The Perfect Gift

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about the real meaning of christmas and I must admit that I myself have become so wrapped up in the commercialization of it all that I’ve forgotten the true cause for celebration on December the 25th, and if I had to venture a guess, I’d say that I’m not the only one. I mean his name is right there in the holiday title, Christ, yet over the years we’ve turned the birthday of Jesus into a holiday where we selfishly spend time with our families, swapping gifts and stories, rather than at church worshipping the birthday boy. In an effort to get back on track with the true meaning of the day, I’ve been thinking about what birthday gift I can give to Jesus this year and redeem myself for the twenty plus years of not getting him anything.

How old is Jesus now? He’s got to be getting up there in age, an important factor to consider when figuring out what to get him for his birthday. For instance, I would be thrilled to get a brand new macbook computer, but he, like many elderly people, might not be able to figure out how to use modern technology and get frustrated pretty easily, something we don’t want given his ultimate power to destroy the earth and everything. What about a good pair of binoculars? If his eyesight is anything like my grandpa’s I know he’s struggling to see the faces of all the sinners here on earth, making it much harder to identify who he thinks deserves to be tortured and burned for eternity. Maybe he would like the complete box set of “I Love Lucy”, but then again he might find Lucille Ball as annoying and repulsive as the rest of us, given that we’re created in his image and all that.

I wonder if a hover board would come across as disbelieving? I mean he did walk on water so is it safe to assume that he can glide through the clouds as well? I saw a Lexus commercial the other day and that seemed like the luxurious type of vehicle that the savior of the world deserves to drive, but I just don’t know if I’m willing to commit several years worth of paychecks on a car that isn’t even for me. Surely he can understand that. When someone is particularly hard to shop for, I tend to take the easy way out and get them a gift card, but I’m not even sure if they have Olive Garden in heaven, or if that particular location would be very good any way. The quality of food at the Olive Garden seems to vary from franchise to franchise and I would feel just horrible if my gift card spawned a terrible dining experience for the son of God. That would probably be an automatic ticket to hell, I would imagine. Maybe I’ll get him a framed copy of “Footprints in the Sand” just in case this annoying poem in which he is featured hasn’t made its way through the pearly gates yet.

Perhaps Jesus just wants to be like his dad, and it that case the Sims video game would be the perfect gift for him. But then again we run into the age thing and the fact that he might not know how to work a computer game, which as we all know would in turn lead to frustration and the destruction of the earth, blah blah blah. Maybe I could search through the biblical archives and put together a highlight reel of his best miracles and have Scott Van Pelt count them down on the late night edition of Sports Center. Unfortunately, I don’t know SVP, plus there’s a chance that Jesus will be out celebrating his birthday and will miss the late night Sports Center and thus have no idea of the special gift I’d assembled for him. Like “The Calzone” episode of Seinfeld helped me realize, it’s not really worth giving something if the recipient doesn’t see and acknowledge that you gave the gift, or in the case of Seinfeld, a tip. I guess I’ll have to settle for one of those shaving sets that are on the front table of every department store for the inadequate gift giver like me. I’m sure it won’t be the perfect gift, but I’ll sing extra loud in church on Sunday in an attempt to bring him at least a little joy on his birthday.


Christmas Tree Shopping

IMG_4500With Thanksgiving behind us, we can finally shift our focus to Christmas, my favorite holiday of the year. I know there are some people out there, mom, that have been gearing up for Christmas for weeks now, watching holiday movies, listening to Christmas music, and putting up their tree, but I hold strong to the belief that one should not partake in these sorts of activities until after Thanksgiving, which is why as I drove home from my grandparents house Thursday evening, I felt no shame turning the radio over to 98.9 and letting the festive sounds of the season carry me home. When my wife and I moved from Florida to Memphis, my grandmother gave me her old artificial christmas tree that they no longer used, so last year when it came time to put up the tree, I pulled out the box and started the arduous process of piecing the thing together, trying to decipher the color codes on the ends of the metal branches, unable to distinguish between similar color hues. When I finally got all the branches attached, I realized that we were completely missing the bottom pole of the tree that connects to the stand, which was like half the tree, so we went in a different direction and put up a tabletop tree that we placed on a TV tray in front of our fireplace, at the base of which we put gifts.

A day or so later my mom called and told me that they’d found the missing part of the tree in the garage and subsequently gave it to me a few days later when I went to visit. The tree had already been taken apart by this time, and the thought of having to put it all back together again, when we had a perfectly good mini tree already set up, just seemed like too much trouble, so we decided to stick with the little one for Christmas 2016 and revisit the big tree the following year. Fast forward 365 days and here we are, time to put up the tree again. The big tree my grandmother gave us is still sitting in our storage room, ready to be put together and Christmasize our apartment, but it’s the bottom box, on top of which are stacked other heavy boxes in the storage room, plus I’m like the least handy person I know, so having to put the tree together piece by piece again is something that would very likely suck the Christmas spirit right out of me, so we decided to buy a new tree.

The plan was to go to the store Friday after I got off work to get a tree, which we would then go home and decorate and have that picture perfect Christmas memory. It didn’t actually work out that way. We went to Walmart for the tree plus a couple of other small grocery items, and by the time we had left the store and were back in the car, we had acquired even more items than we’d originally intended to buy, including egg nog and peppermint pretzels, nice additions to our holiday themed night. The only problem is, we completely forgot to get the Christmas tree until we had already left the store and were back out on the road, so the picture perfect Friday night didn’t happen. Saturday morning, just as college football was about to kick off, my wife suggested we make another attempt at getting the tree, so I left the comfort of my couch to go to the circus that is Walmart on a Saturday. In the garden center we looked around at the artificial trees for a couple of minutes. There were quite a few to choose from, but given the fact that we didn’t want to have to open a Walmart credit card to buy a Christmas tree, our options were narrowed dramatically. We looked at a twenty dollar tree, which other than the Charlie Brown Christmas tree, was the saddest I’d ever seen. There were so few branches that you could clearly see right through it to the other side. Depression is already a problem around the holidays, so we didn’t need a tree staring us in the face all season making me feel worse than I already do, so we quickly moved on from that one.

The one we settled on was a six and a half foot Jackson something or other, much larger than the one we had last year and much easier to put together than the one from my grandmother, with all of the branches already attached. The tag on the tree said T21 so we walked over to the shelves where all of the trees were boxed and began searching for that number, to no avail. There were T19’s, and T22’s, which were exactly like the T21’s except they were white instead of green, which we didn’t want, so we kept looking. An employee actually came over and asked if he could help us find anything, a first in all my years of Walmart shopping, and he went to another place to look but couldn’t find the tree we were looking fore either, so it was decided that we would go to yet another Walmart in search of our beautiful T21.

On a mission to find the perfect tree, like Clark Griswold I whipped into the parking lot of the next Walmart and walked directly toward the garden center with purpose, and a twinkling of insanity in my eye. Like seasoned veterans we walked directly to the shelves holding the trees, not letting ourselves be distracted by the inflatable snow globe or the train set zooming by overhead, because we were on a mission. I scanned the boxes frantically, searching for T21, hoping harder than I’d ever hoped for anything that it would be here on the shelf and Christmas would not be completely ruined, and that’s when I saw it, wedged between two T19’s, a lone T21, all for me, a Christmas miracle. I was so excited, so full of adrenaline, much like a mother who lifts a car off of her child, that I carried that box all the way to the car, rolling my eyes at all the other weaklings pushing their baskets through the parking lot. That was yesterday. Today I put the thing together, and it was amazingly simple, even for me. There are some screws in the box for some reason, but I think the tree will probably be fine without them. It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas, at least it is in one corner of our apartment, the one by the bookshelf.

What I’m Thankful For

With Thanksgiving being just a couple of days away, I wanted to take some time today to talk about some things that I am thankful for, a practice that is beneficial to observe every so often, just to remind oneself of the good things in life. There is so much negativity in the world, but by focusing on the positives, we can try to at least combat some of the negativity and keep it from infiltrating our lives, so without further ado, here’s what I’m thankful for in 2017. I’m thankful that the apartments I live in have animals inside the walls. I never really went camping as a child, so last month when the squirrel scratched a hole through my bedroom wall, exposing the inside of my apartment to the great outdoors, I felt closer to nature than I ever had before. I’m also thankful that it took the maintenance workers more than a week to come in and put a board up over the hole, giving me the gift of sleepless nights, terrified that the squirrel would scratch through the pathetic piece of cardboard I had duct taped to the wall, and I would wake up to the painful reality of having my eyes clawed out.

Another thing that I’m thankful for in 2017 is all of the dumb commercials on television. I would guess that I easily watch twelve hours of live television every week, between football and basketball games, so I see a lot of commercials, too many if we’re being honest, but unlike most, the dumb ones don’t bother me at all. Whenever I’m at my grandparents house, watching the Alabama football game, my grandpa will mute the TV whenever there is a commercial break, but whenever I’m at home, I’ll pay attention to the commercials, not because of the quality of the commercials themselves, but because I like the way they make me feel, with a false sense of superiority. First, knowing that commercials are made for the masses, seeing a commercial and recognizing it as stupid confirms to me that my intelligence and maturity are at a much higher level than the average people in the country, for whom the dumb commercial was made. Also, it gives me hope in knowing that if the idiots that made these dumb commercials can make a living doing so, then surely I, who is much funnier than they, can do so as well. Now I just need to get in touch with some TV producers so I can pitch them my brilliant ideas, so if you could make that happen, I’ll reserve a special spot for you on next year’s thankful list.

Finally, I’m thankful for garbage trucks. It may seem like a strange one to round out my list, but without them, I wouldn’t be waken up every Monday at three in the morning by the loud clanging as they empty the dumpsters at my apartment. Is there anything more refreshing than being jolted awake in the middle of the night by a terrifyingly loud noise? I think not. The premature wake up call gives me the opportunity to start my week in a bad mood, thus completely removing the pressure from the looming work week to do so, and for that, I am truly thankful.

A Misunderstanding at Work

IMG_4260I just got chased out of the tallest building in Memphis and yelled at by a police officer as soon as I got outside. It came as a shock, but really it’s my fault that it happened, so I guess I shouldn’t have been that surprised. I guess an explanation is probably warranted here, but give me a minute to compose myself after what I just went through, because it wasn’t easy. *Deep breath in….deep breath out. Deep breath in….deep breath out* Okay, let’s get this over with. This morning started out like a typical day, waking up to the sounds of something scratching the inside of my wall, while I say a quick thank you to my guardian angel for not letting the nuisance claw its way through the wall and kill me in my sleep. Today at work, the theme was Nerd Day Thursday, the fourth themed day in our associate appreciation week, so I started scavenging my closet searching for something, anything to wear that would make me look nerdy, which I found to be difficult, not because I don’t have anything that would be considered nerdy, but because I feel that most of what I wear to work on a daily basis makes me look like a dork, so I needed to look for something that would make me look more nerdy than usual, lest I look like I just showed up for a regular day of work.

I couldn’t really find anything extra nerdy, like a hat with a propeller or some suspenders or really short pants, so I settled on making the most of what I had, and just buttoned up my collared polo style shirt all the way to the top button. To complete the ensemble I wore the most dorky shoes that I own, crocs, but not just the regular ugly looking crocs, but the kind with the fur inside them like they’re house shoes or something. I absolutely love them. All in all the outfit wasn’t all that nerdy, but there was one more thing that I added, thanks to an idea by one of my coworkers when we were talking about what to wear the other day. She suggested I wear a sign that said “kick me” which is really the most textbook nerdy thing you can wear, so I pinned a piece of printer paper with those two words written in sharpie pen on it, to the back of my shirt, which turned out to be a disaster. It wasn’t pinned on straight so the paper got flipped up at one point and when I sat down in my car to come to work, it tried to fall back down but my back pinned it to the seat before it fell all the way down and pressed it sideways up against the seat where it stayed my entire commute. By the time I got to work it was all crinkled and wrinkled and completely unacceptable, which wouldn’t have bothered me whatsoever if I hadn’t been able to feel it through my shirt sticking up at an awkward angle. I asked Kisha to take it off of me, because as much as I willed myself to be able to reach around my back and unhook the tiny pin that was stuck through both my paper and the shirt, I just couldn’t do it.

She didn’t just take the old sign off, but decided to help me out and make me a new sign, this one written in thick black marker so it would be easily visible to everyone who caught a glimpse of my back. This one said “Kick me. I’m a nerd.” A little harsher than my sign, outright proclaiming me as a nerd, but at least I still had the most crucial part of my outfit and it was all in fun. Customers who came into the bank and caught a glimpse of my back would often snicker, and subtly ask my coworkers who had put it on my back, like they were all in on the joke of me being called a nerd, none of them actually having the heart or decency to tell me that something mean about me was written on my back. At least now I know which customers I can trust, absolutely nobody. When people stopped coming into the bank, I seized the opportunity to go out to my car to retrieve something I’d forgotten this morning. I walked out of the bank then out of the building to the parking lot, and just as I started walking towards my car, somebody burst through the doors, having chased me out of the building, call after me, “Sir! Sir!” I don’t know that anyone has ever called me sir before, so I was a little taken aback, first looking behind me expecting to see someone much more worthy of the title in the parking lot, but she was apparently talking to me. She put her hand on my shoulder, and with sad eyes told me that there was something on my back. By this point in the day I had completely forgotten that I was even wearing the sign since so much time had passed without it being mentioned, but here I was in the parking lot where I work with a good Samaritan feeling sorry for me, the nerd boy.

She told me that she would take the sign off, bless her, but I explained that it was intentional, that the bank where I worked was having a nerd themed day today and the sign was just part of my outfit. She walked away disappointedly, like she wishes I could have been bullied so she could step in and save the day. “I’m so sorry for being fine!”, I wanted to yell at her but I didn’t, I was on a mission to get something out of my car. I turned around and began walking again. “You’ve got something on your back!”, was shouted at me as I walked past three police cars that were parked to my right. I briefly explained about the themed day at the bank and it was all part of the costume, which became tiresome and unbearable to me midway through the explanation. He cracked a couple of unfunny jokes that I didn’t bother to remember. He was nice enough but I broke away as soon as I could to get what I needed from my car. One other person stopped me on my way back in to inform me about the sign, the building’s security guard, which is nice to know that he’s literally got my back, but I told my story once again and went back inside the shelter of the bank where I didn’t have to explain myself to every person I saw. Given the fact that I was worried about leaving for lunch and forgetting about it again, I asked Jalisa to take the sign off my back once and for all, so at least I won’t have to worry about explaining it to anyone else for the rest of the day. The only downside is I actually look like a dork with my normal work clothes and my fuzzy crocs on my feet, and now without the sign nobody is going to say anything to me about it and I won’t have an opportunity to explain myself. I can’t ever win.

A Long Hot Walk to the Dealership

You know how when your old car starts showing signs of nearing the end of its life you start considering the idea of getting a new one? You probably start the search online and find out exactly the kind of car you want, and then you hit the dealerships and used car lots in your area in search of the best deals on that perfect car. That’s not how it happened for me. From the time I bought my 1994 Honda Civic it was pretty clear that I was going to need a new car. The front drivers side was dented with the headlight smashed out, not to mention that there was no air conditioning, which might not have been a problem in Antarctica, but I was living in Florida, the sunshine state where even the state flag is drenched in sweat, but hey, it got great gas mileage. That car was a constant source of pain, breaking down every couple of weeks in the parking lot of a grocery store or the office, never letting me forget what a terrible decision I made it making that purchase, but eventually enough was enough and it was time to get a more reliable car, one that we wouldn’t hesitate to take out on the highway for fear of splintering into a million little pieces as soon as the speedometer hit fifty.

I wanted an SUV so soon we had our choices down to a Nissan Rogue or a Honda CR-V. I really liked the rogue, but it was a little more expensive than the Honda, and my wife’s brother, the car guy, continuously recommended the Honda, saying it was the only kind of car he would ever drive. He drives a Subaru now, but we trusted him at the time and decided that the CR-V would be the car for us. We went around to a few of the dealerships in the area, searching for a low mileage model that it was in our price range, and one Tuesday night, we found our car. We had driven to the dealership in my mother in law’s car because my Honda Civic was acting up that month, and given that we didn’t have a driving car, we were pretty thrilled to find the car that we wanted within our price range, so we talked with the sales people for a while, got screwed over a few times, and finally had a deal for us to purchase the car. It was exciting, what I imagine most people feel like when their kids finally move out of the house, but since we wouldn’t have the money until the following day, I was going to come back the next morning to fill out the paperwork and pick up the new car. If only it had been that easy.

The next morning I woke up full of hope and excited to go pick up the new car. The plan was for me to drive my beat up old civic which would be traded in to help cover the cost of sales tax, and I would be driving the CR-V home. We lived just a couple of miles from the dealership, so despite the problems the civic had been having since the time I bough it, I thought surely it would be able to make the short drive to the car lot where it would then become somebody else’s problem. I was wrong. Before I even pulled out onto the main road, smoke started pouring out of both ends of the car, one last kick in the face to remind me what a piece of crap that Honda civic was. There was no way it was going to make it to the dealership, so I drove it back home and I started walking. Walking down the side of a two way highway isn’t always the most fun experience of a lifetime, but sometimes you have no other choice. By the time I arrived at the car dealership I was drenched in sweat and feeling very tired, but at least I hadn’t been ru over on the way to get the new car. I signed the paperwork and was on my way back home in the CR-V before too long, but that experience is one that will stick with me for a very long time.

Three Creative Ways to Reuse Your Solar Eclipse Glasses

IMG_4133Now that the solar eclipse is over we can go back to living our everyday lives and not caring at all about the solar system or our magnificently complex and miraculous universe at all. Now that the event is over, I’m here to save the day by offering up some suggestions for reusing your solar eclipse glasses. Since you’ve already spent the money on them, it would be wasteful and irresponsible to just throw the glasses away, and right now you are probably thinking to yourself that most people didn’t spend more than five dollars on the glasses, so what’s the big deal? First of all, if that’s how you feel, like throwing away five dollars is insignificant then please, by all means, mail me five dollars, because you obviously don’t need it anyway. Secondly, I know for a fact that a lot of people spent quite a bit more money to procure their glasses, especially yesterday on the day of the event, when they were getting desperate to find some, lest they be a complete failure and disappointment to their kids who had been looking forward to watching the eclipse for nearly three days after they heard about it from their bratty know-it-all “friend” that he sits next to in kindergarten. My wife works at the zoo and she told me a shocking number of adults, people who had survived more than twenty years of life, which is pretty miraculous given their stupidity in decision making, were paying the price of admission to the zoo for a pair of the solar eclipse glasses, which believe it or not, is not the dumbest part of the story. They didn’t even go into the zoo. They paid for a ticket at the front gate, got their precious flimsy cardboard glasses and left. Whether you were one of those people, spending way too much money on a cheap set of glasses, or you were more prepared, those of you who planned ahead and bought the glasses in advance, this blog is dedicated to you and helping you find a fun and useful purpose for your eclipse glasses now that the big event is over.

Recycling or reusing something so as not to waste it is not a new concept, but I do believe this is the first time in the history of the world that we have had to look for ways to repurpose solar eclipse glasses, so I guess I’m kind of like a pioneer in a way. You can call me Lewis Anne Clark, although I don’t really care for the feminine middle name given to him. You know how kids are just ungrateful little demons these days? Well with my new plan for your old eclipse glasses your kids will not only be the most thankful and appreciative humans on the planet, but they will also worship you and see you as their hero forever. Let me explain. First, this plan can only be started on a newborn baby, so if you choose this option, let’s call it option A, you need to go ahead and either become pregnant yourself or get somebody pregnant. If you’re already expecting a child that’s even better since you’ve already come to terms with the fact that your life is over and therefore might be more likely to do something irrational and desperate, like trying this incredible plan.

First things first, you’re going to need the glasses and a full role of duct tape in the delivery room with you as soon as your child comes into this world. Before he or she can open their little baby eyes, you’re going to tape the glasses firmly to the face of your child, thus covering the baby’s eyes so he or she can cannot see anything but darkness. This may seem cruel but just bear with me for a minute and you will start to see the genius behind the plan. As the baby becomes an infant then a toddler or the other way around (I’m not really sure on the order of child progression) the baby will be told constantly by the parents that he or she is blind, so that is what the baby will believe. You homeschool the child so as not to draw suspicion from the teachers who might not be one hundred percent comfortable with five plus years of old duct tape permanently intertwined in the hair of an innocent child. Then at some point when you are having a bad day and could really use a pick me up, you remove the eclipse glasses and you become a hero, which instantly erases all of the negativity you had been feeling that day, and your child becomes eternally grateful to you for discovering the cure for blindness. It’s a win-win.

If you don’t have kids and you’re not on board with the idea of having children just so your solar eclipse glasses don’t go to waste, I have just the thing for you; I call the plan Invisible Idiots. I work at a bank so on a daily basis I see people that I find incredibly annoying and it just bums me out sometimes when I have to see them, but now there is an easy solution to a once complicated problem. Whenever an idiot approaches my window in the bank I can just slide my nifty little eclipse glasses on, and voila! they become invisible to me. While it’s not perfect because I still have to hear them, at least I don’t have to see them which is a positive thing, so feel free to take my Invisible Idiot plan with you wherever you should go, and pop those glasses on anytime an idiot walks into your view and threatens to ruin a completely happy moment. Your life will improve greatly.

The third and final way to repurpose your solar eclipse glasses is perhaps my favorite and quite possibly the most practical, although if I have kids I’m going with option A in a heartbeat, because I think I would make a pretty perfect hero. You know how when you eat Chinese food you’re always dropping and losing your chopsticks because of all the slimy sauces that are on the food? No matter where you look, under the table, between the couch cushions, the VCR, you never can seem to find that missing chopstick, but now with the repurposed solar eclipse glasses, you will never have that problem ever again. All you do is take the long cardboard flaps that are supposed to go behind your ears and you use them as chopsticks or as I like to call them, eclipse sticks. They’re connected so there’s no chance of you losing your utensils ever again! Also, that part of the glasses is about three times the width of chopsticks so you can get more food in each bite* without risking it falling out of your grasp and onto your shirt. When you’re done just make sure to completely lick the eclipse sticks clean, because there’s nothing nastier than dried up sauce on your kitchen utensils, and then they’ll be good as new and ready to go the next time the delivery guy comes knocking. Whichever of my genius ideas you decide for reusing your solar eclipse glasses, you won’t be disappointed, plus you can feel good about yourself, knowing that you are doing your part to protect the environment by recycling.

*Putting more food into your mouth increases the risk of choking, so be sure to chew thoroughly to avoid this hazard.

The New Car

IMG_4114I can’t imagine hell being much worse than a car lot in Little Rock, Arkansas on a hot August day, which is exactly how I found myself spending the majority of my day today. Yesterday when I told someone I was coming to Arkansas today they asked if I was going to Little Rock, and that is when I started to think if I would ever go to Little Rock again, which is strange since it’s where I grew up and spent the majority of my life thus far, but I don’t have family there anymore which has been, since the time I moved, the only thing that has kept me coming back to a city that doesn’t offer much in the way of appeal, and just like that, I was back in my old hometown. It was a spur of the moment trip, brought on because my mom needed to pick something up there, and then afterward, decided it might be prudent whilst in a much bigger city than which she currently lives, to stop at a dealership to look at cars since she is desperately in need of a new one.

The salesman spotted us pulling onto the lot and directed us to an unauthorized spot right in the front of the dealership, royalty among the peasants. My mom knew exactly what she wanted, well sort of, she had it mostly narrowed down to a sensible option and a more luxurious option that she kept bringing up occasionally, debating aloud whether or not it was okay to spend a lot more money for a car that wasn’t all that practical, while I the bad influence egged her on. Reason won out and she decided to pursue, with all of her focus, the Toyota Camry, which the salesman Deshaun was more than happy to show us, especially after he found out that she was paying cash and could smell her desire to buy before we even stepped out of the car. We saw some preowned models, none of which tickled her fancy and then went on to some new models that seemed more in line with what she was looking for. There was one she really liked and after the test drive was just about ready to buy, especially since the salesman “thought he could get the price down” into her range, an old sales tactic, but an effective one, but I convinced my mom that if he was willing to make that deal today, then he would be able to do it a week from now, which the salesman confirmed to my delight, and she decided to talk it over with my grandmother who was waiting inside the dealership.

As we walked through the showroom on our way to go revisit the preowned cars one more time just to make sure that she really didn’t want any of them, we walked past a brand new silver car that she stopped to admire and instantly fell in love with when she discovered it had all of the features she wanted. The salesman looked at the price and regretfully informed her that unfortunately it was too far out of her range and there was no way he could get “permission” to bring the price down enough that she would still want to buy it. We looked at the rejected pre-owned’s once more and once again saw why someone had decided to give them up in the first place. My mom was ready to buy the other car, the one she test drove, but it didn’t have one of the big features that she wanted and didn’t like the interior color of the car. That’s when I had an idea, an idea so simple I couldn’t believe that I didn’t think about it sooner. I asked her if she would be willing to trade in her current car and have the salesman negotiate the price down on the showroom car that she loved to the price that fell within her range, and she, as expected was of course thrilled with my proposal. The salesman agreed to my terms which was great for my mom, and she ended up getting the car that she really wanted, all thanks to my sharp mind and negotiating skills, both of which were unfortunately nowhere to be found a couple years ago when I needed to buy a new car. We drove away from the dealership three and a half hours after we arrived in a silver Toyota Camry and leaving the GMC Acadia behind. The end result was a good one with my mom getting a good deal on her car, but I’ve gotta be honest, I don’t think I’ve ever been more ready to get out of Little Rock. It was a very long day.