Saturday, January 1, 2011

A rare character

I met somebody who impressed me yesterday. He's a few years older than I am, and he was complaining about being his age. I told him he looked really well preserved for 70 something, and he is. A rare character, truly rare.

On a more somber note, I found out why I haven't seen Carl lately. He's an amazing character too, but in a different way. Happy holidays Carl. You have a brother, and I'm not him, if he's not helping you there must be a reason. Besides, I have an excuse. I don't know what your last name is, so how do I help you?

But I did think about it. And I did ask Tom if he had any idea how much it would cost to help you.

And now, back to watching the Rose Bowl. The Badgers are down 1 to the Horned Frogs, and it's half time. The Badger marching band is on the field, and it's half time.

I, a native of Ann Arbor, noticed that Michigan got wacked pretty good in the Gator Bowl. I never was a Michigan fan, but I did go to high school across the street from the Big House. Mighty Michigan wouldn't let me in. I'm a Wisconsin alum.

Go Big Red!

Game is over..........................

Sigh.......... The kids from cow town got it done. Well done TCU.

And sure enough, Andy Dalton squeezed a bible quote in, on camera. A true north Texas boy. Have a great pro career Mr. Dalton.

Friday, December 31, 2010


I was thinking about some of the regulars the other day. The old man who used to go to Snicks, Linda S. who is blind, and I suddenly thought of Donnie. Perhaps it was because I'd been watching old movie footage of American troops in Vietnam.

Ever seen the movie, Forrest Gump? Forrest was a hell of a soldier. Donnie was a hell of a soldier, and he really fought in The Nam. I don't think he ever got a drivers license after he came home. And I will leave it to your imagination, I wouldn't want to be less than complimentary. He and another fellow out ahead of the rest of the men. He was a man on point in a jungle patrol. He said his last memory was an explosion. The other fellow on point with him tripped a booby trap. According to him, it was a while before he woke up, as in days or weeks. Seems like he said he woke up in Germany, but I'd have to see him again to ask to be sure. It doesn't matter what VA hospital he woke up in, seems like he said he was there for a long time, as in more than a year. He was one of those people that all the drivers know, and I can't think of anyone who didn't like the guy.

My last memory of him? He was happily talking about a trip to Hawaii. A vacation. I'll bet he's still a happy guy. So much like Forrest, only happier, much happier.

Have a great New Year, Donnie.

Thursday, December 30, 2010

The first chapter of the book

The version of the first chapter, that with minor editing will be permanent, is written. It went off to a couple of friends this morning for their opinion. As the chapters of the book are written, the corresponding blog entries will be retired.

Perhaps the great Canadian trip.......... Yes, why not? How did I end up in Madison, Wisconsin anyhow. When I chose the format and beginning, I'll share that story, as a blog.

By the way, there is a significant little twist to the cab driving book that has never appeared in the blog, and will not appear in the blog. You'll need to bop down to the local library to get that part of the story, actually buy the book, or ask an old time Badger driver about it.

Rescue the driver

The usual reason you rescue the driver is because the cab broke down. These rescue cab rides are handled the same as any other charge ride that is a person ride (as opposed to a delivery, which pays a different fare). You pick up the passenger at the specified location, fill out the charge slip for the fare, charge the fare to the company, and take the passenger to the destination. The charge slip, like all charge slips, goes in your envelope, and that goes in the slot at the end of the shift.

Lean Jean was the first ever driver I rescued. I want to recall it as off Granada Way, and I want to recall it as a robbery. It is a frequent move on the part of bad guys to take your keys as well as your wallet. They don't want you to be able to sic the police on them before they're safely gone. So, frequently the driver needs to be rescued.

It took a number of years before the hollow look left Lean Jean's eyes. She eventually recovered, but the few bucks that changed hands nothing compared to the trauma.

I guess I want to say it took me a month to recover from mine. That said, take into account that first of all I won, which is pretty huge. Second, take into account that it lead to the compilation of the 5 knife stories, and the passengers loved them. If I have sufficient requests, I will share them here.

All in all, the money is always trivial. It is NEVER proportional to the trauma.

In a future post, I think I may share 3 robberies where significant blood was spilled. That happens too sometimes. It's a rough business.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

The story of the crockergator

A friend asked for the story of the crockergator. Well, she didn't really, but she did ask what a crockergator was, which is sort of the same thing. I was told this story around 40 years ago. It's designed to have a dig in it about a minority group, but that doesn't keep it from being funny.

And after you've hear the story of the crockergator, here's something you can do. If you're sitting around buzzed, say about 10 minutes after the pipe went around, quietly whisper crockergator. I can still picture my first wife's face, she'd turn and say, "Did you just say crockergator?"

Then you say, "Nah, what kind of BS is that?"

And it can go back and forth for 10 minutes. Yes you did. No I didn't. And at the end, you both laugh your ass's off. Now.... the story of the crockergator.

Picture 3 really poorly educated fellows sitting on a porch in Chicago, on a hot summer day. (fill in the ethnic slur of your choice) The first one says, "Do you know what the meanest animal in the world is? It's the lion, because the lion tear yo ass up."

The second fellow says, "Nah man, it's the gorilla, cause the gorilla tear the lion's ass up."

The third fellow has a sly grin, and he's slowly shaking his head no, back and forth. He says, "Nah. It's the crockergator."

Second guy says, "Crockergator?! You mean Alligator."

Third guy's grin widens and he says, "Nah....! Crockergator. The crockergator tear the gorilla's ass and the lion's ass up! He got alligator head at one end and crocodile head at the other."

First guy says, "Well, if he got alligator head at one end, and crocodile head at the other how do he sh#t?"

Third guy says, "That why he's so mean!!!"

To those of you out there saying to yourself, what a jerk, telling a story like that, all I can say is every ethnic group has 3 guys like that. Mine, yours, and all the others too. If you can say that none of your folk tell ethnic stories, all I can say is your folk must be better than mine. Are your folk better? And, did you chuckle?

To tie this back to cab driving, something every cab driver should have is a collection of really good stories to tell to customers. If you can make them laugh, they generally tip better.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Rescue the passengers

That is what they say when the cab breaks down, or gets smashed up. I really remember the first time I ever rescued passengers quite well. It was the corner of Park and West Washington.

It was a Saturday or Sunday, I was working a 3a-3p. All morning long this maniac had been zooming all over downtown, snatching stuff from right in front of me, and I'll assume everybody else.

When you've got a ride in, the dispatcher should simply give you the fitter. Give you the ride in front of you that goes with the ride you have in. But there are times when that doesn't happen. This morning it wasn't happening.

Who was this guy? He contested every call, and he never left downtown. I distinctly remember him stepping on my fitter in the 300 W. Washington, he came up the incline doing at least 45, in a semi residential 25 and did a U turn 100 feet in front of me to get in front of the house. The dispatcher let him keep it too. Who was this guy? A new guy for sure, nobody on the street knew him. Maybe a dispatcher knew him, but none of us did.

If I'd pulled that kind of crap the dispatcher would have yelled at me, taken the call back, retaliated by not giving me any calls for an hour. It just wasn't something that should have been tolerated. But it was.

Then around noon, there was a call to rescue the passengers, and I got it. Sure enough, it was that new guy. He'd T-boned a car in the middle of the intersection. Totaled both of them. I asked the lady who got in the cab what happened. She said he was sitting there watching the light, and when it changed, he floored it. Well, gee, there just happened to be a car stretching the yellow, and it was right in front of him. No matter! The light changed. Boom.

The lady telling me about it was pretty amazed that somebody would do that. All I could do was sigh, and say to myself, it figured. The only guy they ever let me train drove like that and I told them to not hire the guy, and they didn't. They also never let me train anyone again.

The moral of the story? Doing the right thing, and having the company's best interests at heart doesn't mean a thing. Simply doesn't.

Oh, yeah. We never saw that guy again, they did can him, and to the best of my knowledge he never came back.