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Monday, November 1, 2010

Pulling Out The Daddy Voice

I try to live my life in a peaceful way. I know that goes against the very nature of the adjective directly preceding my moniker, but as it turns out I am a pretty easy going guy. However, the world around me sometimes decides to trip over itself in getting in my way forcing me to use my big scary voice. And believe me, I was an actor and can project to the back row when needed. This weekend, it was needed.

It started out a good weekend. My wife and I went to a Halloween party, while my little one camped out at my parents’ house, giving us a chance to do something other than watch Sprout or clean up toys on a Friday night. My wife was not amused at dressing up like Thing 2 but she went along with it. We returned home after midnight, fully intent on catching up on scary movies and shows that we don’t get to watch with a three year old around, and then crashed. My DVR is hating me right now. It’s hovering around 98% capacity.

That’s OK. I can still get up early on Saturday and enjoy the morning without fear of waking up our child and being forced to watch Green Eggs and Ham for three hours. I slept until ten. We had plenty to do before the evening which included going to the farmers’ market, where my wife works during the fall, getting pumpkins, riding ponies, riding hay wagons, riding each other’s last nerve. You know, the usual. But first, I had to pick up my daughter and my wife’s niece, on the way back from my parents. I told my mom I’d be there around noon and that’s when the world conspired against me.

First off, everyone must have decided to go shopping because I was out and about. My first stop was to the local Target to get a Starbucks for the trip. I rarely treat myself to Starbucks and I decided to go against the grain and order something different. Instead of my usual Caramel Macchiato I got the Toffee Mocha. Blech. That’s what I get for being different. There were just hordes of people in my way and some clueless girl making the drinks. Maybe it was her fault. Not sure. In any case, I remained cool.

Then, off to the turnpike. Traffic was a bear and no matter which direction I took out of the shopping plaza, I ran into a line of cars playing idiot tag at the stop signs and tried to take alternate routes resulting in more traffic at different signs playing dumbass tag. For the life of me, I cannot understand what makes people disregard traffic rules. When you come to a stop sign, you take turns unless someone waves you on first. In both places, I had people totally disregard the stop sign thinking that because they were stopped behind the lead car, that meant that they stopped at the sign as well and tried to sneak out with the leader. But I remained cool.

Out on the turnpike, I cranked it up to just over the speed limit and kept with other cars that were going the same speed. Shhh. Don’t tell the Popo. It was a relatively pain free trip, although I love people that make it a point to pass you, only to slow up when they get in front of you. In any case, I remained cool.

On the main highway towards Connellsville, I realized that I was going to have to get some gas and figured in town would be cheaper. Apparently, everyone left Target and came to this gas station just to try and beat me to the pumps. First off, there was a tanker truck up against the road side of the parking lot, restricting the available room to drive around the pumps. Against the building, every space was full creating a bottle neck on the front of the pumps. And, of course, every pump was being used. I drove around the pumps and came to the tanker side where a guy was nice enough to flag me down. “I’m done. I just have to pay and then you can have this one.” I was thankful and then he went into pay.

Now, common sense would have me think. “There are a lot of people here and not much room to maneuver. Maybe I better pull my car into a parking space and let this guy get his minivan out of the road.”

Apparently, this guy was thinking, “Wow, it’s really busy. I better go and try to quickly pay, even though I can see a line of people inside the store. But leaving my car here should be OK.” He went in and after two minutes he was still not out yet. In any case, I remained… tepid.

As I sat and waited for Mr. Nice Guy to come back, another person came out and moved their car at the neighboring pump. I was able to easily slide in and get my gas on. At this point, I noticed an elderly lady at the entrance of the parking lot, looking around. I knew Nice Guy was eventually coming back and I could see her gas cap on the driver’s side and wanted to do my karmic deed for the day. I tried to wave her over to get in line behind Nice Guy, so that she could get out of the fray and more importantly get out the entrance to the parking lot. Apart from shooting off a flare gun, there was no indication that my flapping arms were getting through to her. I was done pumping now and someone else had made a move into getting in line next to me. Hey, I tried.

After I finished up and was back in my car, Mr. Nice Guy finally came out of the store. Wow. I’m glad I didn’t wait. By now, it was after 12:30 and I was really late. I pulled out of the space and headed for the exit. At this point, a gruesomely huge truck screamed around the front of the pumps and stopped dead. A pretty big bald guy jumped out looking irate. He then proceeded to get into a verbal altercation with the guy at the first pump who I passed on my way in, which means he was there the entire time I was waiting and pumping. Apparently, Truck Guy was pissed at how long it was taking this other guy to pump his gas and move on. Apparently, Truck Guy was equally as brainless as everyone else this day, because he parked his car in the middle of the road between the cars parked in the spaces along the store and the pumps, blocking everyone from getting through, including me. In any case, I remained… a bit perturbed.

As he began his jawing at the other guy, it was increasingly aware that they were going to be awhile. In fact, if they were arguing over the fact that the other guy took so long, causing a back up of cars waiting to get gas, Truck Guy was equally of a douche bag for blocking people from leaving, causing a backup of cars waiting to get out. So, being a bit perturbed, I laid on my horn, hoping that Truck Guy would get a clue. He didn’t. In any case, I didn’t remain… in my car.

Now, pissed, I got of my car and yelled over, “Hey! You guys wanna fight? Fine. Move you damn truck first!” Nothing. They were bumping chests and screaming at each other more. At this point, the Daddy voice came flying out of me. “HEY, ASSHOLE! MOVE! YOUR! TRUCK!”

Somewhere, in a small wooded glen, the echoes of my voice reverberated across the hills. Many peaceful deer, drinking from a brook, suddenly became spooked and started to run away from the sound. The ensuing stampede caused a small, but significant change in atmospheric pressure and which swept across the world, causing wild dogs to cry out in the night, growing restless, longing for some solitary company. A storm ensued, crops flourished and hunger ended. I saved humanity by shouting the word, “ASSHOLE” at the top of my lungs in a gas station parking lot to a guy that easily could snap my neck and toss me aside. I remained… near my car, with the door open.

Truck Guy finally broke his gaze from the other guy and headed back to his truck, throwing up a hand and saying, “You know what, just get back in your car.”

But the Daddy voice has been invoked. The Daddy voice is unable to be turned off once started. I yelled back, “GET BACK IN YOUR TRUCK!” Unfortunately, all of the good in this world that I caused with the word “ASSHOLE” was now undone by the second exchange. Mountains crumbled, waterways spilled over into villages, laying waste to crops. I apologize to those affected by it. We’ll send help.

I got back in my minivan and as Truck Guy passed me looking down into my minivan with his bald scowl he mouthed something. I was just happy to be able to be on my way. Of course, the next ten minutes was filled with reenactments of what happened with additional line readings of what I said with some changes. We all do it. We have a moment of heated exchange and then proceed to replay the events adding things we should have said or done, escalating our side of the exchange to being totally dominant in the event. Meanwhile, that self preserving, coward of an ego, that resides just near my gut and other vital organs was saying, “You idiot, he could have ended you right there.” To which my pride said, “Yeah, but we totally pulled out the Daddy voice and it worked.” Oddly enough, had that been my three year old I had yelled at. I would have caused wide world destruction from continually yelling. For some reason, she is impervious to the Daddy voice.

In any case, I remained… in one piece. A little hoarse but in one piece. Once again, I apologize to the residents of a small unnamed country across the world who will not have crops this year. It was an acceptable risk. Sean Penn is bringing help.

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