Good Times Are Few And Far BetweenCommentary • ISSUE 33•14 • Apr 15, 1998 By Jim Anchower – The Cruise Hola, amigos. What's the haps? I know it's been a long time since I last rapped at ya, but I've had some serious problems of late, automotive and otherwise. Two Mondays ago, I noticed some gas leaking from this little hose at the back of my engine. I'd been experiencing a bit of a cash-flow problem and lacked the funds to go in and get it checked out proper, so I attempted to take care of the leak myself. I was pretty sure the hose was supposed to be plugged up, so I took a pencil and stuck it in. Ever since then, I've been driving around hoping that the pencil doesn't fall out, 'cause then we could have a Flaming Jim Deathmobile on our hands. That'd be the end of The Cruise for good, hombres, and neither of us would want that. On top of the car troubles, I just got a new job that's severely cramping my style. Now, as all of you know, I got canned from my warehouse-guard job about a month ago, and I've had a lot of bills piling up, so I had to land a new job real fast. Well, I should have known better than to keep shooting my mouth off, saying I'd never work one of those fast-food jobs, 'cause now I've gotta eat my words with special sauce all over them, and that's a taste I don't much enjoy. That's right, Jim Anchower's working fast food. I know what you're thinking. You're thinking, "Let's go down to that restaurant and razz old Jim." Now, I'm not mad at you for wanting to do that. Hell, I'd be wanting to do the same thing if I was in your shoes. But I'm laid low enough as it is, so I ain't gonna subject myself to any further humiliation by telling you which burger joint you can find me at. I ain't stupid. I guess the free food is okay. Saving money on food leaves me more to spend on the necessities, if you know what I mean. But besides that, the job blows. The biggest problem is, the job's put a severe dent in my spare time, since I gotta allow at least three hours on top of my actual shift to do it right. Getting there in my dumb-ass uniform without getting seen takes about an hour, 'cause I gotta stick to back streets and keep my eyes open the whole time. Then, when I'm done, it takes an hour to get back home, and another hour to scrub down. That grease sticks to you like glue, and no way am I hangin' out with my buds on a Friday night smelling like an order of fries. Anyway, last week I had the rare fortune to have two whole days in a row off. That meant one thing: Par-tay! I sure as hell earned it, hombres. So, I called up Ron to see if we could get together and stir up some shit. I know I'm usually down on Ron, but when it comes down to it, he's an all-right guy to hang with. Except this time. This time, he lamed out on me 'cause he had a date. I pleaded with him for nearly an hour to ditch the chick, but it was to no avail. I can't believe Ron blew me off for a woman! With Ron out of the picture, I had to take a mental inventory of who I could call up. First, I put in a call to Wes "The Bomb" Baumgarten. He's usually up for a good time. I didn't get a hold of him, though. I got his damn answering machine instead. I thought he was dogging me, screening my call, so I left a whole string of swear words on his machine. I guess I've got a sailor streak in me. I found out later that he was actually at work, but I was pretty steamed at the time. That was two strikes. I thought for sure I could get Stallion Doug to hang out. Not that I like Doug all that much, but he usually has a goodly amount of weed lying around waiting to get smoked, and I was up for the job. Well, I called him up, and he was home, but he said he was just heading out. "So, where you going?" I asked him. He said he was going to a party, and he'd love to invite me, but he didn't think that'd be cool with the hosts. So I said, "Just call and ask them, dude! I bet they'd make an exception for Jim Anchower!" Doug was all like, "No, man, that wouldn't be cool." Well, I was plenty pissed at that point, so I just hung up on his lame ass. Talk about being all revved up with no place to go! I spent the better part of the next few hours thinking and drinking, trying to figure out at what point my friends became such pussies. I mean, here was a perfect chance for them to cut loose with their buddy Jim, and they all acted like I had the plague! What a bunch of old ladies! If they were getting too old to hang with Jim, I figured I'd have to find a new crew to hang with. Around 9:30, I called up my cousin Pete, who's a junior in high school. He said there was no action on that particular night, but the next night, there was going to be a two-kegger over at the dunes, so I should head out there. I hadn't been out to the dunes since I was in high school. Even then, it was pretty lame. But, hell, it had been a little while, so maybe it had gotten better. The next night, I hopped in my car, cranked up the REO Speedwagon and headed off to the dunes. When I got close, I had trouble remembering which exact side-road I was supposed to take, so I started pulling off onto every one I saw. When I finally found the dunes, I didn't see my cousin anywhere. That wasn't a problem, though, as my top priority was taking care of my considerable thirst. I went up to the keg and asked some kid, "Who do I pay to get a cup?" There must've been some sort of misunderstanding, 'cause the kid took one look at me and ran off, yelling, "Cop! Ditch!" All the other kids started hauling ass to their cars, and I was standing there, yelling, "Hey, man, I'm no cop! I hate cops, goddammit!" But that wasn't stopping anybody. Within three minutes, every kid was gone, leaving behind nothing but me and the two full kegs. Well, this was an interesting situation. I hated being mistaken for a cop, but I love free beer. I drove my car up to the kegs and damn near busted my back getting them into the back seat. I took them home, and I was getting ready to enjoy them all by myself, when Ron came to the door. Well, I was pretty pissed that he dogged me the previous night, but I had to admit, even I couldn't drink that much beer all by myself. I ragged on him for not being around earlier to help me move the kegs, but I was pretty glad to have the company. Good times like those are few and far between, so you gotta savor them.