No Silver Lining
Everyone at one time or another has wondered why in hell they got out of bed that morning. That’s just how I’m feeling now. When I woke up, it seemed like there was a beautiful day ahead. Summer, 84 degrees, sunshine and the birds are chirping as if they were in their right minds. I took a shower and ran a toothbrush across my snags and out the door I went. This is where the morning drawn by Currier & Ives took a turn for the worse.
First stop was the courthouse to pay an installment on fines and costs for the innocent indiscretion of falling off my porch and catching fire in my charcoal grill. “Stop, drop and roll,” my ass. I did precisely that and still went to jail. And you can forget passenger convention. No matter how many time you yell ‘shotgun’, they still put you in the backseat. Well, I smiled at the lady behind the counter with a hearty “good morning.” My demonstration of good cheer was not reciprocated and instead was handed a portable breathalyzer. Apparently, some obscure rule exists that precludes the haughty courthouse staff from waiting on someone with a .09 BAC. My harmless comment of my money never having been refused by a pole dancer because of some arbitrary blood alcohol level, prompted her to reach for the ‘alarm’ button and me to exit the building. Traumatized by the experience, I sought refuge in the corner tavern. A new bartender on duty and this could only be good news, as I could while away the morning telling old stories and spinning new ones with a captive audience. This cheerful thought was dampened when halfway through a long neck bottle of beer, the young man behind the bar announced he knew nothing about me being able to run a tab and had no authority to do so. By now, I had considered the cash in my pocket, the ‘matron’ had refused, as ‘found money’. Sadly, I paid out of my pocket. As expected, the bartender was a good listener but after eight beers, the mental strain of paying cash overcame me and I relocated to an establishment aware of my lofty credit status.
My resistance to pay cash was rooted in the notion that if I were hit by a bus and killed, my corpse would be out the money paid to the bar owner. Whereas, if I met my demise in the grill of a motorcoach with my bill outstanding, it meant money in the bank. I never pursued this logic but rather just rode with it.
At the second bar I visited, I found a group of patrons commiserating over the death of a fellow sot. The news and pain of Earl’s death was only sharpened by the fact, I had loaned him fifty dollars not forty-eight hours earlier. I muttered to myself, “a fella can’t catch a break.” Someone patted me on the shoulder and said, “yeah, too bad about Earl.” Thinking it poor form to say I wasn’t talking about Earl, I just nodded. After twelve more beers and listening to countless tributes to Earl, I decided to pace myself and leave after six more.
After eight more, I walked home and proactively wrote a check to the county court, put in it a stamped envelope and placed it on the coffee table. I was confident Cruella de Vil’s day would be spoiled, not having me to persecute. Desperation would likely send her outside to poke a homeless kitten with a stick. On a more charitable note, I decided against sending Earl’s widow a threatening letter.