Category Archives: Thinking Life

Life is funny, sometimes. Sometime’s it not. Sometimes it’s funny, simply BECAUSE it’s not.

Thinking Regrets

I live by a motto that says regret is a tool used by the weak to reduce guilt for things they shouldn’t feel guilty about. After all, if I say something or do something that is determined to be hurtful by someone else, that is THEIR choice to feel hurt. That’s not my fault. Right?

As I sit here hiding behind a keyboard, soaked in a thick fog of regret, I realize it may be time to start considering a paradigm shift.

Earlier tonight I stopped by a local grocery store to grab a couple of bottles of our favorite white wine. While not a necessity by any means, a couple of bottles of a Clos du Bois Chardonnay can provide a helpful lift to the middle-aged parents of a five year old.

With my two bottles firmly in my grasp, I chose the shorter of the two lines (for those of you NOT from small town Alabama, a grocery store with only two check out lines is more the rule than the exception around here.) In front of me was a man who reminded me an awful lot of my father 20 years ago – uniform shirt indicating a hard day of work in a hot and dirty place, calloused hands proving he works hard for his money, and well-worn steel-toed boots that seemed to be begging for a day off.

The items he intended to buy said as much about him as his outfit – a five-pound sack of potatoes, a box of mac and cheese and a 20-ounce Dr. Pepper. This was a hard-working man on his way home from work, who had been asked to run an errand for the wife. Probably had hungry kids at home and likely only gets to afford a good, cold beer on the weekend after a payday. I was raised by a man like that. I can spot one from a quarter mile.

I watched in absolute pain as he tried to pay for his meager supplies with his credit-union debit card four times, only to be told it was declined. I winced and tried to hide my face and ignore my frivolous purchase of wine as the cashier talked him into trying the purchase without the mac and cheese. No deal. Still declined.

“Well, thanks anyway, I will just try again later,” he said, with his head down. With his calloused hands he put his useless debit card back into his well-worn wallet and headed for the door.

Throughout the entire episode, I had my card in hand. I WANTED to offer to pay for his items. I swear I did. But even though I didn’t know him, I felt as though I had known him since I was a boy. I KNEW he wouldn’t allow it. My dad wouldn’t have allowed a stranger buy HIS groceries, although he would have helped any stranger in such a predicament. I did not have the courage to damage his pride while I was standing there watching him be stripped of his dignity.

My solution to the entire quandary was to have the checker add his items to mine, and then I would follow him to his car and offer them to him – affording him the opportunity to accept or decline the charity in private. It might have worked, had the checker not been slower than a slug in a salt bath. Just as I was about to tell her to add his items, I saw his car pulling out of its space near the front door of the store.

I watched his direction of travel, hurried out of the store, and looked in every store parking lot all the way home hoping to see his car. I don’t know what I would have done if I had seen it, but I looked for it.

Maybe it was a glitch with his card. Maybe he was just a poor guy who was short on funds. But I had the means to assist him with his plight and I balked. I let the fear of embarrassment and discomfort prevent me from helping someone who was simply trying to take some taters and noodles home to his family.

I suppose regret IS a normal human emotion. I don’t like it though. But the price I am paying for it is only an emotion.

Somewhere right now, a family is not having potatoes.

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“Racist” – The New Word for “Shut Up”

There is a problem going on in this country, and no one seems to notice. The problem is that REAL racist, bigoted people are hiding, plotting, lying in wait for the chance to spread their vile ideals and turn brother against brother a la 1860.

Where are they hiding? They are hiding amongst a bunch of people who are NOT racist, but are accused of being so because of their birthplace, political views, income level, and so on. REAL racists find true cover hiding in plain sight, because they know that so many other people who are NOT racist are getting stuck with the vile label that they can operate in the open.

The problem is a symptom of another sickness in our society. The word “racist” has become the new way to silence opposition. It is highly effective because nothing you can do or say will prove the accusation is untrue. It has become the top tool of weak-minded individuals who wish to have their opinion be the only one heard. And the use of this tool is helping real racists thrive.

Allow me to explain from my own personal experience.

I was once called racist because I was dancing to a hip-hop song in a way that someone assumed was making fun of hip-hop.

“Racist,” I asked, sort of in shock.

“Yes, you are making fun of black people because you are dancing like a retard to black music.”

Well, I will let you readers figure out who was insulting who in that statement, but as someone who grew up in a family, and married into another, that had the very fortunate and joyful experience of living with actual persons with mental retardation, I think you can guess what I thought.

That was not the first time in my life I was called a racist, but it was probably the first time I was shocked by it to the point of feeling hurt. I don’t blame the accuser. He knew I was from Alabama. He saw I was bald and white. He later became, and at least I hope, still remains a good friend today. It was an incident the illustrates how easy it is to accuse someone of one of the most awful things in humanity, and doing so very casually, as if it meant nothing.

And racists love it. Well, I assume they do. I assume they love when well-meaning and forward-thinking people are casually tossed into their company willy-nilly.

I once offered someone who was not white a can of orange soda because I was going to get one myself. I found myself on the receiving end of a Navy counseling chit because of the offer. Why? Apparently something I said was racist, and apparently I was a racist. This was news to me. I love orange soda. To this day I still have not heard a satisfactory explanation to the episode, but I am sure any real white racists in the area were glad to see me tossed into their group.

Recently I was called racist on a popular social media site because the person calling me that thought I was a supporter of Donald Trump (at the time I was backing Ben Carson or any Libertarian option). Well, they were wrong on both accounts, but that’s not what is important here. What is important here is that it has become totally acceptable to call someone a racist because of their support for a politician.

Someone I really care about went as far as to say that ALL Trump supporters are racist. Really? Millions of people you never met, never witnessed a single hateful act from are racist. So you are saying we now take on all characteristics of the politicians we support.

You like Bill Clinton: You must be into infidelity.

You like Hillary Clinton: You must be stupid when it comes to email and national security.

You like George W Bush: You must mispronounce nuclear as nucular.

I suppose by this logic all supporters of Ben Carson may be brain surgeons. I am a Carson fan, so maybe you would be willing to let me operate on your skull…

I do not know what it feels like to be called ni**er, sp*c, g**k, w*p, wet**ck, or any of those other things. I imagine it must sting. It must burn your very soul. I imagine it must cause not only rage, but also great pain to know that in your own country, among your own neighbors you would be thought of in such a way. I have no idea.

But I DO know what it feels like to be called a racist. It stings. It burns my very soul. I causes not only rage, but also great pain to know that in my own country, one where I fought for the freedom of every person in it, not just the white ones, that among my own neighbors and brothers in arms, I would be thought of in such a way.

That accusation should stop being used as a way to silence those with views that differ from your own. It should be used as a way to shame those who really are the bigots. They should be singled out and exposed. Every time you call someone like me a racist, you give the real bastards a place to hide, and you weaken your argument.

If we are ever to complete the healing that the Great Emancipator had in mind in 1864, we have to, at some point, not consider the race, religion, or geographic roots of the person with whom we are having a disagreement, and instead consider the content of their character. When we ignore the character and first look at those other attributes, we spit at the memory of the great man who first introduced that idea, and was killed by a real racist for doing so.

At some point, we have to get to a place where saying “All Lives Matter” is considered good common sense, not a racist statement.

If you are a real racist, please unsubscribe from my blog. Stop interacting with me on social media, and go seek help. But you won’t. You have a great place to hide. You can hide behind me, and others like me, every time we are given the vile label and put into your company.

If you are a person who plays the “race card” as a first play in confrontation, I would urge you to think about that. That card should always be the one you hold in your hand until the very end. Playing it too early buries it in the deck, and allows race to drive the argument. Not only will it allow racists to hide behind decent people, I have a feeling it creates new bigots. Sort of like the old adage – “Well, if you are going to accuse me of lying, I guess I might as well lie.”

If you would like to add to my thoughts on this, comment below. I look forward to hearing from you.

Thinking Thankfulness

(I realize this is a blog about my wife, but keep in mind it could apply to husbands, partners, boyfriends, girlfriends, or whatever other kind of relationship you have. As you read it, find ways to INCLUDE your relationship in the conversation, not EXCLUDE it due to the personal pronouns used. )

Does your wife feel free to sing aloud to the radio while in the car with you despite her tremendous fear of other people hearing her sing? Mine does. I am thankful for this.

Does your wife smile at your weak jokes (no matter how corny), giggle at your good jokes, and snort like she is out of control at your best jokes? Mine does. I am thankful for this.

Does your wife ignite a passion in you that you can’t explain when she does no more than smile at you and touch your cheek? Mine does. I am thankful for this.

Does she smile and drive for hours on a Sunday while you sit in the passenger seat drinking bourbon and telling bad jokes? Mine does. I am thankful for this.

Does she exhibit parenting skills that put you in absolute awe? Does she carry on a conversation with a child that is both on the child’s level and also offers guidance an adult could understand? Mine does. I am thankful for this.

When she makes love to you, does it always feel like it is the first time you have ever experienced something of the sort? Yes, I am also thankful for this.

Is she willing to drive you around all over the countryside while you sip bourbon and listen to music you know she hates? Does she smile at you while you sing along? Thankful. Oh, so thankful.

Is she patient and kind with you, no matter what sort of career, life or personal decisions you make? Mine is. Six years after I joined the Navy on a whim, I am still thankful for this every single day.

Does she show extreme gratitude for even the smallest thing, without ever asking for gratitude for anything? I feel guilty and thankful.

Does she treat you like a king when you need the boost, yet know when to treat you as a squire? Yes ma’am, I am thankful.

Do you find yourself becoming better at being a partner every day, but never notice the coaching? I hope so, and I am thankful for that hope.

Can you watch her be a mother, a friend, and a lover and see each one in her actions without ever seeing her struggle with the transition between the three? I can’t think of a way to show my gratitude for this.

Does she ever ask for gratitude for being awesome? Mine does not. Does she change because she receives no gratitude? Mine does not. I am thankful beyond comprehension for this.

Does she try to help you overcome your mistakes and shortcomings without ever making you feel inadequate for them? Perhaps this is the thing I am most thankful for.

I am human and I am weak. I am often humorless and abrasive. Some would say that I can be harsh and that I lack tact. In spite of these things I know to be true, she smiles at me when I want to frown at the world. For this too, I am truly thankful.

If your relationship offers such abundant treasure, regardless of gender, orientation, ethnicity or age, be thankful. It is not normal to have such a thing. It is precious, and for that I am thankful.

Another Man’s Treasure

The faint, pleasant odor of an attic from my childhood filled my head as I stepped into the venue for my latest thrifting treasure hunt. I was armed with five dollars to spend on artsy decorations for my new graphic design studio.

Yes, I said five dollars.

In most retail stores, five dollars is hardly enough dough to take home one of the assorted “impulse buy” items lining the check-out area. At a thrift store, it might be possible to get an item from every aisle in the store for five dollars.

The place was buzzing with other treasure hunters, and although we were kindred in a way, they were also my competition because most items in a thrift store are unique. That is one thing that makes it special and fun for me… the thrill of the hunt.

In the last 20 years, I have thrown away at least an entire thrift store, or so it seems. I didn’t know this because, until just a few months ago, I had never been inside such a store.

I wasn’t necessarily avoiding them on principal. The idea that there was anything in there for me just never occurred to me. I suppose I thought of a thrift store as a place filled with second-hand stuff that I most likely would never have wanted when it was first-hand stuff.

A few months ago, I became affiliated with the thrift business through my work as a graphic artist, and in order to have a better idea of client needs, I started frequenting thrift stores. Now I can’t stop.

On this particular day, members of the staff were busy putting out new items and happily singing along to piped-in music from days gone by. That, with the faint attic smell, gave me the feeling of having stepped back in time rather than into a store.

Although I was looking for decorations, I was easily sidetracked. For thirty-nine cents, I found a well-preserved copy of National Geographic magazine from July 1986. I had the issue when I was 11 years old. It featured photos of the restoration of the Statue of Liberty and it was one of my most prized possessions.

Being a poor kid from Alabama, I never imagined I would visit New York, but my aunt went there a lot on business and she always brought me back a souvenir with Lady Liberty on it. Someone, maybe her, knew of my fascination with the statue and bought me that issue of Geographic. Somewhere over the years and many moves it was lost.

Now my four-year-old son loves the statue as well – he calls her “Statue of Liverty” – and I can’t wait to share the issue with him. Thirty-nine cents well spent.

On to the decorations!

Or so I thought. Out of the corner of my eye I spotted a section of neckties. I am a nut about a necktie. For a significant portion of my adult life, I wore a tie every day. After six years in the military and the associated moves around the country, I found myself missing what used to be a massive collection of loud, gaudy ties. Hanging there in front of me for $1.89 was the loudest, most beautifully offensive Tabasco (yes, the pepper sauce) tie I have ever seen.

I realize that Tabasco ties have been off the radar for 15 years, but when I was wearing ties they were THE thing to have, and I was only ever lucky enough to own one of them. I don’t know if it’s going to decorate my studio or my neck, but for a buck eighty-nine, this item was too hot to leave behind.

With my decoration budget now slashed to a paltry $2.72, I was already starting to think that just maybe I had over-estimated the purchase power of a five spot on this particular day.

And that’s where the thrift store magic kicked in. In a small section of dishes, of all places, I found the perfect decorations for my studio.

Cue the fuzzy screen and the backstory music –

There used to be something called a lunchbox, and parents would put potted-meat sandwiches, chips and a thermos of Kool-aid in them and send their kid off to school with a lunch. Those were great days. Some kids (read “kids other than me”) were lucky enough to have the greatest thermos of all – the Crayola crayon thermos. It looked like a giant, fat crayon and the tip of the crayon came off to make a cup.

I begged for one all the way up until taking lunch to school wasn’t cool anymore, and even then I still secretly wanted one.

Back to present – cue the faint attic aroma –

Not one, but TWO big, chunky and bright-colored Crayola crayon thermoses for a next-to-free ninety-nine cents each! To be fair here, these thermoses are still available direct from Crayola, but not in the vintage crayon colors, and they cost 10 times as much.

I can’t think of a better way to start decorating a graphic-design studio than to start with giant crayons, a symbol for the way almost all of us learned to make art.

The best part is that after tax, I left with 43 cents, which means next time I can start with $5.43.

Knowing how much items like this meant to me in the past makes me wonder what stories they hold and how important they might have been to someone who owned them in the past. That is part of the magic of thrifting.

Today, for less than five bucks, I found yesterday. Who knows what I can find tomorrow?

The Price of Eggs in China

In today’s social media-driven world, there seems to be someone ready to care about just about anything coming down the pike. In my 40 years, I don’t remember a time when people were more polarized about issues that mattered less.

It must have been nice to live in an age when important issues were the main source of concern.

Imagine if there had been Facebook in 79 A.D.

“These idiots in Pompeii will just not listen to my warnings. I’m leaving town before this volcano blows”

“When will this guy stop yacking about Mt. Vesuvius? That mountain has been quiet for ages. Stop all the alarmism”

Actually, thinking about the world at this moment, there is plenty to be alarmed about. A psychotic group of religious extremists is running rampant in the Middle East, executing people left and right. Entire countries are going bankrupt. Mind-altering medications are causing a plague of mass killings in our own country.

There really is a lot to be concerned about. I don’t know that any of it rises to a population-destroying event such as the eruption of Vesuvius, but all of it is valid concern.

Yet, every day I am bombarded with what seem to me to be topics not worthy of serious mental energy. I am almost embarrassed at what have become the “hot-button” issues of the day.

I have identified four topics that are all equally meaningless to me. Hopefully I can find someone to offend or shock with at least one of these.

Where flags can and can’t fly

Battle Flag of the Northern Army of Virginia
Battle Flag of the Northern Army of Virginia

Let me qualify this one early. I do care when some homeowner’s association won’t let a homeowner fly the American flag (or any flag) in their own yard. I care enough to tell them to make a smarter choice next time they buy a home. Besides that, I am stunned at the attention this flag garbage is getting pretty much everywhere.

Let me start with the Confederate Battle Flag. When I was 18, my car had Confederate flag centerpieces on its bullet-hole rims. It was sharp. I grew up watching the Dukes of Hazzard, listening to Hank Jr, and respecting the “Rebel Flag” as if it was a part of the family.

I also grew up ashamed of bigotry in my family, slavery in my country’s past, and discrimination anywhere I saw it.

I personally don’t think that particular banner has any place flying on government grounds, but not because it is supposedly “racist.” It doesn’t have any place on government grounds because it is no longer affiliated with any active government.

That said, the outright banning of the flag in other places or events is silly. This sudden movement to remove all traces of our past is not only dumb it is also dangerous. People who look to that flag as a reminder of the importance of keeping a strong federal government at bay need to be able to do so. People who see it as a symbol of past repression and are fearful of it need to look to it for the inspiration to make sure they are always in control of their own fate.

Hiding the flag from public view takes away both of those important opportunities. It does not change the past, but it can keep us from learning from our mistakes.

It is not just that flag causing a stir though. A small town near where I live has recently gotten into a row over whether or not the Christian flag should be flown at City Hall.

Does this flag alienate people of other religions?
Does this flag alienate people of other religions?

At City Hall. Really?

I don’t care if your town was founded by the Apostle Paul. Do you realize that flying the flag of a specific religion at a government building is not only an unconstitutional endorsement of religion, it is also a form of exclusion and intimidation that Christianity teaches against?!?

Maybe that is not clear to the people of that town. It wasn’t clear to me until I lived and served with people of many other religious backgrounds. Maybe there are no Jews in your town. But maybe there are. Do you expect them to speak up and identify themselves in a town where police cars park under that flag?

Religious witness is not about flying a flag at City Hall. It is about guiding the lost to your belief, or at least that is what I have been told. I don’t see how a flag at City Hall gets that job done. Handing a small flag to a neighbor while speaking to them about salvation, however, is probably pretty successful.

The craziest part is that most of the people up in arms about this are all-in on the fight against government-by-religion in other countries and are willing to send young men and women to die to put a stop to it.

I wonder how many cities Jesus hung flags in on his way out of town…

Who bakes what cake

Stupid people turn away business. It's not illegal to be stupid.
Stupid people turn away business. It’s not illegal to be stupid.

So you don’t want to bake a cake for a gay wedding? I don’t care at all. I can choose not to hire you to bake a cake if I am offended. Your decision can make you the most popular bakery in town, or it might cause you to lose all of your business. The market should decide that. The government has no place compelling you to do business with anyone.

Now, if you work in a government office or your business is funded by taxpayers, then your refusal to do business with people for religious reasons is unfortunate and wrong. You need to be fired or lose government funding. That, and you are a douche.

Who marries who

If I could just get one person, even one, to tell me how my sister (who died three days prior to getting married) marrying a woman would have harmed their own personal marriage or life, I would consider it a great enlightening.

I always get a chuckle when I see people expressing how my sister marrying a woman would be such an abomination to a particular religion, but they never mention they are on heterosexual marriage number three.

I don’t care what religion you are. I respect them all. But please, for the love of Pete, don’t pick and choose what is a sin and what is ok. That ain’t your call pal. Most religions see all sin as equal.

So, if you are totally sin free, I welcome you to let me know so that I can listen to your commentary on my precious, late sister’s personal relationships and how it matters in your life. Otherwise, why can’t we all worry about making our own marriage better and stop focusing on what other people are doing?

The price of eggs in China

WHO CARES???
WHO CARES???

While we are talking about things that are useless, we might as well include this one. I certainly don’t care. Most likely you don’t either. Why would you?

Who has time to worry over the price of eggs in China when there are much more important topics to get all spun up about?

I guess it is possible that the price goes up one cent for every Rebel flag at a NASCAR race. Maybe it goes up two cents for every gay marriage. It probably doubles every time a “normal” married couple has an affair, but that’s none of my business.

In fact, none of it is any of my business. And that’s just the way I like it.

Comments welcome and appreciated.

Don’t Thank a Veteran

(This was originally published on my Facebook page as a “note” on November 9, 2012. I hope that all who read this will share it as far and wide as possible. Not for my glory or my readership numbers, but to help people understand what Veteran’s Day is like for active-duty military members. I left active duty in Nov 2015, but this message still represents my thoughts about Veteran’s Day.)

It happens to a lot of us in uniform. We are pumping gas or grabbing a household necessity in the grocery store. We happen to be in uniform because we are headed to or from work. It usually comes from nowhere and, at least for me, it usually takes a moment to realize the comment is aimed at me.

“Thank you for your service.”

What do I say to that? How should I respond? I never know the answer to this, thus I am usually uncomfortable for a moment and simply say “Thank you” in return. Sometimes that answer seems to welcome further probing like “what ship are you on?” or “where are you stationed?”

I try to be polite to any stranger who approaches me in public regardless of the topic at hand. This situation, though, perplexes me. I am not comfortable responding to “thank you” and “I appreciate your service” or any other acknowledgement of my military service in a public setting.

I do consider my brothers and sisters in arms to be heroes. I just don’t think of myself that way. I wouldn’t dare speak for them, but I am pretty sure they feel the same way. Most of us just see ourselves as regular people doing a job for extraordinary organizations. Nothing we do individually means anything in most cases. We work as a team.

If anyone needs a sincere “Thank you”, it is our families. It is our spouses and children and parents who stay behind and carry the weight of our household responsibilities without our help. They often take on multiple roles and learn new skills just to survive while we are away doing the nation’s business. They take on the burden of the pain and suffering when their hero is lost to the nation’s cause. They are the ones who are forced by circumstances out of their control to wonder all day every day if today will be the day they get the bad news. They are the ones who watch the nightly news with keen interest and hope that some recipe for world peace will be discovered, only to find out that it becomes more out of reach every day.

If anyone has earned a special “day” on the calendar, if anyone has earned a free meal at three dozen national chain restaurants, it is the family members of military personnel. Their sacrifice and dedication deserves all of the obligatory mentions I keep hearing tossed about on television commercials and news shows as Veteran’s Day approaches. I hear endless talking heads reminding me to “make sure I stop a military veteran and thank them for their service”.

Don’t thank me. Show me you appreciate my service by showing me you are dedicated to making America the greatest country on Earth with the way you conduct yourself and the way you help your neighbor. Show me my sacrifice is worth it by becoming an educated voter who knows and understands the issues and by not being someone who just watches an hour of network news every night to see how to vote. Reward my time away from my family by making sure they have a safe and comfortable community to live in. Do not steal their treasure by being a strain on government resources through negligence, laziness or disregard for the difference between right and wrong.

So to all of the people out there who think you need to take a moment to thank me for taking up arms in defense of your liberty, there is someone else who makes it possible for me to do what I do. There is someone else who needs your benevolence and your dedication to keeping America great. This Veteran’s Day, I will be off work. I will be taking time to think about those who came before me and acted as heroes so that when my time to serve came, it might be easier for me than it was for them. It is my job to carry on their tradition and continue their progress. It is my job. I am owed no gratitude for that. In doing that job, I am placing extraordinary strain on my family back home. I am taking something from them that cannot be replaced by a TV commentator calling me a hero. This Veteran’s Day, do not thank me.

If you want to thank someone, thank my wife and my son.

He's gonna know Daddy as a character on a screen.
He’s gonna know Daddy as a character on a screen.

Casting Call for the Thinking Man

As I was walking down the hallway toward the sound stage today, I was trying to figure out exactly what I would say to the person running the show. I had never met her, nor had I arranged my own audition. A coworker scheduled me an audition while I was 700 miles away, which may be why my name was even penciled in.

I got to the end of the hall and I could hear the 10:15 audition reading his lines.

“The olive trees here are more than 500 years old. The people here use a unique form of transportation: a donkey,” he said into a microphone, loud enough for me to hear outside his soundproof room. “Where is Gerome? He is in Greece.”

Greece? Gerome? Why was I voluntold, that’s a real word in the Navy, to audition for a role as the guide voice for Gerome the Gnome? (for those who don’t know who Gerome is, Google it. )

The 10:15 walked out of the sound booth and an adjacent door opened to reveal a friendly face looking at me.

“Can I help you Sir?”

“Yeah, I was told to come here at 10:30 to audition for some voice thing,” I said with a hint of a Southern accent. By hint I mean I probably said “yep”, “I’ze”, “com’ere” and “thang.”

“What? I mean, why,” she asked candidly.

I felt a sudden need to let her off the hook.

“I voiced a story for All Hands Magazine a couple o’ months back and one of the fellas here liked it and thought y’all could use a country voice for something,” I said with as much humility as I could muster.

“Well, I have no idea why we would want that, but your name is on the list, here is the copy, step inside the studio let’s see what you can do,” she said with the confidence of a mother handing her four year old a Rubik’s cube and a Sudoku puzzle book.

Three short takes later, I got a curt “Thank you” and that was it. It was too bad, because I was just getting into my rhythm. I was about two takes away from saying “Greece” in one syllable.

As I was walking out of the sound booth, she was walking out of the adjacent control room and the open door revealed a new face inside. A  man smiled warmly at me and thanked me for auditioning.

“She tells me you’ve only ever voiced one package,” he said as he laughed.

Somehow I don’t think he was laughing because he was shocked at the revelation.

“You know, we might have something that could use that country accent coming up in the future,” he said. “I don’t have the specifics right now, but I’ll get in touch with you when I know more.”

I wondered how many different ways he had of telling people “Don’t call me, I’ll call you.”

I thanked them both and started to turn down the hallway to leave. I stopped and turned back toward them.

“You know, I do a pretty good Hank Hill if you ever need one,” I told them, being as serious as I could. “Peggy, whut the??? Bobby, thar better be a cheerleader under your bed! Gall-dangit!!! I sell propane and propane accessories.”

This time, when I started to leave, he asked for my contact information.

I guess the moral of this story is simple:   When the crowd starts to turn on you, just play ‘em a little Hank.

(for those interested in the piece I did for All Hands Magazine, you can find it HERE )