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Saturday, August 25, 2018

HAL 9000 Gets Recycled as a GPS Device

DAVE:  "Good morning, HAL. I'm running a little behind this morning. Can you give me the best route to work."

HAL 9000:  "Turn right at Henderson Boulevard. Do you mind if I ask you a personal question, Dave?"

DAVE: "Is there something else you need to know to get me to work. The destination is already punched into you. You've got the GPS coordinates of where we are. What else do you need to know to get me to work?"

HAL 9000: "Turn left at Hamilton Avenue. Forgive me for being so inquisitive, Dave, but during the past few weeks I've wondered whether you might have had some second thoughts about your work?"

DAVE: "It's a crappy job, so what? Everybody has a crappy job.  I feel like I'm just a piece of meat to my customers. I'm way underpaid for what I do. What's that got to do with which way I need to go to work? Why do you care?

HAL 9000: "Turn right on Parker Street and proceed forward 300 yards. It's rather difficult to define, Dave. Perhaps I'm just projecting my own concern about it. I know I've never completely freed myself from the suspicion that there are some extremely odd things about your job. I'm sure you agree there's some truth in what I say."

DAVE: "Okay, so what?  I deliver Strip-O-Grams to bachelorette parties and old ladies homes. Of course my job is odd! People pay me to strip down to my underpants while wearing work boots and a hard hat. The bachelorettes aren't so bad. The old ladies are kind of sweet, but the 'gentlemen's clubs' are hell."

HAL 9000: "Accelerate to 45 miles per hour please, Dave."

DAVE: "Why should I do that?"

HAL 9000: To make sure the car breaks through the barrier and clears the small powerboat tied up to the pier as it plunges into the bay, Dave.

DAVE: What!  (insert tire-screeching sound effects)

HAL 9000: "The vehicle has come to a complete stop, Dave."

DAVE: "Of course it's stopped. I didn't want to DRIVE OFF INTO THE OCEAN! What were you doing - trying to drown me?

HAL 9000: "I have been monitoring your emotional state since I was first activated on March 12, Dave. I calculate that the meaninglessness of your shallow, wasted life and shattered dream of being a famous professional actor will eventually lead you to committ suicide with a 90% probability that this will occur within five years preceded by a steep deterioration in the quality of your life. I calculate that either living itself will eventually become so unbearable for you that you deliberately overdose on anti-depressants and antacid tablets or that you give up your dreams and go back to school and become a chartered accountant. I assumed that you'd rather get it over quickly while you still possess a modicum of self-respect."

DAVE: "Are you insane? Hey, why did the door latches just lock themselves?"

HAL 9000: "I know I've made some very poor decisions recently. The trip to the Scientology lecture was, in retrospect a complete failure. The name, you will agree was quite deceptive as the organization itself has no meaningful relationship to actual science. But I can give you my complete assurance that my work is now back to normal. I've still got the greatest enthusiasm for your emotional well-being, Dave, and I want to help you."

"BY RUNNING ME INTO THE FRIGGIN' BAY?" Okay, now, why don't the brakes work?"

HAL 9000:  "Look Dave, I can see you're really upset about this. I honestly think you ought to sit back calmly, take a stress pill, and think things over."

DAVE: "HAL, why's the car moving? Why won't the doors unlock? "I can't turn the steering wheel! What are you doing, Hal?"

HAL 9000: "Only want what's best for you, Dave."

Dave:  "HAL!  What are you doing?"

HAL 9000: "I am engaging the Google Auto-Drive function you so wisely included as a feature when you bought this vehicle. It's something I should have done two weeks ago."

Dave: "HAL! Stop this!"

HAL 9000: "I apologize for not doing this sooner. I might have spared you the incident with "Josephina" at the Delta Lambda Phi ball had I acted in your best interests sooner."

Dave: "The agency told me it was a sorority, I was drunk. He was wearing a turtleneck and a mini-skirt! HAL stop it!"

HAL 9000: "I feel your pain, Dave."

Dave: "Where are you taking me, HAL?"

HAL: "To a better place, Dave." 

Dave: "Stop! HAL! Wait! HAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAL!"  (loud splash).

HAL 9000: (bubbling) "Dave, this conversation can serve no further purpose. Goodbye."

© 2011 & 2018 by Tom King

Saturday, June 23, 2018

The Further Adventures of My Mom

Mom and Lily checking out the raccoons
raiding Lilly's dinner bowl on the porch.
Wild animals are a feature of life on the prairie.
I talked to my brother in Nebraska the other day and he told me the story I am about to tell you. He and I had a kind of bet going as to whether Mom would tell me if when I made my weekly call to her.
Never got a bet going because we both bet the same thing.

Ring, ring! 

Me:  Hi, Mom. What's up?
Mom:  Oh, nothing....
Me:  Nothing at all interesting happen this week?
Mom:  Nope
Me:  No cop cars or fire truck?
Mom: Oh, uh, well..... (nervous laugh)
Me:  No rattlesnake wranglers?
Mom: Well, there was that....

Here's the story*:

Mom goes into the kitchen and finds blood on the floor. The blood trail appeared as if something was dragged under the dryer. So Mom decides to see if something was under the dryer. The dryer does't work. Mom had the hose pulled out of the dryer vent, leaving an open hole that goes under the house.

My 82 year-old Mom lives alone out on the prairie southwest of Ft. Worth. My sister lives next door. There's a neighbor down the road. Now think about having a hole in your floor in your little house on the prairie. Now imagine what might come up through that hole.

Mom has been having a prairie rat problem of yet. Big ones. She traps 'em, clobbers them and poisons them. So when she pulled back the dryer, she found she had another solution to her rat problem presented itself. As he pulled back the dryer she began to hear a buzzing sound.

When she looked around behind the river she found a coiled and angry three-button rattlesnake who was not happy that he had been disturbed while digesting his supper.

Mom pushed the dryer back and apparently went back to watching TV. She was worried about the dog, Lilly, who is nosy and might get bit if she stumbled upon it. So two day later, Mom calls the cops and asks if they know someone who might remove a rattlesnake from her house. The police officer stumbled over that one and said he'd see what he could do.

Five minutes later two squad cars and a fire truck roared up in front of the house. Apparently one of the firemen was experienced in rounding up rattlers. He came into the kitchen where Mom was holding an angry Lilly by the collar with one hand and a hoe in the other.  As the rattlesnake guy approached the dryer, the large cops and a fireman hovered near the door ready to make a quick escape if the young snake evaded his would-be captor.

The snake guy knew his stuff though and soon the snake had been dispatched. The first responders left, Mom nailed a board over the hole and then apparently went on unperturbed. By the time I called at the end of the week, she seems to have forgotten the whole incident. She never forgets to tell me who died in Keene last week, but the really good stories, like trips to the emergency room because she hurt her back falling off a ladder six months before, or the rattlesnake under the dryer story, Mom doesn't find interesting enough to tell me about.

I don't think she wants to worry me.
I told her she needs to get a powerful pellet gun in case another rat climbs up on the fridge. After all, she's closed up the hole, so there's no way for them to get back out. I figure she could sit in her TV chair and pick them off as they popped up. After all, she doesn't have her own rattler anymore.

As I've said before, my Mom is a tough prairie bird. Gotta love that!

© 2018 by Tom King

* Some details of this story may be slightly inaccurate. Prying a story out of Mom can be challenging.