Thursday, September 30, 2010

Everything I ever needed to know I learned from the Dukes of Hazzard


When I was a kid, I loved the show, Dukes of Hazzard.  As I was driving to work today, I noticed a 6’ loading ramp at a local shop that repairs industrial equipment, and the first thought that came to mind was, “wow.  I would love to take my car at about 60 mph and go off that sweet jump!”  Then it hit me how crazy an idea it was, and I couldn’t help but wonder where it came from.  After pondering this for a few minutes, it hit me that it was that show from the 70’s that put those crazy ideas in my head that have been in there for over 30 years, but still surface from time to time. 

I then wondered how else that show has influenced me, and here are some key lessons:

1. In life, no matter how hopeless things seem, there is always a way out.  Usually it involves a dirt road, a fast car, some loyal friends and, if you are lucky, a jump over a creek.

2. Attractive people can get away with stuff normal folks like me can’t.  If you don’t believe me, ask Deputy Cletus Hogg.

Daisy and Cletus

3. There really are a lot of greedy, power-hungry people out there like Boss Hogg.

dukes_boss01 Bernie_Madoff_assault

4. Even if you are an actor who plays a dirty, wild and crazy, red-neck mechanic named Cooter, you still probably have a future in national politics

5. Everybody needs an Uncle Jesse in their life to bail them out of trouble every now and then.

6. Sometimes, you really need to thing creatively to solve a problem.  Like attaching dynamite to arrows, and using a compound bow to launch them.

7. Don’t make a big deal about life’s little inconveniences, like having your doors welded shut.

8. A few colorful euphemisms can make an otherwise boring story or speech into something very entertaining.  Here are some of my favorite sayings from the narrator, Waylon Jennings:

- “They’re hotter’n a pair of blue tick hounds on their first hunt.”

-“Them two boys was fighting like the second and third monkey on the gang-plank of Noah’s Ark!”

-“They were stickin’ out like a bourbon bottle at a country revival”

-“Ever had one of those days you couldn’t hit the ground with your hat?”

-“Stood out like a watermelon in a bowl full of chickpeas”

-“He’d meet a grizzly bear if it had a wallet”

-“He could smell the ink on a dollar like a bird dog huntin’ quail”

-“He’s slicker than a bald-tired semi on a mile of wet asphalt”

-“He was mad enough to chew nails and spit horseshoes!”

-“He was itchier than a hound dog at a flea circus”

-“When you have to sell pigs to buy pig feed, you ain't apt to be in the pig business very long.”

-“Tanglin’ with Daisy is like tryin’ to put socks on a rooster.”

-“As nervous as an alligator in a hand bag factory.”

-“Havin' more trouble than two stray hefers in a pasture full of bulls.”

-“Now from where I sit this whole thing smells like its downwind from a cow barn on a hot June day.”

-“Just about as rare as a buck-toothed rooster.:

9. At the end of the day, it’s important to be able to sit down with your sworn enemy to drink a cold one together in the boar’s nest, listening to a band play that Roscoe P. Coltrain caught in a speed trap.


Friday, September 3, 2010

Customer Service

I will do my best to focus in this particular post, because in America, the level of customer service at most locations is very discouraging.  Finding someone to help you at Walmart, Lowes or Home Depot to help you find something you need to buy is more difficult than finding someone with a full set of teeth at a Lynyrd Skynyrd concert.  I could write books about bad customer service experiences, but I will try to stick with just one.

Although the customer service is pretty poor at most drive thru fast-food joints, I had a particularly frustrating experience this evening with my two older boys at a national fast food chain that will remain anonymous.

We were returning from a birthday party and the boys wanted root beer floats, and I wanted a Diet Coke (to help me sleep.)  At the menu board, I noticed that they had root beer and ice cream cones on the menu, so I asked for two root beer floats.

“We don’t have root beer floats”, the voice stated in a very matter-of-fact tone of voice.

“Are you out of root beer or ice cream?” I asked.

“No.” came the reply.

“So can you make me a root beer float?  It is just root beer and ice cream.”

“I can’t” came the reply.

Then my sarcastic side kicked in.

“Well, I can explain it to you.  You take a cup, put some root beer in it and leave some room at the top.  Then you put in some ice cream.”  I said, in a slow, deliberate tone.

“I’m sorry sir, but I can’t do that,” came the voice.

“Are you disabled?  Maybe someone else there has the necessary motor skills to do it for you.”

“Sir, are you going to order, or what?”

So, I ordered two cups of root beer, no ice, two ice cream cones, and my large Diet Coke and I pulled around to the window.

As the cashier took my money, Nigel, my 8-year old son said, “Excuse me, sir.”

The cashier stopped and looked at him.

“I can show you how to make a root beer float.  It is easy.  You just mix the ice cream with the root beer.  If you want it creamy, you can blend it, but you don’t have to.”  Nigel said in a sincere, helpful tone and with a smile.  The kid at the window looked like he was maybe 18, and he just stared at him.

“Of course I know how to make a root beer float,” he said.  “I am not allowed to.”

The look on Nigel’s face was priceless.  He couldn’t fathom why someone would not be allowed to mix ice cream and root beer.

I took the ice cream cones, and the cups of root beer one at a time.  They added ice in spite of my request to not put ice, so I had to fish the ice out, and then I dumped the ice cream from the cone in the root beer, and drove off.

Apparently finding someone who really cares about the customer in a fast food restaurant drive thru is harder than finding someone at a Star-Trek convention who doesn’t have acne.