New Pilgrim ChroniclesClick banner to order, click here
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New Pilgrim ChroniclesClick banner to order, click here
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Jobless in Detroit... Continued
Another episode in the Saga of Buckaroo Johnson
by John Worster

Hey Brian,

Just going through the Coffee Coaster before I hit bed. I haven't e-mailed in a while and was checking in. Sorry we have not met for a drink but there is still no job for me and a whole lot of depression.

There's always those funky federales...

In reference to a prior e-mail I sent you, I just got a letter from the IRS. I had said before that that wanted more tax money because they refigured my last three months’ taxes before I lost my business. They now have re-refigured my taxes and want more money with penalties for being late. It is actually a good scam. Before they refigured $1279.00. This time they only re-refigured $357.00 and once I called and got the penalties removed (how the hell can I be late on something I don't know I owe?), it was about $298.00.

They get your head spinning so much that even though I am getting screwed out of $298.00 it doesn't seem as bad as the $1279.00 that was already paid, so I don't feel as screwed, and feel better about paying it. I am going to see if Best Buy will hire me. If I use the same formula with all the re-refiguring, I will get about $376,690.00 for a single iPod. I am so smart it is scary.

Can you speak Farsi?

I have also figured out where most of our jobs are. My Sirius radio recently broke. I called customer service: "Hello, can I help you?" (said in an incredibly thick Indian accent… think Apu from the Simpsons). I explain that my radio is broken but since I am a lifetime member (which sets you back 600 clams), I am entitled to a new one. My contract says I can get three new ones actually. They then tell me that in the fine print my "free-one" time is up, but they can get me an incredibly inferior one for $79.99.

I threaten violence for an hour and finally get it down to $6.98 for just shipping and handling (I rule!). I get it in three days and call to have it activated. Ring. “Hello can I help you?” (same thick accent… go figure). They tell me it is $100 to activate. I tell them no way. They say they will wave the fee but it is a $45 transfer fee. I tell them no way. I go through three people and finally snap: "Get me someone who speaks fucking English!"

I am met with the response… "I speak English, sir." 

I then have to explain that he has a grasp on the language but does not speak it and is reading off a piece of paper that matches my key words to his response. I then prove my point (try this out's fun).

I say, "I am upset with the product."
He says, "I apologize, sir."
I say, " I am angry."
He says, "I am very sorry, sir."
I then say, "Your mother came in second in the annual cow-humping competition and would have been first if she hadn't started with the pig and the sheep."
Silence… silence… "I apologize and I am sorry sir, let me see if I can help."

Game, set, match.

By the way, the new radio they sent me is such a piece of garbage that it already has broken. The best part is when I got my credit card bill, they charged me for the radio and the shipping and handling separately. I called them and after an hour they credited me but I told them I was calling Capitol One and seeing if I could press charges against them for illegally using my credit card. I call Capitol One: ring… ring…

“Capitol One, How may I help you?” (Thick Indian accent.)

I hang up and go right into bed and assume the fetal position.

Feng Shui at the local healthcare casino

As I have said before, my father has been in and out of the hospital. I have learned a few things on what to watch out for.

A quick sidebar. It is an absolute fucking joke how our hospitals aren't on the cutting edge of technology. I look at my father's chart and all his medication is chicken scratched on a blank piece of paper for every shift to try to understand. How it is not on a computer screen on the end of the bed or a special hospital Blackberry system is beyond me. A nurse told me it is because some people aren't computer savvy. I am not talking about any computer skill. Just type in the name on a screen and have everything listed. I know why malpractice is so high.

Back to my original thought… the hospital has three sections: North, Central, East. From what I have seen, this is how it works: If you are mildly ill, you are in the North. There are seven floors. The higher up you are, the healthier you are. The view is of the parking lot because you don't need cheering up. The 7th floor is double rooms with shitty TVs. The 4th floor is double room but a flat screen TV. The 3rd is your own room with a shitty TV.  The 2nd is own room with flat screen.

If you are in the central area you are in worse shape but the floor setup is the same. You do have a view of a mini-garden because you need to be mildly cheered up. If you are in the East wing you are moderately fucked. You do get a view of a lovely garden with a pond and hopefully you don't see Adam or Eve.

My dad is in the ICU on the 6th floor. He is very sick but has good and bad days. He was on the 5th floor when he got there so things are looking up. I have noticed a disturbing trend of people huddled around their loved one’s bed and then, when I visit Dad the next day, that room will be empty. Creepiest feeling ever. I also notice twice as many chaplains roaming the halls. I guess that is cool, kind of creepy, but cool, but if I see any harvesting tools—like for corn or kidneys or souls—I am hijacking the first wheelchair and not looking back!

So if you have to go to the hospital and end up in the East section, first floor, you better hit the ground and pray to the nearest entity. I prefer Jesus or that pony keg of Heineken in the corner; I will figure out details later. The reason the sicker you are the lower you go? My guess would be transportation, because we all know what is in the basement… the morgue.


Thanks for letting me ramble, friend. You can always respond with feedback or a restraining order, whichever you think is necessary. Stay gold, Ponyboy.[1] Until next time, hopefully the fog lifts and real purpose sets in.

[1] Reference to the main character of the 1983 movie, directed by Francis Coppola, in which many of today's biggest box office behemoths—Tom Cruise, Matt Dillon, Ralph Macchio, Patrick Swayze, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez, Diane Lane—got a huge, positive Hollywood kick in their early careers: The Outsiders. Ironically, the actor (C. Thomas Howell) playing Ponyboy—who becomes a comparative idealist in a cynical, harsh 1950-ish teen realm—while having a huge career, did not become a superstar.

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