Dial (800) 439-2466

Everyday, the seven deadly sins lead to unhappiness.

The dark side.

Life noir.

Imagine a hard-boiled cynic in a bleak sleazy setting.

Not being a Bible reader, in spite of its popularity, my day ends with the bridge column.  Too, as a practicing non-Catholic, sidestepping the altar of misbids and poor defense, is a free pass from purgatory.  Where the high priest of Hail Marys issues a thousand yarboroughs, hands in bridge or whist containing no ace and no card higher than a nine.

….the Church of the Painful Truth.

th
The sin list, (7 ?), I plead guilty to wrath and lust, i.e., getting very snotty when being dismissed by attractive ♀♀.

The costliest sin, please, bear witness as I enter the confessional; GREED.

Late winter, 1969, reviving a Mom&Pop drugstore from imminent failure, business began an upward tangent.  The regional expansion, visiting physician offices during the few off hours, I learned that many offices resisted calling any pharmacy “long distance”.  Recalling, phone in prescriptions incurred a 25¢ charge …. a 5% expense, when an office visit with a patient then, $5.

A popular Niles, MI doctor, John Bruni MD, complained that calling patient prescriptions to us had cost him $1.75 in a single month, the = of two BigMacs and a supersize order of fries.

846-02796915 © ClassicStock / Masterfile Model Release: Yes Property Release: No 1950s 1960s MOTHER DAUGHTER COUNTER PHARMACY PHARMACIST BEHIND COUNTER SHELVES STOCKED ASPIRIN PRODUCTS MEDICINE

MOTHER-DAUGHTER; PHARMACIST BEHIND COUNTER

Willing to absorb the cost, I requested the newest strategy, a 1-800 toll free line from ATT, the sole monopoly. Offered a choice of numbers, I chose 1-800-439-2466. Why…?…because the last seven digits spelled HEXAGON.  Readers might recognize that as the six sided benzene ring, core of all organic chemistry, the pride of pharmacy students and vegetarians.chemistry-2938901__480  What could be better, easy to advertise and remember, for a failed English major, I felt quite clever. Plus, I turned down 800-244-5375 which translated to (800) BIGJERK.

images-1It worked.  That 4th line started slowly but soon rang, sometimes off-the-hook.  Yes, regional medical offices galore, but often insurance salesmen, stockbrokers, sweepstakes, roofing, siding, and the sheriff’s auxilary extorting donations.  Or else.

Guilt by benevolence must be in the Bible.

Somewhere.

The formula depicted above, adrenaline, the active component in the now infamous Epi-Pen®, a timely need if you encounter an anaphylactic reaction to nuts.  If you already knew that, stop, become a Jeopardy® contestant.  Now.

Possessing a 1-800 number became the fashion.  As the numbers available began to diminish, the value increased. Historical footnote : prefixes 888, 877, 866, 855, 844, 833 had not yet been imagined. Now we were the cat’s meow.  Today equal to the cutting edge.

A vanity plate in the world of commerce.

Then, a call, Oct. 21, during the 1st Reagan administration, a Wednesday, late, after closing,screw-1924174__480

“Hello, I’m Bill, calling from Cleveland OH, are you the owner ?

“…yes.”

“Just a chat. I’m president of Hexagon Industries, manufacturer of hex bolts.  I’m intrigued by your telephone number, as it could really benefit our business.  Would you be willing to relinquish 4392466?”

” Umm, hem, uh haw, it’s really quite an asset, we’ve spent years promoting it, at great personal cost, eight dollars a month, effort, huge effort, yada yada, priceless, yada, blah, blah”

” I fully understand, but if, say, $5000 is enough to change your mind, could you call me back ?”

” Yeah, yeah, sure, but not likely…thanks for calling”

That night, my 1st wife’s 39th birthday, I hadn’t even brought home an outdated Whitman Sampler®. 302211719898_1

Money was tight.  But greedy me, I’m walking on air. I’ve got this chump by the testicles…if he’d offer a lousy $5K, why not $10K ?

Let him hang in the wind, like a palm tree swaying in a typhoon, wait a year or two, glued to his phone, anticipating a positive response from this pharmacist, self-supposed pillar in his community, a member of the most trusted profession……ahaaa..!…not a chance, I’ll go for the gullet, $10K or no dice.

Yes, greed, like all sins, has hindsight. It taught me that class and humility mean far more than money or possession. Class would have been to offer the number, for nothing, an extension of good will, and invite him to visit South Bend if he ever headed west.  That would be a remembrance, forever, and I wouldn’t be writing this column.

I did call, a year later, and he was delighted.  Good news.  The government antitrust case against ATT was moving forward and he was offered the same number, at no charge, with an (888) prefix. “My sincere thanks that you didn’t take the bait”.

It was too late, too hollow, too late, too shallow to offer now. Too late to turn a wrong into a right….I’ve regretted it ever since.

My ex, a lovely woman, will turn 78 on October 21, 2019. She remarried.  Her second husband,  much better than the 1st.

Stay tuned…it gets worse.

Out of curiousity, tonight I dialed the number (800) Hexagon.

A recording asked if I was over 50 y/o; press 1 for yes, or 2 for no.

I pressed 2, so add lying to that list of sins.

 

insightout©2019

 

 

 

 

Choosing Gym Shoes

 

As youngsters, we often referred to tennis shoes as ‘sneakers’, characterized by rubber soles, faded black cloth uppers, and the aroma of the 7thgrade boys locker room.

 

For 30 years I wore a cheap pair in honor of Fred Perry, the last British player to win a men’s singles Grand Slam title, Wimbleton 1936.  Until my children, in their early teens, began mocking my fashion sense. Apparently, shoe branding equated to social standing.

Fred_Perry_01 Fred Perry was also a table tennis champion.

Sooo…May 20, 1987, a Wednesday, I opted for an upgrade to an adult grade leather casual, Bass Boaters®.  I recall this, not from memory, but a curious habit of always dating each pair of shoes when purchased.

DSCN0937.JPG

 

Stylish to me, although never having owned a boat, I learned too late they were a second tier brand….admonished because the best, most desirable, with patented non-slip soles for walking a damp teak deck on your cabin cruiser, were Sperry TopSiders®, the choice of eastern elite Ivy leaguers.

Sperry

Now,  31 years later, I still wear the boaters, walking my dog, down to the DeTour marina to look at other people’s boats.  And their shoes.  Posing as the ancient mariner.  A patina of ‘previously owned’, the soles have the Firestone tread depth of a 1941 Studebaker Champion headed to Kaminski Salvage on South Bend’s west side. DSCN4999

There are more cracks on the perimeter than my ladyfriend (Judy Starbucks) in Patagonia.

DSCN6322

 

 

These shoes, like Keds®and Uniroyal’s Red Dots®were among the last made in the U.S.A. Now, all manufactured in Asia, decades after Don McLean’s, the day the music died, Feb.3, 1959.Unknown

 

 

Once, only briefly, I considered an eBay purchase, used,  from the legendary NBA Bull, so I could walk the ‘hood in Chicago’s Bridgeport…or MoTown, Watts, Harlem, Ferguson, but the potential for a hospital bill and trying to get on a CTA bus, barefooted, without a token, and not having $556 dampened the enthusiasm.  And a lot of other ‘asms’, for a honkey clown with size 9½ wearing a pair of size 13 EEE.143547-17792cce22a44fef8909f94fc4a68e16.mpo

Jordan 1 Retro Bred “Banned” (2016) $556 pair

Convinced that I’ll never be able to touch the rim, hampered by a four (4) inch vertical leap, nor ever own a boat, should I even consider a replacement  in the future.DSCN8228 DSCN3017

Not likely, as this writer, these Boaters and my pal Starbucks are barely broken in.

 

©insightout2018

Techno-Classica or, “maid in germany”

International travel is grueling. Nine hours, middle seat cramped, New Jersey-to-Lisbon, adjacent to a 300 lb. lady, a municipal landfill-in-waiting, who oozed garlic with every belch. A prayer to the Saint of Cabin Decompression, to allow the blessed oxygen mask drop from the ceiling, is lost in the din of ‘cockpit announcements’, all in Portuguese.

The TSA checkpoint exam, 3 second x-ray, one minute pat-down with a frown, assures traveler security. Never mind the tickling sensation during the upward pat, serving as a reminder of an annual upcoming prostate exam. The officer has the humor quotient of a fruit fly, does not offer to Mirandize me, nor, next in line, breathalyze Madam Newark.

This prelude, a welcome and highly anticipated bucket list event, with 16 fellow enthusiasts, also recently fondled by strangers, to a week of classic German cars.

Ahhh, Germany, the land of long words…where geschirrruckgabetablette = café tray.

Personal privacy, (and HIIPA regulations) will not allow me to divulge any or all information, including, but not limited to; names of fellow travelers, social security numbers, gender, prior felony arrests, outstanding traffic warrants, or bank transfer codes.

All of which I gathered, surreptitiously in just seven days….except for two hoosier attendees;

  • In the despised category , “one on every tour”, the inconsiderate oversleeper who kept an entire bus delayed at the very first outing.
  • A lady who, gaining unwanted attention, tripped on a guardrail while attempting a closer view of Hitler’s very own, 770K Grosser. Although the open air limo was armor plated with bulletproof glass, her shin was not. She survived the encounter, after the loss of blood; an attractive shade of wine, and bruises of silver blue. Reminiscent of Indiana, 1966.

For seven days, an amorphous mass, we moved together, clear bubbles in a mountain stream of minnows doing what else….?….looking at used cars. Okay, expensive used cars, but others will provide details and photographic evidence.

DSCN4622

I found myself intrigued by the German people who, as you may know, speak a foreign language, nearly all wear black, and adhere to a national policy to smile less than twice weekly. The HQ receptionist at AMG, Claudia Barnickle, true to the code, when I requested a happy face. DSCN4706

Even this miniature fraulette, a five y/o fashion statement, awaiting the funicular ride to the scenic panorama of old Heidelberg who was whisked away, “Komm jetzt Süßer, der mann mag ein raubtiersein”, roughly, ‘come child, the man may be a predator’.

DSCN4639

At a critical juncture, our bus driving genius, Fabio, a chain smoking Italian, facilitating a more convenient drop off for his affluent passengers, elected to ignore this sign : keine Busse erlaubt. You know it; black circle, diagonal red stripe, aged Prevost shadow in the background.

Alas, this was not Fabio’s day. An attractive gendarme verbally scolded the diesel interloper, wrote a costly citation, and warned him of impending loss of manhood. My 1:06 minute, you-tube video of the encounter was confiscated as it required parental guidance for anyone under the age of eighty. Fabio, smoking an Italian Marlboro, gagged as if he was gargling fish hooks.

DSCN4638

The only remnant; photo/name badge of the arresting officer, Katrin Braun

An industrious Germany is reflected in its architecture; austere, lifeless, utilitarian, a mix of glass, steel, corrugated zinc siding……the personality of a section-8 Moscow housing complex. They do, however, make some beautiful cars, so why dress a courtyard with polished aluminum, dancing skateboarders ?  Four stories high ?

DSCN4635

The employment rate @ 97%, allows the unemployed to practice full-time graffiti art, which is everywhere. My suspicion, those 3% , at night, armed with Krylon® rattle cans in search of blank spaces, are working daytime for under-the-table cash in tattoo parlors.

And the maiden, you might ask…?… an attractive, on-duty nurse, seated in an aging MB ambulance in the Essen exhibition hall. She too, stoic, cool, non-talkative, had only a recorded voice. Lacking fluency in German, I was certain she wished to introduce me to her ride-flat sister, who was no doubt, inflatable.

DSCN4553

On the inskirts of Stuttgart we passed the “Oh Lord, Car Lot”, all used Mercedes. A curious name, unless you were alive in1970, and listened to the final recording of Janis Joplin, 3 days before her death.   Even though JJ drove a Porsche 356, her estate is likely receiving royalties from Daimler Benz.

Unknown
Guess the manufacturer’s paint code number ?

Do not be misled. We were treated as visiting royalty at every venue. The coffee was served in dainty cups, like those from a child’s dollhouse, and quite tasty, although refills were measured with an eyedropper ( sir, one dropperful or two ?) At the center of excellence the luncheon was exquisite. The dessert, marinated berries, spelt stones and mango sorbet, yet nearly unnoticed, and untouched, tiered silver trays with the most delicious chocolates. Ever.

images

In contrast, a Techno parts vendor offered a version of pecan pie. Attractive, but 19 mm nuts fail to challenge French chocolates.

DSCN4551

A brief visit in the kitchen with the chef to compliment him on the chocolate selection, his whispered confession, ‘they are not German, but La Maison du Chocolat®, from Paris.’ Full disclosure; in an effort to gain weight, this visitor consumed at least three cognac, and three caramel toffee truffles. While no one was looking.

DSCN4717

If you questioned who was tardy to the bus, day one, please repeat this sentence, the only phrase learned all week; “Enschreitenblatten schalteniedlich verkehrsgesellschaft ? “

Loosely translated….”you don’t say ?”

 

©insightout2018