Friday, November 06, 2009

The Peril distinguishes himself twice in one day

So, after six years in the wilderness, I finally have a pickup truck again. [sighs with relief and wipes brow] At last I again feel like a Man: I have a, um...truck. Granted it's a very small old Nissan truck, but as America's white dudes will hasten to assure you, Size Doesn't Matter.

You could set my truck on fire
And roll it down a hill
And I still wouldn't trade it for a Coupe de Ville
I got an eight-foot bed that never has to be made
You know, if it weren't for trucks we wouldn't have tailgates
I met all my wives in traffic jams
There's just somethin' women like about a pickup man
So I bought the thing cheap 'cause it needed work, and then got my friend Nick to fix it up for me at his shop. I wrote him a check and told him to just leave it out in the empty lot next to the shop once it was ready, with the keys under the mat (this is our standard procedure). Couple o' days later, I passed by the shop and the truck was out in the lot. So the next morning I drove over there in my little two-door Civic hatchback and parked in the grass next to the Nissan, picked my way through the wet grass (it had rained the night before) in my nice goin'-to-the-office clothes, hopped in the truck, and started backin' her up. I back up about twenty-five feet or so and then think, "Um...laptop, dude, laptop!" So I stop the truck and shift out of reverse, press the gas...

...and feel the unmistakable sensation you get when the back tires on your light-bed rear-wheel-drive pickup's back tires are spinning in mud.

I get out and look. Turns out that, in the whole bloody lot, there's exactly one puddle. Up until this moment I had completely failed to notice it...hardly surprising since it's only about four feet across from front to back, and from side to side it's about two feet wider than my wheel base. But I have managed to stop with both back tires perfectly centered in that blasted puddle. Yes, indeed, the Peril himself -- who may be forced to retire the "Redneck" part of his blogname in disgrace -- managed to drive his new truck twenty-five feet before getting it stuck in the only mud puddle in an entire empty lot, and a mud puddle, at that, not big enough for any self-respecting middle-sized hog even to take notice of.

I tried rocking the truck back and forth from forward to reverse a couple of times but it was obviously no go. So in the end I pushed it out of the mud puddle with, um, the two-door Civic hatchback.

But, hey, it's still a truck! So I'm still a Man, dammit!


I made it safely to work. In the truck, I'll have you know. And later that morning my boss Eddy had a meeting for our team of about ten people or so, and he tossed out the suggestion, "Hey, why don't we have a potluck Thanksgiving dinner? I'll bring the meat...does somebody want to organize that?" And somebody did (I think it was Emine). Well, that sounds like fun; I like all of those people, except especially my boss.

So about half an hour later I'm trying to race through my e-mail before heading down to the trade floor to help figure out some problem the NGL trader is having, and there, with admirable promptness, is an e-mail asking who's interested in the potluck Thanksgiving dinner. I fire back the following e-mail, partly in the spirit of being helpful and sociable and partly in the spirit of, well, being a smart-aleck for the entertainment of the team:
Interested, and will happily bring any of the following:
  • Russian-style beef Stroganov with mashed potatoes upon which to ladle the Stroganov, or...
  • Home-style (if your home is Latvia) potato-and-leek soup, or...
  • Potato and wild mushroom soup.
The perspicacious will note that if it don't have either mushrooms or potatoes, I ain't cookin' it. (Well, okay, if you guys just totally can't stand either potatoes or wild mushrooms, I could always head out in the direction of Eagle Lake and come back with some 'possum...)

And then I go down to the trade floor.

Ten minutes later Tom Brennan walks past and says with a big grin, "Hey, Kenny, I vote for the 'possum."

I look at him blankly. Why is Tom talking to me about 'possum? Did somebody forward the....oh, !@#$!@#$!#$!

I don't even remember exactly what I said, but it was along the lines of, "Hey, wait, did you get copied on that e-mail? I only answered to Eddy's team!"

Brennan grins even bigger. "No, you replied to pretty much everybody in the Houston office."

Which is when, to my horror, I discovered that there are apparently two potluck Thanksgiving meals scheduled this Thanksgiving, and the invitation that I had gotten -- and to which I had cheerfully and smart-aleckly replied-to-all without bother to look first at the sender's name and cc list -- was an invitation to the company-wide one...

I won't say that I've spent the last three days unable to go around a corner at the office without having somebody give me a hard time about my 'possum-cookin' skills or asking me how to pronounce "perspicacious" or telling me that they've never seen "perspicacious" and "ain't" used in the same sentence, or for that matter "perspicacious" and "'possum" used in the same e-mail. Let's just put it this way: that e-mail went out three days ago. Today one of my fellow employees, whom I've never met, came by my desk to introduce herself and get some information from me for a routine external audit that our department's currently going through. I got her the information she needed, and then she got up to go and said, "Well, it's nice to meet you finally." She started to walk away, and then looked back over her shoulder with a grin: "And I'm looking forward to that potluck lunch..."