Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Sears' Zebras

Sears used to sell zebras. Once upon a time. It was their policy to sell anything that people wanted. Almost.

Anyway, as a kid, I was hard to please. I had everything. Everything, that is, but a zebra. And I thought a zebra was just what I needed to make my life complete because we also had lots of flies, and flies don’t like zebras because their stripes freak them out. Go ahead, Google it, if you don’t believe me.

So, I was about six. It was the early 50s, and we had a big back yard. One day I came home from school and a little zebra was in our back yard, eating our unmoved grass. I decided to call it Zebe, and, with a carrot in my hand, I called Zebe.

Did you know that zebras like to walk backward? They aren’t the best at turning around. They might do that if a lion was chasing them, but when it is a six-year-old kid with a carrot, they just walk backward.

So Zebe finally made his/her way over to me. I wasn’t sure how to tell the difference then. And Zebe saw the carrot and went for it, and my hand as well. Luckily I was a pretty fast thinking kid and I threw the carrot up in the air. Zebe caught it in mid-air.

That was cool so I ran in the house and got a baseball. Finally, I had found a friend to play catch with.

But Zebe kept eating my balls, one after another.

I came in the house and told my mom to call Sears and complain. I thought, in a just world, that Sears should replace the baseballs since it didn’t say in Zebe's instruction book not to play catch with it.

Here’s the conversation I overheard:

Mom: Hello, we just received a zebra and it has been eating baseballs.

Sears: We do warranty our products. And we do sell the finest zebras in the world.

Mom: My son is very sad after losing all his balls. How quickly can you replace them?

Tea tray to hold zebra balls

Sears: Those balls are $2.99 each. My supervisor says you need the special balls made of zebra hide. Zebras won’t eat those.

Mom: We don’t feel we should have to pay for them. We are entitled to free balls, given that there was a problem with your zebras.

Sears: Ok, we’ll send you one ball free. But after that, we can’t both stay in business and provide free balls.

Mom: (As she slammed down the phone). Thank you!

The next thing we knew, a zebra ball flew threw our picture window. That was fast, I thought.

I took the ball into the back yard and threw it at Zebe. He/she backed up to it and sniffed it. Did you know that when zebras sniff, it is like a hurricane? Anyway, Zebe sniffed the zebra ball, and upon realizing what it was, shed tears from him/her eyes. Pools of tears, enough to drench my tennis shoes.

Tomorrow: Why is Zebe growing so fast?

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Almost a Winner

I told my wife that I was just going to make things up. I think our president if we want to call him that, has given us all permission to make things up. Unlike a traditional muse, she told me that it sounded boring. She’s really been a good muse for 50 years, always telling me the truth rather than what I wanted to hear.

As I sat this morning, I thought about this car that had backed into me at Central Market. It was a large shiny black SUV, and mine was a small SUV. The driver didn’t hurt me, but he smashed the passenger side of my car to the point that a passenger would be no longer.

I counted to ten. I didn’t want to get out of the car and start yelling at the guy. I wanted to remember that he’s a human being too, and he probably feels terrible enough that he ruined my car. He was an old man with a mustache that was well-waxed. He had a cream-colored cowboy hat and was well-dressed with tight-fitting jeans that had silver stars on the pockets.

I asked him for his driver’s license. He mumbled something and went back to his car. I could see him opening his attache case on his front seat. He reached in and grabbed a handful of 1000 dollar bills. Here, he said, this should take care of that. He didn’t say, “I’m sorry,” and didn’t seem to have regrets. He probably used the money to buy himself out of most unpleasant situations like someone else we know.

I felt well-compensated for my 9-year old car that I was sure was totaled. I looked at the money and the next thing I knew, he was quickly driving away.

Later that day I went to deposit the money into my bank. First, the teller called over the assistant manager, who called over the manager, who said, “wait here,” and a policeman came rushing into the bank. “Where did you get this money,” he said. I told them the story and they said, “we are looking for that guy. Do you have his license number? What kind of car did he have? Did you get his name?”

The bills weren’t worth the paper they were printed on. Where I thought I had cleaned up, and an unfortunate event turned out to be fruitful, I now faced my stupidity for accepting these poorly printed counterfeit bills. They even all had the same serial numbers, the teller pointed out to me.

P.S. I’m at the beginning of a zen practice period. I’m going to eat 9 meals a week and make one writing or drawing a day. Here’s my first meal.

Kerbey Lane, Austin, Texas (Vege breakfast w/gluten-free pumpkin pancakes, scrambled tofu and soyage)

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