October 30, 2009

Ghostie Head

Last week I went to my local Red Cross to give blood. It’s been awhile since I’ve donated and the only reason is that a volunteer called me to make a date and time due to a blood shortage.

“Hello Mr. McClain this is the Red Cross and our records show that you’ve given blood in the past and currently we have a blood bank shortage. We were wondering if tomorrow at eleven o’clock would be a good time for you to donate at our Hubbards Lane office since you’re unemployed.”

I must have heard that last part wrong. Being out of work does strange things to your imagination.

I walk up the front desk and the guy in front of me says he’s way early for his appointment. The girl gives him information to read and says they’ll call his name when they’re ready. He walks away and I walk up, standing directly in front the girl.

She’s looking at something on her desk, not noticing me at all for about twenty seconds. I start to feel like an apparition and look down to make sure I’m visible and clear my throat which startles her. She apologizes and gives me the binder to read.

Giving blood use to be a simple affair as I recall they would stick you as soon as you walked through the front door and, BADA BING, you were finished and out the door. Now you sit in front of a computer and click on answers to a series of questions, some of which surprised me.

‘What political party do you belong to?’

‘Who did you vote for in the previous presidential election?’

‘Have you currently or in the past ever been associated with communists and/or socialists?’

‘Are you unemployed and do you feel like a ghost?’

I’m finally led to a chair by a guy who looks like Bela Lugosi and as I’m laying
there I notice there’s a fan nearby with dust and cobwebs covering the back of the wire cage. I’m thinking this can’t be very sanitary sitting close by with a needle in your arm.

My bag fills in five minutes flat and Bela comments how fast I was. I walk over to the snack table where there is an elderly man in his volunteer vest. He gives me a knowing, almost creepy smile and asks me if I would like some orange juice. This man attended Ole Miss College back in the days when William Faulkner taught there and has a first edition copy of “As I Lay Dying” signed by the author.

At least that’s what he told me.

October 21, 2009

Up To Me

I was coming back from buying a metal cutting blade for a little home project I was working on this morning and Joni Mitchell came on the radio singing "Down To You". Sometimes you can hear an old song at a certain time of day or time of life and it's the best song in the world because it fits your mood.

Towards the end of the song it really had me feeling sorry for myself with my current unemployed circumstances and I turned the radio off. Now is not the time for indulging in feeling sorry for myself. I have a second interview with a company which will probably lead to a third interview and maybe employment again.

So screw you Joni Mitchell and the radio wave you rode in on.

October 20, 2009


This is "One Day" by Matisyahu released just last August. Since he's become more popular he has more money to spend on production, making his sound richer. I love this song of hope.

October 18, 2009

Have A Mercator Projection Thanksgiving

My wife was reading one of her cooking magazines last night.

"Here's an article about spatchcocking. We should try it this Thanksgiving."

It sounded like it could've been either a finish carpentry trick or a technique used in making a triple X movie.

"Why wait until Thanksgiving? I'm willing to try anything once. Let's go to bed."

Spatchcocking is butterflying a chicken or turkey by cutting out the back bone and laying the bird flat on the cooking surface in the oven or on the grill. Spatchcocking foul also reduces the cooking time to seventy minutes for a twelve pound turkey.

Looking at the picture it kind of reminded me of a Mercator Projection of the Earth

October 8, 2009

The Finaglers

Finagle Pronunciation: \fə-ˈnā-gəl\
Function: verb
Inflected Form(s): fi·na·gled; fi·na·gling \-g(ə-)liŋ\
Etymology: perhaps alteration of fainaigue to renege
Date: circa 1924
transitive verb
1 : to obtain by indirect or involved means

We're a family of finaglers and if you're a person inclined to prefer form over function and a buyer of antiques, you're probably a finagler too. The most recent finagling example was the saga of an antique bed we purchased for my daughter about a year ago.

It was a rope bed which used a long rope weaved in and out of the head board and foot board of the bed and when finagled to together, the rope supports a mattress and box springs. At first glance it would seem pretty straight forward....Wrongo!

Son-in-law and I went to Lowe's and bought rope and finagled between the head and foot boards. Then involved alot of pulling, tugging, knot tying, and gnashing of teeth.

We stood back and admired our handiwork and then my wife said something ominous.
"That looks a little smaller than a double bed. I hope the mattress fits."
I knew as soon as she said it, it wouldn't.

Back when Daniel Boone, or whoever made this bed, beds sizes were a haphazard size and when we finagled the new mattress and box springs from the garage, up the steps, around fifty corners, there it sat, completely hiding the head board, resting upon the side rails.

We un-finagled the rope but we couldn't finagle it back so the mattress and box springs would fit right. The rope bed now sits in our daughters garage and we bought another antique bed that accommodated the mattress and box springs.

If it would've been up to me to decide, I would've thrown the mattress on the floor. Hell, I could sleep at night on that.

Main Entry: mat·tress
Pronunciation: \ˈma-trəs\
Function: noun
Etymology: Middle English materas, from Anglo-French, from Medieval Latin materacium, from Arabic maṭraḥ place where something is thrown
Date: 14th century

Now, back to finagling myself a job.

October 3, 2009

Joining The Ranks

At work last Thursday, we had heard there was a second round of lay-offs which had happened at the Louisville office and there were more to come at my office in Frankfort. We thought that the IT department wouldn't be affected. We thought wrong.

About three o'clock the CIO tapped me on the shoulder and asked me to follow him to our training room and there sat, with downcast eyes, our Human Resources director. My job and twenty-six other positions had been eliminated. They had put together a nifty lay-off information presentation which I was in too much shock to retain much of.

I didn't remember much on the drive home, my head was swimming. How does a fifty-four year old man find a job in a state in which the unemployment rate is almost ten percent?

Say a little prayer for me and the legions in limbo-land.