Hola, amigos. How's it hangin'? I know it's been a long time since I last rapped at ya, but I've been busier than a cop in a donut shop. First off, I had to drop some serious coin on my car once again, this time for the brakes. Now, they weren't out or nothing, but they were worn pretty near smooth. When I cruise, I like to be prepared for any eventuality, and stopping happens to be one of those eventualities.
Plus, I've been working my tail off at Danny's Hour Clean. I'm the pre-clean guy there. That means I spot the stains and spray them with some stuff. I'm not sure what the stuff is, since it's in unmarked bottles, but the boss calls it "the good stuff from down south." Whatever you say, old man.
Anyway, I was gonna devote this column to discussing how to wind down from a summer of cruising, but I'm all tired out, so I wouldn't trust myself to give you the decent advice you've come to expect from me. Now, you know I'm not the kind of guy to make excuses. I'm a pull-no-punches, let-it-all-hang-out kind of guy, so I'll tell you why I'm so wiped, and you can be the judge.
See, yesterday I was all set to get down to writing. I had my supplies laid out in front of me: a few pieces of paper, my pen and a joint of some premium weed in my front shirt pocket in case I got writer's block.
The only thing missing was some icy-cold Miller Genuine Drafts. That was because that pecker Ron had come over the night before and "borrowed" my last three. So I hike down to the store to pick up some replacement brews. And who should I run into there? That's right, none other than Ron, who was there with this friend of ours, Wes "The Bomb" Baumgarten.
I ask Ron and Wes what they've got planned for such a lovely day. Wes says they're going to the zoo and asks if I want to come. I hadn't been to the zoo in a while and figured it might help clear my head for writing, so I said sure, and we took off in Ron's pick-up.
Now, let's get one thing straight right now. Just because I like to look at animals doesn't mean I'm some damn pantywaist tree-hugger. Got it? Good.
Anyway, we get to the zoo with a case of beer, and we decide that it's a shame to let the beer get warm in the truck, so we have a few in the parking lot. Not too many, mind you, 'cause nothing's worse than getting loaded in front of a bunch of little kids. That just isn't cool in Jim Anchower's book.
We head in and start checking out the animals. Rhinos, elephants, tigers, they had all kinds of cool shit. A couple of giraffes were totally screwing, and hombre, nothing is weirder than seeing two giraffes going at it. Then, we hit my favorites, the monkeys. They're just like furry little people, except they piss wherever they want and the bigger ones could rip the arm right off of you.
We didn't want to stay too long, but I wanted to check out the sea otters, 'cause those little things crack me up. I split off from Ron and Wes, and headed to the tank where they're kept. Sure enough, they were swimming around doing crazy sea-otter shit. I laughed so hard I thought I'd wet my drawers.
Then, one of the otters swam over to the edge of the tank, right near me. I was pretty sure I could touch it if I leaned over the guard rail and stretched out. I didn't see anyone around, so I tried it. I was almost there when I saw my killer joint fall out of my shirt pocket, right into this big-ass ditch that keeps the otters from escaping.
Let me tell you, I was in a serious jam, amigos: I wasn't crazy about the idea of getting busted trying to break into some otter tank, but I definitely wasn't about to let good weed go to waste.
There were a lot of people around, so I had to play it cool and wait them out. After about 15 minutes, Ron and Wes came by to get me. Now, I'm not greedy, but if I had told those guys I was waiting to retrieve my weed, they would've wanted some too. So I told them I was having too good a time to leave and that they should take off without me. They said okay and split.
About 25 minutes after they left, the crowd thinned out enough for me to hop the rail and get what was rightfully mine. But just when I was about to climb back out of there, a bunch of people came over to look at the sea otters, who by this point must've been wondering what the hell I was doing. I ducked into the ditch and waited for my break. Then I proceeded to wait and wait, and wait some more, until almost two hours had gone by.
Eventually, a voice came over the loudspeaker saying that the zoo was closing in 15 minutes, and that everyone would have to exit. This was it. It was now or never. I poked my head up and looked around. I didn't see anyone—no zookeepers, no pigs, no visitors, nothing. So I made a break for it. I jumped back over the fence and hightailed it out of there.
I was so glad to not be squatting in a smelly ditch that I didn't even care that I didn't have a ride home and would have to walk. By the time I got home, I was a wreck and went straight to bed. So, my friends, I guess the lesson here is to learn to let go. A person shouldn't wait around for hours in a ditch just to get a joint that smells like sea-otter piss when you finally smoke it. You gotta learn to let go. Either that or be sure you've got a better place to store stuff than a front shirt pocket. Man, those pockets are a pretty stupid idea. Unless you smoke, in which case they're an ideal location for a pack of cigarettes. I don't smoke, though, so tough shit for me.
Jim Anchower joined The Onion's editorial writing staff in 1993 after several distinguished years on The Come Back Inn dishwashing staff. He comments on community-affairs, automotive, and employment issues. He attended LaFollette High School in Madison, WI.