Sunday, January 11, 2009

Honest Crap, Take 2

It’s cold and snowing here in West Michigan. But last night, the clouds parted long enough to allow the moonlight to bathe the landscape. It was beautiful! The photo of the road was taken last January, but it pretty much looks the same around here this year.

Earlier this week, when I did the original “Honest Scrap” meme, Murf cried foul and challenged me to do it over with things that have happened since I turned 18…. All of these ten "honest" events happened between my 18th and 30th birthdays…

In college, when I didn’t have time to read the book assigned in those “book a week” classes, I’d always read the first twenty or so pages and then speak up at the beginning of the class. Seldom did the professor call on me again.

I once fell asleep in a lecture class. The professor asked a question then directed it to “Sage.” Hearing my name, I sat up and the girl beside me whispered the question to me, and I tried to bluff my way through it, but I didn’t fool the professor.

I got the measles in college. After visiting the school doctor, she called and got me excused from a chemistry exam—this was quite a feat for the professor didn’t believe in excuses. I felt that as a health care provider, she didn't seem sufficently concerned with my peril. She was only concered that I get off campus as soon as possible and that I had not been around anyone pregnant (which, to my knowledge, I hadn't). I got the measles from my brother. There had been an outbreak at his college a few weeks earlier and he was visiting me when he came down with them. Isn't it great the way families share?

I once took a friend into Yesterdays, a private club in Hickory, NC. My friend was African-American and, as we’d come from a business meeting, we were both well dressed (in suits). As I signed him into the club, an over-stuffed bouncer pulled me aside and whispered that I could lose my membership for bringing niggers into the club. This was in the mid-80s. I told him to go ahead and try, that I was sure it’d be perfect grounds for a law suit. He lets us in, but afterwards, I avoided Yesterdays.

The only thing I remember ever buying from a telephone solicitor was the call-waiting option for the phone. I’ve developed the art of quickly saying, “No thanks,” and hanging up. But there was this one occasion when the caller had such a pleasing voice that I started talking and she ended selling me the call-waiting option. This was back when such features were a novelty and the telephone solicitors didn’t speak broken-English.

A week later, I was talking to a woman I’d dated a couple of times when a call came through from another woman I with whom I’d been out with a few times. At that point, I wasn’t dating either of them seriously, but I felt awkward by having both of them “online” at the same time. This, by the way, was long before caller-ID. When I got them both off the phone, I called the phone company and canceled call-waiting.

I think I was 27 or 28 and doing a program for the scouts in a local elementary school when I meet the most adorable young woman. She was an 18 year old college freshman, doing an observation for one of her college classes. I invited her to lunch and was surprised that she agreed. At the restaurant, I was horrified to see two members of my Rotary Club and was so self-conscious of being with someone that much younger than me that I never asked her out again.

Once, when at a meeting near Pinehurst (where I was born), I was with a bunch of guys I worked with at a night club. There was a real good-looking woman on the dance floor and we all enjoyed watching her and her date dance. Right before the club closed, she walked over and said, “Sage? Sage, is that you? I haven’t seen you in like, forever!” Everyone looked at me and I had the deer in a headlight syndrome, trying to figure out who she was. Then she said, “I’m ----, your cousin.” She was in her early 20s and the last time I’d seen her was at our grandma’s funeral, ten years earlier, when she would have been about 12.

Once, after a week long backpacking trip, I found myself staying at the Martha Washington Inn in Abingdon, Virginia. It’s a grand old hotel and I felt seriously underdressed (with only hiking shorts and t-shirts). One of the hikers insisted that we eat in the dining room. I was for going to a more causal place in town, but instead found myself being a part of a group heading to a formal dining room (and hoping they would have a dress code and turn us away or at least make us eat in the kitchen). Instead, we were seated in the absolute center of the room, where folks in sport coats and summer suits could look at the hillbillies that had come to town.

I am normally very honest and will often surprise folks by returning return any overpayment I receive. But I have had my downfalls. One night, while I was staying in a hotel on business, and feeling depressed, I went to get something to eat out a vending machine… I placed the coins in (this was a few years ago as you could get a candy bar for 50 or 75 cents) and not only did I get my candy, I also got my quarters back. So I decided to play the game again, and again, and again, feeling like a gambler at a winning slot machine. I continued till I had accumulated 10 candy bars. I’m sure I’d been more honest had they not been Zagnuts in the machine. Zagnuts is one of my favorite candy bars and are hard to find. The devil must have stocked that vending machine, knowing that I'd be along shortly.


  1. At 12:45 a.m. this morning, I awoke to the sound of the snow plows going by and as I watched them, I was amazed at how pretty it was out with the moon and probably no one awake but me and those two guys, much like you described.

    Not a bad do over, Sage. I'm glad I could shame you into it. At least this time around you have entries from when you were close to 30. :-)

  2. It's fun reading, Sage, no matter how old you were. I bet your friends all wanted introductions to your cousin!! (and save me a Zagnut; I didn't know they were still being made).

  3. I am still laughing at so many things about this entry. I wish you'd bottle that memory of yours and sell me a portion!Thanks for unabashed honesty, it's always easy to spot and you are not exception. Great start to another week! Thanks, Sage!!

  4. "In college, when I didn’t have time to read a book in those “book a week” classes, I’d always read the first twenty or so pages and then speak up at the beginning of the class. Seldom did the professor call on me again."

    Hey - that was my trick, too!

    It was in the '70s today at the beach, and because we had strong winds Friday and Saturday, the views of Catalina Island and the surrounding mountains were lovely.

  5. Murf, they plow the roads in your part of the state at 12:30? Here, they've cut back on the plowing. I thought you might like a few of the "revelations"

    Kenju, I'm not sure where you can get Zagnuts today. My cousin had a date with her, so that kept the off her, but for a long time I was ribbed for not knowing her.

    Susie, I can assure you there are things I don't remember and worse, things I'd like to remember (but would never write here!) Thanks, I'm glad you like them.

    Diane, the beach sounds beautiful. Great minds think alike, eh?

  6. Boy, that Murf is a tough critic! Next time she'll be making you do "honest crap" from this year only! ;-)


    Doncha just love internet searching...24 Zagnuts for 20 bux. The bar is made by Hershey...

    I have a tendency to take aspiring young writers under my wing to help them develop their own style and voice...that they are mostly young women who avail themselves of my time I never have qualms of being seen with them.

    You know it's the Order of the Garter defense; Honi Soit Qui Mal y Pens.

  8. TC, and if she was successful, you'd be amazed at the mundane crap I'd admit to

    Walking Guy, that's not a bad price! As for the young woman, there was only 8 or so years difference--today that doesn't seem like much--but then it must have been shame on me :)

  9. The restaurant one in the shorts and t-shirt really struck home for me. I used to be an avid bicycler and went into a lot of restaurants with skin tight biking shorts on, sweat soaked shirts and those clipless shoes that clomped on the floor. I never grew used to the stares.

  10. When I got them both off the phone, I called the phone company and canceled call-waiting.

    I chuckled at that. But then the cousin bit had me laughing out loud.

    Hillbilly Confessions. I like it.

  11. I forgot to mention, your call waiting bit reminded me of my time working for the phone company and the zillion phone features that were available.

    And it usually seemed to be the people who were two months behind on their bill who had every single feature we offered.

  12. That was fun!

    I came down with Chicken Pox at the age of 36. It was very severe but thankfully I did not have any spots on my face. And all the marks on other parts of my body too faded with time after I applied a mix of sandalwood oil and olive oil for three months.

    My younger did catch it from me! The family sharing, you know...

  13. It's hard to believe that incident at Yesterday's happened practically the 80s! Wow! That's awful.

    It's funny, when I was a teenager, I was only interested in ONE older man, Mr. Valnoti, my English teacher. He read Romeo's part and I read Juliet's and I had a crush on him for the rest of 9th grade!

  14. This is a good and fun post. I like the previous honest crap post better, that was more innocent.

    Your word verification is great, it keeps throwing out so many obscene letters :)

  15. Ed, agree, you never get use to the stares.

    Bone, glad you got a laugh. I just want a phone to call on--I get annoyed with all the options you now have.

    Gautami, the measles at 20 or 21 was bad enough--but it was nice of you to share the pox (in my case, I don't think I passed the measles on to anyone else.

    Scarlet, yeah, it is hard to believe that even in the mid-80s that was going on... I've already blogged about my hot ninth grade teacher :)

    Mother Hen, you like me more innocent? I was as wild as I'd ever be when in my late 20s. And, how can a letter be obscene, doesn't it have to be at least a word?

  16. Sounds like Mother Hen needs to hear the tale of Linda. ;-)

  17. Okay, so we're breaking honest crap down into decades now? geesh... I had trouble doing 10. Now you've got 20.

    And who wouldn't want to get paid to eat Zagnuts?

    I once found a bag of gum broken open on the grocery store floor when I was a kid. I took a piece and considered myself a thief for having done so... and yes, I've allowed a machine or two to give me a free snack. I tried justifying it by remembering all the machines that took my money and I didn't get my snack.

  18. Wow! A man who feels guilt at having two women on the phone at the same time. You are a rarity!

  19. The obscene letters - what I'm talking about is the Word verification you have here whenever people want to leave a comment. There isn't any "word" per se - or I should say meaningful "word" - just whole bunch of letters - which sometimes look obscene in the arrangement. You know what I mean? Ah never mind.

  20. Murf, Mother Hen can get her own ammo

    Lisa, doing it by decades will at least give us a few more posts!

    Fantasy Life, don't put in for my halo just yet, I may have felt guilty, but I've also been good at managing guilt

    Mother Hen, how do you do on those ink spot tests that psychologist give?

  21. Hey Sage: Thank you for the warm welcome back! Reading your story brought back one from a roomate in the 80's. I returned home from work and he had 4 girlfriends on hold (he officed from home) and pleaded with me to "help" as he forgot who was on what line. He resolved it by stating to each, "Hon, it's my boss. I have to run". HA! Happy New Year, my friend with all Blessings!!!!

  22. I know about the two girls at the same time thing. That is, IMing on a computer, two are talking away and I can't keep up typing two conversations. Or taling to one on the phone and the other keeps texting me. Doesn't happen often.

  23. Short answer - I failed all tests :) I know who Linda is, she is the one wearing short short skirts while you eagerly wait for her to bend over while playing with your bread dough.

  24. hehe
    I like the vending machine story, I can recall a dryer at the local laundromat that was giving away freebies, and I took my share...

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