiling, non-bifocaled, young woman who deftly sorts through your pre-filled forms, stamps them and politely asks you to step in front of the camera in order to have your updated photo ID taken.

There you stand, eyes wide open, smile, frozen on your face, awaiting the tell-tale flash, whereupon you are then handed back your now “approved” paperwork, given a number…and told to take a seat while you wait for your number to be called.

“Wait” again, being the operative word.

Undeterred, you accept your documents with profuse thanks and appreciation, as if you had just passed the most stringent challenge possible and were just rewarded one of humanity’s highest honors.

Fueled by the adrenaline of fulfillment, you walk, almost nimbly, over to a row of church like pews and find a seat, encouraged by the fact that the cobwebs hanging from the others are merely of the light and wispy variety.

Great…it can’t be too much longer, you think.

All around you, the room fills with the pleasant, reassuring voice of a faceless woman, calling faceless numbers to the next open service window.

 Lighted message boards display a stacked row of numbers designed to instill you with optimism that indeed, progress is being made.

And, yes, that’s just how it appears.

F 86




All stacked neatly in front of your own, F93. 

It shouldn’t be too much more of a wait….

Until the comforting woman announces customer F90 please report to Window 11,

Ahhhhhh…only three more to go….

Which is followed by a call for…Customer B67.



What happened to F91…F92…and me F93!!!!!!


And now you understand why the church pews actually have kneelers.

However, in time—time now the operative word—F93 is called in the dulcet tone of the faceless woman and you lumber off—knees badly stiffened from all the kneeling—to your designated window.

You, again, hand in your neatly pre-prepared forms; step on the foot prints stenciled on the floor and read the lowest line on the eye chart, which you imagine spells out…theresnothingucandosucker.

Afterwards, you shuffle off towards the exit, past a group of even more arriving hopefuls, and again, try to muster a sign of encouragement, just to let them know…it will be okay.

Unfortunately, most of your facial muscles have now numbed, and your attempt to smile only produces a painful grimace, which provides no comfort at all.

You reach the parking lot, surprised that the sun is still shining, stop and find yourself dwelling in one final desperate thought….

I hope my picture came out okay…..

The DMV & Me—Part 1