Category Archives: humor

St. Patrick’s Day: My Top Childhood Memories

Our Irish surname was all our family needed to wear over-the-top green on St. Patrick’s Day, with little regard for appropriateness. It mattered little that we were off to school or the dentist, my father scoped out our attire hinting at times that the green quotient could be kicked-up a notch. My memories that are etched in green stone include:

1. My green hair fiasco: I wish I could say it probably happens to everyone at some time in their life, but of course, that would only be true if you were trying to impress your father with kelly green hair on St. Patrick’s Day. These were the days when primary colored hair was not at all fashionable and actually considered weird. The fiasco part came when I tried to wash out the supposed temporary rinse. It wasn’t.

2. Everyone loves a parade: The Chicago St. Patrick’s Day Parade when I was a kid had a pretty straightforward route. No zigs or zags or hairpin turns just straight down a long street for a few miles. I was marching in the parade and trying to Irish Dance when we would stop. There were so many parade participants and different groups, I lost my parents for a short while even though they were walking alongside the troupe as we marched.  When my group got to the end of the line there was a little confusion and for a few minutes my parents lost sight of me–you can only imagine that fear as a parent. We did quickly find each other but I was never allowed to be in the parade again. My mom said something about not being able to take the strain on her heart and my dad mumbled something quietly to my mom about hell freezing over but I heard it.

3. Send in the clown: Nobody necessarily likes to see their parent dressed like a clown–unless of course, that is their occupation. As kids, my sister and I used to cringe as we witnessed my father go off to work on St. Patrick’s Day in his bright green blazer, green pants and a green tipped carnation in his lapel. Of course, now as an adult, I would give anything to see my dad dressed once again in his green garb.

4. The green river: One year on St. Patrick’s Day our family went downtown so we could witness first-hand just how green the Chicago river really was. We were able to get really close to the river and I noticed that it really looked rather dirty and murky, with maybe a tinge of green. I guess as I kid, when I heard they turned the river green, I was expecting a river of bright green Jell-O. I think they have much improved this today.

5. The family bar: Our family used to go to a neighborhood bar on St. Patrick’s Day and eat corned beef and cabbage. I don’t remember that I even particularly liked the meal, but as kids we got to go into an actual bar and I thought that was really cool. We got to play pinball and a bowling game, plus we got to see what the big deal was about bars. We quickly figured out it was the popcorn machine and the kiddie cocktails, and some of the adults were even drinking green beer. Imagine that, we thought, who would drink that?

6. Since I lived in Chicago in a predominantly Irish/ Catholic neighborhood we had to go to church before school on St. Patrick’s Day. I thought this absurd but the nuns and priests used any excuse possible to get us to mass. They said it was because St. Patrick was a saint and we had to go. But then eventually, many of the saints got thrown under the bus because the Church claimed they weren’t “real” saints after all. My personal favorite, St. Christopher, the patron saint of travelers was taken off the Universal Church Roman Calendar but I ignore this as I do most Church doctrine. I figure I could have slept an extra hour at home on St. Patrick’s day instead of sleeping through the mandatory mass.

7. The few non-Irish kids in our neighborhood didn’t really get the “green thing.” Sometimes they even tried to make fun of our outfits or corned-beef-and-cabbage dinners. I didn’t even like cabbage back then but I still stuck up for our Irish traditions, claiming our Irish soda bread was far better than their Italian bread, Polish sour dough rye or whatever they ate.

8. And of course as kids we heard the Irish sayings, many of which we didn’t understand such as “May the road rise to meet you.” What? It simply means; wishing you much success. But, Erin Go Bragh would bring giggles to our Irish faces as we struggled to figure out who the heck Erin was and why were they talking about her bra?

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Will Old Acquaintance Be Forgot? Or Not?

 

When I was a kid my folks occasionally went to a neighborhood bar on New Year’s Eve.  You know the kind, where everybody knew your name, your kid’s names, what you drove, where you went to school/church and if you ate meat on Fridays. They always came back before midnight to ring in the New Year with us kids. They weren’t big party people and my dad used to say New Year’s  Eve was amateur night, so if they went out it was only for a few hours and it was close by.

They entrusted our care to a babysitter that lived across the street from us. We thought she was older than dirt but who knows? We were just kids.  We knew she came from “the old country” but we didn’t know which one. When we asked my dad he just said it’s shaped like a boot. We didn’t get that at all so we figured it was his attempt at a joke. She always brought her knitting in a fold-up knitting bag and sat on a chair and I swear, she never moved. I mean she moved her arms and knitting needles but I don’t remember her ever rising from the chair or interacting with us. Not that we cared. We could watch TV on the four available channels without input from our dad, who typically ruled the TV with a nod of his head. Yes for Bonanza and Lawrence Welk,  no for the Untouchables (for us not him).

We were always already dressed for bed, so I never understood why the babysitter was even there? I guess to watch us watch TV and get our own snacks. My sister and I pretty much ran the show on deciding what to watch and what we were going to do but we always had a dissenter in the group; my brother Kevin. He never wanted to watch what we wanted to watch and we never liked his choices either. He was a real channel flipper. This was in the days when you actually had to walk up to the TV and manually turn a knob. Yeah, it was hard work but sitting on my brother so he wouldn’t keep turning the channel was much harder. Normally, an adult would intervene  but I think the “babysitter” must have thought we were playing a game or something and went back to knitting her 100th pair of slipper socks.

On one particular New Year’s Eve while waiting for my folks to come home just before midnight and give us their noisemakers and hats they invariably got from the bar, I heard a loud racket outside about 10 minutes before midnight. I stepped outside on our porch and I saw all seven of the McGurk kids banging pots and pans and making a hell of a lot of noise and it wasn’t even midnight yet. I ran into our kitchen and grabbed some pots and pans and of course, not to be outdone, I started banging the pots together and on the metal railing and even on the cement porch. In the meantime the folks came home, we all yelled happy New Year and my dad walked the babysitter back across the street where presumably, she had a giant boot hand-knitted in her room somewhere or that was my vision anyway.  The next morning my mom pulled out a pot to make Cream of Wheat, my sister Diane’s favorite but the pot was so dented up it wouldn’t lay flat on the burner. My mom started laughing–lucky for me.

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The Ghost of Christmas Memories Past

I used to wonder why old people liked to talk about the past.  Now that I am in the “old people” club, I totally get it. It has little to do with not being progressive or keeping up with the times or even wanting things the way they were. and everything to do with fond memories.  I mean, who doesn’t want to visit great memories? Especially around Christmastime. I don’t necessarily remember visions of sugar plums dancing in my head but I sure remember spritz cookies, Russian tea cakes and homemade fudge. Since I was a product of The Greatest Generation and a Baby Boomer I didn’t have to worry about The Great Depression and other atrocities,  me and my siblings had it pretty good.

I remember the giant Sears catalog along with a few others in our household becoming dog-eared as we searched the “Wish Book” as it was called for the perfect gift to ask Santa to bring us. In reality maybe we got one or two items on our list and it is doubtful the items ever came from Sears as my parents were Montgomery Ward shoppers, but it didn’t matter. The fun was in the wishing and looking and dreaming (geez, I think that was a 1960’s song). Anyway, the anticipation of maybe getting a thing or two on our Santa’s  list kept us on relatively good behavior for at least a few weeks and undoubtedly a blessing for our folks who barely had to utter “naughty or nice” to keep us in line.

Most moms didn’t work outside the home in those days so my mom got into the swing of Christmas by stenciling Christmas decorations on our window panes by dabbing a sponge dipped in liquid pledge (odd but true) that formed Santa, trees etc. Then she baked up a Christmas cookie storm and hid the cookies from us because she didn’t want them all gone before Christmas. We were always pretty sure my Dad got some early cookies though. She also always made us nightgowns or pajamas that were usually red flannel with really dumb looking Little-House-On-The-Prairie sleeping hats (the book not the TV show) so we could take an equally dumb picture in front of the Christmas tree. She always gave us these pajama things on Christmas eve along with slippers. One year I got beautiful blue fluffy, furry slippers. I was thrilled not to once again get the slipper socks which were the norm back then. Imagine getting excited about a pair of slippers? This is why we call it the good old days.

I remember we went Christmas caroling with the kids on my Chicago city block even though most of us couldn’t carry a tune. About a month before Christmas the only music teacher on the block and probably the only parent who felt up to the task would contact our parents and ask them if we wanted to participate in Christmas Eve caroling. I don’t ever remember being asked by my parents if my sister and I wanted to do this, I just remember going over to the teacher’s house (one house down ) for “practice,” a few times before the big night. I do remember her telling me I needed to sing from my diaphragm and that I sounded nasally. And I do remember thinking I was into dancing not singing and people would just see a bunch of cute neighborhood kids singing and not necessarily care if they sounded like a professional choir.

We only went to houses on our block where we knew people well or that had kids in the singing group. Some people gave us candy or hot chocolate, it was great to be out at night on Christmas Eve as a kid and some people even gave us money. I remember one time a guy named Moose Krause, who was the brother of the policeman, who lived next door to us and was visiting, giving the music teacher $20.00. That was a lot of money back then, it was the late 1950’s. We all figured it would be divided up amongst us singers who were freezing out butts off singing in the snow. But our music teacher had other plans for the money and told us it should go to our neighborhood Catholic church collection box at midnight mass. The Christmas spirit took hold of course and we all agreed she was right. It wasn’t until years later and talking to my Dad that I realized that Moose krause was the athletic director of Notre Dame and a huge notable athlete in his own right. My Dad was talking to him for quite a while on the front porch that one Christmas Eve and for my folks, who would go to Notre Dame games quite a bit in those days, meeting  Moose was a big deal. For us kids the big deal was yet to come, Santa Claus was coming to town.

 

 

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Black Friday; Who Coined This Term And Manufactured Chaos?

(This photo was  taken last year on Nov. 28, at a Chicago Target)

We need to start our engines earlier and earlier each year to participate in what has become the madness of Black Friday shopping. Some folks are barely getting to cut that pumpkin pie or grab a second helping of Thanksgiving stuffing because they are running  out to Walmart or Target or some other wondrous place that allows hundreds of people to stand in line for a store allotment of 10 made-in-Taiwan big screen TV’s or like a few years ago, $2. waffle makers that held the promise of lasting 24 hours.

Black Friday is considered the single biggest shopping day of the year for retailers.  While the name Black Friday may conjure up images of the stock market crash or a power outage, this unofficial U.S. holiday, which falls the day after Thanksgiving, has been traditionally the official kickoff to the holiday shopping season. But, what used to be a kinder and gentler shopping day filled with excitement, fun and Holiday spirit has given way to the spirit of greed as shoppers battle each other for made-in-China crap and last years leftover merchandise along with helping themselves to other people’s shopping carts.

So where did the name Black Friday originate? How did the day after Thanksgiving (and now taking a bite out of Thanksgiving) become the biggest shopping day of the year? In the old days of hand-kept accounting records, red ink indicated a stores loss, and black ink signified a profit. The holiday shopping season is believed to be when stores move from the red to the black. It is said that 20-40 percent of a retailers annual revenue is generated in November and December.

Just like Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start to summer, Thanksgiving, and later in history, Black Friday signify the unofficial start of the holiday shopping season. It has been this way since 1924, when Macy’s held its first Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City. For the past 89 years Thanksgiving has been uniquely associated with shopping and consumerism. The holiday parade is a Thanksgiving tradition, but it is also a three-hour advertisement for Macy’s.

The name Black Friday has other meanings also, and it is often hard to decipher fact from fiction. It is said that in the 1950s, people working in industrial factories referred to the day after Thanksgiving as Black Friday because so many people didn’t show up for work. Whether these people were out bargain hunting or simply sleeping off too much holiday fun, remains a mystery.

The term Black Friday, however, didn’t gain mainstream  popularity until the 1960s, when Philadelphia police used the expression to complain about streets jammed with shoppers, pedestrians and motorists on the day after Thanksgiving. The phrase was first used in an article in The American Philatelist. By the 1970s, the Philadelphia area was using the expression Black Friday to signal the beginning of the holiday shopping season, and the term caught on.

I used to go shopping on Black Friday when my daughter was young but we didn’t really shop much. We would have lunch somewhere (crowded of course), mingle and mix with the (then sane) crowds and check out the cool Christmas decorations. We thought it was fun to be out and about on Black Friday. But now that retailers have answered the call- of- the- wild- consumers wanting a feeding frenzy of deals and steals, I stay far away from stores on Black Friday and the entire week-end.  The retail outlets, of course, are touting this extravaganza shopping-or-bust day to combat online shopping which takes a good chunk of consumer spending away from brick and mortar stores. But, at least I know if I stay home and shop on my computer I won’t get maced by a “mad” shopper.

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The Ghost of Print Magazines Past

Sometimes my life flashes before my eyes in glossy form. Just like in the pages of a magazine, or more accurately, the pages of magazines past. The magazines that are gone but not forgotten, at least by me. I don’t just mean Look magazine or Life that everyone’s mother and grandmother read I mean the important magazines that got me through my teen years like Teen and Seventeen. The magazines that told me what I should be wearing even though I either wasn’t allowed to or couldn’t afford to comply. The magazines that showed me how to apply make-up before I was even allowed to purchase a mascara wand. Yeah, those magazines. They are all Kaput.

We didn’t have a lot of extra money as a kid but whenever Teen magazine came out my mom would come home from the grocery store with it tucked into her paper grocery bag. I would thank her profusely and race up to my bedroom, flop on my bed and read it very slowly, savoring each page. I would read about the latest teen idol, music, movies, fashion etc. It was the best 35-cent entertainment in my world.

While the older crowd was flipping the pages of the Saturday Evening Post, Colliers, Better Homes and Gardens, McCalls and Ladies’Home Journal (all defunct) I had moved on to Mad magazine for my humor and Cosmopolitan for the love, sex and how to marry a millionaire stuff. For really covert stuff my sister and I used to visit a friend’s summer cottage and find such delights as True Confessions, True Story, True Romances etc. hidden under chair cushions so the “kids” wouldn’t read them. These we felt were quite interesting if not necessarily believable despite the “True” title. We however, thought they were great summer reading. Of course at some point I grew up and started reading news magazines, literary magazines, women’s magazines and of course, decorating and home magazines since I loved DIY decorating. But, many of them have died a print death with some resurrecting online. I mean, I scan a website but I read a magazine.

So, while “foodies” still mourn the demise of Gourmet Magazine you can get your recipes online at a million different sites complete with pictures that you can’t really feel between your fingers but hey, that’s digital progress. Due to the recession (the one experts said we weren’t having) the last few years, general interest magazines were waning as advertisers were falling by the wayside and/or looking for new places to put their ad revenue. Niche marketing magazines whether online or in print seems to be what’s popular today.

If you write, bike, hike or draw tattoos a magazine exists for you. Some are print but many now have an online presence. Demographics have changed and so have the devices changed that bring us our news/entertainment information. I know the answer is that the print world and digital world should mesh. But sometimes I just like to open a magazine that I don’t have to connect to, download, worry about batteries or software glitches or all that cloud stuff, and just throw the damn magazine in my purse and be on my way.

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July 14, 2014 · 2:24 pm

Summer In Chicago 1950’s style

 

I grew up in the city although it didn’t seem all that urban to me. What I though urban meant as a kid didn’t connect in my kid-brain with the tree-lined streets, lush lawns of Marian Blue grass or Creeping Bent and the Georgians, Cape Cods and Ranch style brick homes of my neighborhood.

My neighborhood was a direct result of much-needed housing for those returning from WWII who married, started having kids, in many cases lots of kids and yes, everybody knew our name. It was the law of the land I guess so our neighbors could tell our parents that we walked on their grass or tried to climb their tree or walked between parked cars or God forbid, rode our bikes in the street. We didn’t know it then of course, but we were the baby boomers.

It was a working class neighborhood for the most part with a few professionals thrown in for good measure. You could always tell who made a little more money, their houses were just a little bit fancier than the rest.  Oh yeah, everyone was Catholic. Some even wore their Catholicism on their front lawns, in the form of statues. These were usually the Italians, the Irish thought such outdoor displays tacky yet every room in their houses claimed enough crucifixes, rosary beads, holy cards, holy medals, holy statues and palms from Palm Sundays past to outfit a new church. Tacky? In many cases overkill too, but I’m Irish so I can say such things.

Everyone had a front porch or as some called it a front stoop. Folks would sit on it and talk, or watch kids play or read the daily metro newspaper. Lawn furniture? I never saw anyone with lawn furniture, not even on their lawn. Lawn furniture was up at my grandparents cottage. It was hard and metal and the back was shaped like a shell. But, in the city we sat on the cement porch.

Everyone played outside all day almost every day, especially in the summer. We found plenty to do with bats and balls, Hula Hoops, jump ropes, roller skates, chalk, dolls, trucks and toy guns. Some of us had dancing lessons or organized baseball or softball but we weren’t carted around daily by our parents so we would have stuff to do. The neighborhood was safe, we didn’t always lock the doors and we played in the alley with marbles because they would roll better. When the streetlights came on we knew we had to go inside because well, just because that was the unwritten rule for anyone that wasn’t a big kid.

My sister and I were going to take a trip back to the old neighborhood last week to see what our old house looked like now. She and my brother had been back more recently than me and of course we keep tabs on it through the news. I’m no spring chicken and I was worried about what we might see or encounter even in broad daylight. I figured two old ladies, even in a car could look like an easy mark. She agreed. We figured maybe we should spend our twilight years remembering the good times in a great neighborhood, rather than face the reality of toy guns that have turned into real guns. Alley games have now been replaced by drug deals and sitting on your front porch can make you a gang target even if you never met a gang member in your life. The streetlights rarely go on as many of them have been shot out and now what I thought urban meant as a kid is a far seedier, grittier, unsafe version of reality for my old neighborhood than what was in my mind’s eye as city life.  My old Chicago neighborhood is like a war zone and I can only hope and pray the good guys win.

My brother sent me this DVD;  http://amzn.to/1qzaaRz called Chicago, the Boomer Years. I think you can only get it used on Amazon as the PBS Chicago channel sells it for much more new.  It sure is a riot to watch if you are a boomer. I am an Amazon affiliate so I get a small commission if you purchase through my link.  My brother said he sent it because he remembers me and my sister wearing funny hats to church and saw some just like ours in the DVD. They were like a scarf with flower petals and we thought we were quite fashionable  little kids in the 1950’s.

 

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July 7, 2014 · 11:07 am

Thanks Dad, For Holding My Hand Through Life

I grew up in the “wait until your father get’s home” era. Even as a kid I found it unfair (not just for me) but for my Dad who just worked a 10-hour day and would walk through the door and have to punish one of us (usually me because I was the one with the big mouth) without having  been through the supposed crime/event/misdeed to judge for himself. He went strictly on my mother’s story. I found this ludicrous, and said so on a few occasions. I used the word unfair of course because if I used the word ludicrous he would know I had been in the basement reading his book-of-the-month-club books that he insisted were for adults and not kids. He had no idea how books about submarines and WWII increased my vocabulary. Then my dad would tell me that life wasn’t fair and blah, blah, blah and go to my room for a while and think about what I had done/said etc. I would usually write an apology because even as a kid I expressed myself better in writing.

My dad wasn’t one to yell, I never heard him swear ever and he was just as calm as anything as he glanced up from his newspaper to tell me to take off the eye makeup “I looked liked a streetwalker.” He was however, observant. We disagreed of course, especially in my teens when I was trying to spread my wings and I felt he was trying to clip them. I can still hear the old “As long as you are under my roof…and because I said so, that’s why…” These types of statements were the end of the road. We never had yelling matches or even loud disagreements, I was allowed to express myself but it was really an exercise in futility. If he did have a change of heart on something it was usually due to my mom’s influence. This all seemed perfectly normal for that era as I look back on it and it was normal for most of my friends as well. Yeah, I respected my dad but I now realize, because he was who he was, he taught me to respect others and most importantly myself.

When I won my very first, first place award from the Illinois Press Association for an editorial I wrote years ago, it was my dad who drove a couple of hours and surprised me by walking into the newspaper office where I worked.  After introducing himself to the receptionist he said he would like to speak to the award winning editor.

100_0287 The whole newsroom got the biggest kick out of that.  As I get closer and closer to the age that my dad died, I find myself thinking more and more about him, especially of course on Father’s Day. I now wish I would have paid a lot more attention to some of his  blah, blah, blah stuff that I used to let go in one ear and out the other. Thanks dad, for telling me not to worry about being lousy at math and science because you knew I had common sense and perseverance, you were right. It has served me well. And thanks dad for holding my hand all through life even when I didn’t think I needed it, I still knew it was there.

 

 

 

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Is Santa Black, White Or Should It Be A Penguin?

English: large wooden Santa Claus and "no...

English: large wooden Santa Claus and “north pole” at Santa Claus House, North Pole, Alaska (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

What a huge surprise that “political correctness” is now taking its toll on a fun, not-even-real, beloved, decades old symbol of Christmas; Santa Claus. Slate writer Aisha Harris declared in her “culture” column yesterday that Santa should be replaced with a penguin. Never mind that she called a penguin a mammal (it’s a bird, do your research).

She goes on (and on) to say that a white Santa shouldn’t be the default Santa and she felt insecure and ashamed as a child because all the Santa’s at the mall, on TV etc. were white yet in her own home the cards, figurines and ornaments depicted Santa as black. Her shame she said, came from the fact that she felt her black Santa was somehow “not real.” Is she forgetting no Santa is real? Her own father pointed out to her that Santa became the image and likeness of whatever family he visited. I was taught this about Jesus too. Everyone retains the right to decide what color their mythical symbols of Christmas, Easter, tooth fairy etc. are. I’m sure it must be in the Bill of Rights of pretend stuff.

Here are her some of her reasons taken from slate.com why Santa should be a penguin;

“Two decades later, America is less and less white, but a melanin-deficient Santa remains the default in commercials, mall casting calls, and movies. Isn’t it time that our image of Santa better serve all the children he delights each Christmas?

Yes, it is. And so I propose that America abandon Santa-as-fat-old-white-man and create a new symbol of Christmas cheer. From here on out, Santa Claus should be a penguin.
Why, you ask? For one thing, making Santa Claus an animal rather than an old white male could spare millions of nonwhite kids the insecurity and shame that I remember from childhood. Whether you celebrate the holiday or not, Santa is one of the first iconic figures foisted upon you: He exists as an incredibly powerful image in the imaginations of children across the country (and beyond, of course). That this genial, jolly man can only be seen as white—and consequently, that a Santa of any other hue is merely a “joke” or a chance to trudge out racist stereotypes—helps perpetuate the whole “white-as-default” notion endemic to American culture (and, of course, not just American culture).

Plus, people love penguins. There are blogs dedicated entirely to their cuteness. They’re box office gold. Most importantly, they’re never scary (in contrast to, say, polar bears and reindeer). Most kids love Santa—because he brings them presents. But human Santa can be terrifying—or at least unsettling.”

There is much, much more but I’ll let you trot on over to Slate.com and check it out for yourself, if you so wish. I’ve had more than my fill of her drivel and I am on a quest to have the beloved Fat Albert character turned into a mouse, but I can’t decide if it should be a white mouse…

Harris is not surprisingly getting a lot of flak for this getting-rid-of-white-Santa idea and I hear the reindeer are really pissed. The elves aren’t to happy either. They have a right to work clause that doesn’t include them working for a bird. Many do agree however, replacing a Slate writer with a penguin is a great idea. Ho, ho, ho!

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Hey U.S. Government; Tap my Phone and Listen Too, I Double Dare You

Antique phone

Antique phone

I realize that our U.S. Government is only “collecting” phone records from regular Americans, non-regular Americans, possible terrorists, people who wouldn’t hurt a fly and various and sundry people who fall into virtually no category at all, kind of like an ex spouse or well, some government employees. They say they aren’t really listening to our day to day drivel but I think they should. It would give them a dose of the average American’s reality so they can quit making up statistics, theories and studies about what it is “really” like to live in the U.S. for 99% of us.

I will willingly grant the government access to my most intimate phone conversations with such entities as the Walmart pharmacy department, Macy’s billing department, Comcast Cable, my local DMV office, any insurance company I deal with and any person/place/thing with a government affiliation that I have to correspond with in some fashion or another. It doesn’t matter if it is local, state or federal they all speak or e-mail in that super-suave governmental-ese language, with notes of condescending and you are but a mere mortal attitude. I also have a hate/hate relationship with Bank of America but this list is getting boring and way too long. Suffice it to say that anytime I have to “interact” with a large corporation, I the consumer, come out on the short end of not just the stick but everything.

My Walmart pharmacy conversation was quite the lesson in economics, capitalism, and what I like to call; maybe we will get a stupid one that won’t notice. A medication I take is usually about $20. I order it online from Walmart, they give me a robot call and tell me it is ready and how much. Last week the robot told me my med was $157.00. I figured the robot got his/her wires crossed so I called Walmart pharmacy to talk to a real person (ha ha). Real person told me the $157.00 price was not an error and that they filled my prescription with a different company than my last order.

It is the same exact prescription I noted, how can this be? Well, different pharmaceutical companies charge different prices for the exact same thing, she said. So I asked her to tell me what other prices she had for my exact same medication. she put me on hold to go talk to the supposed head pharmacy guy. She came back and I swear to God, she said they had it for $157, $35 and $19.97. She then PROCEEDED TO ASK ME WHICH ONE I WANTED. I wish I could say that I am making this up but I’m not. I told her I want the one that she would pick if she was purchasing this medication and was paying out-of-her own pocket.

This happened the following month also when I ordered online. This time the $20 med cost $127. I called and asked if an online order prompted some default highest price trigger. She said I should call and tell them I wanted the lowest priced manufacturer for my prescription. I said they should call every customer they fleeced in this manner that might not be aware of the numerous prices for a simple medication and apologize. I know people who assume they are getting the cheapest price just because it is Walmart. The cheapest available should be a given not a game of Russian Roulette. I can only assume that people with drug insurance pay the premium price because they might not notice, don’t care or possibly even realize that this practice raises premiums on everyone. Needless to say, I no longer purchase anything at Walmart.

Macy’s billing department (you know, the one in India) tried to charge me $25 to pay my bill by phone a few months back because THEY were having trouble with THEIR online website. When I laughed and said I was going to cancel my card, I swear the guy said “well, how about $5?” I said “How about drop dead?” It took me 45 minutes to quit Comcast and I had to talk to three people to do it. On the other hand if you want to upgrade on Comcast you are never put on hold and it will take you two minutes. My local DMV office said my birth certificate, passport and bills with my new address on them weren’t enough to renew my driver’s license. They said I needed high school or college transcripts, my marriage certificate and divorce decree showing my name change (from a million years ago). I thought they were joking, I have renewed my license with the same name for 35 years. I ended up going to a different much smaller DMV office and got it renewed with just my birth certificate and proof of residency.

We all have these ridiculous stories of course and many of them are so unbelievable that only a phone tap could prove them true. So please U.S. Government, forget Wiki Leaks and others, just listen in on my phone for a short time and you will discover the fleecing of America is alive and well and I’m only one out of millions.

I don’t necessarily judge a book by its cover but this book;  “Idiot America: How Stupidity Became A Virtue, in the Land of the Free” caught my attention by the title alone. You can purchase it here:  http://amzn.to/1pqKSpH  at Amazon, or I’m sure other places as well. It was on the New York Times Bestseller list when it first came out but quite frankly, I rarely pick books by their rather snooty or in many cases laughable lists that have movie stars that can’t write at #1 for about 5 minutes or pop stars at 21 writing biographies when they haven’t really lived, so NYT lists are pretty much useless to me.  Anyway this book was funny and sad at the same time and I felt very, very true about our land of the free and the brave and the stupid. I am an Amazon affiliate so I receive a small commission if you purchase through my link.

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Footnotes in Time: My Life in Shoes

English: Ruby Slippers on display a the Americ...

English: Ruby Slippers on display a the American History Museum (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

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Filed under humor, nostalgia