Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate Car Buying

I am currently buying a car.  This is one of the most frustrating experiences currently available in America, slightly ahead of having cable TV installed or trying to clear up an insurance snafu.  It isn’t the fact that the game has been set up that the car dealer tries to completely fuck you with a nod and a wink.  It isn’t the inherent dishonesty in the entire process.  It is the joy of being ripped off by low rent punks that don’t even attempt to conceal the fact that they are laughing at you all the way.

There is arguably no better time to be a consumer in America.  The sheer amount of information and disinformation available to a potential car buyer online provides more than enough ammunition to defend yourself should you foolishly wander into the pack of wolves that are most dealerships.  There was once a time when the buyer walked in like a little pink baby crawling through broken glass in a snake pit.  There was no chance of emerging unscathed.  As a car dealer once told me with wistful nostalgia, “It was like clubbing baby seals man.  People would come in looking for a blue car, leave in a pink pickup truck thinking they were the luckiest motherfuckers in the world.  Meanwhile I’m high fiving my way down the hall cause I just made $10,000 off this dumbfuck.”  Ah… The good old days…

There are good dealerships.  There are bad dealerships.  Without question the ones serving the lowest common denominator are the ones with “special sales”.  There is a huge population out there that is under the impression that there are BIG SAVINGS to be had with a “tent sale”.  Why would a retail operation discount their profit margins further after they have already spent an additional $3000 renting a big circus tent and the $20,000 in advertising telling rubes that there is a $3000 circus tent chock full of savings set up?  Does that make any sense?  But people go…

It never ends.  Example.  Hey!  It’s a 72 Hour Sale!  There is no reason that a sale that lasts three days, seven days, or a hundred centuries would offer savings.  The price is the price.  Margins have been set.  They have the same bottom line the day before the sale as the day of the sale as the day after the sale.  That 72 Hour Sale! crap is just to get the rubes attention.  “Holy fuck Marge!  That sale is going to be over on Wednesday!  We will never get $3000 trade in for that pretty pink pickup truck unless we get in there right fucking now!!!!”

This inevitably leads to the “$5000 Minimum Trade In” deal.  Anyone with half a brain realizes that if a car dealer is going to give $5000 for a $1000 1983 Buick LeSabre, that they have probably raised the price of the vehicle they are selling to make up that $4000 difference.  Yet, there are hillbillies white knuckling a ride to a dealership in a death trap car to some sort of “Push, Pull, or Drag” event where they think they are going to get over.  And that, really, is the entire point…

As Americans we must like the fact that the whole thing is an unwinnable game, like Vegas Strip blackjack.  We like the culture of Arab horse trading.  There is no other industry where we would put up with a culture of deception like this one.  Can you imagine walking into Sears to buy a grill and the experience was the same?

“Mr. Miller, I see you looking at the Weber, but have you looked at the Grillmaster 4000?  It received a 5 star rating for the American Grilling Association.”

Well, I really wanted the Weber… I read online that it’s a good one for the money and..

“Mr. Miller, it’s not that the Weber is bad, it’s just that the Grillmaster 4000 is an amazing value.  With over 14 feet of grill space, seven burners, a deep fryer, and popcorn maker, it’s all the grill you will ever need.  Let’s fire up a steak!”

Can I just get a price on the Weber?  I see that you have it listed for $1750 here in the store but everywhere else online I saw it was $500…

“Well Mr. Miller, I’m sure you understand that we do a five point safety inspection on all of our grills, and that is reflected in the deluxe price.  I’ll tell you what… Let me talk to my manager and see what I can do.  First, can you give me your license so I can make a copy of it for your convenience?  It’s our policy.”

Well, I guess…  Is this going to take long?

“No sir!  I’ll be back in just a second!”

(25 Minutes Later)

“Mr. Miller.  I have some great news.  I was able to talk to my manager, and he allowed me to discount the price of the Weber to $1748.  Also, just for the heck of it, I had him give me a price on the Grillmaster 4000.  You’d better sit down… He has authorized me to offer you the Grillmaster 4000 for just $129 a month.  That’s the best grill on the planet for $129 a month.”

But I want the Weber…

“Mr. Miller?  Are you really going to turn down the greatest grill in America for only $129 a month?  For just about $4 a day, you can have the 5 star rated grill that I myself bought last year.  I couldn’t be happier.  So… What will it take to get you in that grill today?”

I really just want the Weber at the $500 I see everyone else sells it for… Can I get my license back so I can leave?  I’ll just get it somewhere else.

“Mr. Miller… What if I were to offer you a set of steak knives if you were to buy that Grillmaster 4000 right now.  No extra cost.  Steak knives and the best grill on the planet.  Right now.  Can I get you to commit?  Right now?”

I think I want to leave.  Can I have my license back?

“Of course.  I left it with my manager.  Let me go get it for you.  I’ll be right back.”
(35 Minutes Later)

“Hi Mr. Miller! I’m Chuck, the sales manager here.  I understand you want your license back so you can leave, and I am absolutely going to give that to you, but first can you do one thing for me?”

What’s that?

“Can you fire up that Grillmaster 4000?  I would feel it would be a crime for me to let you leave without tasting a steak cooked on this baby!”

(The shot fades to me lugging an enormous grill to my car while those two asshole sales guys are laughing at me through the store window in their cheap short sleeve dress shirts and name tags.  The Weber sits alone in the back corner among a huge showroom of cheap quality Chinese Political Prisoner Built Grillmaster 4000s.  I will pay $129 a month for 72 months and feel shame every time I grill a hot dog from that point on.  It will be the symbol of my failure as a man.)

I don’t know how this whole car negotiation is going to go.  I am doing my best, but let’s face it, I am probably up against an adversary which has no soul.  The best I can hope for is to get “kinda fucked” instead of “really fucked”.  All I know for sure is that if you see me in a pink pickup truck, do me a favor.  Tell me you like it and nod with appreciation when I tell you “I got a good deal!”.        

Tuesday, April 22, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate the "Law Office"


Randy Williams
Operations Director
Law Offices of Mitchell Bluhm and Associates
PO Box 3269
Sherman TX 75090

Dear Randy,

As per my discussion with a variety of your “associates” from your “legal office”, I have yet to receive a copy of any invoice or documentation of any kind that shows I received medical treatment for the disputed total of $100 something dollars.  If I may, I understand the tactic of calling me and identifying yourselves as part of a “legal office”.  I’m sure many of the rubes you contact begin quaking in their proverbial boots that John Law has come for them.  I am not one of these rubes.  I realize that I am being contacted by some undereducated hourly employee that is trapped in a soulless call center, their past actions relegating them to this horrific fate of trying to shake a few coins loose from unsuspecting dopes like myself.  It’s a tough go, but I can’t dwell on these poor folks.    

As I have stated multiple times, I am more than willing to pay any outstanding debt I may have incurred.  You can probably understand my hesitance at giving my credit card information to a complete stranger from a call center that is misrepresenting themselves while collecting an alleged bill for which there is no hard record.  I wish I could trust your “legal office”.  I really do.  However we live in an age of deceipt and digital illusion.  If I were to blindly offer up my credit card information, the next thing I know I will start receiving bills from some Eastern European nation I am only vaguely familiar with and a man name Boris will be sipping 1992 Pol Roger champagne in a hot tub while being fellated by some ex-model sex slave all on my dime.  This, of course, gives me pause…

Now I have given my consent each time I have received a call from any member of your crack legal team for them to produce any document that shows the medical services I have received and have not paid in full.  At one point I was told that I would receive an email completely documenting these charges.  I never received this email.  I was called yesterday and told that it was sent on April 4th with a tone of voice like I am some sort of deadbeat that was expertly playing some sort of elaborate dodge.  Yet, when I checked my email box I found no email from your “law office”.  I was told I should check my junk/spam folder as this email was sent in a way that it routinely lands in these folders.

Allow me to offer you some expert advice.  If you send an email to someone that has specifically requested this email, it might be in everyone’s best interest to send it in a manner that it will not land in a spam folder.  Why in the name of God would you deliberately send an email that you know will land in my spam folder?  It would be as if you asked me for a check and then had me crumple it up and toss it in your front yard as opposed to placing it in an envelope and placed in your mailbox.  Ye Gods man.

I checked my spam folder and found no evidence of any invoice being sent to me on April 4th.  I did notice an offer from a company that has a product that will increase my sexual performance (though I don't know how they are aware of my current performance or lack thereof), and an intriguing situation where 100,000 gallons of oil has been diverted from its original course off the coast of Africa and is available to me at a fraction of the original price.  While I will no doubt look further into this exciting commodities opportunity, I was unable to find any evidence that your “law firm” sent me any of the requested documentation.

While I at first enjoyed being on your call list and chatting with the various associates of your “legal firm”, I must suggest we put an end to this arrangement.  I will put the ball in your court once again.  If you produce an honest-to-God document showing I received medical attention, I will pay you in full.  If you are unable to do so, please move on to some other target on your call list.

Happy Earth Day,

Greg Miller

Monday, April 21, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate "Boston Strong"

I have really had enough of the Boston Marathon coverage.  I’m willing to absorb the self-importance of recreational marathon runners, each of them convinced that they alone have achieved a feat that makes them unique in their achievement.  I’ll even give them a pass on those annoying “26.2” magnets they put on their Subarus to announce to everyone their self-perceived superiority.  Yes, you completed a 26 mile race.  Congratulations.  You are fucking amazing.  You are one of 15.5 million marathon finishers in the United States this year.

I won’t allow myself to get drawn into the vortex of the herds of recreational “runners”, many of whom participate in these events while flip flopping between run/walk.  Running is the new scrapbooking for suburban Moms.  Frankly, if you are participating in a “race”, I think you need to theoretically be competing against someone and have the desire/opportunity to win the event.  If you are at any point walking in this foot race, you aren’t competing hard enough and don’t deserve to be there.   “But wait!  Distance running is all about competing against yourself!”  OK.  That’s fine.  If you are competing against yourself, why is it necessary to run with 8000 other people and close the road?  If you aren’t trying to beat those other people, or at least those in your age group, get out of there and let my commute happen. 

This Boston Strong thing is too much.  If I see one more pasty Irish guy with a thick Boston accent tell me how “strong” that city is, I’m going to lose it.  It is as if every annoying Red Sox fan on the planet has been on TV telling me about their recreational jogging.  I used to feel bad for Boston.  Their teams always lost and the weather there sucks so bad, it made me think of them as loveable sad sacks.  However, once the Patriots and Red Sox started to win championships, it was only then I realized how much more obnoxious they were than those unshaven Yankee gindaloons that wander into my life every summer.  Boston is a city filled with pasty loudmouths that think the planet revolves around them. 

There is nothing a loudmouth likes more than attention.  Unfortunately these last two weeks have been nothing but searching for angles of “heroes” (the default word in the media for anyone that acted with even a stitch of responsibility and leadership while in a crisis).  Every two bit Irish American Boston cop and fireman has been standing in front of microphones telling the planet about how “strong” Boston is…  The security for this event is akin to one where The Pope rolls through town.  While security is always a good idea, I think we can agree that fundamentalist Muslim goons are probably not focused on distance foot races as targets, and maybe, just maybe, the tragic events of last year were due to a local mook gone off the rails instead of a geopolitical symbolic act against The United States.  By the way, whatever happened to that kid brother that set off those bombs?  Is he ever going to see the light of day?  If this were the Middle Ages, I think he would have been referred to as being “cast into the dungeons”.  Good.  Fuck that kid.

The key today will be to avoid the television and computer.  While the spin is going to be how amazing it is that there were a record number of entries for the race, it might have more to do with collecting the $175 entry fee per person to pay for the insane security more than The People wagging their fists at the Ever Present Terrorist Menace.  I’m all on board for reclaiming our lives after a criminal act.  I just don’t want to have to listen to Paddy O’Toole tell me how awesome he is while we do it.  Can someone tell me when a Kenyon crosses the finish line and that thing is over?      

Friday, April 11, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate the E Street Band

I was reading the recap from the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony last night in New York.  This year there was apparently the need to induct The E Street Band, as if the induction of Bruce Springsteen didn’t cover that ground.  However, when all the real rock icons have already been inducted, you gotta find someone to fill the void.  When you get to the point of E Street Band or Firefall, which one do you think will sell more tickets?  That’s right, it’s time to trot Little Steven and Max up there and make the sponsors happy.  Old white corporate guys love the E Street Band.

I have always felt pretty ambivalent about the E Street Band.  This is primarily due to the fact that I never really “got” Springsteen.  The only album of his that I truly like is “Nebraska”, which I think is sensational.  In fact, every time I hear the E Street Band on his records I think, “Man, I bet this would be a good song without all that crap around it.”.   Is there a more dated sounding record than “Born In The USA”?  Those 80s keyboards and horrible guitar tones are all E Street Band.  How about those cringe worthy keyboard parts on those 70s records?  Brace yourself Springsteen fans…  I realize that people love Clarence Clemons, but why does every sax solo of his sound exactly same?  It’s like a porno movie.  You know how it’s going to end.  “Here comes The Big Man!”

I had been scolded for this anti-Bruce attitude of mine by people here.  “You just need to see him in concert.  He played for five hours last time he was here!”  OK.  I checked it out.  What I saw was four people on guitar (Bruce, Nils, Little Steven, and Patty), a piano player, an organ player, bass player, drummer, some percussion dude, and the dreaded Big Man.  I have no idea why he needed four people playing guitar for a song that probably needed one but could support two.  It was all a big wash of pompous noise that had little to do with saluting a Phil Spector Wall of Sound, Motown, or whatever other sacred cow rock iconic movement you want to toss in there.  It was bloated 70s rock excess that took away from any real song lurking in the mess.  While they may have played for five hours, I left after about 50 minutes.  I couldn’t take it.

There is no reason for any concert to last five hours, unless the entire audience is under the influence of dangerous stimulants and needs to be focused on pretty lights and sounds.  If Bob Dylan showed up at my house with Tom Waits and they wanted to play songs and tell stories in my living room, I’d tell them to wrap it up after 90 minutes or so.  Just because you can play for five hours doesn’t mean you should.  There is something to be applauded for concise thought and brevity.  I saw the Ramones do a 32 minute show that was maybe the best thing I ever saw.  I don’t think anyone ever left a Springsteen show after five hours saying, “I wish he woulda played more from side three of The River.”

The thing that I find truly odd when it comes to Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band is that when it comes to normal decorum in things like gala concerts and award shows, it all goes out the window when it comes to them.  For example, it took one hour and twenty five minutes to induct the E Street Band into the Rock Hall last night.  Holy shit, I would have wanted to choke myself on a napkin if I had been sitting there.  Those guys appear to be completely oblivious to the fact that they are Bruce’s backing band.  They get more leeway than the Rolling Stones, Nirvana, and The Clash combined.  It’s unbelievable.  And why doesn’t anyone ever mention how Springsteen laughs uproariously at his own “jokes”?  “Well ah… hahahahaha…I met Steve….hahahahahaha….outside of the Thunderbird Lounge hahahahahahaha…”  What the fuck are you laughing at dude?  Why is that funny?  It’s like hanging out with guys from a fraternity that do nothing but tell in-jokes from things that happened 25 years ago and have no idea that everyone else has disconnected.  Then when it’s time to actually play, they always feel entitled to more time because they are on some sort of higher plateau.  Whereas most inductees play a song or two, they played three extended songs.  When I saw them at the Rock Hall Grand Opening concert, every friggin’ rock legend you can think of played three of their big hits whereas Bruce gets the green light for an entire set.  What the fuck is with that?  I’m I the only one that finds this music boring? 

I know that I am not allowed to even think like this.  It’s downright un-American.  The potential wraith that will come my way from middle aged dudes and working class cigarette Moms is very real.  His music touched them in a way I can’t understand.  Frankly, I don’t think I ever will.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate St. Louis

The Missouri suburb of St Charles is so predictably Midwestern, it seems like a reverse San Francisco.  This is the living breathing definition of “average”.  Remarkably non descript people drive pick up trucks and domestic cars going to bland restaurants and chain store driven strip plazas.  The bars pump out a steady stream of “hits” from the past as if nothing has happened culturally since 1988.  Michael Jackson “The Way You Make Me Feel” gave way to Def Leppard’s “Pour Some Sugar On Me”.  A young man with cheap plastic sunglasses perched on his head pumped his fist to emphasize the chorus as he waited at the bar for his Bud Light.  Everyone was having a great time as I looked on like I was observing wildlife.  The bachelorette party was busy dancing, having just set down their fruity drinks in plastic cups complete with plastic penis straws to announce how wild they were to all onlookers.  One of them, dressed in her “Saturday night jeans”, came over to hustle me for Mich Ultras for her and the gals.  She was emboldened by their big night out mentality and decided I looked like a sucker I suppose.  The night ended predictably badly for the gals as the bachelorette went outside to throw up on the sidewalk, her maid of honor offering comfort by stroking her hair and repeating “It’s all right.  It’s all right.”  They left as a pack, maintaining their strength by their unity.  Moments later, they were replaced by yet another bachelorette party, almost completely indistinguishable from the first.  No doubt they would all be entering into the same marriage, complete with 2.2 children, a four-bedroom cookie cutter house, and hosting holiday meals with such delights as green bean casserole and ambrosia.  Their boring male counterparts would be dressed in Bass Pro Shops sportswear watching the Rams game, drinking Bud Light and ignoring their equally unbelievably boring wives. 

There is a particular look to the people here.  The men all look like they shop exclusively at Sears and Cabelas. They appear to all aspire to either own a Harley or being able to afford to add extensive auto aftermarket crap to their trucks.  Those that don’t fall into that group are miraculously anonymous, spending their lives hiding in plain site. The women have a hardiness to them that suggests no interest in the fashions and cultural expectations of the Coasts.  When I look at them I know exactly what their brothers look like as they vaguely maintain a slight whiff of masculinity.  The whole population is so plain it’s really remarkable.  Everyone looks like everyone else.  It’s like being in a Target where the experience spreads out beyond the confines of the store. 

Suddenly, things took a turn.

Three friends of mine had been missing for hours.  Their plane had landed at 9:30 in the morning and they immediately hooked up with a local friend, a man that had been the 5th Beatle version of a highly successful boy band from the 90s.  Apparently in St. Louis proper there are bars that aren’t quite strip bars yet are way more sleazy then Hooters/Twisted Kilts where the waitresses are topless and in panties while serving drinks and deep-fried raviolis.  It is also not considered to be wildly inappropriate to be firing back shots and beers in these places at 11:30am with the waitresses, or so the photographic evidence I was later showed would testify.  This would explain the condition of one of these missing men that arrived alone staggering into this horrible sports/dance bar where we had scheduled to meet each other.

I have seen large men intoxicated, but rarely a man so large so intoxicated.  His hulking mass surged from one side of the room to the other like the bar was an adrift schooner on the Atlantic.  He breathlessly tried to tell us the story of how he had arrived here, none of it making any sense.  He had that particular inability of the shockingly drunk to position events chronologically or add in the key details to allow the story to make sense.  “Oh my God!  I had to take a piss, and I saw these bathrooms, so I jumped out of the car while it was still running!  I don’t know where those guys are!”  I had to have him repeat it over and over again to try and piece it together.  None of it made any sense.  If he was to be believed, he had been at the wheel.  That in itself was a stunning admission as if he had been pulled over by the police he would have been shot on sight for the brazen disregard of public safety laws.  Then from what I could gather he had leapt out of the moving car to go to a public bathroom while his one friend was helpless in the passenger seat and the other passed out in the back seat.  Making matters more interesting, the bathrooms he was referring to are located next to a park by the banks of the Mississippi River.  If what he had said was accurate, there was a good chance this would be the lead story on CNN on Monday.  “Two Men Helplessly Sent To Watery Deaths In Car”

I asked him where the car was.  He didn’t know.  I asked if he had any idea.  He said he would go outside and check.  He was gone for ten minutes.  “I don’t know where they are man!”  In theory, I should have immediately gone out to get involved in the situation, but it had the electricity of bad craziness that it’s always best to keep at arm’s length.  However, the fact that he had no idea where they were or where the car was seemed a bit extreme.  I cautiously went outside with him to scope the area.  It wasn’t hard to find them…

The small crowd that had gathered around the Chevy Malibu partially sunken into the Mississippi River all stared at the vehicle, some offering potential long shot solutions to retrieve it from the river involving tow trucks and winches.  No one was making eye contact.  They all just stared at the car.  It was a hell of a thing.  The entire front hood of the vehicle was now submerged, the passenger escape door still open allowing water to seep slightly into the interior.  “Hey man!  What the fuck!  Hahahahaha!  That was fucking crazy!”  His friends, not even close to being annoyed, treated the incident the same way you or I might treat being hit with a water balloon at a picnic.  It was inconvenient, but all in good fun.  They all laughed uproariously as the onlookers stared wide-eyed, trying to make sense of this completely unexpected reaction. 

There was a slight slurping sound as the Mississippi finally claimed the car.  It slipped quietly below the swollen brown river, being pushed along by the strong Spring flow.  “Holy shit man!  Oh well, fuck it!  It’s a rental!”  The three of them had no misgivings about how this had ended, somehow convinced that all would turn out in their favor with the rental car company.  Personally, I had grave concerns as I would imagine that Avis, Hertz, or whatever fools had rented these guys a car would be quite upset at learning their fleet now contained one vehicle that was somewhere at the bottom of the Mississippi.  There is no way you can position it was OK that the car you had rented was now filled with channel catfish eating the Dorito remains from the back seat.  How on earth would a fuckup of this magnitude just go away?  What’s the play here?  “Mr. Smith?  We have in our records that you did not return the 2013 Chevy Malibu to the St. Louis Airport branch of our company.”  No, you are mistaken…  Check your records again.  Have a great day.  Goodbye.  Click.

They just didn’t care.  The three of them laughed it up. It was all backslaps and belly laughs.  The onlookers slowly dissipated into the night, not truly grasping the insanity of the events that had just transpired.  The guys walked from the riverbank, walking towards the bar. The last I saw of them that night, they were buying Bud Lights for a Bachelorette party.  They actually blended in quite well.  Strange town that St. Louis… 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Nurse the Hate: Hate the Unicorn

I knew this guy named Les Brown.  Everyone knows a guy like Les.  He was the guy that tried every possible drug and alcohol combination with a fearlessness that seemed brave at the time, but now seems insane.  While I assume that we all know someone that took too much acid, or smoked a pound of pot while drinking tequila, Les is the guy that really stood out amongst those mere amateurs.  I remember being at a party on the beach on the shore of Lake Erie.  The sun was just setting in that calm pink/orange sky that is so specific to August.  A group of us had just arrived from the parking area a half mile away, just far enough to provide an inconvenience to the overweight park rangers that were employed primarily to hassle people actually enjoying the lake’s shoreline.  As soon as I walked up, I realized something was amiss.

A small bonfire had been started, and the people sitting in the sand nursing Molson Golden bottles seemed way too intent on watching the fire working up through the gray driftwood.  Our friend Bruce was alone, way down the beachfront, walking slowly back then stopping.  Walking towards us then turning back.  Stopping and staring at the calm water lapping the shore.  The sun continued to set and Bruce was gradually disappearing from sight.

Hey Les… What’s going on man?

“It’s all good bro.  Get yourself a Molson.  It’s soooooo cold.”

None of the others spoke.  Les returned to staring at the fire with the others.  We all shot looks to each other wondering what the hell scene we had just wandered into.  That was when Bruce returned, his face twisted in desperation.  He didn’t say anything, but just held out a single shard of a broken mirror as if it was an explanation.  Suddenly a single tear rolled down his cheek and he let out a small cry.

Hey Les… Um… What’s wrong with Bruce?

“Oh, he took too much acid.”

How much did he take Les?

“He only took two, but he didn’t know they were nine way unicorns.”

Les, what the fuck is a “nine way unicorn”?

“Oh man, it’s the best.  It’s nine hits of acid on one little tab …”

Bruce was having a bit of difficulty in dealing with the fact he had unwittingly taken 18 hits of acid in a single sitting.  I think this was understandable all things considered.  I’m sure Bruce was trying to be a bit of a tough guy and push the limits by taking two.  I can only imagine the panic that set in when someone said, “Dude!  You took two?  That’s 18 hits of acid man!  Oh man!  You’re NEVER COMING DOWN!’  Why Les never thought that it was worth mentioning to Bruce that this drug was 9X more powerful than he was expecting is interesting to consider though…

Once again, this is extreme behavior, but certainly not unique.  Hell, Roky Erickson took acid every day for two years.  Sure, he ended up in an insane asylum for most of his life, but there are risks in this type of lifestyle.  The thing that really separated Les from the pack was his willingness to take anything without any real concern for his long term welfare.  For example, he would routinely take meds from his grandmother’s medicine closet, trying new combinations each time to search for his elusive “maximum buzz”.  It was one night standing outside, his back to a big oak tree dragging on a cigarette, when he announced to a group of us “Dude, have you ever eaten one of those Vick’s inhalers?  You puke for 24 hours straight at first, but then you trip for TWO DAYS!”.

I don’t know how someone comes to the conclusion it would be a good idea to eat the inside of a Vick’s Inhaler.  The argument can be made that some brave soul was the first to eat a raw oyster, but I think the key difference is that the alternative to that would have been starvation while the alternative to Les eating the inhaler would have been another six pack of beer. Then we get to the point of where he threw up violently for a full 24 hours without seeking medical attention.  If I eat a dangerous chemical, and then begin to barf violently, I’m calling the Poison Hotline.  Not Les.  He just rode that shit out so he could hallucinate for two consecutive days.  Then, after surviving such a hellish ordeal, he repeats it a few times because he enjoyed it so much.  He even promoted this course of action to others in much the same manner you would a pork chop recipe.  Who the hell does that?

I haven’t seen this guy in years.  I’m going to be in his hometown in a few weeks.  I gotta look him up and at least see if he’s still alive…