A Deer, A Skunk, & A Dork

My best friend Gale Storey and I started a “manly tradition” yeScared Hunterars ago in Illinois where he and his family live. We have been friends since basic training in the Air Force where we met over 30 years ago and each year we try to meet at deer camp to hunt.

Whenever I am blessed enough to make the trip to Illinois to spend time with Gale and his family, he is always faithful to work himself too hard to set everything up at the camp, scout the deer, set up stands, and all the other things necessary to insure a successful event. I have said many times that no other person on the planet can do what he does as well, and I always enjoy the trip. It has become one of the things I most look forward to each year.

On this particular trip I had been feeling particularly manly because I had overcome my fear of heights to a degree. Gale set up a tree stand that was so secure that there was no way one could fall but that didn’t ease my nerves much. Once I convinced myself to just do it and got up the tree, all was well, just as he told me it would be.

Even though I was strapped to the tree and on a solid frame, I somehow found a way to lose my balance at just the right time to scare away three deer that had come up right in front of me. I think Gale nearly fell out of his tree as well but only because he was laughing so hard at me. I think I am a constant source of humor for him and Ms. Penny while I am in town. They are so kind that they rarely laugh “at” me but usually “with” me although they are well within the bounds of good taste if they were to laugh me out of the state in most cases. They are simply “good” people and great friends.

One afternoon late in this particular trip I decided that I had been in the tree enough and asked Gale if it would be a good idea to walk out across from the camp and ground hunt that evening. He made the necessary calls and got approval and before long I was geared up and on my way across the massive field to “stalk” my prey in a very manly fashion. I was all decked out in camo, had my trusty bow and arrows ready, my new knife on my hip and plenty of jerky in my pocket. I was ready for an extended test of my ability to survive in the wild, heart pounding, proud, and ready for battle. Well, at least for a couple of hours. It was a little cold so no need to press things right? But hey, in my mind, I was Bear Grylls on a frozen tundra a million miles from civilization. It was a great feeling.

I had missed a couple of shots at deer earlier in the trip but Gale, being a gentleman, didn’t berate me about it. He was supportive and kept me focused on the future hunts. I was intent on putting “meat on the ground” on this day to support my self-image and help me to face Ms. Toni when I got home. Gale had even solved my issue with my bow sights being off earlier that day. My bow was dead on now. We won’t talk about how he did it, but let me just say that he pointed out that nothing was wrong with my bow, but I needed to shoot without my glasses. He is a genius. Pure genius!

On to the hunt. I had sat in a large brush pile on the edge of a fence line for about an hour. I was tucked in nicely and well camouflaged with tree branches. I had my knife out and ready, my jerky was within arm’s reach and my water bottle was at my side. I was a “real man”, ready for everything. I was stealthy with every movement. I had every avenue of approach covered and had gone over every possible shot in my mind a dozen times. I WAS READY!

As the sun began to set and as I was chewing a particularly tough piece of jerky and trying not to choke, I looked up to see seven deer coming across the field directly at me. I swallowed hard and grabbed my binoculars. Yes, they were deer. All does, but deer, and they were headed toward me at a trot from about four hundred yards away. Then the choking began.

I had forgotten to swig down some water to wash down the tough beef jerky, (I like the teriyaki kind), and suddenly realized that I was in a pickle. Choking and hacking I quickly dropped my binoculars and grabbed my water bottle. Yes folks, the wild can be challenging, but I was in this to win so I remained undeterred. As I carefully turned up the bottle of water, tears running down my face, I saw him.

Not twenty yards away stood the largest buck I had ever seen in person. He had run out ahead of the does and I had missed him completely. Now he was standing in front of me trying to figure out what all the gagging was about. I admit it. I panicked a little.

Shaking and choking I put down the water bottle and reached for my bow. I masterfully “knocked” an arrow and took aim. “This big boy is going on the wall!” I thought, as I released the arrow, knowing it was an easy shot. Heck, I could taste the deer jerky already! “Oh wait, I need some more water.”

To my surprise the deer didn’t move as the arrow whizzed through the air. “Man! I am so good he didn’t even know I shot him!” I thought. He continued to stare at me as I began to wonder how this miracle could happen. “How is he still standing with an arrow through him?” I wondered. Then I saw the arrow in the ground under him. It missed by at least a foot. “Stupid crooked arrow!” I thought.

The deer was kind enough to stay still while I fumbled for another arrow and finally got it loaded and drawn. I released it with just a little less confidence but still sure that he was going down and I would be bragging for years over this kill. To my amazement he didn’t move a muscle much less fall to the ground. Through my tears I noticed a puff of dust off in the distance and realized that the shot was high, very high. I believe Mr. Buck was not only confused but was also somewhat concerned about what kind of idiot was sitting in a brush pile choking on jerky and shooting ineffective arrows at him. Apparently he was curious enough to hang around because he gave me time to shoot my final arrow which missed again. Hey, it was getting dark and I was choking. Give me a break on the aiming okay?

I exhaled as the last arrow flew off into oblivion, embarrassed and not knowing how I would explain such a massive failure of manhood. But Mr. Buck was kind as he tipped his ear, flagged his white tail at me and trotted off confidently to meet the does just a few yards away now. One of them huffed at me and the group scampered away joyfully, seemingly laughing at me as they pranced off into the sunset.

Frustrated and deflated, I threw on my backpack, grabbed my gear and bow and started walking through the dusky dark back to camp. “No one has to know.” I thought. “I still look cool in my camo and boots and still have my new knife.” “I will just say I didn’t’ have any luck.”

As I walked and pondered how much fun the hunt was even though I missed, I began to feel better. A slight smile came across my face as I hiked along with the heavy gear on my back. I knew that it was going to be a great day no matter what so I relaxed and headed back in peace. That is, until I saw the little dark image walking towards me.

Before I could think twice I realized in terror that I had walked blissfully upon a mother skunk and she was not too happy to see me. In panic I staggered backwards dropping my bow and losing my balance. I landed on my back tangled in weeds and my backpack. As I drove my heels furiously into the frozen ground trying to get traction to scoot way, the skunk raised her tail and charged me!

Seemingly a million thoughts went through my mind as I fell and attempted to get up, first and foremost was the thought “Toni isn’t going to let me in the house!” Then I thought, “Gale is going to laugh at this one.” and “Oh man, my tahoe is going to stink for weeks!”, just to name a few.

Somehow I managed to get to my feet and run. I had covered somewhere close to fifty yards or so and thought I was at a safe distance when I began to slow. I glanced over my shoulder only to see the little stink bomb still on my heels! “Are you serious?!!!” I uttered out loud. I took off across the field and sprinted as long as my lungs would allow and finally lost the monster of all monsters just as I approached the road. I crossed it and the ditch to safety.

As I dragged myself into camp and explained to Gale how my day had gone I wondered internally how manly I really am. Truthfully, I don’t care. I had a great time with my best friend and made it home to my great family without any real harm. That is a successful trip in my book. But, I cannot help but think that the deer and the skunk were in on it together and that they still laugh over the water hole at me. I just hope they found my new knife because I lost it on top of everything else in my run for the hills.

At the end of the day, we have to look at the fiasco’s in our life and try to find some humor in it. As it turns out, I have an easier time finding that than I do wild game. Oh well, there is always next year.

(To my friend Gale and to his wife Penny and the girls.  Thank you for being there to help me find the comedy over the years. God blessed me with you as friends and I am eternally thankful for all that you do.)

Ken Dulaney
December 2015

Ken Profile 6

I would like to dedicate this true story to two of the giants in this world that I had the great fortune to meet and know, Mr. John & Mrs. Louise Storey of Enfield, IL., Gale’s mom and dad. They passed away recently and we will miss them terribly. They were truly two of the best examples of what it means to be a good human being I have ever met. They will always be giants in my eyes and the world is better because of the examples they set and who they were. Rest easy friends, and Mrs. Storey, I hope to go fetch the paper for you in heaven someday. I know Ms. Toni and Ms. Penny will laugh at me there right along with you.

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Cooperate with the Inevitable to Combat Worry

A recent quote I read stated, “No one living has enough emotion and vigor to fight the inevitable anDont Worry Be Happy Picd, at the same time, enough left over to create a new life. Choose one or the other. You can either bend with the inevitable sleetstorms of life or you can resist them and break!” Dale Carnegie

If you are facing something that worries you and it is distracting you from operating at your full potential, you owe it to yourself and to those around you to apply the quote above to your life or situation. Four things that I use from Mr. Carnegie’s book to remind myself of this and help me to apply it to my life are:

  1. Determine what the worst possible outcome is in the current worry/situation.
  2. Determine what you are prepared to do as a result of that outcome.
  3. Begin to work from that point and build positive ground from there.
  4. Anything other than the worst possible outcome becomes a bonus and less work/worry for you.

Once you answer “What is the absolute worst that can happen?” you begin to realize what you can realistically do about it. If there is nothing to be done, then put it to the side in your mind and go on with your life. “Co-operate with the inevitable” as the author puts it.

Even in the simplest worrisome situations, this will greatly reduce your stress and help you to become more effective and efficient. But, you have to practice!

If you haven’t read Dale Carnegie’s “How to Stop Worrying and Start Living”, I recommend it.

Ken Dulaney

10-31-2015

 

When Irish “Lies” Are Smiling? That can’t be right can it?

I say this tongue in cheek and of course with a sense of humor and love for the people of Ireland. They are good, courteous, warm people and the country is very beautiful. Toni and I learned, however, that they will tell you a lie in a heartbeat, a very specific lie. We know of no other lies told to us during our trip, but this very specific lie is apparently a nationally adopted lie as we were told from coast to coast the very same lie, over and over again.Irish Eyes Are Smiling

What is the lie? “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

That was the words we heard over and over again. From Dublin to Kilkenney, from Cork to Killarney, from Sleigh Head to Nag’s Head , on to Ennis, and from Galway to Tara, the hill of the Kings, on back to Dublin, every person we asked “Where is the best local coffee shop or restaurant?” The answer was almost the same every time.

I have developed a pretty solid Irish accent for when I tell the story in person. Since that won’t translate here, just try to imagine a leprechaun with a southern accent, that should give you a good idea of how it sounds.

Day 1: Land in Dublin. Ask taxi driver where food was. “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant! Tis ov’r by the Guiness factory. Easy walk, no problem , no problem.” 50 minutes later, we find that the hotel restaurant is the best bet.

Day 2: Drive to Kilkenny. Check in at Bed and Breakfast (B&B), find out the lady that owns it was a Delaney. “Lovely people. Just lovely.” She says. We ask where the food is. She says ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!” “Walk toward downtown, you will be there in no time. No problem, no problem.”

45 minutes later, Toni is looking over her shoulder at me like I am a dork for listening to another Delaney. We find the café and she gets hooked on coffee with brown sugar made from sugar beets.

Day 3: Still in Kilkenny.   Ask the same lady for a pub with good food. Same response. “No problem, no problem, 20 minutes brisk walk. Lovely and brilliant.”

40 minutes later, still walking. Toni curses under her breath and asks what Guiness is, then decides she wants two of them.

Day 4: Leaving for Killarney and it is getting cold. Find, along the way, Delaney’s Pub out in the country. Drink coffee and get directions from Mr. Delaney, ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a twenty minute drive, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

5 hours later, after being lost in the mountains in central Ireland and having seen no leprechans or fairies, we finally find a café to eat not far from Killarney. After eating we asked the waitress how far to Killarney, you guessed it. “No problem, maybe a 20 minute drive. It’s lovely, just lovely.”

2 hours later we call the B&B and limp into the parking lot.   It was just before dark and he states “You have to get up to the top of the hill over there before sundown to see the most beautiful place in Ireland, just off the Ring of Kerry.” How far is it?”  I asked, exhausted from the drive and white knuckle roads (on the left side no less).   “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

I swear that is what he said. Ask Toni if you don’t believe me.

45 minutes later, we reach the top of the hill. It was breathtaking, no doubt. But here is the problem… I don’t care how pretty it is up there. If Toni is tired, achy, and hungry, there better be a coffee shop up there in one of those trees or someone is getting smacked. Since I was the only one with her, I kept my distance. Once we made the hike back down the hill, she was considering adding a Guiness to her diet. I tended to agree that it would be a good idea. Oh, by the way, we did eat at 8:00 pm, and yes, it was only a brisk 20 minute walk that only took us an hour. We decided to call a cab. Best idea of the trip.

Day 5. Drove to west coast. Amazing scenery. Toni attempts to push me over the cliffs of Moher because they have no coffee. Irish man playing music on the street said the café was only 20 minutes away if you walk briskly. I don’t remember if we ate or not. She slapped me into three days from then.

Day 6: Arrive at B&B in Ennis. Hear a great story from the Innkeeper and his wife on Irish history and the revolution. Asked them both where the oldest café/pub was to feed Toni Guiness AND coffee. His answer, no kidding, “Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

Toni nearly pushed me into the river at minute 40 and stated that if she didn’t’ get coffee and chunky chips soon she would drown me herself. I learned to walk faster but still 45 minutes to eat.   Did hear wonderful music from local students and ate like little Irish oinkers.

Day 7: Drove all day in amazement of the West Coast. Arrived in Galway Bay. Knowing what the answer would be, we asked the Innkeeper anyway, “Where is the closest restaurant, and DON”T tell us it is a 20 minute brisk walk! We know better.” He replies, “Oh, well, truly, it is only a 20 minute brisk walk down the boardwalk.” We thought, “LIES!!!” lol.

We sat out walking and it was twenty minutes or so down to the water’s edge, yes, but we had to turn left and walk from there. Ten minutes into that walk we met a man of around 90 years of age walking with his 60 year old daughter. He was on a cane. Ten minutes after that, he caught us walking back the same way. He strikes up a conversation with us, tells us of how he is retired and now drinks Guiness and chases women, to which his daughter agreed.  Fifteen minutes later we came to the end of that sidewalk. I asked him, “Can you tell us how far it is to the downtown area and the café’s?” Knowing full well what his answer was likely to be. He looked at us with an Irish smile and confidently exclaimed, ““Oh yes, no problem whatsoever, it is only a brisk twenty minute walk, no problem, no problem. Lovely, lovely. Brilliant, brilliant!”

Day 8 and 9: Much of the same, great food, great people and great long walks, all over twenty minutes, but after a while, we realized that we were just slow walkers.

Day 10: Arrive in Atlanta airport and then in Memphis. We out-walked everyone on every concourse. I think we were even faster than the train! No problem, no problem. Brilliant and lovely! Toni looks everywhere for a brown sugar coffee and a Guiness. Her limit is 14 at this point but at least she misses me more when she slaps at my head.

So, the Irish lies were wonderful and so were the smiles. I recommend a trip there anytime!

Thank you to all that made the trip possible. It was a blessing from God  and our wonderful girls, Tiffoni, Micala, and Monique, and we loved every single minute of it and will never forget it.   Lovely and brilliant!

Ken Dulaney

September, 2015

Time is short.  Do you hear that calling in your heart?  Jesus is calling.  Please hear Him.  He loves you and will never let you down, ever.  He can help with any problem you might have, no problem, no problem.  And He is always brilliant and lovely.  Just call on Him and be amazed.

Some Kind of Stupid

I can’t blame this one on Ambien but Ms. Toni tells me the result is the same. Please don’t judge me… well, okay, you can judge me a little.

Having raised three daughters I am very protective. I have preached (unlicensed) for years to theHitchhiker picm and Toni not to trust strangers and for goodness sake, don’t be so dense as to pick up hitch hikers. It is just too dangerous.

A few weeks ago I was headed home from Jackson on a Friday afternoon. It was one of those unseasonably warm days and as I left town on I-55, I noticed a man walking north on the side of the road. He had on a long sleeved blue shirt, newer looking jeans and fairly new shoes. I noticed him because he was walking very fast but had nothing in his hands at all, no backpack, nothing. I was in the passing lane so I couldn’t stop. I went on up the road thinking, “I hope he wasn’t having problems.”

I pulled over in Canton, Miss. to get gas which took about ten minutes, got back on I-55 north and headed out. About five miles down the road I see the same guy, still “bookin” it. Again, I thought to at least stop and ask him if he was okay but I was in the passing lane again and was blocked by traffic and couldn’t have gotten over safely. I thought, “That is peculiar. He has made amazing time.” I said a short prayer for him and felt bad that I didn’t stop. I didn’t know why I felt bad, but something was nagging at me.

I travelled for a while and decided to stop near Kosciusko for a soft drink. When I got back out onto the highway, almost at the onramp, I saw the same guy again! “This is too weird,” I thought. I almost pulled over but for whatever reason, I chickened out. I prayed again, “God, I don’t know if you are trying to teach me something or not, but this is freaking me out a little. I am past the guy now and in a hurry but if I see him again, I will stop and ask if I can help.” With that, and a sizable dose of guilt, I jetted onward to Greenwood for my appointment.

Two hours later, I pass by the Grenada exit. Who do you think I see?  Yes, you guessed it, the same guy. So I pulled over.

The gentleman approached my car and I asked, “Where you headed?”  “Chicago” he says. “Do you have any weapons on you?” I ask. “No sir!” he states as he empties his pockets as if I were an officer of the law.

“I never do this, but come on in, I can get you as far as Batesville,” I said. He eagerly hopped into the car and I handed him a bottle of water. “Man it is too warm to be out here walking. Drink this water.” I said. He gladly took it. That was the last calm thought I had for thirty five miles.

“I have been living under a bridge for years down in Louisiana,” he volunteered. “Been hiding out from the CIA and the FBI!”. “Now I am headed up to Chicago to catch a submarine under my old high school. They are taking me to an underwater island in the Atlantic where all the past Miss America’s are. That’s where I am going to be working for them from now on. Did you know that when they take them to that island, they stay young forever? I can’t wait to see them all.”

Pause… Yep. That’s what I thought too. No joke. That is exactly what he said.

I was speechless. It was too late to pass him again because he is in my car now. I thought to myself, “Holy smokes what have I gotten myself into?” Then thought, “Maybe I can just jump out and run… I can replace the car!” But I decided the best thing to do was to make sure I don’t say anything to set him off and get him to Batesville as fast as possible.

I spent the next thirty minutes or so trying to get caught by the highway patrol. I was running around 85 intentionally, but wouldn’t you know it, none were sight. Other than that I just tried to agree with him and tell him how awesome he must be. I did slip in a little word or so about God protecting him but to be honest, it must have been pretty insignificant.

When I let him out at Batesville I pulled over and said “Man I hate it, but here is my turn.” “You be safe.”

He got out and thanked me for the ride. “I have to get to the bottom of the stairwell at my school. The principal is going to meet me there to take me down to the sub. Maybe I will make it there by the weekend.” With that he closed the door. I headed for home on highway 6, breathing a sigh of relief that I had not provoked a serious problem.

I called my wife to confess my mistake. As you can imagine, she was furious. “Of all the hair-brained, stupid, goofy, idiotic antics that you have graced this planet with, Ken, this one takes the cake!” I agreed and still do. In my defense, I had to do what I said I would do. I made a promise to God, but I am still unsure of the lesson I was to learn but I do know this…

I don’t care how fast you are walking, I am not picking anyone else up unless an angel is sitting on my hood telling me to do so. (Don’t you dare say it… If he shows up, I ain’t admitting it.) Besides, I would rather take a beating than have to see Ms. Toni that upset with me again.

I promise, this is exactly what happened. “You can’t make up this kind of stupid, Ken!” Direct quote from Toni. I hope you get a laugh and a lesson of some kind out of this story. Let me know when you figure out what the lesson is, please.

Thought:  There is no way you can surprise God

Ken Dulaney

May, 2014

P.S.  If you think you can’t bring the silly things you have done in your life to Jesus and be forgiven, then consider how much goofy stuff He has heard from guys like me.  He will forgive anything if you bring it to Him in honest repentance.  He promises in His word.  He loves you.  No problem is too big for Him.  Trust Him.

Bengay Burns!

My honey-do list has gotten pretty long since summer time has arrived. Between the garden, the grass, and the critters, I have plenty to keep me busy just about every weekend.

A few weeks ago I finished the weekend very proud of myself. After having mowed and trimmed the entire lawn I had found some extra energy and decided to venture out into the edge of the woods to trim up some underbrush that had taken over that particular area. When I finished, I was covered from head to toe with “weed guts”, that the weed eater had scattered all over me, Braveheart picbut I was very proud of my accomplishment and it looked pretty good.

A few hours later I began to feel a burning sensation on my arms and on my neck but especially troublesome was the itch in the soft part of my underarm.   As the evening progressed, the itch got worse and I soon realized that I the “weed guts” that had been thrown onto me was actually a chemical weapon used by an aggressive attacker called poison ivy.

In my usual panicked and frustrated state I complained just before bedtime and as usual, Toni came to the rescue. “I have some ointment that might help,” she said. After a short time of shuffling medicines she emerged from the medicine cabinet with a tube of goo that was to help me get some relief. I applied it to the itchy areas and laid down for the night.

After Toni went to sleep the itch seemed to grow more intense as every moment passed. I lay in bed trying to be strong and a tough it out but the menace got the best of me so I decided, because I am so wise, to get up and put a double dose of that gooey stuff on my now spreading rash. It was particularly bad under my arms so that was the target for the moment.

I wandered into the bathroom afraid to turn on the light, because I didn’t want to wake Toni, and felt around for the ointment. The tube I found seemed a little different but I really didn’t pay attention.

That is… until the burning started.

By now, I am sure you know what happened. I had reached into the cabinet and pulled out the tube of Bengay instead of the soothing goo I had hoped for. I thought to myself in a split second “I don’t even use Bengay!” DANGIT! But it was too late. I frantically rubbed the area with a towel but I couldn’t get it to come off.

Complete panic set in as I felt the heat get progressively worse and worse. “What do I do?” I thought. “I know, I will put water on it!” Want to guess how that ended? Nope, didn’t work!   The heat continued to rise and so did my tone of voice. Finally Toni heard me scrambling around and woke up asking “Ken, WHAT are you doing now?!” I didn’t want to tell her. “Ummmm, nuthin..” I said sheepishly through my tears.

Suddenly the light came on. There she stood with that look on her face. You know the one right? The “kinda sorry for you, kinda think you’re a stupid idiot” look? By this time the pain and the heat had gotten so bad that I was beginning to wiggle around and dance a little jig of sorts standing right there in my underwear. “That’s what you get you bonehead!” she laughed. “If you would have told me, I could have stopped you!”

Here is how you stop the burn. You DON”T! I had to wait for it to either wear off or until my nerve endings were just too exhausted to feel anything. I think the latter was the case but it took way too long. The only good thing that came out of it was that at least Toni got another laugh at my expense. I tell you, I am not doing myself any favors in the area of “respect from my wife”.

Is that where I am in my life? Do I have to have her to guide my every move? I suppose it is the case to an extent. One thing is for sure. .. The label on the back of the Bengay tube is no joke. Take it from me. It burns really bad applied to the wrong area. I just hope I never need that Preparation H stuff.

Don’t get burned by your bad decisions because you walk in the dark.  Jesus Christ is the light, and He will forgive your every mistake so that burn never gets you.  He is God and He loves you.  That’s all there is to it.

Ken Dulaney

July, 2014

“Spend just 5 minutes in prayer for Israel and Christians being tormented in the Middle East.”

Arguing With A Robot

March 2013

It had been a long day at work and I had just settled into my big ole comfy chair at home while sipping on a Dumb robotbigolesweettea, and listening to the day’s events as discussed by my wife and daughters when I realized that I am really not that “hip” or “cool”. Up until now, I felt fairly comfortable with my knowledge of recent trends in our language. For example, I know full well when to use the words “sweet” and “cool” and “spiffy”. That makes me current right? Wrong, wrong, wrong!

The evening conversation that was taking place was so far over my head that I had given up on taking part in it. Like a good little husband I sat there and kept my mouth shut, for a little while. After a half hour or so of what seemed to me to be Greek jibber jabber, I finally heard something that sounded familiar. Tiffoni, Monique and Micala were now talking about Tiffoni’s wedding plans and someone said “RSVP”.   “Hey, what does that mean anyway?” I blurted out. My Harvard educated wifey pooh jumped right in as if I were not cool or hip or spiffy at all. Go figure.

“It means Reply, See Voo Play!” she said. “Reply See Voo Play?” I asked exasperated. “I get the reply part, and I kind of understand the play part, but I don’t get the rest of it.” She prissed around the corner with an indignant school teacher’s look about her and said “Darn it Ken, it means please reply! It is French!”

“Well that changes everything!” I said. “I had no idea our family was now speaking French! Stunned that we were suddenly, and without warning to me, a multi-lingual family, I asked very humbly, “Why in the world don’t you just say “Hey, let me know that you’re coming to my shindig.”?” That made a lot of sense to me but apparently the circles in which the female units in my family run frown upon such simple requests, especially if they are submitted with a southern accent.

“Dad!” the girls all seemed to be in concert, “You just aren’t up to date with things are you?” That is when Monique, the youngest, began to instruct me on a few of the new terms used by young folks today. To my surprise I am not allowed to use them, any of them. I am not sure why.  She explained the use of words like “G” and “most”. I think “G” stands for gangster or something close to that, but it may mean “greatest”. I argued about “Most” as she used it in a sentence to help me out. “You’re the most” she said. “I am?” I replied. “Not really,” she said, “I was giving you an example.” “Ooooh,” I said. So let me see if I understand…

Slowly and calmly I said “So if I am the “G”, that is good? “Yes,” Monique answered. “ And in a few years, if I remain cool, the next bunch will say I am M, N, O, or God forbid a P? And if I am the “most” now, doesn’t that leave very little room for improvement? I mean how do I get better or bigger than the “most”? I suppose the good news is that if I am the “most” now, then I have no reason to diet because I can’t get more mostest’er right?” “She sighed and said, I was giving you an example, you are not the most,” laughing at me. “Well that’s depressing coming from my own daughter!” I shouted.   After they finished laughing at me for the third or fourth time I just gave up and tried to change the subject which brings me to a question.

Is it appropriate or allowed to argue with a robot?  I hope that it doesn’t make me a weirdo but I had an all-out brawl with my wireless company’s new supposed “user friendly”, “more convenient”, “ better for my overall well-being” answering system. It is about as convenient as a rusty spoon in the eye, or a belt sander on a toilet seat, both of which I was almost willing to do to myself before the call was completed. I won’t name them although I am tempted. I will say that their name rhymes with “Pee-wire”.

The rhyme and the experience overall reminds me of a time when I was three or four years old and I had an encounter with an electric fence that my mom, Ms. Dot, had clearly warned me not to touch. But, like most boys, I was hard-headed. On that day as I played in the back yard near Smithville, Mississippi, I had to use the bathroom pretty bad.  Curiosity got the best of me so I thought it a good idea to just pee on that fence.

Peeing on Fence

Needless to say, I learned a valuable lesson that day.  When I got up off the ground I remember saying to two things to myself.  1.  I hope no one saw that, especially mom, and 2.  I will never do that again because it hurts really bad!

That was a bad day for sure, but not much worse than the day last week when I called my cellular company to ask one simple question.  Here is how my call went (Not word for word, but you get the idea from my point of view):

Carrier: “Welcome to ___**___ company. Please listen to the recording because we changed our menu options and you can’t talk to a human. This is to help you and make your experience much more pleasant, frustrate you until you scream, chew a gap in your steering wheel, and run up the number of minutes you have to pay us for. Please tell me what you would like to do.”

Ken: “Customer Service”

Carrier: “You can’t do that. Let me give you some choices to pick from. You can say Pay my bill, add some more expensive stuff, or buy another phone altogether. What would you like to do?”

Ken: “Representative”

Carrier: “You can’t do that. Let me give you some choices to pick from. You can say Pay my bill, add some more expensive stuff, or buy another phone altogether. What would you like to do?”

At this point I decided to use an age old trick and press “0” to hopefully get to a representative. The annoying voice recording reminded me right away that I couldn’t do that and she did not understand. It may have been me, but it seemed as if she was getting increasingly annoyed with me. I swear, I think they programmed the system to sound more and more condescending as you continue unless you answer the questions in the way they want.  To make matters worse, I had now been on the phone with this narcissistic robot for over twenty minutes and my patience had expired.

Ken: (yelling, as the lady in the car next to me considered dialing 911, I am sure)  “REPRESENTATIVE, REPRESENTATIVE, REPRESENTATIVE!!!!!” I must have said it ten or twelve times, more angry with each interruption from my new robot friend.

Carrier: “You can’t do that, You can’t do that, You can’t do that,” to each of my screams.

Ken: “Holy smokes lady! All I want to do is find out why my bill went up! You morons can’t figure out how to simply send me to a person? Of all the stupid…..!”

She finally understood one word out of all of my ranting…”bill”.

Carrier: “Pay your bill! Let me help you with that. You can say “Pay my bill now, pay my bill later, how much do I owe, and hey, I want to spend a whole lot more money. What would you like to do?”

I literally pulled my car over the side of the road and screamed at the top of my lungs. Want to know what she said?

Carrier: “You can’t do that.”

Will someone please, the next time I have a thought of calling a company that has an automated system, please, for the love of all that is good and holy, put an electric fence in front of me and turn it up on stir fry.   That sounds so nice right now!

May God bless you and all that you do.

Ken Dulaney

Ken Profile 6

Here Kitty Kitty

Kitty PicEarly one Saturday morning I awoke to a curious scraping sound at 1:10 am. At first I thought it was a nightmare and since I didn’t’ hear it again right away I plopped back down onto my pillow. It didn’t take but a minute or so until I heard it again. Scrape, scrape, scraaaaaaaape. I leaned over and peeked out the window, half expecting to see Freddie Cruger from “Nightmare on Elm Street” staring back at me, flicking a bladed hand in the moonlight. But to my relief, Freddie was nowhere in sight. I thought “What in the world could that be?  I got up to investigate and noticed it seemed to be coming from the bathroom. As I crept through the doorway it continued. All at once I felt a lump in my throat and a sudden wrenching feeling deep in the pit of my stomach as I heard “Meeeowww”.

None of the cats were my idea and I certainly didn’t want this one, but guess who got to go out in the middle of the night and fish this little terrorist out of the tree? You guessed it…the stupid guy. So tonight, “Prissy” (translation: Demonious Catious) had somehow found her way into the attic and now had herself stuck in the wall of our bathroom!

Somewhat panicked I quickly and quietly tried to get dressed. I don’t know if you have ever been half asleep and attempted to put on baggy pajama bottoms with a flash light in your hand but it isn’t easy. I got my leg stuck, hopped on one leg for about three hops and crashed into my hanging clothes in the closet. It hurt, but I was more worried about waking my wife Toni and to my surprise she never stirred. (I think she was awake but ignored me.) Now sweating, heart racing, and without a clue as to where the cat really was, I made my way out the back door and downstairs. Mack, our Labrador, decided that we were going to chase critters and came flying by me, nearly putting me on my back again. I thought to myself, “This might be a really bad idea. Maybe I should just let the cat find her own way out.” I took a few more steps and noticed I had my pajamas on backwards. Go figure.

After about twenty minutes of stomping through the dew covered back yard, travelling back and forth from the basement entrance and the garage, I found myself no closer to finding the little furry Freddy Cruger wannabe. I decided to crawl under the house in an attempt to locate her without waking Toni. This meant low crawling in the dirt and spider webs so you can imagine how frustrated I was becoming. My first trip across the cold dirty basement produced zilch, nothing, not even a hint of a cat, so I crawled back out and headed back to the garage where I finally heard her little demon voice once again.

I trounced up and down, back and forth trying to locate the little snot but she kept moving . I was in the grass, in the basement, in the garage, back in the grass, three or four times before I decided to just leave her there.   By the time I got back out of the basement for the fourth time, Toni and Tiffoni, my oldest daughter, were standing on the deck looking at me as if I were a certified loony tune. I thought to myself as I peered up at my two judges, “So much for just leaving the little beady eyed devil where she was. Heck I am going to sleep in the truck.” “What are you doing now?” Toni asked with an indignant tone. After she finished interrogating me with a couple of dozen questions, all of which implied that I somehow had something to do with the whole thing, she paused to take a breath.

“Meeeow”. The cat had made her way down the overhang and was now in the siding right behind Toni. You would have thought the house was on fire. “Get her out, get her out, get her out!” she screamed as she started banging on the wall. I yelled back, “Let me get the ladder!” happy that the focus had shifted off of me.

About twenty minutes later I had ripped a chunk of siding off the house, had insulation falling on me like snow, and had cut my hand in about five places, and was beginning to develop a number of cramps in my back, legs, and most notably in my brain. I stuck my head up through the hole I had made and was somewhat shocked to see a bug-eyed grey fuzz covered demon of a cat staring at me as if I was holding up her next hair appointment. “Here kitty kitty kitty” I said one more time as I teetered on top of the ladder, hand outstretched. “Nope” she seemed to say, “You’re not good enough” and refused to move. She was just laying there like a knot on a log, seemingly very proud of herself.

In my mind’s eye I could imagine the little demonic furball quietly laughing at me while whispering “Just go to sleep!” in a tone that Freddie Cruger himself would find eerie. That was it! “Toni, you get her. I am done. She can stay up there for all I care,” I said.

Toni was able to coax the little snot out far enough to grab her, but I was giggling inside just a little when the cat latched onto her hip and refused to let go. Hey, why should I be the only one with scars right? When the ordeal was finally over we were both scratched up and worn out. When we made it back to bed the last thing I remember Toni saying was “Bless her little heart.” I just rolled my eyes, sighed and pulled the covers over my head. “I can think of something other to bless besides her heart.”

God has a funny way of showing us the comedy in our lives.  Although I didn’t laugh much that day I can look back now and laugh, knowing that He has tried to get me out of some difficult situations only to have me refuse to do the right thing and save myself.  I guess how we see our current situation depends on our perspective but He always has his arm stretched out to help us.  I am going to try in the future not to scratch His arm up so he can get me out of the attic.  Thank you for reading and for your comments.

Anyone need a cat?

Ken Dulaney

May, 2012