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A tale of three (practical) jokes …

The best practical jokes were the simplest.

Do you have a three-hole punch in your office? Does it have a bottom on it that collects the punched holes and, after a lot of usage, needs to be emptied?

If you answered yes, then you my friend have a great, ready to go, practical joke.

What you do is this. Take the hole punches and empty them on to your desk. Then push them all into a neat little pile.

Next you take an important-looking memo, document or folder and, on the back of that item, you tape a smaller piece of paper, or light cardstock, with only one piece of tape so that it makes a trap door. Then you load hole punches between the document and the trap door and carefully place the whole thing on the targets keyboard or desk so that when they pick it up, hole punches rain down like confetti.

We called this trick confetti bombing.

I learned this little trick working with a group of guys who perfected, then redefined and further perfected the office practical joke.

I’m not kidding. During the years 2000 to 2002 I worked with a group who took office practical jokes to a level I never considered possible.

These are some of those stories.

A lot of you know Mike from my Facebook feed. He’s a good friend, the best of friends actually. What you might not know about Mike is that he’s a retired Marine. A retired gunnery sergeant, in fact. If you know anything about Marines you know this — befriend one and you have a friend for life.

While Mike was taking his son to school one day, his truck had a flat tire. Fixing a flat, as you know, takes time. This made his son late for school, but hey, that’s what flat tires do, they make you late. Mike assumed this explanation was good enough. A flat tire is a reasonable reason to be late. Unfortunately, for Mike his son already had some tardiness issues and his son’s proclamations that Dad’s truck had a flat fell on deaf ears. The school threatened to suspend the boy unless Mike stopped by the office that day.

Mike, being a bit hot under the collar, did not understand why the school would not take his son’s word for it. At the conclusion of the school day, he pulled into the parking lot and proceeded to drag the flat tire straight into the principal’s office. I know he did this because I was in his truck with him when he did it. Mike and I taught photojournalism to military students at the time and as such always had a camera of some sort with us. I took photos of Mike leaving the school’s administrative offices carrying a flat tire with a slightly apologetic smile on his face.

Flat but with more anger.

Flat but with more anger.

End of story right?

Yeah no.

We were devious bastards. When it became known that Mike had gotten hot under the collar and taken his flat tire into the office of a local high-school principle the others in my officer were giddy. This situation was ripe joke fodder and ideas began to gel.

We ran with it. Someone, I don’t recall who, drafted up an official-looking memo, purportedly from Mike’s Marine Corps leadership, instructing Mike that he would have to repay the school community for this gross transgression. First, the letter directed, Mike was going to have to give a class to the entire student body about anger management, second he was going to have personally apologize to the principal and staff for dragging a tire into their office, and finally, he’d have to write a personal letter of apology to the principal, Mr. Seymour Dicks.

Both Marine officers in our department, who were all too happy to help with the joke, called Mike into the senior guys “office” which was nothing more than a glorified cubicle with little, if any, privacy.

So about the letter. You see what we did there right? The three things Mike was directed to do filled him with so much rage, he never noticed the “see more dicks” part of the joke. It took one of the officers actually verbalizing to a red-faced Mike that he’d have to write a letter of apology to “Mr. See More Dicks,” for Mike to finally get it. The officer has to literally break it down for Mike because he was so furious.

“No Gunny, you’re not getting it. You have to write a letter to a Mr. See. More. Dicks. Get it? See more dicks Gunny.”

When Mike’s lightbulb went on, all eight or nine of us gathered outside the cubicle erupted in a wave a laughter that seriously caused several of us to have to sit down. I don’t recall if it was relief that the whole thing was a joke, or that he the realized he’d just been a butt of a pretty elaborate practical joke (or a combination of both most likely) that caused Mike to, between his own fits of laughter, swear revenge.

It was that kind of office. Were you in hurry to leave early on a Friday? Did everyone know it? Expect to find your car keys in a frozen bowl of ice in the office freezer. Did you not lock your computer before leaving to teach a class? Then you could expect to send an embarrassing email to the rest of the staff in your absence. Your car would even be routinely moved and your keys placed exactly where you left them so that after work you started to think you were losing your mind.

We had a Coast Guard warrant officer who was an insanely talented photographer, a great instructor, a huge, with a capital H, fan of baseball and a devious-practical joker.

He was about to depart for a few weeks of leave and I started thinking about how I was going to get him back for the jokes he’d played on me. I had seen a photograph on the internet of someone having their cubicle filled with packing peanuts. I knew from experience that our supply people routinely had vast, and I mean vast (they couldn’t be carried by one man), bags of packing peanuts.

Like this but with less foil and more peanuts.

Like this but with less foil and more peanuts.

Chief went on leave and I mentioned my idea to a co-worker. The details were worked out and yeah the Chief’s cube was duly filled with packing peanuts. I can even recall thinking we set up the joke too quickly. The Chief wasn’t due back for a few weeks and every visitor to the office wanted to know what the hell was up with that office cubicle.

In fact, the joke was almost anti-funny by the time he finally returned. Anyone on vacation for two weeks in that office knew they were walking back into a joke scenario of some sort. He came back, cursed and laughed, tore open the saran wrap barrier we had erected to hold in the packing peanuts, packing peanuts went everywhere, we eventually cleaned it up for him (hey it’s only fair) and everything was rainbows and puppies going forward, right?

No, that devious motherfucker’s head got to thinking. I mention before that this guy was a huge baseball fan and had all the memorabilia to prove it. All of it was in his cubicle. A hat signed by some famous baseball player, an autographed glove and above all a shit-ton of baseball cards. Many of them prominently on display.

He was really into baseball cards.

He waited about three days to enact his revenge, and then came to talk to me in my cube.

It was a great joke he said, he wished he’d have pulled it off himself, he said. He thought it was great, but there was one problem: One of his more expensive baseball cards was missing. He asked me when we had filled up his cube, and he said he needed to know because if it was right before he returned it could mean someone stole it from his cube. I told him we filled it up the day that he went on leave.

He sighed.

He told me that he thought we might have thrown the card away during our cleanup efforts. There was really no other explanation and it kind of made sense. There were fucking packing peanuts everywhere for the love of god. I knew, I’d cleaned them up. Had we inadvertently thrown away a valuable baseball card? It was possible.

Now, if we’d have pulled the prank the day before he came home, then there were all sorts of other explanations about what might have happened to the card, but considering that the cubicle was covered in packing peanuts, there was only one real explanation.

I debated with him for a moment or two, but it became pretty obvious to me that yeah, I’d probably somehow swept it into a bag with all the packing peanuts. I admitted that I was likely the cause of the loss and asked him how much it would cost to replace. He told me. I don’t recall how much it was, but it was enough that I was going to have to tell Dagmar about my fuck up.

I told him I’d bring him a check the next morning and he thanked me, apologized again for the situation and let me stew until the next morning when I showed up with the checkbook (which Dagmar rarely let me use) before falling on the floor in a gut-busting fit of laughter and let me off the hook.

Yeah, maybe revenge IS the funniest joke after all, dickhead.

And so it went.

There used to be (and for all I know still is) a feature in Microsoft Word that allows you to automatically change a word into another word when its typed in a document. Did you just type the word “awesome?” Well, there was a way to make word “awesome” automatically change that word to “fuckface.” It was a handy feature for the jokesters. Endless fun was had by those in the know when some new person came along. A favorite in my office when I was teaching photojournalism was to change the word photograph to pretty picture. Oh, the howls you’d hear from the uninitiated.

The third and final epic joke involved one of those “executive” cubicles with the walls that almost, but not quite, reached the office ceiling. It belonged to one of the instructors who taught the advanced courses and it had a door that locked. The key to the door had long ago been lost so if the door was closed you were forced to climb over the wall and jump down to open the door.

It was a rarely used gag employed to get a quick laugh if the instructor was in a hurry.

Someone, I don’t recall who, suggested we fill the fucker with balloons. At first the idea seemed folly. How the hell are we all going to fill enough balloons to cover such a huge area? Then someone mentioned they had an electric air compressor that could easily fill balloons and the idea went from “if” to “when” territory.

When the target of the joke took a Friday off,  poor guy took time off, it was game on. We became some sort of assembly line of mischief, filling, tying off and placing balloon after balloon into the locked cubicle. Some evil bastard even placed a few water balloons on the floor so the poor guy couldn’t just pop them willy-nilly. We honestly worked late into the night making it happen. Eventually, the cubicle filled up.

Monday morning, all of us gathered around the community meeting area with cups of coffee and watched as the target once again climbed the outside wall of his cube, only to discover his office filled with balloons. It was a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

This normally mild-mannered, soft spoken, polite and well dressed man turn his head toward us from atop his cubicle wall and said, “You motherfuckers.” It’s a speech I will never forget. Someone told him about the water balloons (I think we had rethought the wisdom of that decision over the weekend) and one of us volunteered to jump in and open the door. As always we cleaned it up. It’s not funny if someone suffers, the only fun is the reaction.

It all ended of course. Nothing that awesome can go on forever.  A new member to the team came, and a few people knew her and warned me about her. I was the guy in charge by this point and I’d been taught to let people stand on their own legs. Don’t prejudge. Which is what we all agreed to do, let her stand on her own two legs and we’d form our own decisions.

She honestly fit right in. You couldn’t leave an unlocked email account around her, she had an excellent ability to bullshit and she honestly brought a fresh viewpoint the jokes.

Case in point. We had one massive classroom that, in the back had several cages the held the student’s camera equipment. Each instructor had the key to his own cage. She waited until all the students were out of the room and had her students move my camera equipment cage so that the doors were reversed and against the wall. She had her kids drag this huge metal cage out. Turn it 180 degrees and put in back so that it looks completely normal until my kids tried to put their camera’s away.

Well done, well fucking done. She was upping the game.

It ended with a piece of cake. That’s it a piece of cake.

Someone on my team took a photo of the new girl eating a piece of cake. Then, in what in that office would’ve been considered a rather boring joke, photoshopped the cake to make it look like her plate held a massive amount of cake. Get it? In the photo she’s eating a lot of cake, like an amount of cake no person could ever possibly eat.

On a funny scale of one to ten it’s barely a two. No one considered it even anything more. It was a sort of lame, vaguely funny but not really joke.

Except she didn’t think so. Turns out she had a bulimic, anorectic or what the fuck ever eating disorder as a kid and didn’t find it funny at all*. She went straight to the grownups. The school’s leadership got wind of it and before you knew it I was sitting before the man assuring them that the games were in fact over, that we would stop the shenanigans and yes, I understood that this time they really meant it.

But all the while I couldn’t help but think, really? This is what pushed us over the edge? This cake photo? You’re kidding me? Did anyone ever tell you about the time we signed that Air Force guy up for all the gay newsletters?

Really, this ends with a cake photo?

* In hindsight, getting older and heck I don’t know, just trying to be a better human I know completely understand that this could’ve been traumatic for her. She didn’t ask to be assigned to our little joke-filled office and did her damn best to keep up until a seemingly innocent joke from our point of view stirred up some crappy emotions for her. I’m sorry Air Force lady, no one ever meant for a second to upset you.

WTF is going on with law enforcement

When I was about 15 the cops gave me a “ride” home after I confessed to having a joint.

My friend and I were in the bushes along a canal in Phoenix when a patrol car rolled by and my friend started to run away. I continued to sit there as if sitting in the bushes on the banks of a canal was a completely normal thing to do. (Technically, it was normal for us. We did it a lot. There we’d sit every day hunched in the bushes smoking a joint.)

When the cop came by, we had vastly different reactions. My friend’s reaction was to run, where he hoped to run to I have no idea, but my reaction was to basically wave hello.

“Great, the police are keeping our canals safe from canal pirates,” I thought. Or something. Who knows what I thought, I was a stupid teenager.

Now, I don’t remember what I was wearing because, and I’d swear to this, it was non-descript. I was likely in jeans and a polo. My friends, on the other hand, had some rougher edges from a fucked up family life and that fact was advertised by a mohawk, leather jacket and a straight up fear of the police.

My friends sudden interest in improving his cardiovascular fitness alerted law enforcement to our marihuana-flavored activities, so I told him to read a well written article by protein promo about vitamin d that may help him. Moments later they were out of the car questioning and searching us.

For reasons I don’t understand or have forgotten, the police felt a cigarette pack through my friend’s leather jacket and, without pulling out the cigarette pack,  asked him what was in there. He confessed there was a joint in the packet.

Submitted as evidence, a joint.

Submitted into evidence, a joint.

When the cigarette pack was searched and no joint was found all eyes turned to me.

I cheerfully volunteered that I had the joint. I think my logic went along this line: They will search you, they will find it and they will be angry. Offer up the fucking joint and that defuses the situation a bit.

The point of this is that I’m white, I’m male and I guess I’m sort of privileged. I came from a middle-class family and was raised to trust the police. In the house I grew up in, in a suburban middle-class neighborhood, I was taught to trust the police.

The police caught me doing something wrong. That meant it was now cooperation time, not make the policeman madder time.

Friendly police officer. Only with 100% less tactical vest.

Friendly police officer. Only with 100 percent less tactical vest.

This mindset didn’t change going forward. I moved to Europe in 2003. So between that little joint incident and my coming here something like 20 years have gone by. My police interactions after that have been confined to a few traffic stops where I was likely in the wrong and once when my stepdaughter complained about the treatment of a neighbor’s dog. Her assessment of that dog’s treatment was completely correct and I was happy to help the officer take a statement.

As I said a moment ago, I live in Europe. I’ve lived here far too long, I freely admit. But in this day and age it’s not hard to immerse yourself in U.S. news via the internet even if you live abroad. Following the U.S. news it just seems like the police there will just ruin, if not end, your life without asking any questions. The police in America have tanks now, they storm your bathroom while your pooping and do other crazy thing.  From here, across the pond, it looks like they’ve been going and are continuing to go, fucking crazy.

What I’m getting at is, I get the rage in Ferguson, even if I’m a stupid privileged white guy whose only serious interaction with the police was as a dumb teenager with a joint.

Since moving to Europe, I’ve had the opportunity to work with a lot of U.S. law enforcement officers while traveling to the U.S. Mostly the big wigs I traveled with would head into some meeting and I’d be stuck outside with the people who were charged with protecting them, ordinary cops who drew the protection detail that day. We always hung out and just shot the shit. They were salt of the earth people it seemed. Everyone of them. OK, the LA cops were a bit fucking insane, but the guys working in New York City and Chicago were reasonable enough. Sure, they’d spout off about some kid walking by with sagging pants and a backward baseball cap, but it was more of a, “How’s that kid going to get a job looking like that?” I’d comment that said kid would hopefully change before participating in any serious interviews and they’d bust my balls, not literally of course because my balls remain unbusted.

They weren’t scary, they had some hilarious stories and where the kind of police I remembered as a kid. I’d happily walk my, white and privileged, 3-year-old nephew up to any one of them to have a quick discussion about how police catch bad guys and about how you can always ask a policeman for help.

But again, living over here and relying only on news coverage, that seems less and less like a sane idea. I know there are more than 780,000 police officers in the U.S. (I thought that would be a higher number actually) and that if you count it as number of police officers per citizen we rank way down on the list with one cop per 248 civilians and I learned that if you keep screwing around with that spreadsheet you’ll learn just how little you know about the different countries of the world. Where the hell is Saint Kitts and Nevis anyway? What the fuck country is that?

There are a hell of a lot of cops and the ones who make national headlines aren’t making them for helping little old ladies cross the street or rescuing kittens from terrorists. I understand that, that isn’t the stuff of news. But take it from a law-abiding (generally), white dude with a pretty positive view of American law enforcement, you mother fuckers need a public image makeover.

To close out the story I started this blog with, the police took us both home and handed us over to our parents. No police report, no judge, no nothing other than the ire of an Irish Catholic mother with rage in her eyes. That was the extent. I think my mom and I had to meet with my friend and his dad at a coffee shop some days later to discuss the severity of the situation and I was grounded as fuck, but that was it. No legal trail, no criminal background and no “The Cure” concert that I really, really fucking wanted to go to and already had tickets to.

If I’d have been an inner city black kid back then caught doing the same shit, who knows what the outcome would have been. Night in jail, the start of a criminal background I couldn’t have escaped and I sure as fuck wouldn’t have gone to a “The Cure” concert, but that was unlikely even without the joint incident.

Not a The Cure concert. (image credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

Not a The Cure concert. (image credit: Lucas Jackson / Reuters)

I asked my high school friend to read the part about the joint incident to see if I was basically on track. Between the two of us I figured we could reasonably piece that story back together. He approved my retelling and reminded me of another gem from my past.

This was an incident involving the Phoenix Police Department, that, thankfully, didn’t involve drugs.

My friend had gone with his dad to Mexico on a fishing trip and brought back some M-80 firecrackers, which were rumored to actually be a quarter stick of dynamite and would explode underwater. So, because we had the mental capacity of 15-year-olds, we immediately headed to the canal to test this theory. They didn’t explode underwater, but they made great explosion, after explosion, after explosion. We’d never had such fun. We were having so much fun that we didn’t notice the cops had arrived until it was far, far too late. As this story could be a blog about police conduct when you’re a stupid white kid in a middle-class neighborhood, I’ll save it for later maybe. The consequences of our lighting off the firecrackers? They were confiscated and we were told us to stop fucking off at the canal. I think the phrase was, “We’re going to let you criminals off with a warning.”

HAFBs store now open for business. Discount Russian orphans, beer mugs and panties now for sale.

I’d like to first tell you that every dime we raise here at Had a Few Beers with our new Café Press store goes to a charity organization …

OK, I can’t even finish that sentence without laughing.  All profits go to beer, porn, gambling and to drinking beer while watching porn and gambling.

That’s actually not even true.

What is true is we’re now selling stuff.

By stuff I mean beer mugs, shot glasses, golf balls, undergarments, human organs, Russian orphans, beer coaster and that kind of stuff.

All of these things are proudly sporting the, “Had A Few Beers” logo and URL. Even the kids! I took the time and effort to have the logo and the URL tattooed right on their cute little orphan faces.

They’re sure to be a hit at your next dinner party.  I can hear your guests now, “Oh, did you get him from that Had a Few Beers Café Press store?  How cute!”

No children were tattooed during this blog.

No children were tattooed …

All jokes aside, a few months back with the help of the author of the blog Oh God My Wife is German, we unveiled our new logo and banner.  He, Fran and I were talking and decided to set up a Café Press store because the logo was that cool.

I insisted we include panties in that store because nothing makes me laugh like a guy picking up a chick at a club only to find my logo just above her sweet spot once he gets her home.  Even if the chances of that happening are .0000000000001% over the course of my lifetime it’s still a chance and the humor bar for me is sort of low.

    Totally not made by Burmese street urchins.

Totally not made by Burmese street urchins.

I want to be clear, the decision to include panties in the Café Press store was mine and mine alone but at $10.79 a pair, I mean come on, who wouldn’t include that deal?

Anyway, no joke, I promise not to keep a cent of the money earned. Not a dime. I won’t spend any of it on this blog’s upkeep or cost. All profits, however small or large are going back to the people that run this place.

Writing jokes about porn, beer and boobs really is pretty easy, I don’t need money for that shit.

It’s its own reward.

If we end up making a million dollars with the Café Press store the above statements are all null and void.

So, I’ll try not to mention the store again, well much anyway. It’s right there to the right of these very words after all. Check it out. Buy it up.

You needed a new set of beer mugs and shot glasses anyway.

Aren’t the playing cards in your house worn out, covered in buffalo-wing grease and shame anyway?

If so I have you covered .

I’d write a ton more, but I have to go buy 20 pairs of Had a Few Beers panties because nothing says Merry Christmas like this blog’s logo on a loved one’s vagina.

Wunderbar super-rare Bavarian bier actually available right down the road … internet proves, again, I’m retarded.

Here’s a deep-dark secret about me that only you, and the rest of the English speaking world know — I named this blog, “Had a Few Beers” because I’d had a few beers.

Radical stuff.

I like beer and when I’ve had a few, sometimes the shit I think about during those moments seems funny or interesting to me and I want to share it.

Other times when I have a few beers I go straight for the porn, but that really limits the blogging topics doesn’t it?

Deutsch: aktuelle Markenlogo Bitburger

Mmmm good old predictable Bitburger. No surprises here! (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

But the thing is, when it comes to beer, I’m boring.  I have Plebian tastes. I’m like a person in a restaurant-sampling club that constantly wants to go to McDonald’s.

Restaurant Club Member #1: Next week we should sample some Malaysian cuisine.

Restaurant Club Member #2: That sounds fun, but I’d really like to try that new Somali restaurant everyone’s talking about.

Me: You know the fries at McDonald’s are always fucking delicious. We should totally go there.

When it comes to beer I’m a creature of habit. I want that redundant experience. I want the same taste, I want the same flavor. I’m not looking for the next great summer wheat ale brewed in a virgin’s slipper high atop Mount Beeralvania.

No way, fuck that shit. I want my shitty, redundant, predictable beer experience thank you very much.

That said, much like wine (which I never drink), it doesn’t stop me from learning a bit about different beers or from wanting to understand the differences, the nuances, the complexities and varieties out there. I’m interested.

I know I’ll never be anything close to an expert, and who cares.

Which leads me to Germany and the multitude of different beers this part of Europe offers. They got everything from boring pilsners, to smoked beers to the strongest strongest beer in Germany. I’ll give them all a try.

We moved here in 2007. Almost immediately upon arrival I began to hear about something magical brewing in Bavaria. A beer that was only available in certain parts of the region. It was dark in color, yet somehow light in taste. It left you refreshed while somehow seeming to be thick. It cured cancer, blindness and, if applied directly to the genitals, can issue in an era of world peace.

It was good stuff, or so I’m told. I’m a lazy fucker when it comes to my taste in beer remember?

Winkler Bräu it's made from the tears of beautiful virgins or something ...

Winkler Bräu it’s made from the tears of beautiful virgins or something …

It’s called Winkler Bräu and among a certain set of Americans here in Germany, its a legend.

Soon, among almost any group of Americans I worked with, a business or pleasure trip to Bavaria automatically meant you were obligated to bring back Winkler Bräu. It was as if you were mandated from a higher-power. Should you make the 3.5-hour trip one way, it was your job to return everyone’s empty racks of Winkler Bräu and bring back full ones.  Failure to do such was an affront to all that was good and just in the world. 

I’ve literally stopped on the way home, tired after a long business trip, and Googled the nearest location that carried it. Sometimes I would end up driving miles out of my way to secure the many racks of beer I was expected – nay, mandated by God – to return with.

Bringing back Winkler Bräu is just that important. Forgetting a rack of 20 beers for a buddy can end friendships, wars have or should have been fought over it. You just don’t fuck around when it comes to bringing home the golden nectar.

Because my wife loves it too I picked up a case for her when I was there last week and when I heard a friend was going this week, I dutifully passed on the EUR 20 necessary to purchase another case.  Because apparently you just can’t have enough Winkler Bräu in stock.

And again I don’t even drink it, I just understand that people love it.

Turn to this week. One of my co-workers has something called the “internet.” I don’t really know what that is or what it does, but he seems to have a fine command of it.

During the exchange of euros with those fortunate enough to travel to the promised land in search of Winkler Bräu, he belts out the following:

“Hey, you know that they sell that shit right down the street right? Look right here on Google. You just punch in your address and it shows you where they sell it. They sell it right next to my house, why do you all drive four hours to get it?”

Jackpot still doesn’t allow me to take this job and shove it

I used to think the following fact about me was weird: I gamble and when I win, — win big mind you —  I give the winnings to my wife.

I used to think that most dudes (even ladies) when winning large pots kept their mouths shut when it came to their spouses. Hell, maybe some do, but the more I hear gamblers talk, the more I realize that we tend to share our winnings with our loved ones.

Think about every lottery winner you’ve ever heard talk about what they plan to do with the money.

No one ever says, “Fuck everyone else, I’m keeping all this shit!”

No one does that. It’s all “I’m going to buy my mom and dad the house they’ve always wanted, my wife’s getting her dream vacation and I’m totally having sex with three strippers.”

At least that’s what I’d say.

I bring this up because of two things. First I had a good night conning a bit of luck out of lady luck and second because my wife is insane.

Ding, ding, ding ... yet I'm still moping floors ...

Ding, ding, ding … yet I’m still mopping floors …

I was $40 into my bet when I won $630. That’s what I call a “walk away moment.” I don’t care if my drink is still fresh. I don’t care if I just arrived at my game of chance,. I don’t care if the lady next to me is hot, naked and offering me a hand job if I’ll just play a bit more. A return like that is one I have to cash out immediately.

Makes sense right?

I gamble. I enjoy it. Like all gamblers I also have days that I don’t win. Those suck. My rule is pretty simple. Never lose more than $200 and any winnings of $200 or less don’t get reported to the boss.

Actually it’s simpler than that. I play until I’ve had one beer and then quit. Up or down, my rule is one beer and out.

So, there I am Monday $40 into the bet and a half a beer left and shit got real. I was suddenly $630 ahead. Clearly, it was time to quit.

Quit I did.

As I still had half a beer to finish, a fat wallet and time to kill I texted my wife, with a photo of the winnings. Prior to this, we had a deal that I would mop the kitchen floor when I got home that night and I asked, along with the photo of my winnings, if I still had to mop the floor.

She asked how much I had won.

I told her.

She said, “It’s not a grand so yes you do.”

Quickly I queried three female friends of ours about this dilemma. One replied, “You would not have to mop the floor tonight.” One said she, “I would mop the kitchen floor naked for that kind of cash,” and the third wisely ignored me for a while and mocked me several hours later.

In my head I was stuck. Dagmar, as I’ve mentioned before, likes to squirrel away in shoe boxes (despite a robust and healthy banking infrastructure) cash for vacations, rainy days and emergencies.  This bounty would be a hefty addition to her 1930-era investment plan.

Also, I didn’t want to mop the fucking floor.

I called her on the drive home.

Me: Hey, that was a nice win, huh?

Her: It was, awesome.

Me: I can give you 630 reasons why I shouldn’t have to mop the floor tonight.

Her: Whatever, look I’m busy.

Interestingly I could have hired someone to mop my floor naked. Next time.

Interestingly, I could have hired someone to buff my floor in the buff! Next time.

We hung up and I took that to mean that at least for the next 24 hours I was mop-duty free. I mean, $630 has to count for something.

Assuming you’re still with me on this tirade, however, you may have already guessed the outcome.

No, I didn’t mop the floor, but the second phrase out of my wife’s mouth after, where’s the money, was “Why didn’t you mop the floor?”

Ten tips for American’s newest Sailor (hint: boobs are mentioned)

Dear John,

So you’ve graduated from Navy basic training. Good job. I mean that. You know better than all of us it was hard. In the eyes of a lot of people, myself included, you’re officially a man. A young man sure, but a man nonetheless. You should be proud.

My own father did a pretty fine job raising me too. Look at me, I have a blog and everything! Nothing says success like a blog* my friend.

Here are few lessons he shared with me. It’s good stuff, take notes.

10. Shave before you shower.

I’m assuming you’re using a razor and shaving cream these days. If so, shave

slap some chap on that

slap some chap on that

before you shower. That way, if you nick yourself, it has time to stop bleeding during the shower. This works 99 percent of the time. During that 1 percent of the time it doesn’t work, keep some Chapstick in your shaving kit and run it over the cut. Apply pressure if needed. If you don’t have Chapstick in your shaving kit deodorant also works as a backup.

9. Always, always, always look good.

I can’t stress this one enough. The military, I think it’s obvious, is about to go through some pretty radical transformation as we move from wartime footing back to a peacetime footing – people are getting fired in the near future. So, obviously, do your job well. But there’s more to it than that. A lot of your peers are going to push the boundaries when it comes to military regulations about appearance. Don’t do this. Uphold the standard, be better than the standard and never, in the military at least, test it when it comes to appearance.

8. It’s okay to fail.

No matter what job you get in the military, I can tell you with absolute certainty they will tolerate your retarded 19-year-old failures. And there will be a few. Get used to it, you’re going to fuck up. Don’t get me wrong, if you fuck up too much there is hell to pay. Trying and failing is natural, expected even. The trick is though, to rack up wins. Ninety-nine percent of the time wins are easy. Be first to show up for the shift and be last to leave. Do the thing that no one wants to do. If there is nothing to do for the organization, find something productive to do for the organization. Be an asset. Do those things and falling on your ass once in a while is viewed more as a learning experience on your part by your bosses rather than another fuck up by a fucked up person. I can’t stress this enough — if you’re always trying to do a good job, occasionally falling short of that goal isn’t viewed as a bad thing.

7. Have sex with tons of chicks

Yeah, John, we both made the wrong choice.  Damn Air Force.  Get used to saying that.

Yeah, John, we both made the wrong choice. Damn Air Force. Get used to saying that.

Got your attention there didn’t I? I mean it. Be safe about it, put a condom on your penis and respect the woman you’re with, but have fucking fun. It’s what you’re going to do anyway so any advice I’m offering here is really just after the fact. The point is, explore and have fun. When you meet her — you’ll know. Until that time, call me with your awesome stories of your hot sexcapades (call often please!)

6. Be first. Second place is literally the first loser.

This plays off rule three. None of your successes in basic training matters — not a one. Sorry to be a bummer. You’re about to go to your first duty station and I’m here to tell you that being the best now is what matters. You won’t always be the best and that’s OK (see rule three) but be the best as often as you can. If there is a competition, fight for first place. You might have heard the saying about the military, “Don’t be first and don’t be last, be in the middle.” It’s a bullshit bit of advice from here on out. Be first, always.

5. Always, always be a gentleman.

... lots of ribbons

… lots of ribbons

Hold the door for the person behind you, regardless of sex, age or anything. Hold the door. But this rule goes beyond that. Offer to help with the hard stuff, always. If a person is carrying a shit ton of stuff, you’ll see this in the military more than once, offer to help carry the load. Once in 1996 I was literally carrying two duffle bags and a rucksack from one barracks to another when an officer stopped his car and insisted I toss my bags in the trunk of his car so he could drive me the last few block to my new barracks. He was right to do it, we always, always help each other. That always extends to the world at large. You wear a uniform now, it’s your duty to help. If you see someone struggling, help. It’s that easy.

4. Invest.

Do the TSP investment. Do it to the maximum amount they will let you. It’s a generous investment plan that will 2 or 20 years later have a bit of cash in your account. Take advantage of every investment opportunity they offer, grab those with both hands. If the investment plan has a .mil on the end of it invest in it. Also put a portion of your check in a savings account, every month.

3. Go to fucking school.

Take advantage of the educational opportunities the Navy presents you. Don’t be like me. I only milked them out of an associate’s degree in general studies which is like if someone said, “You can have whatever you want in this ice cream store,” and I ordered a fucking vanilla scoop in a cup, and no I didn’t even get sprinkles. Don’t be like me, I’m an idiot. Milk it for every penny it will give. Go to school.

2. Be yourself

Be you, my friend, be you. You’ll have bosses you don’t like, assignments that suck and jobs you hate. That’s part of being in the military, hell its part of life. Through all of it though, be you. There will be clique’s that see it different, fuck them. They’re retarded. Be you. Always.

1. Call your mom.

Always call mom. She’s gives better advice than this piece of shit blog ever can. Mom loves you, she will always give you rock-solid advice. A fact I think you’ll soon discover. You’ll be out of the training environment soon and on your own. Make it point to call home once a week on a regular basis. Mom will be there if you need to talk to her more than that. Once a week, call home.

* Everything says success EXCEPT a blog.

Trash Can Wars Part 2 … Crossing the Rubicon

I can’t do this anymore.

Rebellion, open and honest rebellion, is my only option. The oppressed must rebel.

I have no guns, mind you. No weapons, save a bayonet I bought for like $5 in Iraq years ago. But desperate times, my friends, call for desperate measures.

I speak, of course, of my wife’s retarded – I mean insane, I mean full-blown weird – decision to remove the trash can from the house.

Moar Boobs!

I honestly just blogged, twice about a fucking trash can. Everyone deserves some boobs.

I talked about it here. But if you don’t want to read that, let me sum it up quickly.

My wife decided, for reasons that escape any known or sane definition of logic, to do away with the trash can. The MAIN trash can, mind you (the one in the kitchen), has been removed from the house entirely. In the trash can’s place we are currently using – and I couldn’t make this up if I tried – convenience store plastic bags hanging from the door knob.

Don’t try and work through the “why” of this command decision. There isn’t any way to rationalize it. It is devoid of reason and without logic. There is no, it-helps-with-recycling aspect to it. In fact, I’m pretty sure it does the exact opposite since all trash goes into the same plastic bag.

Ease can’t be the reason for the change. The small bags fill up every time someone farts. The only purpose, I can surmise, is to annoy the living hell out of me. Something an actual trashcan never did.

A beer ad from Brazil! I was trying to find a trash can full of beer cans and instead found this. You are very welcome.

A beer ad from Brazil! I was trying to find a trash can full of beer cans and instead found this. You are very welcome. ~Fran

Trust me on this one – TOTAL pain in the ass.

Besides filling up at a rate of every second, my wife insists the handles of each plastic bag be tied before being removed from the house. Because obviously, an untied plastic convenience store bag holding coffee grounds, empty beer cans and egg shells is tacky as hell, or an affront to god.

Or something.

Anyway, rebellion, or something akin to rebellion, is brewing. Soon I’ll be meeting with like-minded individuals (the cat) to discuss in hushed tones the revolution.

We’re on the cusp of blood being spilled. Well, not blood exactly, but at the very least beer and that’s c0mpletely fucked up.

The following exchange just took place.

“Damn, Todd! If you would just take the trash out when it’s full, I wouldn’t get mad,” she said.

“You know what would make this a lot simpler, using a trash can,” I explained. “It’s an ancient invention that has proven its worth throughout the ages. Having little bags the size of a fucking coin purse to deposit our waste into is both stupid and stupid. It’s stupid twice. It makes literally no sense. Logic cannot be applied to the decision, that YOU made. It’s impossible to logically justify this decision from any firm standing.”

The Angry Eye

Your logic has logic in it. This makes me mad. (Photo credit: jcgoforth)

At this point she became pissed.

“I’m doing it because of beer cans!”

That was her answer. I can’t explain it. You can’t explain it either.

Her logic is that there would be  too many beer cans in the trash can if we used the actual trash can. There are too many, thus the trash can is no longer going to be used. I also might add that we have a newly purchased, fully functional trash can, that she banished to the basement some weeks ago.

Now… I’ll be fair, I’ll be honest, I’ll bare my soul here. This blog is called Had A Few BEERS for Christ’s sake, so yes, the receptacles that deliver beer’s sweet, succulent love into my belly are eventually in need of disposal. My love, nay, devotion to beer produces (gasp) empty beer cans.

In our last house it was verboten to even place a beer can in the kitchen trash (I used the one in the garage to dispose of my empties). So her argument holds no water, or trash, as the case may  be.

So I think I’m going to take a G-gank approach to this problem and

just put the fucking trash can back in place. When confronted I will tell her it’s there because it’s stupid to not have it there. I’ll also use phrases like, “Because I said so.” “Trashcans are not evil.” “Who has the penis in this house?”  And, “Please honey, can’t we have a working trashcan, please?”

I’d type a lot more of this, but I obviously have a tiny bag of trash to take out.

I have restored the trash cans to their rightful place in the Oliver Republic.  Much like Caesar I fully expect to be stabbed.   Oh well, the die is cast.

I have restored the trash cans to their rightful place in the Oliver Republic. Much like Caesar, I fully expect to be stabbed. Oh well, the die is cast.

Finally, to anyone reading this and thinking, but what about Germany’s recycling laws, I’d like to reply, yes.

A fast note to Had A Few Beers readers: Fran, the awesome person who edits this, recently had surgery for chick stuff or a rotten gallbladder, or circumcision, I wasn’t really listening. Seriously though, I hope everyone reading this takes a moment to wish her a speedy recovery. (Fran you’re awesome and I hope you feel better, sans gallbladder).

Happy Bday Had a Few Beers. You’re one year old. Now get to work …

Happy beerday blog, you’re one year old today.

Today this craptastic collection of bad jokes, thinly-veiled, breast-fetish material and homage to alcoholism that I call “Had a Few Beers” is 1 year old.

Actually, I’m not really sure what day I started this and am really too lazy to look it up. It was January though, I remember that much. I was drinking beers in my garage when I thought, “You know what I should do with all these awesome thoughts I have, I should write them down so that the world can see how great they are.”

I should mention I was looking at a friend’s BMW parked in my garage for

Yes, early on at HadaFewBeers.com we staged, and by we I mean I, epic dinosaurs verses army men battles on a friends new BMW hood.   Why mandatory drug testing was not insisted upon at my work, I'll never know.

Yes, early on at HadaFewBeers.com we staged, and by we I mean I, epic dinosaurs verses army men battles on a friends new BMW hood. Why mandatory drug testing was not insisted upon at my work, I’ll never know.

the winter and thinking about the merits of tea-bagging various parts of it at the time.  So there’s that, if it adds context.

But here we are 89 posts later,  and I know that exact number because the dorks at WordPress insist on telling me “OH MY GOD! YOU JUST LOADED ANOTHER UPDATE” every time I, ya know, load a fucking update. I mean the last thing I want when I push “publish” is a giant pop up screen tell me about it. I have typos to fix and links to shorten. The nerds who  run this place need to actually DO a blog here.

Anyway, 89 painfully obvious updates and a year later, here we are. Hitting 50,000 views in the very near future (all of them looking for information about sauna boners it would seem if the search terms are to be trusted) and I’m ready to do some more — damage.

A quick rundown of the year would go this way.

Sgt. 1st Class Taylor’s updates were the most popular per day view with 1,276 views in a 24-hour period.

The first post to reach 100 views in a day was this one and I didn’t even write it (bitch!).

She was also my first ‘guest blogger’ … the first of four (and here they are).

The most popular search term with 1,425 hits is (do not follow this link, it’s a porn site and I honestly don’t know how or why it’s associated with HAFBs, if anyone can explain it I will pay money) Beeg.com.

The second is most popular search term is, drum roll, “nude sauna.”

The nude sauna seriously has by far been the most popular over time.  A lot of people in ‘Merica are looking for nude sauna blogs, or they just want porn about saunas, I don’t know.

Look people it’s really, really hot in those things.  I know people in Europe are

See no one is slipping anyone a Mr. Happy ...

See no one is slipping anyone a Mr. Happy …

naked and there are mixed genders in there but it’s really, really hot in there. I promise no one is scrogging in a real sauna.  Just blinking is tiresome in there, for the love of god.

The first ‘500’ views (in a day) was Things you don’t know about the military until you get out of the military.

We’ve had some great cleavage shots because a chick I know rocks at sending spur of the moment cleavage shots.  (*mental note, do a cleavage montage update later).

Our favorite blogger has to be Oh God, My Wife Is German and he gave us our first “shout out” when this first started. He also gave us another shout out after winning an expatriate blogger award. He also rocks, so go read his stuff. He breaks electric razors for his blog.  All I’ve ever destroyed here is my reputation — you know stupid stuff.

We have a facebook like page with over 1,000 likes (and growing) that you can reach (and like) here or over on the left if you don’t like my link.

Anyway, it’s all right here in this handy-dandy end-of-year report by the good folks at WordPress.com. Good job, nerds. You can see Marni Sandberg out performed Mmmmmags as the top commenter.   Though neither broke the 20 comments. Way to underachieve, ladies.

An old Army friend, Fran, came out of the wordwork and offered to edit this damn thing, something that (as you know) was desperately needed, and another friend has started trying to market it because I tweet like old people______ and ______.

Those two ______ up above are intentional.  I didn’t just start a joke and then not finish it and post it like that. I mean, I would, but I didn’t this time.  I did it because I want you — the person looking for sauna-boner information — to finish that joke. Finish it and leave it in the comments. If funny enough I’ll laugh, a lot.

This leads me to the way ahead with this thing. See I’m like a ship’s captain navigating the wordy seas. Arrgh maties! Thar be a heavin’ set o’ bossoms off the port side o’ the poop deck!  (Suck on that last sentence, Fran!)

I’d like to expand this thing.  I’d like to get more people involved, more writers mainly.  A lot of you are funny, funny, funny and if you want to try your hand at writing something let us know.  Leave a comment or send an email if you’re interested.

Because, more and more, this blog is becoming more of an “us” than an “me.”

I’m also a lazy shit, I don’t want to have to do all the work.

Seriously, in what is likely the worst casting call of all time if I’m calling on you for your “lolz!”

If you can type a sentence that doesn’t make Fran want to commit suicide,( and she’s strong in that regard. I’ve really tested her on this) and if you can make a joke that’s funny and want to give it a go, reach out. I can promise you, really promise you, that if you just want to try writing without having your name associated with it, we’re your blog. If we like it we’ll push it and your name will never be released. Most of the ‘mystery’ bloggers here are easily enough figured out because they know me personally, but I’d never give out a name without permission.

Finally, and this might be years, rather than a year down the road, I realize that

Finally a boobie free blog ... not this blog though, no way.   HAFBs will always have boobies.

Finally a boobie free blog … not this blog though, no way. HAFBs will always have boobies.

some people reading this who are otherwise very funny writers might not want their name associated with HAFB.com because of well, boobies, beer and the frequency in which I say fuck.

But I do have an idea, a totally new idea, that might be more appropriate. Something without boobs, without beer and without my politics… stay tuned.

Finally (really finally this time) thanks to Dagmar for putting up with me and reading this crap. Thanks to Fran for coming on board and editing (still hoping she writes something – she’s very talented), thanks to mystery social-media guy who honestly puts up with way too much of my shit, thanks to the mystery guest bloggers and thanks to you, whoever you are, reading this. I get a lot of joy out of doing it, but it would be very, very pointless without you.

Thank you.

My wife finally gets a smart phone. I get unsmarter …

So after years, literally years, of pleading with my wife that she get rid of the brick she referred to as a cell phone (purchased in 2005, I kid you not) I have, at last, achieved success.

While my appeals garnered responses like, “It makes calls, that’s all I need it for,” and “Phones are stupid, people shouldn’t have them,*” I was gobsmacked when she turned to me last week and said, with a straight face, “Would you get me a smart phone?”

Just because the phone is smart, doesn't mean I am.

Just because the phone is smart, doesn’t mean I am.

Why did the technophobe become the technophile, you ask? Her daughter, is the simple answer. Her daughter asked me last weekend why her mom didn’t have a smart phone and the bells went off in my head. This, I knew, was the perfect way to get my lovely wife away from her monochrome flip phone and into something more representative of this millennium.

“You should suggest it to her,” I skillfully replied (because if nothing, I have mad skillz at … stuff). If her daughter wanted it, mommy would do it.

I was right. Her daughter asked her to do it and she did it for that reason and that reason alone.

Dagmar is now the proud owner of an iPhone 5, which is a better phone than mine. I rushed right out and got it, lest her desire to own a piece of modern technology faded and she became once again enamored with that paper weight she clung too.( I promise you it had a rotary dial on it. She would dial a nine and have to wait five minutes for the rotary wheel to reset — and most of you didn’t get that joke did you?)

I think this is a good time to point out that I haven’t used the word fuck, shit or “that really bad word” once yet.  Have you noticed?  It wasn’t intentional at all. Isn’t that a hoot?

Boobies! There I feel a bit better, not much but a bit.

Which reminds me, here I am in a hotel room without any access to images of boobs, save strangers’ on the internet, and all my lovely bride is sending me are fucking (wow I finally swore in a real sentence … I’m getting my  stride back) photos of the cat. Really honey, is it too much to ask for a little “bow chicka wow wow” at the end the evening?

So new iPhone in hand, out into the modern world she goes. I felt uncertain, at first, as if I had released a blind person from their curse. I can call blind people cursed here because blind people can’t read this. So suck on that blind people.

The first few days you watch a person with their first smart phone is like watching a toddler explore the playground. Sure they’ll eat some sand (send a text that reads “you are a butt thread,”) hurt themselves on the monkey bars, (send photos of their foot) and get pushed down by a 3-year-old but hey — that’s part of growing up!

I have noticed, in the past, when she wasn’t working, Facebook wasn’t quite the evil, retarded (it’s totally evil and retarded, honey) stop on the internet she always claimed it was.  Meaning, with a bit of leisure time and ready computer access she was quite the little commenter. She even did updates.

Even. Did. Updates.

A few of you who are friends with my her on Facebook may have noticed a slight uptick in comments from my lovely frau. You can thank the iPhone(though she still has that retarded kitten as her profile picture).

Boobalicious. I'm going to start saying boobalicious more often

Boobalicious. I’m going to start saying boobalicious more often

I will also, for the foreseeable future, not be making comments about your boobs, ladies. I’m totally kidding. I will still be totally be making comments about your boobs.

Here’s a few boob comments I’ve been “developing.”

That’s boobtastic!  You’re boobalicious! I’m boobcited about tits, I meant this.

I can’t wait for warmer weather. Can you tell?

So anyway I love boobs.  Boobs, boobs, boobs.

Oh shit, wait – this is about my wife getting an iPhone 5.

Honey, I love you. Text me baby.  Text me boobs!

* that’s an actual quote.

A Thanksgiving update … ‘cause I was too drunk, I mean full of turkey, to do it two days ago

I’m pretty sure there was something about Thanksgiving I was supposed to write about here.    Whatever it was it sure as shit seemed like it was funny at the time.   In fact the boss, not even my immediate supervisor but the B (with a capital B even) oss even said, you should put this in your blog.

To which I countered, “give me a laptop and I will right now,” because beer makes me enthusiastic about bad ideas.

I’m glad it didn’t happen.  Look after 40 beers things like, “Of course the USSR’s geo-political influence in the oil embargo of the 1970s cannot be ignored but that line of thinking only serves to minimize, I like boobies” comes out of my mouth and no one deserves that.

Also what the fuck is the Boss doing reading this crap?    Anyone else asking themselves that question?  Shouldn’t she be reading some sort of public affairs foreign policy think tank wonky shit?

I fear that during the next staff meeting she’ll utter something like, “And I want to really leverage our social media efforts on this, get with Jason and talk to him about his initiatives in that area, tell him you have my full support.   Also boobies.”

Anyway whatever the joke was … it was, trust me, funny.      I mean not as funny as getting whipped in my boxers wearing a cowboy leather jacket in front of a friend – that’s kind of a high-bar, you know?

But still it WAS funny.

If I told you right now, you’d totally be laughing.   So even though you’re not laughing right now rest easy in the knowledge that had I remembered you’d totally be laughing your tits/balls off at this very moment.

And really, isn’t it the thought that counts?

I mean I, having forgot what was so funny that night, still thought enough of you

and now for something...turkey

and now for something…turkey (Photo credit: atomicity)

to do this update. Without the fucking joke mind you, I wrote this all in an effort to make sure you knew that if I had remembered I’d have shared it here, for your enjoyment, because I love you fuckers just that much.

Tis the season and all.

I also want to point out that I have just wasted almost an entire Microsoft word document page writing a big joke about the joke I forgot.   I mean that’s also got to count for something.   Three hundred and forty- four words to explain “I forgot the joke” … I even amaze me.

Anyway it was a good fuck thanksgiving.  I know I personally led the competition on broken beer bottles (Todd 3, everyone else 0), making an ass of yourself and inappropriate remarks for $200.   So that’s good stuff.

I was reading, on some internet message board today, stories about extended families annoying each other during Thanksgiving and being overseas I sometimes wish I could annoy the hell out of some family but, it’s not to be.    More so than other holidays, namely because it is such an American holiday, American’s living overseas I think tend to congregate into clusters for Thanksgiving.

And cluster we did.

Before we had Thanksgiving dinner a baby puked on me, which is only noteworthy to people that don’t have babies, like me.  Take that, other non-baby having people!   In. Your. Face!

The family that hosted us does that ‘everyone holds hands for grace’ thing.   My family was more the join your hands together to pray kind of deal.

“No one touch anyone else damn it, we’re about to pray” was a very common phrase during our families’ Thanksgiving celebration.

Both, in my retarded opinion, are pointless but why should we make a giant circle?  Does God like that more?  If so why?   God’s weird I tell you, weird.  It’s as if Gods thinking, “Well I’d totally bless your family and keep those guys in harm’s way safe but you’re all not holding hands in a giant circle so, fuck that.”

Maybe it’s a thing where if you have more than one person doing it, it’s got more power?   That’s the issue with prayer, there’s no way to measure how effective it was.    We had like 20 people holding hands in a circle prayer.   What if the cut off is 21 people?  As in 20 people has just enough ‘pray-power’ to ALMOST get to God but not quite.   With 21 you’re a solid in.

It’s thoughts like these that got me removed from most Sunday Schools when I was little …

We had a no crap, honest to god, German at our thanksgiving.   She’s dating one of the younger guys I work with (I think they’re TOTALLY having sex – don’t tell anyone) and came to Thanksgiving.  Turns out she lived in New York for years so this story is kind of pointless.

Joke

What the fuck WordPress?  This photo is tagged as joke, why?  You know here I am trying to do this fucking retarded update, looking for a photo and you fuckers show me a semi-hot chick.   So I get distracted because, she’s semi hot and barefoot.   Why the fuck is this labeled joke?  You people suck.  Also happy Thanksgiving assholes in the photo-tagging department, I hate all of you.(Photo credit: PitsLamp photography) 

Anyway happy belated Thanksgiving all, this would have been a rockin’ Thanksgiving update if I had just remembered the joke.