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Showing posts from May, 2007

Which Part of No Don't You Understand?

Which Part of No Don't You Understand?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Erik is out of the office this week, so we are firing up the WayBack machine and reprinting a column for 2003.

It's not something I like to talk about, but when I was in college I did something I'm not proud of. I was a telemarketer.

Okay, I was only a telemarketer for about three hours, but it was still pretty traumatic.

It was my last summer in college, and I was looking for a part-time job. I called a company I found in a classified ad, and I was hired right over the phone. I should have been suspicious when I was hired based purely on how I sounded. There was no application, no background check, and no questions about whether I became easily disgruntled or owned any guns.

The "business" was a single room in an office complex with three folding tables, six folding chairs, six phones, and two windows that didn't open. And I was the only one who didn't smoke. Everyone els…

You Want Me to Go Where?

You Want Me to Go Where?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

Imagine if I told you to go to Hell. What would you do? Run away and cry? Punch me in the nose? Or visit the little town in Michigan?

If you didn’t know, Hell is an unincorporated community of 266 souls, situated about 20 miles northwest of Ann Arbor, in Southeast Michigan. It’s a well-known place, because of the giggle factor of its name, and its various festivals, such as the annual Run Through Hell 10 mile race.

It was a combination of these factors that inspired Michael Sattler, a 16-year-old student at Fillmore Central High School, in Fillmore Nebraska, to create a brochure for a place he’d like to visit as part of an English class assignment. So why did he get a zero on it?

Because “. . . I used the word Hell in every part of it,” Sattler told the Ann Arbor (Michigan) News. “It was all about Hell, Hell, Hell.” Sattler’s English teacher apparently took umbrage with Sattler’s choice, because he used a bad word …

Is Being a Hypochondriac Contagious?

Is Being a Hypochondriac Contagious?
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

As veteran parents, my wife and I have quit worrying about illnesses. We give the kids their medicine, tell them where to find the 7-Up and Saltines, and let them watch as much TV as they want. Not like when we were new parents, when Oldest Daughter (known as Only Child back then) would get sick.

Back then, a childhood illness was cause for a major freakout for us. At the first sniffle, we would look at each other with horror and race to the "So, You're a First Time Parent?" emergency home medical guide. We hovered so much, the local TV station asked us to do the morning traffic reports.

"What do we do?!" my wife would wail to her mother at 11:30 at night. Her mother was an expert at childhood illnesses, and I was sure she knew every instant cure in the book.

"What'd she say?!" I'd ask. "What sort of expert advice did she give?"

"Just give her plen…

Living in Mother Goose's Neighborhood

Living in Mother Goose's Neighborhood
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

"Well, that's the last of the boxes. We're finally moved into our new home."

"I know, isn't it a great house?"

"I don't know who built it. Look at the plaque by the front door."

"'This is the house that Jack built.'"

"I don't know who he is."

"I wasn't gone that long."

"Outside meeting some of our new neighbors."

"I don't remember. One of them was Jack. . . uhh, Pratt. . .Kratt. . . Spratt. Oh yeah, it was Spratt."

"He's that really skinny guy we saw on the way in.

"Kind of short and meek looking.

"That wasn't a bear, that was his wife. She's huge!"

"I'm not kidding. It was like talking to a beach ball and a bean pole."

"Jeez, what DIDN'T we talk about? They told me all about the neighbors, their house, even their dietary restrictions. I j…

The Heartbreak of BlackBerryitis

The Heartbreak of BlackBerryitis
Erik Deckers
Laughing Stalk Syndicate
Copyright 2007

My BlackBerry is ruining my eyesight.

I got a new BlackBerry at work recently, and I can't stand to be away from it. For those of you who don't know what a BlackBerry is, it's sort of a mini-computer that handles your email, schedule, address book, web browser, and even a cell phone. Some people have taken to calling them Crackberries, because they're so addictive.

I carry mine on my belt, eagerly waiting for the little vibrating buzz that signifies someone has sent me an important email that I absolutely have to read right this second.

BZZZZZ!

As my BlackBerry buzzes, time slows to a crawl. My eyes narrow, my palms get sweaty, and the theme song from "Pale Rider," echoes in my brain. In a flash, my hand drops to my holster like a gunfighter, and I whip the BlackBerry out faster than Wild Bill Hickock.

("Do'nt misse out on this grate stokc! You cna make M--ILLIONS!").

D…