In December of 1982 I was looking for a job. I looked in the Want Ads of the Walton Tribune toward the end of the month and found an ad that basically said, “Construction: Need helpers for commercial construction. No experience necessary.”

How cool is that!? Tailor made just for me since I was 17 and I had just spent a summer or so working on a crew building a house for the guy that owned West Lumber Company (Grrr).  Anyway, if experience wasn’t necessary, then it couldn’t hurt to have some, right? Yeah, what ev…

I called and the guy I talked to said to be at his house right after New Year’s Day. It was cold. Damn cold. Anyway, I found out this wasn’t a regular construction job. We were going to insulate pipes and ductwork and stuff like that. It was itchy and hot and nasty – could I handle that? Refer back to a few of my older posts and you’ll find I was adept at working in the hay and straw industry. In particular, loading bales of itchy, cutting straw onto truck in the middle of 100 degree days. How bad could this other stuff be? I found out later, it was pretty bad. But I stuck with it for eight years and got damn good at it because it paid some serious coin. I also came to realize that I was a born manager, much to my chagrin, as I have tried to avoid managing people ever since but have only been successful at that since I started my own company and now I decide who I manage and that guy is NOBODY…for right now.

But that’s not what I want to talk about right now, so drop it. DROP IT!! Oh, I guess I’m the one that brought it…Anyway, the guy’s name was Rodney and he had this other guy that worked for him named Chris. Chris was a dope head. And not just a dope head, but a certified, USDA Grade A, dyed in the wool, card carrying dope head. Suffice it to say, he smoked a good bit of weed. A lot of weed. I mean he smo…drop it.

Now, back in the day, I was open to anything and I had burnt a good bit of the stuff myself, but by early ’83, I was pretty much done with it. Chris, however was settling in for the long haul. He was 25, never had a driver’s license, had two kids, had a common law wife, and knew how to game the system. Welfare, Housing Assistance, Food Stamps, AFDC, the works. He was as good as anybody ever has been at what he did and could command a very good paycheck for what he did, but he had this problem. Monday mornings were not good for him. Since he couldn’t drive, One of my first jobs was to go pick him up for work. I learned real fast to call first. Not his “house”, though. His “wife’s” sister’s “house”. I put “wife” and “house” in quotes because it’s more or less a short cut for me. He called his “wife” his “old lady” and they were not legally married although this was a time when common law marriages were acceptable. And as far as “house” goes, the closest thing he came to living in one of those was a concrete block cube in a government housing project. I called because, more often than not, he would have someone come to the phone and say Chris couldn’t work today because he was too hung over. Fair enough, something to be said for honesty, huh?

Anyway, I don’t want to slam Chris, although he was everything I’d been raised not to be, but I do want to give you a flavor of who he was. He was trash – pure and simple, but he was a likable person. As a matter of fact, he probably had more influence in me developing the subtleties of humor than anyone save my parents. I mean this guy was funny on a PhD level.

I learned many sayings and phrases from him that I use to this day. Concepts of funny that you’d have to have two chalk boards to diagram. But some of the stuff I remember most are the innocuous things. Things that are funny now, but were meh back in the day.

We’re going down the interstate one day to a job and I hear a siren. It’s coming from the rear. Chris, true to form is hootin’ on a hawg leg over in the passenger seat and he turns around to see what type of siren it is. It’s an ambulance. Well, to you and possibly me at the time, it would be an ambulance. Not Chris. There is no such thing as an “ambulance” in Chris’ world.

I’m a little nervous because Chris has a brick of spleef in his damn pocket, and there is a siren approaching from the rear. I was probably drinking at the time and wanted to focus on the road ahead. I’m glancing in the mirror and not seeing a damn thing. I see Chris turn around and take another monster hit off his ungodly doobie, and I say, “What is it? What’s that siren?” <all panicky like>  He tokes and as he’s letting it out says, “It’s a bambulance. Somebody swallowed a Band-Aid.”

OK, dude is stoned like a shit-house rat and my level of faith in what he says is…reduced, I guess. I get the “bambulance” reference because he had weird names for everything and that was a pretty easy one to decipher. But WTF was all this about “Somebody swallowed a Band-Aid”?

So, in the calmest voice I could muster, I ask, “Huh?”

“Huh, what?” he says

“What the hell are you talking about ‘swallowing a Band-Aid’?”

“Oh, it’s a bambulance…Somebody swallowed a Band-Aid.”

Very matter of fact.

“Chris, what’s in that shit you’re smoking?”

“This is just regular stuff, why?”

“?”

“Oh”, he says, “the Band-Aid. That’s what my nephew always says. When he sees a bambulance, he says, ‘Look, a bambulance. Somebody swallowed a Band-Aid. I think it might have something to do with something my sister did one time but we don’t talk about that.”

I’m thinking I can’t imagine anything they WOULDN’T talk about considering the things I’ve heard that they DO talk about but what ev…

From then on, whenever there was a “bambulance”, the statement was made, as if it were a foregone conclusion, that “somebody swallowed a Band-Aid”.

You know how when you are exposed to something for long periods of time, it becomes second nature? Kinda like the way people knock on wood when they mention something good happening to them without even thinking about WHY they are knocking on said wood. Well, I got to be that way about “bambulances” and other people’s propensity to swallow Band-Aids. When I see an ambulance to this very day, I mutter to myself, “Somebody swallowed a Band-Aid”.

Flash forward 15 or 17 years and I’m driving down the road with the family. An ambulance screams by. The Tall One, my oldest daughter, who, at the time, was my only daughter and very young, asks what that was.

Habit. I say, “It was a bambulance. Somebody swallowed a Band-Aid.” I spend the next 20 minutes trying to explain that I had not said that out of knowledge, but out of habit. To no avail – it stuck. So now my daughter will forever consider an ambulance as a harbinger of bandage ingestion.

I have three kids now so how do you think this works out? It’s passed down from sister to sister as it was from father to daughter. My wife, She Who Must Be Obeyed, even connects the wail of a siren with the consumption of first aid products, but it is The Short One that takes the cake.

The Short One is five years old as of this date. 5.5, but who’s counting? She has no concept that an ambulance is for anything other than for people who swallow Band-Aids. Also, she has informed us that the trees that lie between us and the main highway a good piece in front of our house, is all that separates us from Cindarella’s house. You see, Cindarella lives on the other side of those trees where I used to rake pinestraw. How did I miss that? Who knows?

Anyway, Tonight as I was sitting on my deck smoking some seriously succulent baby back ribs, The Short one was about me. A siren went down the highway. She is playing with her pretend grill (because when daddy cooks outside, so does she. She cooks cow or frog, mostly), and as an aside, she remarks, “Cindarella swallowed another Band-Aid. I told her to be more careful. Why does she swallow so many Band-Aids, daddy?”

” Probably, ’cause she’s drunk”, I projected. Then I pick up my handy dandy laptop and make a status post on Facebook. Said status post is the title of this blawg post.

OK, I promised I would explain the post to you guys, so there it is.

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