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I was crouched down low at the local department store, knees cracking, muscles aching, physically on the floor, leaning on my left side in a near fetal position looking for a pair of jeans, somewhere north of a size 38. These sizes of course are inexplicably placed on the very bottom rack where no man that size can possibly reach them.

Why are the LARGER sized pants physically placed LOWER on the display racks at most major department stores? Take a look if you don’t believe me. Bigger guys need larger sizes so why put them on the bottom rack where they can’t reach them?

Right next to me, I spied a younger guy, quite likely a former gymnast. He calmly pulled a size 28 pair of jeans which were right there in front of him. This guy was looking for a workout and seemed disappointed when he saw me getting aerobic searching for my sized jeans.

But off he went, jeans in hand while I struggled to reach my feet.

But, I wasn’t done yet at the department store. No no no. I needed shoes to match my new jeans. HaHaHaHaHa, JK. I, like most men am NOT a shoe fashionista. I, like most men own as many pairs of shoes as I have fingers on one hand. I just need to send shoe pair #4 to the tennis shoe ranch and pick up a replacement.

My wife, on the other hand, has shoes to match EVERY dress she owns. I even think she has shoes to match a dress she hasn’t even yet purchased, just in case.

Guess what? The shoe section was strategically laid out the same way as the jeans. Men’s sizes 7 and 8 were up on the top shelves of cubby holes that progressively moved LOWER to the bigger sizes. I was searching for a size 12 or 13 and finally found them.

Yep, you guessed it, bottom shelf. Assume the position. Knees cracking once again.

So, I’m thinking it’s snack time after this strenuous workout and what healthier place to find a snack than a department store vending machine.

I approached the vending machine of various victuals and guess what?

There on Level A, the top rack, are the potato chips. Fragile little things that they are, they bravely dangle anxiously awaiting the thrill of a good four foot free fall when selected.

Indeed, some whole chips will survive intact, but many will be crushed on the fall. Nice if you’re coating chicken fingers, not so much if you are looking to dip.

Three feet underneath lies a Snickers bar on Level D, chocked full of nuts and chocolate, solid as a rock. Studies show you could drop a Snickers from the Empire State Building and it would remain whole, undamaged.

But bless the heart that decided to give it a spot on the D row of the vending machine just six inches from its destination, while the chips dangle in peril three feet above. Many a chip could be saved each year if they had the D row. I want to arrange a fund-raiser for them sometimes. Save The Chips.

I wanted chips, but humanely hesitated, fearing their fate on the free fall. In the back of my head I heard the Hydrogenated Oil Band chanting to a rhythmic bass beat, “Save the chips. Save the chips.”

I looked at the price. A buck and a half for a 5 ounce bag, so I decide to save the chips and my wallet.

I moved on, spending no more money, opting instead to invest the cash on a visit to the chiropractor since I needed an adjustment from the jeans and shoe shopping experiences.


I recently had some routine lab work ordered in connection with my annual physical. I dutifully went to the lab for the tests prescribed.

I fasted overnight and was ravenous by the time my 11:30 AM appointment rolled around and nearly passed out when I saw the lab tech with a needle and multiple vials for the sample.

Now they had told me about the fasting part. This was for the blood draw. They did not tell me the part about the unexpected urinalysis. Of course, I has just gone to the bathroom before arriving, but not to worry, there was sufficient reserve to provide a valid sample for that unanticipated test.

However, the event brought to mind a time I was not that fortunate.

A few years back I had to take a drug screen urine test as a condition prior to employment. I arrived at the appointed time for the test. It was NOT a friendly lab.

When I approached the front desk, the Stoic Lab Dude sneeringly looked at me as if I had just smoked, snorted and ingested mass quantities of illegal drugs. It is quite possible he was a direct descendent of Victor Frankenstein. He handed me a questionnaire to fill out and asked me to have a seat.

In relatively short time, Victor Jr. gave me a cup to make water for Miss Daisy and I took it to the bathroom and gave it what I thought to be a rather respectable amount, filling is over half way. You never want to fill one of those things too far because of the obvious overflow ramifications.

Well, guess what. When I returned proudly with my cup, wagging my tail and hoping to get at least a chocolate chip cookie my effort, Victor Jr. says, “That’s not enough.”

“For real?” I replied. I thought surely he jested.

“Yes,” Was all he replied. Victor Jr. did not jest.

“Uh well, I sort of didn’t really save any excess and the deed has already been done. It’s not like a faucet I can turn on and off, you know.”

Victor Jr. found no humor whatsoever in that. He said simply, “Drink some water. Have a seat.”

Now normally, if it was the middle of the night, there would be no problem supplying the lab with what they needed to complete the screen. However, there was nary an urge and the pressure was clearly now on. I had a 4 ounce cup and a water cooler to drive Miss Daisy crazy,

After about 17 cups, I was 4 or 5 inches into the water cooler content and still nothing. I read year old sports magazines, thought about pouring rain and invoked an image of the Colorado River.

Then, it hit me. It was time.

So I confidently strode to the desk and smiled and said, “Ready to go.”

And, get this, Victor Jr, says, “I’m with another patient.”

I saw nobody.

“UH, you don’t understand. It’s time. I’m ready to go and if this time passes without taking advantage of the moment, it will never be here again quite like this.”

i was kind of urgently hopping up and down and tears were filling my eyes.

Ultimately, Victor Jr. gave me another cup. I filled that puppy to the brim, even added an extra 4 ounces to my empty water cup, just in case, brought it back to the counter and said, rather emphatically, “Enough this time!?”

He took the sample without comment and bid me adieu.

I passed the test, got the job and thus far, am living happily ever after.

Epilogue: I stopped at three gas stations on the way home to relieve the vast amounts of remaining fluids consumed prior to the successful sample.

FOOTNOTE: I usually try to have a cover photo associated with the article topic, but there’s no perfect photo for a urine sample experience, so I opted for this one. The rushing flow of water from the sea.


The parking lot at my place of employment has a security gate that permits access when you slide the magic pass across the magic card reader. (Being one of rather simple technological understanding, it sort of scares me how this thing works. But that’s not the topic today.)

Every morning, usually somewhat groggy, I pull up to the magic reader, slide my card and gain access to the garage. It’s a daily routine. I have my card right there next to me on the seat of the car and I have it ready in my hand when I approach the gate. It seems the only logical thing to do. My window is already down. I simply reach out, swipe the card and up goes the gate.

After several years, I have found this task to be relatively simple. In fact, on the simple scale of 1 to 10, with 10 being the easiest, it ranks a 27. It can even be accomplished before the first cup of coffee actually kicks in.

However, at least once a week, I am waiting in line behind a car who’s driver seems to think it’s a mystery why they would have to wave their card in front of the magic gate opener today. Perhaps they think it’s a “No Security Tuesday?”

This car pulls to the gate, then sits there for a solid ten to fifteen seconds. (This may not sound like much, but take a moment to count to ten, fifteen if you dare. Took a while didn’t it?)

Then and only then does the driver turn to the right, look down, pause another five seconds and start to roll down the window, waving the card nowhere in the vicinity of the magic card reader.

Ultimately, the gate goes UP …. And it stays there … (Sorry, I got spontaneously funk-ified there, cause I needed to feel happy, since just the very thought of the simplicity of this task makes me cringe when it is not executed properly.)

I am absolutely relishing following this car up five floors to where quite possibly available parking exists.

Now, I realized I may have brought this sort of pet peeve up before and it turns out I did. Have a read at the Wedwand post from August 13, 2014 if you want more rants on the general topic:

I know we can’t all be Boy Scouts, but I share the motto with you. Be prepared … Please.