Ted's Blog

Ted’s Thoughts on Gift Giving

Working two low wage jobs as both a server and pizza tosser makes it difficult to purchase gifts for my loved ones. And to make matters worse, my boss just increased the percentage I have to tip-out the bus-boy and our bartender, Jacob, who maybe pours three drinks in an evening (and those aren’t for customers!).

I don’t make crap, but that’s okay because as a pizza tosser I earn 10 units for my Culinary Exercise course at night law school. But still, working two jobs while tackling a law degree- with a minor in Culinary Ethics (my goal is to promote Food Service Industry Rights)- makes the holidays an anxiety-ridden affair about stretching the buck as far as possible.

And by buck, I mean one buck for my mom, one for my dad, and one for my sister Eileen and her stupid husband Bert. And of course I also have to get something for my brothers Toby, T.J and Tank (who was actually named Tron, but he hates that movie, so he changed his name).

I only have 7 dollars in my bank account. Literally. That’s why I live with Floyd and put up with his shenanigans. He’s letting me crash at his place free of charge until I finish night law school.

So for my holiday treats this year, I decided to stretch my buck by not spending a dime on my family. Instead, I’m recycling my belongings into custom-made, “aw-shucks, you shouldn’t have” presents.

For my sister, I’m giving her my 2nd Grade soccer trophy. I used packing tape to cover the engraving and with a black marker I wrote, “World’s Best Sister.” I’m covering it with old deflated balloons that sort of look like streamers, and when she opens the box on Christmas morning I’m going to spray her with Lucky Charms marshmallows (as confetti). For her husband Bert (I don’t like him) I’ll just say, “You’re married to my sister, isn’t that enough?”

For Mom and Dad, I’m making a card out of old Boys Life magazines. It’ll be written like one of those old-time scary ransom notes: “If you don’t hug your son for Christmas, he’ll quit night law school.” Mom will probably cry. She cries every Christmas.

For my brothers, I will give them each a toy I stole from them years ago – and they’ll be so caught up with nostalgia that I guarantee they won’t remember I stole it. Yes! I’ll even make up a story about how I buried it in a time capsule because I wanted them to relive their childhood days of innocence before becoming addicted to glue (Toby), turning into a three-time divorced man (T.J) and stealing car stereos (Tank).

So with my family complete, there is only one gift I have yet to figure out. Floyd.

What do you give a guy who has everything? With all that cash and an imagination as wide as the Milky Way, I can’t think of anything better than dressing up like a plane and swooping down on him like “North by Northwest.” He’ll get a kick out of that, and me, I’ll have stretched my seven bucks into the New Year. And to celebrate the New Year? I’ll buy myself a case of Apple Cider and sip it slowly till Midnight.

By the way, I’m not working that night even though I begged my boss to let me (it’s the biggest night of the year for tips). But according to my boss, “I’m not senior enough.” So let’s hope somebody gets Salmonella!

Happy Holidays everyone!

Dating Tips with Ted

I’m allergic to new car smell. I know, horrible right? There are so many other smells that I could be allergic to, Cherry Scent, Vanilla, and the Nerf Ball. Actually, the Nerf ball is one of my favoritest smells ever. As a small boy I spent hours stuffing the Nerf football into my face to soak in the aroma of manufactured plastic and foam-rubber, ahhh…the lovely smell of Dye #29.

But I digress…

As a single, well-kept (that means clean) young man in my mid-to-late twenties (I’m not going to divulge, but let’s just say I can drink a Pina Colada at Friday’s anytime I want), it’s often hard to find time to not only meet the right girl, but also keep from losing myself in the process.

And by losing, I mean blowing chunks. Oh boy! Where do I begin?

Her name is Alicia. My 1990 Honda Accord was on the fritz so Alicia agreed to come pick me up.

We met by chance while I was studying for Economic Statistics 312, at the local B&N, sipping my Pumpkin Spice Latte, using a highlighter with firm striping motions. I was going to memorize this textbook because knowing that selling Widgets for company X is what separates an A from a B-. I’m an A or nothing, and if my University of Phoenix professor doesn’t want me to set the curve, well, he can go suck a deep fried chili con bill pizza (that’s inside pizza humor…way deep inside…).

Alicia asked if I had any 3×5 cards, and that’s when our eyes met. Well, actually, her smudged Battlestar glasses and my ridged, two-week old disposable contacts met, or were allowed to view one another.

Soon I was explaining how tough of a time it is for me to study at home, what with my roommate always trying some crazy imaginary scheme. One cannot learn the effects of the toothpaste market on the Thailand government without first learning how dental floss influenced the Chinese years before. And to do that, one needs silence, not karate attacks and efforts to constantly save my life from who-knows-what.

But c’mon Ted, let’s get to the date.

Okay – so she agrees to pick me up at our house. Floyd was inadvertently blocking the door- he nearly hanged himself by suspending from the ceiling a la Tom Cruise in MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE. So I pushed Floyd aside and joined Alicia in her brand new Scion TS. What a fun car, what a nice radio, new seats, that just out of the factory floor pleather smell, that…wait a minute. Wait a minute!

My eyes watered, my chest heaved, my throat closed, everything was spinning, and to make matters worse, Alicia thought it was a good time to blast her Hootie and the Blowfish Greatest Hits CD…

Well, without getting graphic, I lost my lunch (breakfast was there too) on her brand new floor mats (which I was told, her Uncle had negotiated for big-time).

So our date wasn’t at a Friday’s or at a Leek de Lurk, it was at a carwash, with yours truly, scrubbing the floors, the side wall, the dashboard, the windshield (even the gosh darn tooting’ rear view mirror!) and all the while, fighting that new car smell that after innumerable scrubbings, still lingered. But at least it was no longer making me gag.

Finally, after two hours we were ready to be on our way – and by way, I mean, take me home. We sat in the car, Alicia turned on the ignition, and then she opened the plastic package of car freshener that we had bought on our way out.

She pulled out this cute little yellow pine tree. I leaned in to take a whiff, because like I previously said, I love smells. And yellow pine, who doesn’t love yellow pine? Wait a minute. Pine…isn’t…yellow. It isn’t…oh no…it is. New car scent.

Who would’ve thought there was anything left in my stomach after my previous barf session- but there was! Oh boy, a lot. And by a lot I mean I saw corn from my Campbell’s Big Spoon soup way back on Monday.

I had to walk home. My pants, my shirt, my shoes and socks soaked with soap suds and bits-o-hurl.

I walked in the house and found Floyd still dangling upside down, his head nearly full with blood. I could have just gone to my room, but instead, I grabbed the tree trimmer from outside, sawed away at the ropes and watched him fall the ground.

He fell with a mighty thud, I chuckled, and then my stomach lurched…boy, what a rotten night.

Next time, fellas – do yourself the favor, meet her there. Besides, you won’t have to listen to Hootie, and that’s more than worth its price of admission.


Ted’s Thought For The Day

Smile at all times. Even when you have a knife pointed at you. Which is what happened to me the other day when I was in the alley behind the Taco Bell on Valley Vista Boulevard out in North Hollywood. The bathroom in the restaurant was occupied and my bladder was having a fit, so without another option, I hustled behind the Taco Bell and found some privacy. At least enough to pull down my suspenders and my pants, then squat (don’t ask. It’s how I learned when I was a kid). And then there was the knife. In my face. Let’s just say not much pee hit the pavement.

Getting mugged behind a Taco Bell with your pants down stinks!