Hockey Pucks and Pickup Trucks

Posted January 18, 2018 By tjflynn

Can you tell anything about your neighbor by the car or truck that he / she drives? Maybe. Maybe not. With a basic F150 running 30K, and the stuck-up-Hockey-Puck’s Honda 19K, one definitely knows that the pickup driver spent more money and/or credit to get from Point A to Point B.

I was looking online for a rental house or condo to purchase the other night and came across several that clearly advertise that no pickup trucks are allowed. WTF? I thought that we stopped that kind of discrimination with the Fair Housing Act of 1968. This Cracker believes that pickup truck discrimination is mere garden variety discrimination and keeping pickups out of complexes and subdivisions is another illegal way to keep good folks out of neighborhoods filled with Hockey Pucks.

Stop it now. You know that I would not even want to live in a place where I had to leave my truck outside the gates and hoof it to the house. I wouldn’t even want one of these places for a rental. Can you imagine buying a car just to get new paint, carpet and appliances to a rental? Phooey.

There must be some sort of Papal dispensation that service providers get from the Head Puck at these places. I imagine that the poor HVAC repairman has to call Mr. Puck to meet him at the gate for a review of the condition of his vehicle. If it passes the inspection, it’s allowed to go in the back gate under the cloak of darkness so as not to alarm any of the self-absorbed pucks hiding behind closed doors and plastic slat blinds next door to their ghostly doppelgangers.

I proudly choose to drive a pick up truck. Any Hockey Pucks reading this, living in a pickup free zone, are welcome to look down on me from your high horses, and deal with your own bigotry as best you can.

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RULE OF THREE

Posted February 24, 2015 By tjflynn

The few, the proud, the Marines.
Animal-vegetable or mineral.
Past-present-future.
Tom-Dick & Harry.
Stop-look & listen.
ATF.
FBI.
IRS.
The three Musketeers.
The three Stooges.
Most of us have three names. First, middle and last.

Did you ever notice that things are easier to remember in threes? It seems that our brains are wired to do just that. And, smart speakers and especially marketers know and capitalize on this phenomenon.

We are even supposed to eat three meals a day. When I was younger, I thought that coffee and cream was a balanced repast for the 1st meal. I didn’t realize that there was only 2 and not 3 things in that breakfast. Now that I’m older and fatter wiser, I realize the error of my ways and have taken to putting fruit in my stomach first thing to break my fast, along with yogurt and bee pollen. I’ve been eating in threes for some years and didn’t realize how smart that I was.

I discovered this fact when I was reading a piece on risk reduction techniques for realtors. A very smart lady, Jan O’Brien, gives a list of 12 of these techniques. Number 5 on her list is the Rule of 3, or recommending vendors/team members to clients in groups of three.
infog1web
This technique seems a little wishy-washy to me, and does not fit my direct style. But, it does make sense that if you qualify 3 vendors and recommend them to clients, they can’t come back later and make a fuss about you leading them down the primrose path to incompetence or poor service. ‘Cause you can always say, “Sorry, neighbor, I just gave you the list of names. I wasn’t endorsing any of them fellers.”

I’m an “all in” kinda guy. When I recommend somebody, I have a good idea that they can do what I’m recommending them to do. I’ll tell you, up front, whether they are a name that I picked out of a hat, or they are someone that I’d trust to do whatever they do for me. Yeah buddy…just like you, I’ve been embarassed by people before, but not enough times to adopt the Rule of 3 as my own.

In our litigious society, using the Rule of 3 is an effective risk reduction technique. And, although I don’t use it, it has its place. Now, before my insurance agent cancels my professional liability policy, I should disclose that as it relates to my inspection business, I don’t recommend vendors at all. I won’t recommend a contractor or handy-man to fix defects that I find. I won’t recommend a structural engineer, or a hvac or electrical expert, or a landscaper, or anybody to fix anything on my inspection reports.

I observe to identify defects, describe them, and recommend how to deal with them. By not recommending vendors for repairs, I adhere to State laws and InterNACHI standards and ethics and keep my reports unbiased. Inspectors that will recommend vendors should not be used or recommended.

The Rule of Three is a valid and useful risk reduction technique for Real Estate Agents and Brokers who recommend vendors or team members. The Rule of Zero is the only valid and useful technique for inspectors.

If you caint figure out how this relates to Common Sense Service Principles…your name could be Larry, Curly or Moe.

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A TALE OF TWO SERVERS

Posted December 15, 2014 By tjflynn

Honey and I walked into a bagel restaurant for dinner. She had eaten there for lunch and highly recommended it. As soon as the door shut behind us, one of the servers told us that they were closed and had not had time to lock the door and turn off the “OPEN” sign.

We were already out on the sidewalk when another server chased us down and offered us free bagels if we came back in. It seems that they trash all left-over bagels at the end of the day and were willing to share with us to lessen our disappointment.

We took home a baker’s dozen bagels and had enough to share with our extended family.

photo (15)

Server 1 alienated us.
Server 2 made us feel welcome, gave us something for nothing and made us want to come back. Honey has, in fact, taken a friend and gone back during a girls outing.

Server 2 at Bagel Brothers in the Traditions knows something about service.

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WHERE TO TAKE YOUR JEEP

Posted December 15, 2014 By tjflynn

After giving in to the sirene song of a particular group of aliens in Sanford, and then driving my Jeep for a few months, the idiot light, a gently annoying orange thing right in normal line of sight, yelled at me. It was time for the dreaded Service.

Under normal circumstances I would have taken her to the dealership where I found her. However, I’ve moved and that particular location is 150 miles (one bag of snacks, two unsweet teas, forty country songs and at least one restroom stop) away from the new residence. Add to that, I was working in Marathon, Florida where there are no Jeep dealerships and local garages want the price of a schooner to get their hands dirty, and only coming home sporadically. A simple oil change became monumental.

034

I made an appointment at a dealership near home, at a time when I’d actually be home, hoping to make the Jeep happy and healthy. This Jeep dealer is located on US Hwy 1 in Stuart, Florida.

My honey and I showed up at the appointed time with the idea of walking across the street for a late lunch while the wrenches were turned and fluids were transferred. I pulled right up to the Service Department, directly in front of two people, ostensibly service reps. One of them was on the phone when we pulled up. The other one had her head down, and picked up the phone and dialed after we arrived.

What followed was minutes of invisibility on our part. At first, we sat patiently in the car, checking every few seconds for some signs that we had been noticed. Our invisibility cloak worked perfectly. We were not acknowledged at all. At 10 minutes after our appointment time, I got out of the car and walked toward the nearest desk, toward the one who was on the phone when we arrived. Without any eye contact, he pointed his finger toward the other rep.

At this point, I must admit that the hair on the back of my neck started to bristle. But, with a smile, I obeyed directions. She now had her attention on a log book and continued to ignore me until I penetrated her personal bubble. At that point, she looked up and stared at me blankly. By this time, I could faintly feel my pulse quicken. I still smiled, though.

After another minute or so, I finally said, I’m TJ Flynn with a 2 o’clock appointment. To which she responded, “for what”? I replied, “for service of this Jeep”. Now, my blood was pumping fast, and it was hot. However, I still smiled while she started getting information from the vehicle. During this exercise, I asked, “how long will this take and what will it cost?” When she replied that how long it takes depends on how busy the techs are, I decided that I’d rather burn the money and have dental surgery than stay. Honey agreed and we left.

A few days later, while in Orlando for other business, we had the service done at Fields. Holy smoke…what a difference. We were not ignored for a second. We were, greeted by a smiling face. We were treated with deference and consideration. We were told exactly how long it would take for the work and offered the hospitality of free food and drink. For heavens sake, our dog was even welcomed!

We can’t be the only people unhappy with the Wallace Jeep Service Department. The entire Wallace Jeep organization in Stuart should go to Fields Jeep in Sanford for training.

Fields Jeep in Sanford knows what good service is.

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From The Mouths Of Babes

Posted November 28, 2014 By tjflynn

Okay, those of you who know me are aware that I have made my living for several recent years primarily by building restaurants. And, those of you who read this blog regularly know that I talk about service in restaurants. Judging solely by my girth, I probably eat at too many restaurants and work too little at building them. But that’s fodder for another time, another blog.

Today we are talking about service, but from a slightly different angle…from the eyes of an 8-year old. And examining her Nana’s reaction to the wide-eyed wonder and naivete.

So, its one of those nights where a portion of each meal price is donated to the child’s school and the excitement and anticipation of the evening are enough to cause a fog in the Jeep. A fog thick enough to literally cut with a knife. But since the kids are not allowed to use knives, and the adult is busy driving, the fog just stays there, like malodorus gas that you can’t run away from on beer-hangover day.

Once the money changing has taken place, the event turns magical. Kids and adults go with gusto to gather morsels from the buffet line. To fill up but not appear piggish. To maximize the utility of each of the colorful plastic plates carefully loaded and sculpted then taken to the tables with concentrated effort. Owning each empty plate on the table as if it were depositable cash. “Dang right, those are my empties. Don’t look now, but there’s more empties to come. I ain’t nearly done yet.” Dancing the dance of joining fellow humans in the chaos of the no-limit-bi-directional buffet seige.

The server had come to our table for the second, maybe the third time with special-ordered pizzas when the princess innocently mentioned that, “being a server at Stevie Bs must be the best job in the world.” When pressed, she logically justified this position by saying, “it’s all you can eat pizza and games all day long and he gets paid for doing it.”

I thought that she was using her brain to a good end and chuckled at her perspective, then scarffed down 3 more pieces of various pizza flavors that were sitting on my plate begging to be transformed into midnight indigestion. Her parents must have thought the same because they smiled lovingly at her and returned to ingesting their triangles with a purpose.

The wise Nana, however, didn’t allow her hunger or the pizza stuffing endeavor to cloud her mind. She maintained her focus and impeccably carried out her responsibility of eager mind forming by immediately instructing the young thing. “You won’t work in a restaurant, though”, she said.

An absolutely brilliant move on Nana’s behalf. I wish that I had thought of it, instead of concerning myself with new hot pies being slid on the buffet racks while cramming more food into my mouth. Nana had the attention of 3 young minds seated around the table. They were a captive audience. Her words to one child were heard and analyzed by three. She got 3-fer. She also inadvertently reminded the parents of their responsibility for wise child counseling.

The gist of the ensuing conversation was that, while some jobs look fun, they are not jobs that one would want to actually have. (Long hours and low pay…get educated and work smarter not harder…etc.)

Two points regarding service.
1. Nana did not miss the opportunity to be a positive influence in the life of her loved-ones. She knows something about caring enough to influence, about service to others.
2. The server, that night, made his job look fun. It takes a certain mind set to work hard and make it look fun. That’s the thing that made the server stand out. He knows something about the kind of service that we all shouldn’t mind paying for.

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MORE GUERILLA HITS

Posted July 30, 2014 By tjflynn

1. At the pharmacy drive-thru, WalMart in Avalon, the person at the window and the Pharmacist spent several minutes confirming that a prescription that we thought had been called in by the doctor’s office had not been called in. They checked and double-checked to insure top knotch customer service.

2. Cashiers at Trader Joes in Winter Park, although crazy busy, have time to interact as fellow human beings. They’ll even offer personal observations about products, both good and not-so-good. Even when customers are having bad hair days, or are just in poopy moods for no apparent nor good reasons, friendliness is a good service tool. I think that genuine friendliness is universally contagious.

3. We were having a late lunch at Dexters in Winter Park and all three of us wanted the same light item…from the kids menu. Without hesitation or discussion, Cameron I believe her name was, our server took the order and gave us the kiddee plate prices. In my experience, you can’t teach that level of service. Some people really, really, want to please customers, not just show up, put in the hours and get the money

4. To the guy at the business card and sign shop, with the neon green cargo van out front, at the corner of 436 and 17-92 who made the vinyl sign letters larger after they were cut and looked too small for the application, I say “thank you for not charging me for the smaller letters even though I gave you the measurements.” He lost a dollar’s worth of vinyl, but gained a satisfied customer that will come back again and again.

5. To the guy in the wheelchair that was sitting in the middle of the drive aisle in front of the store in number 4 above: “Sitting in a wheelchair in the middle of the road checking your phone messages is dumb. Quickly wheeling your chair over to and approaching someone for money who just veered into the oncoming traffic lane to avoid running over you, is even dumber.”

How you describe what’s in the following photo says a lot about you as a person. What do you see?
A. Junk
B. Art
C. History
D. Hot Rod Material
E. ?
KONICA MINOLTA DIGITAL CAMERA

6. To the one-man-band at the popular island restaurant near Waterford Lakes: “Hey, late on a Sunday night, if nobody interacts, take a hint, read your crowd. Couples sitting too close for paper to be passed between their bodies, missing their mouths with every other bite of food because their eyes were locked on each other, may not want to play a game for a free drink. They may want to take full advantage of those fleeting few weekend minutes left to them before kids, jobs and reality become their full focus Monday morning. And, nobody likes being called out while they are having a quiet dinner. Did you even notice that the guy who won the drink only said the name of the song because you used the power of your microphone to embarass him?”

7. To the Regal Cinema clean up crew who waited until we scoured all of the post-movie credits trying to answer a question about a song or a singer in the movie: “Thanks for waiting on us before invading the theatre with brooms, bags and dustpans. We appreciate the consideration.”

8. Can anyone tell me why road construction crews are not more tightly regulated regarding aiming work lights at night and blinding drivers? Most municipalities have very strict rules about permanent lighting vis-a-vis neighboring properties and drivers, but temporary construction lighting seems to be unregulated.

9. A few locations, three words-Bubbalou’s Bodacious BBQ!

10. At the Irish Pub on Fairbanks Avenue just for the music, the band did not show up. Andrew(?), the server looked online for nearby music venues to recommend. He and Cameron (from # 3 above) know something about SERVICE. Thank you.

11. Irene, of the famous Dave-n-Irene duo from South Florida, knows something about getting the Service that she wants. It seems to be a melange of spirituality, worldliness and bravado stirred with intensity, delivered with steeley eyes. Grown men pee themselves under her scrutiny. I would nominate her for John Kerry’s current job. Hamas and Israel are no match for her.

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RESTAURANT ETIQUETTE

Posted July 16, 2014 By tjflynn

At the risk of alienating the majority of people in my state, somebody needs to tell those from “up north” that manners have always been important in the south and they have not been abandoned in the Florida of today. While you guys are in Rome (Florida), it is polite to act like Romans (Floridians). Adopting a few of our habits might just make you get along better in the miserable place that you came from as well.

I am a 4th generation native on my dad’s side of the family and mama’s people have been here longer than that. If that’s braggadocios, so be it. By virtue of birth, then, I have the right to speak authoritatively to the current flock of pinheads using our backyards for vacations and retirement villas.

My direct ancestors fought the Seminoles and the elements to tame this state for habitation by those of European descent. It didn’t spontaneously appear from a computer program or a petrie dish in a lab as most of you seem to think. Look up the 1856 Indian Wars history and read about Willoughby Tillis, if you doubt any of that.

Please, allow us locals one concession-common courtesy as a minimum requirement for admission.

We’re broad minded and accept foreigners, and foreign concepts, but don’t need your ideas of culture or sophistication. We have our own. I once had a New Yorker tell me that Florida would not have any culture without people from his state coming here. He couldn’t hear my response.

So, to the lady who loudly announced that she was sending pictures to her husband ‘up north’ while invading the tiny space we had staked out for a romantic lunch on the Indian River yesterday, I’d like to say, “Please, a little common courtesy”. We are much too polite to say, in the moment, what we think. So I hope that somebody from ‘up north’ reads this and lets her know how rude she was.

There was no need for her to do that while waiting on her food. She could have waited until we left since we were already eating when she sashayed behind me first, then my date, to get photos. She could have taken two steps left and missed our space completely. Do people up north really put their asses in other peoples faces while they are eating and think it’s polite, or even okay? We don’t down here.

With any consideration for her fellow epicureans, she would have noticed our obvious seclusion and desire for exclusion. Goodness sakes, the waiter noticed the international body language. Why couldn’t the stumpy lady? I’m building a hypothesis that there is a tribe of people from ‘up north’ that has no manners at all. I should have gotten her contact information for research purposes.

While I’m talking about her, I’d like to thank her lunch companion for wearing the clown outfit and for not being self-conscious about his morbid obesity. Picture a 300 pound soccer ball covered in a bright yellow low drag offshore Columbia fishing shirt, tucked inside khaki shorts, held up by white clip-on braces, then tennis shoes and calf-length socks. Now he was hilarious.

Ian, the server at Conchy Joe’s in Jensen Beach provided stellar service. Thanks, Ian.

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DA BOOK STO

Posted July 10, 2014 By tjflynn

Let me start by saying that I wanted to be doing this today:

FL Keys

But, the weather was bad and I wound up going to the bookstore then to the grocery. Why, oh why, did I even leave the house?

I’ve been reading about the 8 Taoist Immortals the last couple of days. They were definitely cool, and would even be cool if they were alive (in human form) today. Obviously, as immortals, they are alive in some form, somewhere. Each one had a particular talent, like imparting wisdom, bringing luck to marriages, and so on. They are recognizable by the unique items that they carry. One has a cane, another a fan, another a basket of flowers. One story has them all going to a magical island in a boat where they are today. You may have seen this depicted on a scroll, some pottery, or wood carvings. Well, I think that a ninth one, who is dumb as a rock, fell off of the boat and is hanging around at the bookstore in the Altamonte Mall.

I first noticed him coming out of the restroom, and thought how odd it was that he looked as if he’d just showered in the sink. I also felt a little sorry for him because he was ancient and unwell. He stopped in the middle of the aisle for no apparent reason and I was forced to wait for him to move, or go around. I stood a few seconds and then backed up and went around the bookcases to continue on my way. I noticed out of the corner of my eye that he was still standing there, owning the busy aisle, oblivious to at least 6 other people now in line at the “T” intersection he was stopped in, headed in or out of the the restroom or the aisle with books on Sports.

My name for people who do this in public places is “camper”. They “camp” in a busy place and dare anyone to be forward enough to ask them to move. Before I became enlightened, I was known to bump campers with shopping carts, shopping bags, or even the odd shoulder to move them from the spot that they had glued themselves to. I carried a disdainful look, that was unmistakeable, just for them, as well.

After merrily shopping and presenting myself to the check-out line, I noticed that there was no one at the register and went directly to it instead of walking further and snaking through the line. The nice cashier told me that she was still checking out the person in front of me and asked me to make the walk of shame to the stand-and-wait area. Which I did. As I glided to a very self-conscious stop and turned around to face the cashier, there was nobody in front of her still, but she gave me the “don’t even try it” look and I froze.

After a couple of minutes, Dumbass, the 9th Immortal (hereinafter referred to a D9) shuffled into view and placed something on the counter which was rung up and the lady announced, “That’ll be $33.87”. I’m looking outside and thinking, this is progress but I’d better pay quickly because it’s dark and fixin’ to rain like you-know-what on a flat rock. But what followed was a thorough and absolute inventory of pants and shirt pockets by D9. Then, he walked several feet away to a table where his Penney’s bag was staged, for a complete and thorough inventory of the contents of it as well. He retrieved a credit card, and shuffled back to the counter. Just about the time the rain started, he handed the card to the nice lady.

After a while it became obvious that his card had been declined. At this point, I thought about paying for his stuff, but he walked back to the Penney’s bag and withdrew some cash. It’s now raining harder, but not too bad. During his 3rd trip to the Penney’s bag, evidently for more cash, the bottom fell out and the rain started falling in sheets like a big bucket in the sky was being poured out. My heart sank, but I took a deep breath and resolved to be patient for a bit longer. It was at this point that I noticed several people in line behind me, and D9 asking for an extra bag to keep his books dry.

The teenager behind me was bumping me with her purse every time she turned around to talk to the Mediterannean lady behind her. This may be retribution for me bumping campers before I became enlightened. About the 3rd time this happened, I took a giant step forward, thinking that if the cashier said anything about me being in no man’s land, I’d blame the girl wearing Daisy Duke shorts. The teenager moved with me and continued doing the bump. The cashier, by this time, was apologizing with her glances and actually said at one point, “Thanks for being patient”. I was not being patient, but was glad that I looked like I was.

I almost had a heart attack when D9 turned 360 degrees and asked the cashier some questions. By this time, she was trying to move him along, and not be rude. He was still and completely unaware of anyone’s existence except his own. She told him, twice that I could hear, that she was only the cashier that he’d need to go to the information desk to get the answers to his questions. When he took a couple of steps away, she motioned for me to advance. By the time I got to the register, D9 was back asking her another question that she could not answer. She blew him off again, nicely, but he had the audacity to make eye contact with me.

By this time, I could not see the first row of cars in the parking lot because it was still raining cats and dogs. Meanwhile, I’d put my book on the counter, swiped my card, signed my name and was waiting on the machine to finish printing the receipt. The cashier apologized to me, again and I said to her, “he must just need someone to talk to because there is no way in the world that he could have taken longer to check out.” She agreed. We both laughed. I walked directly out into the downpour and got soaked.

D9 was last seen headed toward the coffee counter where, I’m sure that he pissed off a half-dozen or more people.

The moral of today’s story? Well there are two.
1. Patience is a virtue.
2. If, before you were enlightened, you made a habit of bumping campers-you may expect some instant karma in the form of a teenager bumping you.

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AA FOR WRITERS

Posted July 3, 2014 By tjflynn

Write Right Into The Night
Copyright 2006 by T.J. Flynn

Today I want to write right,
write right into the night.

Pretty words I see on a page,
of loving parsonage.

My string of words may be for sale,
tell, says I, the tale.

Make it up and let it out,
word-pictures that shout.

Who’ll buy these words from me,
who’ll care to see?

My minds exercises revealed,
my eccentricities.

There should be an organization, like AA for alcoholics, that helps people who keep getting into trouble with the words that they write. I need the twelve-step program. Two of my ex-wives would happily coordinate an intervention to force me into the program. I’ve been getting in trouble, since the 3rd grade, for writing. Not graffitti. Not foul words. I’ve been getting into trouble for writing what was on my mind.

My sister warned me, just yesterday, that the FBI might visit me for what I wrote a about Little Johnny the boxing Brevard County Judge. I’m a little scared, but not enough to take down the post. And, besides, I know Agent Hotchner, J.J., Penelope, Rossi, Reid and Morgan of the FBI’s Behavioral Analysis Unit in Quantico from Criminal Minds.

If there is a time of day when magic happens easily, I suspect that it’s after you wake up but before you get up. I know, from personal experience, that strange things happen during these times. I seriously think that I’ve gotten up, gone to the bathroom, got back in bed and continued a dream that I was having before…more than once. Yep, more than once! When I was a working man, I had to keep these time periods short. These days, I enjoy not having that limitation. So long as Mom’s newspaper has been brought inside, I’m free to manipulate dreams, plan the day, meditate, or whatever my whim fancies. (Or should it be whatever my whims fancy?)

For those of you that are too curious to move past it without an explanation, Mom likes to read her newspaper in the morning and she (at almost 93) is not adept at going out the front door and retrieving it these days. That, then, becomes my first morning chore.

Today, during the magic moments, my mind settled on how potential pacifist partners might react to yesterday’s post. I sent one here, to read my Blog, yesterday and am now wondering if that was just another in a life-long string of dumb things to write. My mind raced. I started to sweat. I could feel my face warm up and redden. I thought about throwing up. I thought about a thousand other things. And then, I calmed myself with the thought that three-score and five years ago my parents brought forth on this continent a new child, conceived in liberty and dedicated to the proposition that all men are created equal…to write what’s on their mind. (This italicized reference to President Lincoln might make sense after a few more paragraphs.)

Those thousand and something thoughts that I had boil down to two.
1. What’s the worst thing that could happen if SHE reads my post and hates it?
2. What’s the best thing that can happen if SHE reads my post and loves it?
My conscious mind knows that her response will be somewhere in the gray area between these two extremes. But considering worst-case and best-case scenarios is a great tool.

I might have accidentally written something good and smart and useful! Time will tell. Patience is not bountiful in my family, however, and I, personally, have the minimum amount allowed by the Subtle Essence Of The Universe, to be carried by a live human and still function in society. So, I will keep harking back to 1 and 2 above. (“Harking back”, I just wrote that and it looks and sounds silly. I have no idea where that comes from. See what I mean about getting into trouble writing stuff?)

You probably can’t hear me, but I’m laughing because I know what my audience is doing right this second. My regular readers are beginning to scratch unmentionables and fidget in their seats. I’m losing their attention to birds and random thoughts. They’re expecting the real meat of this post. They want the low-down, the skinny, the scoop, the 411 on the kinds of things that have persistently gotten me up to my ass in alligators when I didn’t need to even be in the water.

-The earliest thing that I remember writing was a love note to Johnnie Sue Mackabee. That was 1st or 2nd grade. That note was well received and caused no problems. She loved me too and wanted to spend the rest of her life as my girlfriend, with milk-n-cookie playdates and everything. That may have been the one thing that I wrote in the early years that positively motivated me to keep writing. But, then again, she moved to the other side of town in the middle of the school year and broke my heart.
-A couple of years later, on the chalk board in Sunday School, I wrote “Whitt is a shit”. I was referring to the teacher, Whitt Cornell, who was a lot smarter than I gave him credit for. He had every boy in the class write his name on the board. I was the only one that crossed both “t”s with one line, and was summarily busted. Daddy must have thought that Whitt was a shit too, because he did not spank me…until Mama made him do it.
-A couple of years later…5th grade…Mrs Emory was the teacher…I got caught passing a silly note to Susan Browning, the class hottie. Mrs Emory knew me well because she taught 4th grade the year that I was in the 4th grade and 5th grade the year I was in the 5th grade. Somehow I felt slighted that I had to have the same teacher 2 years in a row, and I remember her vividly as the high school gym teacher type. She made me write something on the chalk board a hundred times for that note to Susan. She also forced me into learning the Gettysburg Address and reciting it on stage at a school thing. The joke was on her for that, though. She made Susan recite with me! Later, in high school, Susan was really a hottie. I remember her as being somewhat matronly at the 20 year reunion, however. Damn, I’ll probably get into trouble for writing that, too.
-7th grade…double-session at a school out of our district while our new school was being built…we had sock-hop dancing every day at lunch. I gave a random girl a note asking her to dance. She gave the note to her boyfriend. He was not amused and since we were in the same gym class, and the gym teacher made us resolve issues wearing oversized boxing gloves, I fought for my right to write that day and must have lost, because I don’t remember winning.
-8th or maybe 9th grade…George Wilkerson took umbrage to a note that I’d written to the girl whose books we both tried to carry home from the busstop every day. He called me out in the middle of Fleming Drive, the dirt road that we lived on, in front of all the neighborhood kids, including the girl whose name I can’t remember. Now, George knew better because he had popped me with a rolled up towel in gym class one too many times and got his head stuck in a dirty toilet for his trouble. But, right in front of his house, we duked it out. I remember my dad literally lifting me up off of George’s chest, in a fashion that gave me a tremendous wedgie. And, I remember the spanking that I got for smarting off to George’s mom who had come outside in his defense. It was okay to fight in the street, but not to smart off to a grown-up.
-There were probably incidents when I was in high school and in the USMC when writing got me into trouble, but in my mind, I was smarter then and refrained from the deviant behavior.
-My 1st wife hated everything that I wrote, except the Bicentennial Essay that I wrote in college that won a prize. (Insert fart noise here. It was second prize behind an undeserving ethnic female.) I wrote a piece of erotica that may have obliquely referred to one of my wife’s friends and she had a fit that a movie could be made about. I’m not embarassed that I wrote a piece of erotica. But, with her divorce attorney and my divorce attorney being females, it was not my favorite topic of discussion. Oh, and she didn’t hate the book that I wrote which she got half the proceeds from in our divorce settlement.
-My 2nd wife was a writer and an artist. She understands the writing affliction and sickness. Bless her heart.
-The next one also hated everything that I wrote. She even hated poems that I wrote about loving her. Here’s one that I wrote in a hospital bed after surgery, you decide if it’s terrible or not:

LOVE COLORS
Copyright 9 June 2011 by T.J. Flynn

Navy blue scrubs,
Baby blue eyes.

Midnight blue car.
The bluest of skies.

(FYI: She had a blue car, blue eyes, and wore blue scrubs to work)

With all of this written out, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s women or writing that get me in the most trouble. It doesn’t really matter, because I know that I’m going to continue loving women and writing.

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ON DATING

Posted July 2, 2014 By tjflynn

Today’s topic has nothing to do with SERVICE in the sense that we usually discuss in this forum.
Or does it?

On February 20, 1864, Brigadier Generals Seymour for the North and Finnegan for the South faced each other in Olustee, Florida. Finnegan and the South won the battle, but he was derided because he did not pursue and finish off the survivors before they got back to the safety of Jacksonville, which was occupied by the northern aggressors at that time.

Two things come to mind when I think about that battle. The first is that a sports announcer whose name I refuse to write, once called Jacksonville “a remote southern outpost” during a fight broadcast. That comment, like many others from that announcer, had no basis in fact, and really pissed me off.

A. Fort Jefferson in the Dry Tortugas is “a remote southern outpost”.
B. If I’ve done the math correctly, the remote northern outpost of Fort Amsterdam was built on Manhattan Island 60 years after the oldest continuously occupied European-established settlement in the continental United States (St Augustine, which is 40 miles further south than Jacksonville) was thriving .
C. At the time the baseless comment was made, Jacksonville had the largest land area of any city in the contiguous United States.
D. My dad, and his dad, were born in Jacksonville.
E. Brooklyn numbskull.

The second thing that comes to mind is the similarities with that battle and my past relationships with the fairer sex. I’ve won some bloody battles, but did not capitalize. Like Joe Finnegan, I let them return to the safety of an enemy-occupied area instead of pressing to really gain an advantage. Then, with a few of them, found myself with my hat in my hand at a courthouse, like Robert E. Lee, asking for favorable terms. With the others, I pulled away. Or as we preferred when I was an active-duty Marine, I advanced toward the rear.

Over time, I’ve had a manifestation of clear thought. I realize that heart-to-heart combat is not as easy as it used to be. Therefore, I’m now looking to be and to engage with a pacifist. Isn’t it funny that ‘fist’ is a part of this word which opposes using them? The new “ism” for my obsession is pacifism.

So, back on the dating scene, looking for a pacifist with which to never fight about anything, I’m still finding warriors. Hello ladies. I’m looking for serene not a screaming siren.

I’m still gathering information with which to crystalize my formal list of proposed qualities for said pacifist. I hope to be able, within a decade or so, to post those here.

I can, however, because I’ve already experienced them with other females, post the following list of things that SHE would never do:

1. Live with more than 2 cats or 2 dogs or 1 cat and 1 dog.
2. Neglect to have cat pee cleaned out of her clothing.
3. Lie about her age or the age of her photos before we meet.
4. Squat to urinate in a public park on our first date.
5. Bring a flask and a back-up flask on the first date.
6. Order more than 3 cocktails, glasses of wine, or beers on the first date.
7. Talk about current ‘friends with benefits’.
8. Lie about having 7 children.
9. Come to a first date wearing a bullet-proof vest.
10. Not allow me, after a reasonable period, to see where she lives.
11. Full court press for sex on the first date.
12. Brag about anything except kids and grandkids
13. Insist on an expensive restaurant for the first meeting
14. Be overly sensitive about her weight
15. Bring a pet, friend, child, or illness to the first meeting.
16. Call herself an artist without having, at least been in a gallery or a museum, if not shown works.
17. Call herself a writer without having been published somewhere.
18. Come on a first date with a single mustache hair.
19. Come on a first date with any hygiene deficiencies.
20. Dress inappropriately for the venue.
21. Spend more time texting someone else than talking to me.
22. Dance with anyone else if she’s with me
23. Be jealous of my kids or grandkids.
24. Ask me what I’ve learned from my failed marriages.
25. Preach to me about her religion.

TO BE CONTINUED…

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