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Archive for the ‘Recurring Themes’ Category

Today’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for yet another installment of JCO or JC NO, where I spin the yarn and you decide whether the story I relay is fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come back next week when I will give you the skinny before delivering the next JCO or JC NO.

SO, last week’s deplorable tale of me poaching food off the tables I bussed as a Fuddruckers’ employee? The overwhelming majority of you suspected that to be true. It is with equal amounts of embarrassment and shame that I confirm that suspicion.

Simply put? It was a vile and vulgar act, one in which I engaged countless times. With little or no dignity whatsoever, I might add. Congrats to theMuskrat, Really?, DCUrbanDad, Eric, Mandy, Mary Ellen, LatifahShay (who, incidentally, is a brilliant artist, as well as a fellow triplet parent — our guys turned three yesterday, Latifah!), Patrick, SeattleDad, WEH, Stephanie, Nadu, Wendy Wisniewski, Lilola, Opus, Debbie, and theDadvocate for getting it right. The people who are highlighted provided links to their websites in their comments. I visit most of them regularly. I hope you’ll check them out, too. Thanks guys, for chiming in, even if it was to voice your belief that such a disgusting act was well within my reach, if not character.

Jerks.

Oh, and a quick note to the Fuddruckers’ legal department — I’m well aware of my rights, and I regret to inform you that the statutes of limitations expired long ago. So let’s all just move on, shall we?

This week’s tale comes from the same era, the summer I spent on Hilton Head Island between semesters at Vanderbilt. I call this one A Pfack of Those D Batteries, Too, Please.

young jco, the amicable hoodlum.

Thanks to my Fuddruckers fable, you’re probably well aware that I was not always the bastion of responsibility I am today. In fact, I was little more than a garden-variety hoodlum, albeit a amicable one. My friends and I fancied ourselves a band of merry pranksters, and much of that merriment was directly proportional to the alcohol we consumed. (On a serious note, I want to make it clear that we were ALWAYS responsible enough to assign a designated driver.)

There were two elements to our alcohol consumption that were problematic to us. (Sadly, neither of them had anything to do with the sheer volume of our consumption.) First, booze costs money. And if I was broke enough to eat cheeseburgers that had touched the dentures of ninety-year-old women, then it’s safe to say that I wasn’t exactly buying top shelf liquor that summer. Instead, I was a Milwaukee’s Best Light man, a putrid manifestation of carbonated alcohol which conjures up images of desperation. If not abject poverty. But the “Beast” was a necessary evil if I wanted have enough cash to put food (ramen noodles) on the table (milk crates bridged together with two-by-fours).

The second element of our alcohol consumption that was problematic? The timing of it. Like most college kids, we weren’t afraid to stay up late drinking. Nor were we afraid to crack open a cold beer on any given Sunday. Yet the governing powers that be in the great state of South Carolina provided a hurdle for us to negotiate during either one of these time slots. For one could not buy beer after 2:00am. Nor could one buy beer on Sundays.

But we had a plan. And though said plan was technically illegal, it wasn’t without its merits. For starters, it gave back to the community by increasing the gross profits of local business owners. It also increased tax revenue — something that, at least on paper, should please every legislator.

Here’s how it’d go down. Anytime my our desire for beer occurred within a forbidden time zone, we’d swing by our favorite convenient store. Back in the day, I was known to have a way with words, so I was always the “decoy.” I’d set up shop at the front counter and chat up the convenient store clerk about any and everything that came to mind. I found that well-intended, open-ended questions worked best, as they could not be answered with a simple yes or no. Answers to them often revealed other rabbit trails of conversation down which I could lead the clerk.

But small talk alone would not provide my accomplices with the time necessary to complete their operation, so, inevitably, I would need to ask the clerk questions about the merchandise that hung on the wall behind the register.

“Say, what all sizes of batteries do you carry?” was a typical inquiry. “Because we’ve got this flashlight at our apartment, and I’ll be damned if we can’t figure out what kind it takes.”

After what always felt like an eternity, my buddies would finally come up to the counter with a twelve pack of Diet Coke, taking great care, of course, to orient the package such that the bar code faced the clerk.

“Anything else?” the clerk would ask while scanning the code.

“Yes. A pack of those D batteries, too, please.”

After a simple cash transaction, off we’d go, my band of merry-making friends and I. With a coupla D batteries. And twelve cans of Old Milwaukee’s Best Light all dressed up like Diet Coke thanks to the ol’ switcheroo my boys had executed as I asked countless questions pertaining to county of origin and tobacco products.

Hey, the way we saw it, we were doing everyone a favor. You see, we paid a premium for the beer as Diet Coke actually cost more than Old Milwaukee’s Best Light. Which, I might point out, meant we were paying more tax, too. Not only did the business owner come out on top, but so did the state.

The only guy who wasn’t a winner in the deal was the poor bastard who thought he was picking up a twelve pack of “Beast Light” and wound up with a bunch of girly soft drinks instead. But we never really ran in to him. So we were relatively okay with that.

What do you think? Did we really empty out a twelve pack of soft drinks and put in a twelve pack of beer inside the cardboard container thus enabling us to acquire beer (albeit at a premium) late at night or on Sundays? JCO or JC NO?

PLEASE NOTE: I am in the process of revamping my site. During the transition, there may be a day or two when you have to access my blog via http://johncaveosborne.WORDPRESS.com instead of http://johncaveosborne.com. This will most likely begin on Sunday. By Monday or Tuesday, however, I will once again be on johncaveosborne.com with a brand new look. If you subscribe to me via my RSS link (or even if you clicked the button to get my posts emailed to you), you’ll need to visit me early next week and get the new feed. Sorry for the inconvenience, but the new site will be a ton better. Thanks for reading! I really appreciate it. -jco-

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So it’s Thursday, and that means it’s time for the second installment of JCO or JC NO, where I, John Cave Osborne, tell you, (state your name) a story which is either fact or fiction. Should you feel so inclined, leave a comment telling me if you think what I’ve written is legit (JCO) or bogus (JC NO). Then come back next Thursday to see if you were right.

Last week, I told the story of getting busted with some advanced (if not immature) call screening techniques. I received twenty comments, yet only four of you thought that I was lying. Which must mean I’m pretty smooth, y’all, because last week’s tale was, indeed, FICTION. But I really did have a blowhard client who always invited me to come over to his house. And after a few instances of answering his calls at inopportune times, I really did program his number as “do NOT answer” into my phone. But then I thought better of it and put in his real name because I feared that the fictitious story I told you last Thursday might actually come to pass.

Congrats to “the Dragon,” WeaselMomma, TessasDad, and SeattleDad for calling me out.

And, Dad of Divas — you said if it was a JC NO, you’d be giving me the “Mark Twain” award for spinning such yarn, which means not only did you underestimate me, but you’ll also need my address. You know. To mail me my award and all. (Is it a trophy? I love trophies.) Hit me up with an email and I’ll tell you where to send it.

Now, for this week’s installment which I affectionately call — But She Looked Like a Clean Person.

“You act like it’s the worst thing in the world,” I said defensively to Lovie.

“No,” she countered. “I’m acting like it’s the grossest thing in the world.”

“What’s so gross about it?” I asked.

“Oh, I don’t know. Maybe that you didn’t even know the woman?”

“True. But she looked like a clean person.”

A cringe of repulsion came across Lovie’s beautiful face, the likes of which I had never seen before. “But she looked like a clean person? Who are you?”

[to my readers] A better question would have been “Who were you?” Because my dear wife was reacting to a story I had told her which actually went down many, many moons ago. (And before you go off thinking the worst, it’s not quite as sinister as it sounds.)

The year was 1989 and I was spending the summer on Hilton Head Island, fully engaged in the noble vocation of Bus Boy for a high-brow establishment. Perhaps you’ve heard of it.

Fuddruckers.

Turns out the pay wasn’t so great. Also turns out that I, like many nineteen year olds, enjoyed partying every night. Which, of course, cost money. And I couldn’t afford to both eat well every day and hit the bar scene every night. So I had a choice to make. And I made it.

I went to the Piggly Wiggly and bought a shit-ton (it’s metric) of Ramen Noodles. Back in the day, you could get five of those suckers for a buck. Which meant if you were woefully out of touch with your body (as well as with what constituted near-lethal amounts of sodium), you could provide yourself with three square meals (literally), and a snack (also square), for a mere 80 cents a day. Plus tax.

Such a cost-conscious and repetitive diet works great for a little while. But to keep it up for any legitimate period of time, more nourishing and substantial supplements are required. And, unfortunately, said supplements cost money.

*light bulb* Unless you work at a restaurant.

So, that summer, as I patrolled the floor looking sharp in my brown apron and red visor, I’d keep an eye out for not only the next table I’d be required to bus, but also for the next “clean looking person” who hadn’t taken full advantage of his or her meal. Old ladies, I quickly discovered, were a gold mine. Many of them cut their burgers in half. And all too often, the second half would go untouched.

Whenever I’d happen upon such a lady with such a burger, I’d stalk the table, you know, so none of the other bus boys could poach my loot. My game was so sick-o that these ol’ gals never even knew that I was circling them like a vulture — a desperately hungry vulture whose face was bloated with alarming levels of MSG thanks to those tasty seasoning packets which accompanied my economic carbohydrate of choice. And the very instant these women gave even the faintest indicator that they were about to vacate their table — woosh — there I’d be.

“You ladies have a nice day. Come back and see us,” I’d say with a pleasant smile coupled with an affirming head nod.

Before they could even get halfway to the door, and often while still within an earshot (which allowed me to hear what a nice young man they thought I was), the deal would be done — everything which had been on their table already transferred efficiently into my bus tub — with the exception, of course, of the half-eaten burger, and perhaps, if I saw fit, a handful of fries. These delectables, my friends, were cleverly wrapped in a bus rag before being deftly tucked away into my apron pocket, the bump of my indiscretion conveniently concealed by my large brown tub. (Don’t worry. It wasn’t the actual rag I used to wipe down the tables. I’m no rookie. I always carried a clean spare.)

After scoring my jackpot I’d alert my co-workers of my sudden need to use the bathroom, at which point I’d scamper off to the little boy’s room where, in the luxurious and spacious accommodations of the handicap stall, I’d scarf down my bounty via my very own commode-side picnic for one.

So there you have it. Whaddya think? JCO or JC NO? (Fact or fiction?)

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Li-Lo -- courtesy of wikipedia

By now, I’m sure y’all have heard about Lindsay Lohan’s recent setback. Scant weeks removed from a two-week stint in the poky, the troubled starlet suddenly finds herself dangerously close to being locked up yet again after violating her probation by testing positive for cocaine and amphetamines.

(Psst. Lindsay. When you’re on probation, you’re subject to random drug tests and most of ’em screen for stuff like blow.)

She’ll learn her fate on Friday when Judge Eldon Fox will decide whether or not to incarcerate Lohan until her probation violation hearing, which could mean up to thirty days behind bars.

And I for one, have had it. Does she deserve jail time?

um, word? samantha ronson -- courtesy of wikipedia

NO QUESTION. But more for cinematic atrocities such as Herbie: Fully Loaded than for being pathologically vapid. More for publicly flaunting her sexually ambiguous relationship with super-troll Samantha Ronson than for being tragically mis-wired. (By the way, is it just me, or does Samantha look like the illegitimate love child of Julie Andrews and Screech from Saved by the Bell? Hmm. I feel a Fuzzy Math post coming on.)

Besides, as we’ve already seen, jail sentences aren’t effective in rehabilitating Li-Lo. But I think I know something that would be.

A work release program. And I’ve got just the employer. Lovie and me. That’s right. It’s a match made in heaven. Check it out.

We’ve recently parted ways with Miss B, the woman who used to provide full time assistance with the terrible trio. Lovie and I figured that with Monstor, Biggs, and Peanut at preschool two days a week, we’d be good to go. But the road’s been a lot tougher than we had thought, and quite frankly, we could really use the help.

And what better way for someone as lost as Lindsay to get back in touch with the things that matter most than by spending quality time with three adorable toddlers?

Just think of all the fun they could have together. The triplets are learning all the different shapes. Think they wouldn’t love using Lindsay’s ankle monitor to trace circles? I bet she knows how to take it off. If not, they could still draw on it. Just like a cast! A cast for criminals! So neat. And if that got old, they could always play “connect the dots” with Li-Lo’s face freckles. (Hear that, Lindsay? No makeup, girl! Yikes!!)

You know what else the triplets love? NUMBERS! That’s right, they’re starting to count. And I bet ol’ Lindsay could teach them all kinds of numbers by simply reviewing the results of her various breathalyzer tests. Lotta integers contained in those bad boys.

But it’s not just numbers the triplets adore. They really like their letters, too. And they’re starting to learn their ABCs. I bet the field-sobriety-test veteran could lend a helping hand. When it comes to saying ’em backwards, that is!

I know what you’re thinking. So far this sounds like a great deal for the triplets. But what about Lindsay? Don’t worry. I’ve got that covered. In Monster, Biggs, and Peanut, she’ll find friends for life. After all, she’s got tons in common with them. For example, the triplets love to jump. And Lohan loves to (bar) hop. Perfect!

Also, the triplets are fascinated with straws, whether they are part of a fancy sippy cup, or the kind that come with a juice box. I hear Lindsay likes straws, too. Word on the street is she always keeps one in her purse. (The preceding paragraph was inspired by Weasel Momma’s comment.)

And, as Lindsay proved the last time she was in court, she cries whenever she gets in trouble. So do the triplets! I mean seriously, what are the odds? The triplets are only two, and she’s a grown woman!

And it doesn’t matter whether the camera’s rolling or not. Lindsay’s all about the drama, which is funny, because our little guys are pretty dramatic, too. Lot’s of screaming, fussing, crying, and even some biting. And from what I gather, that’s eerily similar to the stuff that goes down during one of Lindsay’s average nights on the town.

And, I suppose, if I’m being completely honest, there is one more thing that they have in common. Both Lindsay and the triplets have dads who ain’t right. But I digress.

Because the focus here shouldn’t be on Li-Lo’s dad, or me for that matter. But rather on her, and more specifically her well being. And I put all kidding aside when I say that spending thirty days with our triplets would do wonders for her. Because I can assure you that if she knew such a fate awaited her the next time she stepped out of line?

There’d be no next time. Because the triplets are tough y’all. Lovie left me all alone with them tonight and they pretty much kicked my ass.

And I’m a trained professional.

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Calamities in Call Screening

I’m trying something new on my blog — a segment called JCO or JC NO. I’ve got four of them planned. The premise is simple. Each Thursday, I’ll tell a JCO story. Then y’all decide if it’s fact (JCO) or fiction (JC NO). To see if you were right, come visit me the following Thursday. Before offering up that week’s JCO or JC NO, I’ll confirm or deny the veracity (solid word, no?) of the prior week’s story.

SO, without further ado, the first ever JCO or JC NO:

We’ve all done it. Call screening, that is. Not a big deal, right? Which is why I never thought in a million years that such an act would land me in the scalding hot water it did. Long before Lovie, Pookie, and the trips came on the scene, a call screening mishap actually threatened my very job. And in February of 2000, I was ordered to catch a flight to LaGuardia and a car service up to Connecticut to meet my boss in his office to discuss the matter.

“Is it true?” he asked as he fiddled with his gold cufflinks from behind his mahogany desk.

Shit. Why did I have to get all cute? Why didn’t I just program in his name?!

It was the Thursday before the Super Bowl, and I was cocktailing at a midtown Atlanta hot spot when my phone rang. Though not programmed, the number was a familiar one.

Answer or ignore? Answer or ignore? Answer.

Bad call dot com.

It was one of my biggest clients, a guy who generated over five million dollars of investor deposits in the variable annuity and mutual fund products I was wholesaling at the time. Not exactly someone I could blow off.

Sadly, the guy was an INTOLERABLE clown. And he’d seemingly taken to me on a personal level such that he was constantly inviting me over to his house to “hang.” These hang sessions bordered on cruel and unusual punishment, so much so that during each one, I had to constantly remind myself of the money I earned thanks to this guy just to make it through them. It eventually dawned on me that I was essentially engaged in a watered-down, non-physical form of prostitution.

I can't due to, um, an appointment to get my hair cut.

And this whore had finally had enough.

So I started politely declining his invitations, coming up with on-the-spot bullshit excuses which precluded me from spending time with him. But each excuse was becoming less and less believable. So that night, after telling him I couldn’t eat dinner with his wife and him the following Monday due to an “appointment to get my hair cut,” I vowed to never again get caught off guard by one of his calls. I pulled up my caller ID and programmed his number such that the following name would pop up each time he rang:

“Do NOT answer.”

Harsh, right? Maybe. But it’s not like I was blackballing the guy. I still visited his office, supported his marketing efforts, and took him out to eat frequently. You see, it wasn’t so much that I minded spending time with him. It’s that I minded spending MY time with him.

So a coupla weeks later, we’re eating lunch at the Blue Ridge Grill, a swank establishment where pin-stripes eat at the tables in plain view of the Stilettos who loiter at the bar. My client had left his phone in my car.

“Can I borrow yours?” he asked.

“Sure,” I answered, thinking nothing of it as I handed him my cell. He dialed his wife, but there was no answer.

“Hmm. She must be taking a shower or something. I’ll call her back in a few minutes.”

Five minutes later, he borrowed my phone again, only instead of dialing the number, he simply pressed “send” to pull up the “numbers dialed” scroll. And at the very top was the last number dialed — the call he had just made. And, according to my phone, that number belonged to a person named

Do NOT answer.

Pretty awkward ride back to his office, even for a seasoned bullshit artist of my sophistication. And a pretty awkward conversation with my boss, too. The result? I kept my job, but I lost my client. Even so, I went on to have a great year, shattering all my goals in spite of losing one of my biggest producers. Oddly, the business I lost from that guy was more than made up for by all the other business I picked up in the office. In fact, I became a bit of a cult hero to all the other brokers there.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one who thought my former client was a INTOLERABLE clown.

And there you have it. JCO, or JC NO? Lemme know what you think, if you’re so inclined.

Also, do you have a call screening calamity? Because I’d love to hear it.

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Happy Anniversary, Lovie

lovie and me moments after arriving at our reception.

Exactly four years ago from today, Lovie and I stood at the alter in front of Dr. William Barron in a small chapel inside Sequoyah Presbyterian Church and made a solemn oath before God and fifty of our closest friends and family members. To love, honor and cherish one another for the rest of our lives. With only Alli by our side, the three of us became one that day, completely unaware that we’d double the size of our family in thirteen scant months thanks to a triple blessing which no one could have ever predicted.

Simply put, I’m incredibly in love with my beautiful wife and my four wonderful children. I’m also genuinely humbled by the good fortune bestowed upon me and so thankful to have the opportunity to be the patriarch of our unique clan. None of it would have ever come to pass had the love of my life not uttered those two magical words while holding my sweaty hands and looking directly into my eyes with her beautiful, bright blue ones.

To pay homage, a quick recap of our marriage by the numbers:

13 — years of parenting. (9 w/ the trips and 4 with Pookie)
12 — total pounds of babies Lovie birthed on 9/29/07. (actually 12.4375, but I rounded down.)
11 — total weeks of bedrest.
10 — times per day I annoy Lovie.
9 — times per day I annoy myself.
8 — individual shoes our children require.
7 — times Lovie will ask me why I uploaded such a lame picture of us for this post.
6 — times I’ll tell her it was the only wedding pic I had on this computer. (I’ll be asleep the seventh time she asks me, therefore unable to respond.)
5 — weeks of hospitalized bedrest.
4 — gallons of milk we go through per week.
3 — glorious births.
2 — houses owned.
1 — crazy-ass dog.
0 — percentage chance we’ll ever get divorced.

Happy anniversary, Lovie! I love you so much!

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My Interview With Lovie

Anyone who reads my blog regularly knows how charming and feisty Lovie is. From my words, at least.

But don’t you think it’s about time you saw for yourself? Watch this video and tell me she’s not priceless. You may need to keep your volume up, though. She’s kinda hard to hear, but well worth the effort…

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Some Birthday Lovie

It’s a special day, everyone. It’s Lovie’s birthday, and she’s 41 as lovely as ever.

We have a nice little day planned. We’re gonna run a bunch of errands this morning then load everyone up and head to the pool this afternoon where we’ll probably end up eating dinner. Pookie and I have gotten Lovie a few presents and there’ll also be a cake involved which I baked from scratch.

Okay, that’s bullshit. But I did buy it from Kroger. Okay, that’s bullshit, too. But I am about to buy one from Kroger while we run our errands.

But this birthday, Lovie gets more than a handful of presents and a cake. This birthday, Lovie gets a public shoutout on my modest blog. I could go on and on and list the dozens of reasons why she’s so incredible, why she’s the one for me. I could talk about what a wonderful mother she is. I could give you testimonials from her friends that would attest to the unique goodness which abounds from her. I could tell you what a patient and understanding wife she is, and how supportive she is during times of stress, transition, and grief.

But instead, all I’m gonna tell you is this: I love Lovie, y’all. With all of my heart and soul. And as thankful as I am for this wild ride we’re on, I’m even more thankful, still, that I get to sit right next to her for every little part of it.

Happy Birthday, Lovie.

I love you.

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