Dr-Fix-It! Notebook Archive:
PC on Earth . . .
As John's eyes adjusted to the dim light, he could make out some familiar faces at the far side of the tavern. Seated on his favorite stool at the bar's corner, Bill The Bus Driver aimlessly stirred his whiskey with his left hand while studying the TV above the back-bar. He waved a cigarette at John with his right hand.
"Hi-ya John", Bill The Bus Driver croaked, "How's the Fix-it Business?" .
John pulled out a barstool and swung into it, "Good, Bill, Good. I'm all caught up. Absolutely nothing's broke - except me."
Cory The Bartender grinned, "Well, if that's the case, John, we better go on a cash basis tonight . . . "
He opened the beer cooler and paused, "The usual, John?"
John, "Yah, Hacke Beck."
Bill The Bus Driver raised a finger above his head, " 'Never trust a man who doesn't drink!' I think W.C. Fields said that."
John poured his ale into a frosted glass, "Aw, I've had many drinks in my day, Bill. But there is only so much alcohol in this big world and I figured it was time to let other people have some. . . instead of hogging it all for myself.
Bill The Bus Driver swung his glass in John's direction as a casual toast, "Much obliged! More for me!"
John smiled, "Cory, put this 'brew' on Bill's tab."
Bill The Bus Driver shot back, "Bull. Buy your own. Bad enough I have to sit next to you. Sure as hell ain't going to encourage you! "
John pulled a ten-spot from his wallet and handed it to Cory. He glanced down the bar. "How's the bus business, Bill?"
Bill The Bus Driver's gaze didn't move from the TV, "Oh, you know. It has its comings and goings. . . It has its starts and stops. . ."
"Every time I hear you say that, I still think it's NOT funny."
Cory The Bartender closed the cash register and placed $6.50 in change on the bar in front of John. He grinned and nodded, " I hear it more than you do, John, and it's still not funny for me either."
John focused on the television, " Maybe someday, Cory. Maybe someday it will be funny."
Cory The Bartender shook his head, " I doubt it."
Joe The Doper finished a solo game of darts and returned to his seat at the bar. "Hi John. Done for the day?'
John replied, "Yah. How's your job hunt going?"
Joe The Doper scratched his neck, "Good! If everything comes together the way I'm hoping, I should be getting a job real soon. A good one too!"
Cory The Bartender rolled his eyes, "Joe doesn't want to rush into just any career. But, I hear they are looking for Crash-Test Dummies over at Southwest Research . . ."
Bill The Bus Driver shook his head as he snuffed a cigarette in the ashtray, "Too late. Joe is a dummy who has already crashed."
John smiled at Cory The Bartender, "I love this place. Everybody is SO sweet."
Bill The Bus Driver lit another smoke and pointed it at the Bartender, "Hey Cory, you know the saying 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it' ? "
Cory The Bartender nodded, "Sure, Bill."
Bill The Bus Driver continued, "Well, John here has taken the concept to the next level. You might call it the doctorate level. Yessiree. Even if it IS broken, John don't fix it!"
Joe The Doper smacked the bar with the flat of his palm and let out a whoop, "HOO! That's funny!"
John took off his cap and pretended to do some warm up stretches. Then he put his cap back on and said, "Cory, you know buses have that white line on the floor. . . Now, do you know why Bill doesn't ever let his bus passengers ride while standing in front of that white line?"
Cory The Bartender shrugged, "Guess I never thought much about it."
John smiled, "Because he doesn't like to share his whiskey."
Bill The Bus Driver laughed out loud, "Now that's the Honest to God Truth! The minute you let a passenger get in front of the white line, they can see where you are hiding the bottle! Then, they want to share! Pretty soon, the cupboard's bare! That's no good. No good at all!"
Joe The Doper hung on Bill's every word. His eyes widened at the thought, "Wow, Bill! They let you do that? The bus company lets you have a bottle with you?"
Bill The Bus Driver took a long pull on his cigarette, then exhaled. He winked at John and replied, " Of course they do, Joe. Hell, they even provide the bottle! It's a 'perk'. Haven't you ever heard of binge benefits?"
Cory The Bartender rolled his eyes, "Binge Benefits. Man, oh man."
John moved to change the subject, "What are you watching there, Bill?"
Bill The Bus Driver motioned toward the TV set with his cigarette, "Aww. Its a re-run of that golf tournament when Michelson took the trophy and Tiger just barely qualified."
John looked at Cory The Bartender, "Isn't there anything better to watch on TV? I can't imagine anything more boring than re-runs of golf. Golf on TV is pretty boring by itself - but a re-run?. What could be more boring than a re-run of a golf game?"
Bill The Bus Driver mumbled, "Toledo. . . Toledo is real boring. . . . My first ex-wife. . . . My second ex-wife. . . boring!"
John continued, ". . . Re-runs! Sports aren't supposed to be re-run! My wife plans things for me to do on Sundays. I tell her no, I want to watch football. She says, 'Tape the game. You can watch it later.' No! I try to explain that watching a sports event after it's over just isn't the same. Now they have a whole channel that shows nothing but re-runs of sporting events. What marketing genius came up with that?"
Cory The Bartender laughed, "John, get with the program. It's not a re-run. It's an Encore Event. It's a Classic Sports Moment. Definitely not a re-run!"
Bill The Bus Driver lit up, "You know what would be good? If they played football like golf. You know? Sophisticated . . ."
John grabbed a beer bottle and spoke into it as if it were a microphone: "It's third and 10. Goal to go. Brady steps back to pass. The referees hold up signs which read 'Quiet Please'. The crowd politely obliges. Just listen how quiet this stadium got all of a sudden! (whispering) Now Brady is sizing up each receiver. He is down on one knee trying to find the best passing lane. It looks like he found something he can work with. Brady is lining up the shot. Now Brady is taking a practice swing. What form! We are ready now! Brady throws the ball. It is caught in the end-zone. It's a touchdown. Oh my. That was nicely done. The crowd gives a polite round of applause."
Joe the Doper shook his head, "No, man, that ain't right. That ain't the WAY!"
Cory The Bartender grinned, "You know what would be better? If they played golf like football!" He snatched the bottle from John's hand and began his 'broadcast': " . . . Looks like Brady has chosen a running play. Folks, I have to say that would not have been MY choice for a play. This hole is 438 yards. That is a very long fairway for a running play. And . . .It looks like the defense has picked up on the running play formation because they are forming a circle around the hole. OK, here's the snap! Here we go! No surprise, it's a run. . . . Running. . . . Still running. . . . We will go to station identification while this run is in progress. . . Hello, we are back and he is still running. . . Well, not actually RUNNING anymore - more like staggering. . . .The exhausted running-back is almost to the green. . . . OH! What a defensive play! Ouch! What a hit! That looked like it REALLY hurt! The ball is whistled dead on the green at about the three yard line. That run was 435 yards. It will be second and three on the green as soon as we get the running-back onto a stretcher. We'll take a commercial break during this injury time-out."
Joe the Doper shook his head, "No, man. Didn't you see 'Jurassic Park'? The part at the end when the scientists are flying in the helicopter and they look out the window and they see the bird? And they watch the bird and then they look at each other and think about what just happened in the movie? They think about all the dinosaurs that were chasing them and how the bird evolved from dinosaurs? It's like everything has its own WAY, man! See? Golf is one way. Football is another."
Bill The Bus Driver continued to fix his gaze on the TV behind the bar. The little cigarette smoke-signals puffing from his nose were the only clue that Bill The Bus Driver was trying desperately to stifle his laughter.
John waved an open hand toward Joe the Doper, "Of Course!", he cried, "And, just like the dinosaurs, old sports should never ever be re-run because it might upset the natural balance! Old sports events should be remembered but never replayed!"
Awestruck, Joe the Doper stammered, "Gosh John, that was beautiful."
Cory The Bartender reached for the remote, "Man! It's getting pretty deep in here. I'll change it to the News. Maybe we can all agree on that."
Joe the Doper tearfully sobbed, "'Jurassic Park'. That was SUCH a beautiful movie . . ."
Bill The Bus Driver gazed at the CNN News, "Damn. It pisses me off that there are folks who want the President set a public timetable to withdraw our troops from Iraq. SURE! Lets just publish our frigging intentions so everybody in the whole world knows! How stupid is that?"
Cory The Bartender nodded, "Yah, those 'insurgents' are sitting back and watching the news too. They are just sitting over there just laughing at us. They know they don't have to defeat us. They just have to outlast our attention span."
Bill The Bus Driver took a drink and swirled the ice cubes in the bottom of his glass, "It ought to be against the law to blab out loud like that . It's High Treason 'to aid and abet' the enemy. Loose lips sink ships. I say they are committing treason. Treason carries the death penalty. I say take'm all out back and shoot'em."
John grinned, "Bill, it is still legal in this country to express an opinion. The Patriot Act hasn't squashed that right . . . yet . . ."
Bill The Bus Driver violently crushed his cigarette in the ashtray, " . . . Nope. Nobody has a RIGHT to say anything that might give the enemy ANY edge to defeat OUR troops." He pointed toward the TV screen, "Those dumbass hand-wringing wimps should just SHUT their mouths. If they want to disagree, send a letter. Send a friggen e-mail. But don't criticize war policy on the World - News! It's 'aiding and abetting the enemy', I say!"
Joe the Doper spun a '360' in his bar stool, "I didn't know you could bet on the enemy. Where is that? Vegas? Man, they got a line on everything out there in Vegas! Don't they?
Cory The Bartender shook his head, "No Joe. 'Abet', NOT 'a bet'. . . . Oh, never mind."
Bill The Bus Driver lit a new cigarette and pointed it at the TV, "Now they want to take The Christ out of Christmas! How dumb is that?"
John took a sip of ale, "I haven't heard about that. How do you take The Christ out of Christmas?"
Bill The Bus Driver continued, "Oh, Now they are saying that it conflicts with 'The Separation of Church and State' to have Christmas Trees and sing Christmas Carols in schools and in public offices. The White House has already kicked Christ out. They lit the 'Holiday Tree' this year. It's not 'The White House Christmas Tree' any more - it's a 'Holiday Tree'. We are trying to be so 'PC'! Political Correct! What a bunch of bull."
Cory The Bartender wondered outloud, "If you take The Christ out of Christmas, what do you have left? . . . MAS? "
John agreed, "Mas. That is Spanish for 'More'.'
Bill The Bus Driver snorted, "Spanish for 'More'. That makes sense in a way. The way people were fighting to get into the stores on Black Friday - fist fights and stampedes to be the first in line to buy gifts in the name of 'Peace on Earth' - 'More' sounds like a good name for what Christmas has become."
Bill The Bus Driver mumbled while he contemplated the implications, " Spanish . . . 'Mas' . . . Spanish . . . 'Mas'. . ."
Joe the Doper was busy constructing a model house out of match books he had found. He looked up from his project to inquire, "Spanish Moss? What does that have to do with Vegas? "
John chuckled. He pushed $1.50 toward the back bar and put the five-spot in his wallet, "Well, I guess I have had enough education for one day." He drained the last of his beer as he spun around to get down off his bar stool. "You gentlemen have a very Merry Mas! "
Bill The Bus Driver smiled as he stirred his whiskey, "Yah, Merry Mas." Then, he raised his glass in a toast to John and exclaimed, "Merry Mas, John, for Christ's sake!"
Joe the Doper looked up again, "Who is Mary Mas?"
Cory The Bartender grinned as he waved, "Yes, John! Merry Mas and 'PC' on earth!"