Friday, April 13, 2018

Consulting with the Airlines

Have you noticed the latest thing in airline travel?

Basic Economy fares.

For the thriftiest of thrifty.  Like me.  

However, these lowest available fares (which aren't that low) have a few teeny tiny restrictions:

-No seat assignment until check in. (Oh boy!  A middle seat!)
-Board last. (Oh boy! Crawl over the aisle passenger!)
-No carry on luggage. (Oh boy! Pay to have it checked!)



Note that if you attempt to smuggle luggage onto the plane that won't fit under the seat, the airlines will charge you $25 to check it at the gate.  And top it off with a $25 gate handling charge.  

And force you to sit in the bathroom for the duration of the flight.  

Okay, I made that last part up.

Since the airlines are committed to nickel-and-diming passengers to death, they may be interested in adopting some of my scathingly brilliant ideas.

In fact, I have identified 3 additional pricing opportunities that will significantly increase an airline's revenue.

Nerdling Idea #1: Additional Carry-on Luggage Fees

Overhead compartment - $75
Under seat - $50
On lap - $25

And for those sneaky-ass passengers who wear their otherwise packed clothes in layers to avoid being charged, there will be a $50 penalty.  Per layer.

Of course, flight attendants will be trained to identify these deviates.

To that end, here are some snippets from my How to Identify Passengers Wearing their Luggage (PWL's) seminar.

Clue #1: Head to body ratio.  The ratio of head to body is much smaller among PWL's than other passengers.

Clue #2: Sweat.  PWL's experience excessive sweating due to their multiple layers and the fear that they will be discovered.

Clue #3: Smell.  Related to Clue #2, PWL's often smell like they are wearing multiple layers of clothing.

Nerdling Idea #2: Repriced Airline Food

Begin charging for snacks that are currently free.  Pretzels should be priced at $5.00/bag, which is approximately $1.00 per pretzel, an excellent value for the Basic Economy passengers.

Peanuts should be priced at $10/bag to help subsidize potential litigation related to peanut allergies.

Implement a $10 surcharge to passengers who bring food aboard the airplane. ($50 surcharge for food containing garlic.)

Nerdling Idea #3: Introduce Middle Seat Surcharge (MSS)

This robust recommendation is based on a sophisticated pricing model that was developed in the Nerdling Consumer Research Institute.

The MSS allows passengers to have control over their "neighbors" while trapped in enjoying a middle seat.




For passengers willing to sit between two passengers with infants, the MSS would be just $25.  Alternatively, if the passenger agreed to sit between a large passenger and one who was bringing on food, the MSS would be $30.

The most expensive MSS would be for the passenger who can afford the luxury of sitting between two Millenials (who are so focused on their devices they never move a muscle during a flight).  That fee is a hefty $250, but may be worth it for the desperate discriminating middle seat passenger.

Passengers who enjoy gambling would have an opportunity to be surprised by their Aisle/Window neighbors.  The MSS Surprise-Surprise option is just $60.

I am fully aware that by publishing this blog, I am releasing my intellectual property and, as a result, will be unable to charge the airlines for my ideas.

But that's okay.

The airlines would likely pass that cost along to the passengers.

And the next thing you know, you would have to pay to use the restroom.

You're welcome.




Saturday, March 24, 2018

The Shopping List

It's not like my Dollar Store shopping list was expansive.  I needed just two items: a poster board and a whoopee cushion.  Clearly, there was no need to write it down.

I found a parking spot right in front of the store and grabbed a basket as I stepped inside.

Then I thought, "What am I here for?"

I had no clue.



No worries.  I wandered the aisles of the store, looking for the items to jump out at me and remind me of what I was to have gotten.

I put a couple pair of 3.25 strength reading glasses in the basket, but I was relatively certain that they hadn't been on the list.  Not that they shouldn't have been.  I'd forgotten to put them on it.  

I continued roaming the aisles.  Up one aisle.  Down the next.  When I got to the detergent section I remembered that I should have put Borax on the list, but I'd forgotten.  Good thing I remembered.

Except they didn't have Borax at the Dollar Store.  I'd have to go next door to Walmart to get it.

Eventually I walked down the school supply aisle.  There was the poster board.  I picked one up, proud of myself for remembering.  I forgot that there were two items on my list and went to the register to pay for my reading glasses and poster board.

I placed the basket and the poster board on the register belt and got my credit card out to pay for the purchase.  That's when I noticed that my car keys were not in my purse.  I checked my pockets.  Not there.

Crap.

I thought, "Where did I put my keys?"

The Dollar Store lady looked at me and said, "They're in the basket."

I said, "Did you read my mind or did I say that out loud?"

She said, "You asked me where you put your keys."

"Oh," I said.  I left the store holding my bag of reading glasses, the poster board, and my car keys, with my tail between my legs.  

How embarrassing.

Oh well.  It was just the Dollar Store.

I headed next door to Walmart.

After entering the store I thought, "What am I here for?"


Monday, March 12, 2018

The Box

"Mom.  I found your box."

"What box?"

"You know what box.  And it's very disturbing."

I had been Face-timing Kimmy from a cruise port to see how everything was going at home.  And she apparently found my blog box.

"What was in the box?" I asked.  I wanted to be sure we were talking about the same box.

She may have found the box containing my school pictures, which also would have been disturbing.

Or the box containing my toenails.

Just kidding.

"Where do I begin?" Kimmy replied.  "Barbie doll heads, poop play dough, mustache bandages.  Here. I'll show you."  She walked into my bedroom where the box was atop the bed, its contents overflowing.

"That's my blog box," I said.  "Don't mess it up."

Which is pretty funny considering the fact that for the past seven years I've been shoving blog props into the box.  I have to sit on it to get the top to fasten.

"I should have known," she said, removing a very expensive item.  "Is this your wine bra?"  

"Yes!  That's my Wine Rack Sports Bra.  You can use it if you clean it afterwards."  


Kimmy looked closer at the cloudy, mold-infested wine bladder that is virtually impossible to clean.  "I think I'll pass," she said, wisely.

She asked how my cruise was going and I told her about Miles, the creepy senior citizen who kept telling me how "youthful" I looked and followed me around the ship like a puppy dog.

Kimmy returned her attention to the box and removed another treasure.  "Here's a Barbie doll with no feet.  She's got band aids around her stumps."

"Oh, that's Handicapped Barbie," I said.  "She donated her feet to my Barbie Doll Foot earrings.  Be nice to her."



"Right.  And what the heck are these?" she asked, holding up a pair of baby socks with dust mops sewn to the bottom.

"Those are Kevin's.  For when I want him to sweep the floor."


"No comment.  What the heck?" she said, holding up my inflatable bra inserts.  

She said she was glad I didn't bring them along on my cruise.  Miles might have had a stroke.

Kimmy then held up a can of Poop Freeze and I explained to her that it makes Kevin's poop easier to pick up when it's warm outside.


"Freezes it right on the spot," I added. 

Kimmy had nothing to say about my Poop Freeze. 

"What is this?" she asked, holding up what looked like an unraveled ball of black yarn.

"I'm not sure," I said.  "It looks familiar."

She examined it more closely.  "It looks like the yarn is attached to fishnets."

Of course.  My hairy leg fishnet hose.

Damn!  I should have packed those.

Miles might have been following around some other youthful guest.  


Who shaves.

Friday, February 16, 2018

My Second Career

A light bulb went off when I saw Gestalta on the shelf at Ikea.

I'm retired.  I need a new hobby.  I could become and artist and sell my works at cafes and art fairs!

And (gulp) maybe some day to museums!

Really!  No goal is too lofty for me.  I am Lou Clyde.  I just have to aim high and persevere!

So I bought Gestalta as an investment to help me hone and perfect my drawing skills.





It was Dave who told me I had the artistic talents of a Pictionary playing sloth.

Thanks, Dave, for crushing my dreams.

And I wasted $5.99 plus tax on my Gestalta.  I decided to put him on the mantel next to my mannequin leg.


It was Kimmy who told me my Gestalta was creepy.

I took another look at him and I had to agree.  He was naked.  Did I really want porn on my mantel?

He needed clothes, and I was hoping Barbie would lend him something.  It turns out that Gestalta is big-boned compared to Barbie, and, unfortunately, the only thing that fit was her bathing suit.



It was Luke who told me that my bikini clad Gestalta was even creepier than porn star Gestalta.

At this point I was getting really annoyed at the lack of support and respect I was receiving from my family.

But I guess Luke had a point.

So I gave transgender Gestalta a beautiful head of hair.  Except it was uneven.



And the light bulb went off again.

I'm retired.  I need a new hobby. 

I can become a hairdresser!

Thursday, February 8, 2018

The Interrogation

The fact that it was a victim-less crime did not make it any less horrendous.  This criminal was clever.  Cunning.  No prints at the crime scene.  No DNA.

Solving this case would require an elite team of investigators.

I discovered the crime while looking for Tylenol in the suspects' medicine cabinet.  A piece of chocolate cake molded into a tight ball.  An open invitation to every sugar-craving ant, roach, and cootie within five miles.

I quickly identified two persons of interest.  Each with rap sheets as long as their chubby little arms.


Linda, aged 3, had recently been arrested for fishing poop out of a toilet, inserting it into an unzipped zip-lock sandwich bag, and leaving it, along with its foul fragrance, in the bathroom trash can.

Suspect #2, 9-year-old Kimmy, was a repeat offender, having multiple arrests for leaving "potions" in various locations around the house, including under her bed.  These vile concoctions contained random ingredients such as ketchup, mayonnaise, soda, and suntan lotion.

After securing the crime scene, I placed the suspects on the counter beneath bright interrogation lights.

ME: "Listen up, Girls.  Who put this balled up piece of cake in the medicine cabinet?"
KIMMY: "Not me!"
LINDA: "Not me!"
ME: "Tell the truth.  Which one of you did this?"
KIMMY: "I would never do that!"
ME: "Okay, Linda, did you do this?"
LINDA: "No."
ME: "Then how did it get there?"  And stealing a line from my own mother, "It couldn't have grown feet and walked there by itself!"
KIMMY: "Daddy must've put it there."
ME: "Why would Daddy put a piece of cake in the medicine cabinet in your bathroom?"
LINDA: "I think Bluie did it."

Ugh.  This shameless hooligan disgusted me.  Blaming it on her dog was just plain reprehensible.

ME: "Bluie doesn't have thumbs."

I was getting nowhere.  It was time to call in reinforcements

ME: "Well, let's let Daddy figure it out.  DAVE! WE NEED YOU!"

We could play good cop/bad cop.  

Dave would be the bad cop.

Dave wandered into the bathroom, unprepared for the chaos.

DAVE: "What?"

ME: "Look what I found in the medicine cabinet.  This balled up piece of cake sitting right next to the toothpaste.  And both girls deny putting it there."

Without hesitation, Dave looked at Linda and said, "Linda, why did you do it?"

LINDA: "Because I'm sorry."

I gasped.  It was that easy.  Clearly he was the good cop.

Which made me the bad one.

I looked down at the little felon.  "Linda, you are sentenced to one hour in your jail cell.  No books."

The delinquent paused before entering her bedroom.

"Can Bluie come?"

Friday, January 19, 2018

Preparing for the Test. Again.

I told the doctor that I'd rather starve for 2 weeks than go through another Colonscopy Prep.

It has been over 10 years and I still bear the emotional scars.

The doctor assured me that the process has improved.   

He lied.  



9:30 PM
I drank the 1st  of 2 glasses of the nasty-ass colon cleanser.  And I proceeded directly to the toilet.

Nothing happened.

Instructions said to drink 5 glasses of water between the 1st and 2nd courses.  At my own pace.  I drank a glass of water and returned to the toilet.

Nothing happened.

So I changed into my brand new adorable flannel PJs.  With the cute doggies.  It was going to be a long night.  Might as well be comfortable.

I drank another glass of water and returned to the toilet.

Nothing happened.

I decided to lie down on the bed, which is approximately 6 steps from the bathroom.  Kevin, my dog snuggled up next to me.

Then all hell broke loose.  At the risk of throwing Kevin under the bus, IT WAS ALL HIS FAULT!  

He slowed me down.

I struggled, unsuccessfully, to pull down my adorable PJs.  The blast from my backside was meteoric.  Burst of colon contents blew from my nether-regions.

The prep was working.

So much for my adorable PJs.

Over the next 8 hours I established an intimate relationship with my colon.

COLON: You may as well get comfortable in here.  Grab a book.
ME: Do I have time to grab one from the family room?
COLON: No promises.
ME: There's a Soduku book next to my bed.
COLON: Hurry.  But don't walk too fast.

I completed 13 Soduku puzzles.

11:15 PM
COLON: You can get up now.  I'm done.
ME: You sure?
COLON: Yeah.  Go lie down on the bed.  It's just 6 steps from the toilet.  I'm fine.
ME: If you're sure.
COLON: I'm sure.

I laid down on the bed.

COLON: GET UP NOW!!!!!!!!
ME: OH MY GOD!!  #@#$% Move, Kevin!

Too late.  There went another pair of PJs.

1:30 AM
I took another dose of the poo prompter potion, followed by a glass of water.  I returned to my throne where I completed 7 more Sodukus.

3:05 AM
KEVIN: Woof. (Translation: Take me outside.)
ME: I can't take you outside, Kevin.
COLON: You can take Kevin out.  I'm done.
ME: That's what you told me last time.
KEVIN: Woof.
COLON: You didn't take Kevin for a walk last night.  I think he needs to poop.
ME: How ironic.
KEVIN: Woof!
COLON: I'm done.  Take him out.
ME: You'd better be done!

I took baby steps down the driveway.  Since it's impossible to walk normally while squeezing your cheeks.  

Kevin pulled at the leash.  

Like I wasn't walking fast enough for him.

ME: Hurry up, Kevin!
COLON: GET YOUR ASS BACK TO THE TOILET.  NOW!!!
ME: Oh, no!  Not again!  DEAR GOD IN HEAVEN PUT ME OUT OF MY MISERY!

Too late.  There went yet another pair of PJs.



I was like a damn infant.

5:00 AM
COLON: Great job, Lou.  It's clean as a whistle in here.  What time is the company coming?
LOU: 1:30.

I don't remember much about my 1:30 Colonoscopy.  I slept right through it.  I do know that I had the most delicious turkey sub on the way home.

2:17 PM
COLON: For crying out loud, Lou!  This place is a complete mess again.  Thanks a lot.
LOU: Don't worry about it.  We'll clean it up again in about 10 years.





Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Lot X

We heard the din from blocks away.  Cheering.  Hooting.  Screaming.  Singing "Shout".  And "Lets Go Buff-A-Lo".  

Mostly off-key.

As my friend Mike and I rounded the corner, we encountered the sea of red and blue.  Lot X was packed with thousands of crazy-ass Buffalo Bills fans who had waited a long time for the privilege of attending a playoff game. 

A very long time.

The 17-year playoff drought was over.

And these fans were celebrating.  Lot X had been transformed to Orchard Park South.

The excitement was contagious.

These die-hard fans were proud.  And emotional.  And they travelled a long way to attend this Buffalo Bill's playoff game in Jacksonville, Florida.




They had to come.  No choice.  This was the Bills' first playoff game of the century.

The playoffs became a reality on New Year's Eve.  The stars aligned at about 7:45 PM EST.  Buffalo had just beaten Miami and Cincinnati pulled off a dramatic upset of Baltimore, awarding Buffalo the last wild card spot.

Shouts could be heard around the world. 

I'm not exaggerating.  There are Bills fans everywhere.

And fans began making their playoff plans.

JP, a Buffalo transplant now living in DC, packed his Buffalo Bills PJs and drove 800 miles to Jax.  He was not going to miss that game.



Jack, who chose more formal attire for the game, had a less convenient itinerary.  He flew from NYC to Tampa and drove the 200 miles to Jacksonville in a rental car.



Jack was 6 years old the last time the Bills had a playoff berth.

Then there was Stephen from Rochester, who took a train to Philly to catch his flight to Jacksonville.  He had not been expecting the team to make the playoffs.  He was happy enough when they beat Miami, but when Cincinnati scored that touchdown on a 4th and 12 play? 
 

"I don't cry often," he said.

Josh, Bailey, and Erik had their airline tickets and hotel rooms booked within two hours of that game's finish. 



There was no way they were going to miss the first playoff game since 1999.

Michelle and Jenna were watching last week's game in a house with 28 of their best friends.  "Everyone was screaming. And there were plenty of tears." 


They booked their flights immediately.

Jenna #2 was lucky to make it to the game after her flight was nearly cancelled. 



She flew from Rochester to Tampa and drove to a hotel in Daytona Beach, arriving at 3 am Sunday morning.   

Whew.

Tyler, originally from Attica, had a short commute from Ft. Meyers.  He brought along his deep fryer and boxcars of chicken wings to share with scores of new friends in Lot X.



Tyler, who was 6 years old the last time the Bills had post-season play, watched the Miami game at his parents' house.  He commented that the second half of the game was "normal Bills' shit" (aka Dolphins coming from behind).  When Cincinnati won, his family "went insane".  

Champagne and palm trees were involved.

In the center of the pandemonium stood Jamile, a confused Jaguars fan who somehow parked his car in Lot X.




He had to admit, "You guys know how to travel."

Marshall and Jackie from North Tonawanda took the scenic route to Jacksonville, driving to Cleveland, flying to Orlando and taking a rental car 145 miles to the game.



They had watched the Miami game at a party with 30 people.  When Cincinnati beat Baltimore, "Shit hit the fan."  Marshall had tears in his eyes as he described the tears in his eyes that night.  

He's been going to Bills games for 42 years.

Karen and Vinnie are best friends who met in Lot X on playoff day.



Karen apparently booked her non-refundable flight to Jacksonville BEFORE THE MIAMI GAME WAS OVER.

What?

Every Bills fan knows that no game is over UNTIL IT IS OVER.

I asked her, "Have you not heard about the Music City Miracle?"   

"Sure," she said. "But I just knew they were going to win.  I had faith."

"She was drunk," said Vinnie.

Mike and I left Lot X after meeting a myriad of amazing fans.  Celebrating as if they had won the Power Ball lottery. 

As we headed into the stadium we noticed Jaguars fans tailgating.


Sipping red wine and eating cheese and crackers.  

How lame charming.

The day would have been perfect had the Bills upset the Jaguars. Unfortunately, the Bills' offense did not show up on the field.

Sill, I suspect that nobody I met in Lot X that day regrets making the trip to Jacksonville for one of the most boring playoff games in the history of the NFL. 

I certainly don't.  

Lot X was as far from boring as you can get and I will never forget my time there.  

With my Bills Mafia peeps. 

After the game Mike and I ran into Raul and Celina, Bills fans living in Kissimmee, Florida.  They were married in 1999, the last time the Bills made it to the playoffs.  In fact, Raul affectionately calls Celine, "the curse."  They were at the Miami game last week and stayed in the stadium, in enemy territory, with other Bills fans to watch the infamous 4th and 12 touchdown.  Raul described the scene: people openly crying.   


"It was the best day of my life," he said.  Then he snuck a look at Celine (the curse), and added, "not counting when my kids were born."