School Of The Road: Part 5: Wrapup

Eventually we got to civilization.  I bought my kid a new charger to replace the lost one. It was $45 and we both though that was an insult to humanity. Then again, neither of us wanted to even think of going back to get the charger and laptops don’t run on unicorn farts. (We tried calling to get it mailed to us but it was like trying to talk to muppets. Lost cause.)

“That’s coming outta’ your savings.”

“Sigh… I know dad.”

It was a long final day and the sun had set many miles ago. At the last fuel stop I was tanking up and the kid was inside paying when the pump shut off. Huh? Back out on the road I asked about it.

“I just paid enough to get home.”

“Not a chance! We left with a full tank we return with a full tank. That was the deal.”

I’d been clear at the start and he agreed. I can’t fault him for trying though. If I wasn’t paying attention he’d have snuck 3/4 tank of pricey diesel past me. Maybe there’s a future in politics (or thievery) for him?

We agreed that we’d stop at the last town before home and top the tank off. Once the tank was full the rest of the money in the tattered envelope would be for him. Unfortunately the last fuel stop was closed up. One of those towns where they roll up the sidewalks at night. We were both beat. I said I’d tank up the next day and that’d be close enough.


The next day he was sacked out on the couch. It had been a long trip. I had to get right back to work.

“I’m gonna’ tank up the truck. You want to come and pay?”

“No dad, I’m toast. Plus I just landed a babysitting gig and want to sleep some first.”

Sounded fine. We agreed that the money left in the envelope was just about enough to top off the tank and have $45 left over to cover the laptop power cord. “Call it even?” He said.

I agreed.

Note: I am such a schmuck!

When I topped off the truck I had $23.15. I’d just accepted $23.15 in lieu of a $45 charger. I didn’t know whether to be pissed or impressed. In the end I decided my son was going to be a slimy used car salesman and also probably wind up living in a solid gold house.

Lesson learned: Your kid might be a heck of a lot more devious than you think.


So there you have it. I have attempted to teach my children everything I know and aside from a few hiccups from geography/GPS routes I’m happy to say John Connor is ready for the Terminator. When the time comes he’s going to kick ass. How do I know this? Because I gave him a real world test and he cleaned my pockets.

My son and I just went on a road trip.

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School Of The Road: Part 4: Here They Be Dragons

One highlight of the trip was a particularly windy plain. It was plowing season and epic dust devils were on the horizon. Larger than anything I’m used to seeing. I was entranced.

As a colossal dust devil loomed ahead. The mightiest of the many we were seeing. I judged the road would nearly cross its path.

“Dust devils aren’t tornadoes right?” I reasoned.

“Whatever.” The kid was in space cadet mode again.

“Can’t lift a car or kill a cow right?” I mused.

“Huh? They’re pretty cool to watch.” When I started mentioning flying cows he decided he’d better pay attention. He had no idea what I was thinking.

I rolled to a stop. Then turned the engine off so it wouldn’t suck half an acre of dust into the air filter.

“Get your kite.” I announced.

“Awesome!” He was out the door in a flash. We hoofed it to the edge of a dusty field and he launched over the fence; right into the belly of the beast.

This is an element of nature I’ve never messed with. It was a good 500′ tall or maybe more; hard to judge. Thirty feet or so wide at the base; with sharply defined and oddly beautiful edges. At the base I saw blocks of dirt about the size of cement blocks tumbling about. I wondered what they weighed. The land was dry. Maybe those chunks weighed 20 pounds each? There was nothing else blowing about in the base but then again the field was barren. With nothing else for it to pick up was a 20 pound dirt clod it’s carrying capacity or would it suck up a dishwasher if one was sitting in its path? There are dust devils and there are dust devils and this one looked pretty bad ass to me. If it blew over us would the dirt blocks pummel us to bits? Would the blowing grit sandblast us? How would I explain that to Mrs. Curmudgeon? ‘Our kid is battered head to toe, I have a rock stuck in my ear, and the truck is sandblasted to bare metal; but the kite flew super high’. She’s heard me say things like that before.

It missed us by 60 yards or so. That’s close enough. The kite survived and indeed flew like a champ. We had a great time tempting fate. Good clean fun. Actually good dirty fun.


A few days later I stopped at a crossroads.

“Look, I’ve lived here. There’s a north route and a south route.”

“Uh.” Zombie mode again.

“North route is pretty empty but it’s no big deal. South route is longer but highway.”

He fiddled with the GPS. “This way.”

I looked at the road, remembering a thousand old road trips. This didn’t look right. Then again who knows? I’ve been everywhere but I can’t remember every single route.

“Are you sure?”

“Yep.”

“Pay attention.. there’s nothing out there but coyotes and dirt. I want you to be sure.”

He consulted the GPS. “Yes, this is the correct way Dad.”

And so we went. He was about to learn another lesson. The bad part of lessons for a kid is that you’ve got to let them happen when you’re an adult; which sucks because you know better… that’s what being adult is all about. Every few miles I’d ask if he was sure this was a good route and every few miles he’d tell me to chill out.

Many miles later I stopped the truck and stepped out. It was time to swear. “Where the fuck are we!?!”

He looked concerned. “This does seem a bit weird?”

I took a leak in the middle of the road because there was nobody to see. I could have taken a dump on that road, built a cabin there, taken a nap, it wasn’t going to have traffic for a while. I stretched. We listened to the wind. A vulture drifted overhead. Time to summarize our situation:

“Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the middle of nowhere. You might say I’m an aficionado of nowhere. I generally like the taste and texture of every place that’s a long ways from everywhere else. I once took a solo vacation in Death Valley because people annoy me and I wanted to detox after exposure to California. I camp in Canada where there are no roads and… well there are no Canadians either. You might say nowhere is my favorite place.”

“Uh oh.” He was definitely concerned.

“And this isn’t nowhere. This is fifty miles from where the fading edge of the idea of nowhere was still on the horizon.” I paused. “Where the hell are you trying to go? How can this save fuel?”

“It’s a straight shot?” He reasoned.

“I’ve been driving 14 hours. It’s getting dark.”

He noticed.

“See those antelope. Notice how they’re the only living things we can see?” I ignored the vultures and a nearby jackrabbit because I had a point to make.

He nodded.

“Remember how I said that antelope are addle headed freaks that wait to sunset and try to mate with your front bumper?”

“Better stop for the night?” He concluded.

“Yep. I agreed.”

He smiled. As ‘navigator’ he’d been playing an active role in picking hotels and stopping times. We’d stop and catch some sleep and all would be well. It was all settled.

“Find me a hotel.”

His jaw dropped. That was a monkey wrench in his plans. We were more likely to meet the Ghost of Custer than find a Super 8.

“Um.”

“Shall I take over navigation?”

“Yes. Please.”

Maybe I’d been too hard on him. He and I had been through a lot. I’m a adept traveler but he doesn’t even have a license. “I wish I’d remembered our sleeping bags.” I groused. It truly was peaceful. I had a couple cold beers in the back. Sleeping under the stars would be fine.

“We can pick some up at WalMart and camp…” He stopped when he realized there was no WalMart. At that time and place it felt deeply and viscerally that there would never be a WalMart again.

“OK here’s the plan, you turn that GPS off and I go out of our way, burn all the fuel we need, and get us to somewhere where we sleep under a roof and maybe buy a steak?”

“Good idea.”

A hundred miles later we swung into a one building “town”. I bought a steak from a genuine cowboy who cooked it up on a George Foreman Grill at a bar that looked as rustic as John Wayne’s outhouse. In the parking lot I stood in the back of the truck next to a derelict combine (the only other vehicle) and held my phone just so. If I stretched real high I had a half a bar. I dialed a hotel that was only 30 miles away and eagerly booked their last room. Disaster avoided!

On the single fuzzy TV in the bar Quigley Down Under was playing. You gotta’ watch Quigley when you’re in a cowboy bar! We played pool. I had a beer. I hated to leave.

After sunset a zillion antelope tried to die under my wheels but we made it to the hotel. It was a dump. We didn’t mind.


Shockingly, the dump of a hotel had wifi. He checked Facebook. Facebook from there was out of place. Like cable TV on Mars. I was out like a light.

The next morning when we rolled out he accidentally left behind his laptop’s charge line. (At least that’s where we guessed it went.) Thankfully the laptop was with us.

We were almost home.

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School Of The Road: Part 3: Mountain Passes

The profit motive is the superhero of the world’s motivations. The kid became a steely eyed, mathematically adept, logistics genius. At every gas stop he asked about prices in the upcoming state (at truck stops they know this sort of thing). At every exit he checked the price. He got in the habit of running my truck’s vast tank near to it’s limits. He started to grok the whole “nobody wants to buy stuff in expensive places” logic that eludes politicians.

Then things got interesting. Some fool put the Rocky Mountains in our way.

“The GPS routes us where?!?” He moaned.

“Yeah, the highways sorta’ go ‘around’.”

“But that’s many more miles.” He was distraught.

“Life is like that.” I was delighted.

“Can we go through? I mean, you drive places.” He’s aware that ‘places’ in my book can mean anything from a simple back road to a frozen lake.

“Yeah, check it out. The truck’s in good repair, I’m not scared of mountain passes. You’re buying the fuel, you pick the route.”

Note: I knew this was playing with fire. I wanted him to know that all choices come with drawbacks. There simply is no ‘perfect’ cheap, easy, flat, low fuel, way to cross the Rockies.

Ten minutes later he’d planned a different route. I gave it a reality check. Most of the roads I’d done before anyway. It looked do-able.

“A warning about Jackson Hole.” I offered. “Rich people live there and I expect yuppie diesel will bleed you.”

“OK.” He agreed. He made allowances to tank up in advance and then skip to a freehold (Idaho).

The truck started climbing. And climbing. And climbing.

I was enjoying the view. The kid was in back fiddling with his laptop. I realized he was watching Gandalf and pals climb a mountain… on a little LCD screen… while we were literally climbing a mountain in the real friggin’ world. He was ignoring the real Rocky Mountains to watch people in Dwarf outfits climbing New Zealand’s mountains? It wasn’t the first time I’ve wanted to chuck a media device out a moving window.

Even so it was gorgeous. Photos were taken. Etcetera. At one pass we stopped and played in the snow. I’m a great dad!

Between passes the fuel cost more than he wanted. No worries, the tank is huge. We cruised on with half a tank. I pointed out the MPG. It was as low as you’d expect for dragging a dually up a mountain pass and we hadn’t started climbing the last round on a full tank. We would be sucking fumes by Jackson Hole. He started to fret.

“If we run out, we’ll have to hike to where there’s cell service and call a tow truck. That will take half the day and cost maybe $200.”

The kid had a heart attack.

“…or maybe hitch hike to get fuel. I have a 5 gallon can in the back.”

The kid looked at the desolate terrain. He knew I wasn’t bluffing. I’m exactly the kind of lunatic that’ll drive a truck over a glacier and run the tank dry as a “learning moment”. Also I’ll hike ten miles with a gas can; I’ve done it before. We were definitely further than ten miles from anything.

At a ski resort he saw a diesel pump. “Get fuel dad!” He was relieved.

“Fine.” I walked to the pump. “I’ll pump, you go in and pay.”

Thirty seconds later he came flying out of the ski lodge. “Stop now!”

New lesson; fuel on the top of a mountain costs massively more than at the Flying J on the highway. We got 3 gallons; which was enough to satisfy me that we’d get to town and enough that he’ll learn about heading into the mountains on half a tank of fuel. His “education” was going as planned. I’m a genius!

Jackson hole was more or less reasonable. He elected to top off rather than risk ski resort prices.

We rolled out of town. This was a pass I hadn’t taken before. It was a short one. What it lacked in distance it made up for in slope.

“Aaauuuuugghhhh!” I said.

“Blewauuugghhhh!” He agreed.

It was a sphincter lever 6 event as I used Spiderman gear to climb up Teton Pass and exhaust brakes to get back down. (Exhaust brakes are the greatest thing since sliced bread.) It was paved and certainly safe for a mellow summer afternoon but I wouldn’t want to be up there in the dark or a blizzard.

The next day we were behind schedule. We drove hard to make our plans. Another lesson, the fastest route between two places is a straight line… but not if you’re in Wyoming.

Stay tuned…

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School Of The Road: Part 2: Lesson Plan

I thought of how road trip financing has evolved in my short life. I remember leaving town with all the money you’d need for the trip… or (in my case) not enough money. That made things interesting. (Younger viewers also may wish to consult the Smithsonian about “traveler’s cheques”.) Modern folks (sometimes myself included) regularly blast out of town with a debit card and maybe a few random dollars in their wallet. The whole idea of “I ran out of gas money in Muncie Indiana back in ’83 and that’s why I live there now” is passé.

I really should plan ahead better. What kind of example am I setting for the kids? When the EMP hits and the ATM’s fail I don’t want to be zombie bait and neither should they!

Luckily I’ve got experience on my side. I’ve travelled a lot and usually on a shoestring. I know how far I can go on a dollar (and it’s further than most normal humans). Time to make an estimate. I teased my memory, tested the wind, noticed a seagull flying toward the northwest in front of a pursuing crow, reflected that the moon was in the seventh house, consulted an oracle, and sacrificed a goat. My estimate had been made. I would need X gallons of diesel which would cost Y dollars.

Now, time to get the kid into the game.

“Here’s the deal. You must decide when and where to get fuel.” I announced.

“And if we run out?” He asked. Oh… nice. I’ve taught him well.

“We die.” I grinned.

With that I fired up the truck and we rolled out.


That didn’t last long. The kid shrugged and was immediately engrossed in a book or a game or maybe shooting heroin or whatever kids do in the back seat when I’m not paying attention. He knew I’d wound up “stranded” in my past but that was a long time ago and a different part of life and as surreal to him as the cold war or the horror of the AMC Gremlin. Little more than distant fairy tales. I could threaten him with working as a rodeo clown in Albuquerque to pay for a repair but it didn’t hold the sound of truth in a world where the ATM solves everything.

Time to employ my favorite teaching technique; markets!

“OK, new idea.” I announced.

The kid barely showed a pulse. Teenagers!

“You could make money.”

Suddenly he was bright eyed and bushy tailed. “I’m listening.”

“I know about what I expect to spend on fuel. If we make wise choices we’ll spend less. We fuel up where you choose. It’s up to you! For every dollar less I have to spend on fuel, you keep half.” I announced magnanimously. I was rather proud of myself for thinking of this. The kid had ‘skin in the game’ but no downside at all. I’m such a nice guy!

“What if I got it all?” The kid asked.

Greedy little cretin! “You got it all? And if the cost goes over… then what? You expect your fairy Godmother to flap her little wings and create diesel for you? You don’t get all the benefit and none of the risk.” I barked. Good grief, all of the benefit and none of the risk pisses me off and explains why Chrysler (bailed out twice) can’t make decent steering for a Dodge Ram. I’d have none of that in my household.

“Yeah? Well what if it goes over and I cover it myself? I have savings.”

“I gave you a 50% share with no downside and you’d rather roll the dice on it all? It’s a long trip. This is a big truck, drinks lots of fuel. Are you sure you’re that smart?”

Oh that had him! The hook had been set.

I spent the next twenty minutes getting grilled about travel. The kid had an urgent desire to know everything. Length of our route (I had a decent idea from Google maps). MPG of the truck (which I know very well). Cost of a gallon of diesel. I explained at length that some states (called “shitholes”) have higher fuel taxes and others (called “free lands”) have much lower fuel taxes. Also my truck has a mondo tank that costs a mint to fill but can go a long time. Thus the game becomes buying fuel in large quantity right before or right after crossing certain state lines. (I may have digressed a bit on how this works in all things in life and high tax states can’t deny the truth. This included an extra digression on smuggling designer jeans behind the iron curtain. What can I say… life lessons need to be imparted lest the next generation does stupid shit like… well… like the current generation is doing stupid shit.)

I also mentioned uncertainty. I explained that MPG goes down in headwinds and climbing steep mountains and so on. I hinted that the miles of the trip might be more or less than we expected. Etcetera.

The kid mulled this over. X miles, at Y MPG, at Z $/gallon. Uncertainty in all those estimates. But then again… greed.


“What about $X?” The kid proposed his estimate.

The number was about what I’d planned. Which made sense because he’d accepted all my information as totally trustworthy. (Another lesson in life, your elders might be idiots. He’ll get that soon enough.)

“Look, if you are wrong it could be a lot.” I tried to give him a chance to bail out.

“Nope, I’ll take the deal.”


At the next town I pulled into a bank and made a withdrawal. (If I tried to take all the money out of an ATM it would exceed the limit… because terrorism or some shit.)

I handed the kid a fat envelope full of $20s. It almost killed me to let it go.

This is the kid that has lost many of the toys given to him and broke most of the rest… and I just handed him money?!? What was I thinking. My heart palpitated. I snatched it back.

“C’mon Dad. I’ll be careful.”

I handed it back to him. “You lose this and you’ll be my indentured servant for life you know that right?”

“I know.” He nodded gravely.

I’d given a child money. Good God! I was such a fool! It would be safer to hand over a pistol, a bottle of liquor, and a gift card to a tattoo parlor.

Stay tuned…

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School Of The Road: Part 1

Two of my many (endless?) pet peeves are that

  • People are wimps… especially if it’s a younger person. Old wimps suck but young wimps really terrify me. If you’re a wimp as a kid you’re going to be a helpless Milquetoast at adulthood and the world doesn’t need any more of them!
  • On a road trip my family, presumably unintentionally, treats me like a chauffeur.

Let’s talk about the latter. Suppose you’re on a family outing. If you have luck like mine that’ll mean the transmission on your vehicle will implode on an empty road, at 2:00 am, in a blizzard, sixty miles west of nowhere. No biggie, if you’re like me you’ll manfully brave the elements, crawling around in the snow, fighting off deadly ice alligators, fix it with a piece of chewing gum, find your way back to civilization/the highway, and so on. In the meantime everyone else sits in the heated cab reading a paperback and looking bored.

A chauffeur gets a salary and a cool hat. I get squat. Fuck that!

So, as a road trip loomed I set out to kill two birds with one stone. A kid would be riding with me and I devised a plan to keep the kid involved (or at least awake) and maybe teach him something too.

Yeah, I’m a hero.

Stay tuned for how it turns out.

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Stand Tall / Doin’ The Anti-TSA Dance

Part 1:

Making fun of the TSA is shooting exceptionally stupid fish in an unusually small barrel. Yet here we are. It’s 2015 and rent a cops with a 95% failure rate fondle my junk at great expense while I’m en route to Disneyland. Why? Because Saudis hijacked planes 14 years ago? Let’s dispense with the pretzel logic that tries to connect those dots and move on. I have a point and I’ll get to it shortly.

A few weeks ago the Senate debated whether it should or should not continue shoving the NSA’s nose up your smartphone’s ass. Let’s cut the shit and collectively admit that nobody with a pulse believes the NSA will stop monitoring phones regardless of what’s theoretically authorized. Nobody sold the Patriot Act (pushed, I might add by a panicked Republican) based on tapping my domestic, internal, local, phone call to my wife. (I’m pretty sure I’d have remembered.)

At the time (as I fumed about the pending legislation) I found more allies among the lefty crowd (they seem to grok civil liberties but only when they’re not in power). Normally lefties consider me something like a weird but harmless bug that’s interesting but best kept out of the house. Strange bedfellows no? Neocons were ready sign anything if it meant we’d pop a cap in some Afghanistan Terrorists’ ass. They brushed off my warning that “someday your worst enemy will have these powers”. Which is ironic because the left has indeed been in power several years now and the right has spent nearly a decade whining about how the Constitution has been flushed ignored. Raise your hand if you didn’t see it coming.

So what to do? Suppose I could go back to 2001 and say “in the future the Secretary of State will run a secret communcations presence, pretty much everyone in the Middle East will be busy killing each other, and the IRS audits enemies, but America mostly frets about old guys on Wheaties boxes and gay cakes”. If you believed me and accepted this strange data, for which party would you vote?

Neither party likes my theology of “don’t create the ring of power in the first place”. Regardless of what is “authorized” or who is in power, asshattery like wiretapping and TSA’s security theater will continue. This is because we give the jerks a budget and more importantly we’re acting like wimps. Forget politics. Beyond Rand Paul, who is doomed, neither party has a shining record. Politics does not care about you, your privacy, or that which emanates from it… your dignity.


Part 2:

So what does a free man do? Here’s where I become a ray of friggin sunshine. Act like it. Become free within! Quit shoehorning yourself into the role of a subject and stand on your own hind legs like a citizen. Duh!

You should have done it long ago. Why didn’t you? Being free at heart is simply exercising the soul… get your internal lard ass off the spiritual couch. (Special shout out to TUAK and others who are weightlifters in the freedom category. They know who they are.) Also, eat your vegetables, brush your teeth, turn off the TV, and read a friggin’ book. Sheesh do I have to explain everything?

America en mass either waits for their deliverance to come from without or fades slowly into infantilized wilful helplessness. Here’s a hint, Captain America isn’t going to ride in on his motorcycle and kick the NSA’s ass so I implore every deskbound spaz out there to suit up and buy their own motorcycle. Furthermore if you think you’ve got nothing to hide so you’ve got nothing to fear you’re already seriously weakened of mind and heart; go ahead and flop on the fainting couch with half of Europe.

As for the rest of us. Try this mental exercise. Picture this guy.

John Wayne as Tom Doniphon, a man who will not let you search his bags at the airport. Also pictured, James Stewart as Ransom Stoddard, a man who actually read and obeys the Constitution. (Every time a person views this image God kills two lobbyists and gives a politician hemoroids.)

Now picture this guy going through his luggage.

Welcome to Newark Mr. Wayne, get off your horse and come over here. (Link to image here.)

You think the Duke would let the TSA mess with him? I say no. (For that matter neither would that overgrown boyscout, James Stewart.) They would tell the TSA to take a hike not because they were terrorists but because they were free men.

Am I suggesting you’ve to swagger around like a cowboy? Not really. (Though that would be awesome.) Instead I’m barking that none of us should go quietly into that dark night. Whether it’s a bully in the local zoning board, some dweeb in the NSA, or the damn president, if you are an American it’s time to exercise your right and obligation to be obstreperous. It takes practice to be a pain in the ass. Don’t let those skills atrophy.


Part 3:

Why am I mentioning this today? Because I’m several thousand miles from home and yet I just plunked down cash to fuel my truck and roared past an airport that could have taken me home. All they got from me was the figurative one fingered salute of an obstreperous citizen who isn’t about to let the TSA noodle about in his crotch.

The road into the airport is clogged with shuttles and buses stuffed with hollow businessmen about to be groped… there’s no lack of TSA’s hamsters. But not me. I used to fly often. Now I don’t. How did this happen? Rewind a few years into the past. I was standing in a line at an airport. Hundreds of people, young and old, big and little, smart and dumb, lined up in perfect obeisance. Kids handed over teddy bears, women let men rifle through their purses, men slipped off belts and fretted over pocket knives. It was all smooth and orderly.

Waiting in line I fumed. When it came to the big Orwellian pervo-scan I opted out and it didn’t even cause a hicckup in the system. They sighed and did a very professional search. It was all quiet and orderly. Nobody caused a fuss. Nobody made a scene. Everyone was quiet and avoided eye contact with their blue gloved inquisitors. Americans had been trained.

I decided then and there that I was done. I was not going to continue marching in perfect harmony through the perv-scan, past the luggage scrutinizer, and straight onto the aerial cattle car du jour. Sometimes a man needs to look at a situation and say “Fuck it… I’m out”.

I could have flown today. It would have been (modestly) faster. I refused. My alternative wasn’t without effort. The trip took a little longer. My ass is sore from the dually’s suspension. I had to eat at McDonalds and stay in a shoddy hotel. But was it terribly difficult? Nope. It was pretty easy. Plus there are other benefits; the scenery was nice, I got to meet some interesting people, I had time to think.

More to the point, I made a choice and deliberately dodged a certain amount of bureaucratic bullshit simply because you don’t screw with the Duke’s saddlebags. I have nothing to hide but a man and his truck is freer than a subject strapped in a tiny seat begging for a bag of peanuts.

It’s worth it.

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Word For The Day / Lamest Superhero

Medicinal Latte (Noun) – A type of drink one orders when they  desperately need caffeine topped with six kinds of sugar. As implied by the term ‘medicinal’ these concoctions should be used in moderation. They’re habit forming, expensive, and when consumed in excess they may lead to pretension and goatees. They’re best reserved for moments when you’re so fully exhausted that paying $4 to have a pierced pseudo-intellectual spray whip cream on perfectly good coffee seems logical. (See also: medicinal liquor, recuperative beer)

I’ve been on the road seemingly forever and thus unable (unwilling? uncaring? unmotivated?) to post. For those who’ve noticed my absence… I was not killed by a tractor or a badly felled tree. Thanks for asking.

Today I was exhausted to the core. I stopped to get a medicinal latte. Usually they ask your name so they know to whom the drink must be delivered. Then they carry on like making an espresso is rocket science and you get a chance to relax and jack into the wifi.

This time they nodded and sent me off like my name didn’t matter. How would they recognize me when it was done? Who cares! I was so tired it didn’t seem relevant.

I waded through a throng of hipsters staring at their iPads and teenage proto-hipsters mainlining smartphones, found an empty chair (nicely stuffed!), dropped my little pile of “food” on a table, and slumped back like I’d been shot. I zoned out a bit and apparently fell asleep.

When I came to the drink was right next to me. Awesome!

Then I noticed the clue on the receipt.

The lamest superhero ever. Even aquaman can talk to fish. What the hell can "beard man" do?

The lamest superhero ever. Even aquaman can talk to fish. What the hell can “beard man” do?

There you have it, I’m officially a superhero… the lamest one ever.

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