What is Black Tar Mexican Heroin?


I attended a party last night and one of the people in the group I was chatting with asked the question, “what is the scariest thing you’ve experienced?” Several people described near-miss car accidents while another talked about a recent skydiving trip.

When the question came to me I decided to share a story of an event from the previous summer. Shortly after the July 4th holiday, I joined several friends on a road trip to New Hampshire for a weekend of camping. One afternoon we came up with the idea to drive to a local watering hole to swim. I piled into the front passenger seat of my friend’s Nissan Altima, while his younger brother hopped into the back seat. Our destination was less than 10 miles from our campsite and as we approached the halfway point my friend, the driver, noticed a young guy hitchhiking just ahead of us. My friend pulled the car over and offered to give the guy a ride. The man graciously accepted and he jumped into the open back seat.

The man, early 20s, clean cut, seemed nice enough. We engaged in the obligatory small talk. Where was he going? How long had he been on the road? He had just finished answering the latter question when my friend noticed flashing lights in the rearview mirror.

“Shit, it’s the cops,” he said.

My friend pulled the car onto the shoulder and we waited patiently for the policeman to approach the car.

“License and registration, please.”

“Can I ask what we’re being pulled over for?” my friend asked.

“I thought I saw open containers in the car.”

The cop stared at my friend’s license for a moment and then shifted his glare first to me then to the back seat.

“Can you all exit the vehicle and join me at the back of the car.” This was not so much a question as it was a polite order.

The four of us assembled at the back of the car and lined up shoulder to shoulder. Our backs faced the ravine.

“Before I search the car is there anything I need to be aware of. If you’re honest, I’ll be lenient.”

The officer stared at my friend first. My friend shook his head. The officer turned his attention to my friend’s brother. He, too, shook his head, as did I when the officer stood in front of me and asked the same question. Then the officer stepped to his right and faced our guest, the hitchhiker.

“And you? Do you have anything you want to bring to my attention before I search the car?”

The stranger looked down briefly and then raised his head and locked eyes with the officer.

“Okay. When you go through my bag in the back seat you will find something.”

My stomach sank. What the fuck?

I turned my head and glared at the young man.

“And I know your first reaction will be to assume it’s Mexican black tar heroin but it’s just regular hashish.”

My knees buckled. Vision blurred. Next thing I know I’m tumbling backward down into the ravine. As my limp body rolled down the gravel embankment all I could think of was how my tiny frame wouldn’t stand a chance in jail. I’d be someone’s bitch by the end of the first day. I’d likely get nicknamed Muffin or Baby Boy. I’m not even that limber anymore. I’m totally screwed.

Mexican black tar heroin? Are you fucking kidding me?

When I came to, I could see the officer and my companions staring down the ravine.

“Oooouch,” I gasped.

It took several minutes for the officer and my friend to release me from the grip of a thorn bush and haul me back onto the shoulder. I think the officer felt as though he put enough fear in me. He confiscated the bag and let us go. I couldn’t believe it. But let me tell you, those few minutes when my body was bouncing down that ravine were likely the most terrifying thus far.

What is your scariest moment?







Christmas Dog Video

Our late Jack Russell Terrier, Sophie, loved Christmas and in particular Christmas gifts. It’s hard to put myself in her head but it appeared she assumed all of the gifts were hers. In fact, she would lurk under the tree from the moment it went up until Christmas morning protecting all of the gifts.

I came across this video and thought I’d share it. I miss her so much.

Funny Story About My Open Zipper


I walk into my local coffee shop this morning and the clerk greets me with a huge smile. This wasn’t terribly surprising as most days the clerks are cheerful but I don’t usually get a lot of attention.

The clerk stared at me for 10 long seconds before saying how wonderful the day was going and how she was super excited to take my order.She called two of her colleagues over to assist.

This gal is extra ordinarily attentive today.

“I’ll take the usual,” I said.

“Remind me, what size?”

“Large,” I replied.

“Hmm. Are you sure about that?” she asked.

“Yes, large.”

She and her colleagues giggle, one of whom was a guy.

Am I missing something?

“If you say so, Chief,” she replied.

I pay for my drink and turn to stroll toward the door when I notice my zipper is down. Like “open for business” down. Like “I’m so desperate I’m simply going to walk around town with my pants unzipped to see what happens” down. Like “this is my final cry for help” down.

Wait, what did she mean by “are you sure?” 

“I just want to point out that it’s cold outside,” I yelled toward the counter. “If I had known this was going to happen I would have prepared better. It’s definitely a large.”

Well, wouldn’t you know it. The three clerks who were laughing at me were gone and I realized I was now talking to a completely different group of clerks.

Awesome, so my fly is down and I’m talking gibberish to a bunch of strangers. 

I’m running out of places to shop. Seriously.






The Best Way to Shop for the Holidays


Christmas TreeI recently visited a candle factory that also housed an expansive Christmas village. In the center of the village was a 30-foot Christmas tree that rotated slowly while holiday music played overhead.

The tree was surrounded by a ring of low shelves that held snow globes, ornaments and candles among other things.

I spotted an intriguing ornament dangling from one the tree’s branches and I wanted to get a closer look. I approached the wall of shelves and stood on my tiptoes in an attempt to touch the ornament, which I could now tell was a tiny Cardinal in a nest made of hay. Well, my wool sweater got snagged on the branch. I tried to not panic as the tree pulled me to my left as it turned on its axis.

At first I though I might be able to break free by tugging my wrist down. Nope. Didn’t work. I tried a harder jerk. Now I was caught on the branch in two places. At the wrist and the elbow. And the tree seemed to pick up speed.

There I was, strolling along with the tree, my right arm stretched high above. As the tree was about halfway through a complete turn, I noticed a store clerk on a ladder immediately in front of the shelves. He appeared to be adding ornaments to the tree.

Me: Look out! Coming through.

Clerk: Are you okay, sir?

Me: Oh yes, I just seem to be stuck to the tree. I’ll get myself free here shortly.

Clerk: That looks uncomfortable.

Me: Well, at least I’m moving forward.

[I had to scale the ladder in order to get around him.]

Clerk: I hate to be the bearer of bad news but the tree changes direction every 6 minutes.


Me: How long until it-

[The tree slowed and then started to turn in the opposite direction.]

Me: Really?

Clerk: I’ll grab some scissors. Hold on. We’ll make this as discreet as possible.

[He moved the ladder of of the way. All of the sudden the music stopped and a woman’s voice filled the room via the loud speaker.]

Speaker: Happy Holidays. Please join us in the village center in front of the Christmas tree for a special performance by the Valley Volunteer Carolers. They’ll be singing some of your favorite holiday songs while you enjoy complimentary apple cider and cookies. At that moment, like 30 fucking carolers entered the room and gathered at the base of the tree – opposite of where I was – although I was on my way toward them as the tree pulled me along.]

Me: Oops. Coming through. Sorry. Just finishing my last lap. [As I pass behind the group of carolers (backward by the way), I whisper.] It’s the Santa stroll. I’ll be out of your way in a minute.

[I am not kidding when I tell you that there must have been 150 shoppers gathered in the room waiting to enjoy the show. The carolers break out into a version of Frosty the Snowman. As I turned the corner so that I was on the opposite side of the carolers, I panicked. I noticed a Frosty snow globe so I grabbed it. As I passed behind the carolers, I raised the snow globe over my head. I thought I could at least try to pretend I was part of the act. This sequence repeated itself for about 5 spins. During one pass I held up a life sized Elf on the Shelf. On another, I rang a handful of silver bells. I even lifted a Menorah at one point. On one of the final turns while the carolers were singing Mary Did You Know, I wore a giant white angel on my head. Ugh. Finally, the clerk was back.]

Clerk: Okay the tree is going to slow down now and spin in the opposite direction. That’s when I’ll try to cut you free.

Me: Okay I hope it’s soon. I ran out of props.

[The tree slows down and the clerk jumps into action. He snipped and cut and asked me to pull my arm down. I did. Still stuck. The tree started to spin again.]

Clerk: Take the sweater off! I’ll help.

[He lifts the waist of my brown sweater up over my head. I slip my left arm out of the sleeve but my right arm wouldn’t release. Now the sweater was over my head.]

Me: This is your idea of discreet?

Clerk: I think I’m stuck now.

Me: You’re kidding, right?

Clerk: I wish I was. And we’re now turning toward the carolers.

Me: I can’t see anything. This is all you, buddy.

[The carolers were now belting out a jolly version of Rudolph the Red-nosed Reindeer. The clerk grabbed a set of reindeer antler candle holders and slapped them onto my head. He was already wearing a Santa hat.]

Clerk: Ho. Ho. Ho. Merry Christmas!

[I was hunched over. Arm in the air. brown sweater pulled over my head. Wearing antlers. Behind me was the clerk in a Santa hat. Ho Ho Ho’ing. I can only imagine we looked like a Thrift-store version of Old Saint Nick and his favorite reindeer. Luckily, the weight of the reindeer antlers was just enough to snag me free. The clerk escorted me directly into the “employees only” room where I completed my panic attack and put my sweater on the proper way. I’ll never go shopping again.]






How to Use a GPS


Pete: Can you enter the address to Daniel’s party?

Me: I already did. Want me to start route guidance?

Pete: Yup.

[I fumble with the GPS and get it to launch]

GPS: Please follow the road for 3 miles.

Pete: That ain’t the right way. She’s taking us beyond the 95 North ramp.

Me: First, it’s not a she. It’s a machine with a woman’s voice. Second, I think the GPS, which relies on satellite signals and triangulation has the correct and most efficient route.

Pete: She’s — it’s wrong. I’m taking 95 North.

Me: The GPS indicates we’ll arrive in 14 minutes. Why not just follow the GPS? Take a risk.

Pete: I’ll follow it but I know this will take longer. I can get there on 95 in like 10 minutes.

GPS: Prepare to turn right. Turn right in 500 feet onto Oaklawn Avenue.

Pete: When do I turn right?

Me: Are you listening? It’s telling you when to turn.

Pete: I wasn’t paying attention.

Me: You do realize it also shows you where to turn. [I point to the screen.] See that blue arrow. That’s the path you take. And see how it blinks when you are supposed to turn. See it blinking? That means you turn in the direction of the arrow. Right now.

[Pete passes the right turn.]

Me: You missed the turn.

Pete: That was our turn. Why didn’t she warn me.

Me: It did warn you. It said turn right like 9 times. It can’t be dumbed down any further. It tells you to prepare to turn. It tells you you’re about to turn and it tells you to turn NOW. Were you expecting it to turn the wheel for you as well? It’s telling you exactly what to do.

Pete: Does it tell me why my partner is mean?

Me: No. That requires a plugin you need to download.

GPS: Prepare to turn right in 500 feet onto Smith street.

Pete: This thing is screwed up. It’s not a right turn. It can’t be. Pawtucket is on the other side of the river so we need to turn left. I’m turning left.

[Pete turns left.]

Pete: What the hell? Where are we?

Me: It appears to be a dead end.

Pete: This is the worst GPS I’ve ever used. It’s a piece of crap.

Me: Maybe you could just try to follow the instructions and see what happens.

Pete: We don’t have time for that! We’re going to be late now.

Me: Not to irritate you further, but we would have been there by now if you had followed the original route. That’s what a GPS does. You tell it where you want to go and it guides you there. That’s just an observation I wanted to share with you.

Pete: I have an observation. Want to hear it?

Me: That’s not necessary. I have a healthy imagination.







How to Train Your Jack Russell Terrier

Week 2 at Puppy Training

Trainer: Okay, Mike. Bring Killer into the center and let’s see what he can recall. Let me see a sit and stay.

[Mike walks Killer (the pit bull) into the center of the room.

Mike: Killer, sit.

[Killer sits and waits quietly]

Trainer: Now walk away and get him to stay.

Mike: Stay

[He walks back to his original position. Killer stands up and pounces on Mr. Pickles (the Dachshund). After two horrifying shakes, Killer releases Mr. Pickles and then returns to his position.]

Mike: Good boy.

Mary [Mr. Pickles’ owner]: Why does your dog keep attaching mine?

Mike: I guess he loves pickles.

Trainer: Miles. You look confused. Are you okay?

Miles [The owner of the Afghan Hound, Lara]: Sorry. I just realized that I’m supposed to be at Lara’s acupuncture appointment. Kitty and I felt she might benefit from some light meditation and acupuncture therapy.

Trainer: Why, what’s the problem?

Miles: There isn’t a specific problem. It’s more preventative. Kitty and I get acupuncture all the time. It helps us to relax.

Trainer: Kitty is a nervous wreck. I wouldn’t put a lot of faith in the therapy.

[Miles turns to Kitty and says something inaudible. Kitty hurts into tears and runs out of the class.]

Trainer: David, why don’t you show the class how you train a jack russell terrier. Bring Wiki into the center and get her to sit.

[I walk my jack russell terrier into the center of the room. She’s pulling on her leash and panting.]

Me [softly]: Wiki, sit.


Me [again softly]: Wiki, please sit.

[Nothing. I lean in to Wiki and whisper.]

Me: Wiki, please. Don’t embarrass me. Just sit down. I’m begging you.

[Nothing. I lean in again.]

Me: If you don’t sit right now I’ll never give you another treat so long as I live. I’m dead serious.

[Wiki stops, looks up at me and then poops on the floor.]

Trainer: Wiki, bad girl. David, I see you haven’t been doing your homework.

Me: What do you mean?

[Trainer points to the pile of poop.]

Trainer: She was supposed to sit.

Me: Oh you wanted me to get her to sit? Like S-I-T? I misunderstood.

Patty [owner of the pomeranian, Abiel, and member of the Trinity Church]: I’d like to show the class what Abiel’s been working on.

[Patty races to the center of the room and drops a small dog pillow on the floor. Her husband, Arthur, sets up a few additional props next to the blanket such as a pile of hay and a plastic lamb.]

Patty: Abiel, who wants to be the baby Jesus in our church’s Christmas play this year?

[Abiel spins around three times, barks and then jumps in the air.]

Patty: That’s a good girl. Okay now, go practice your baby Jesus.

[Abiel, who was sporting a pink jean jacket and light blue booties, prances over onto the dog pillow, rolls onto her back and crosses her front paws. She blinks her eyes several times in a row. I have to admit, it was fairly impressive. She nailed the vulnerable yet courageous look. If Wiki played the part she would have interpreted the character to be more like Rosemarie’s baby. I’m sure of it.]

Trainer: Well, okay. I can see a lot of hard work went into this.

Patty: Opening night is Thursday. We wanted to make sure we set Abiel up for success. Practice makes perfect.

[Killer entered from the far left and sprinted toward the nativity scene. Killer pounced onto the plastic lamb. The impact tossed the pile of hay into the air. Killer ripped the head off the lamb with one jerk of his head. Patty screamed. Killer then grabbed the corner of the pillow and ran back toward his owner, with Abiel in tow. Patty, with her purse slung over her shoulder, raced toward Abiel. Arthur followed her. Of course, Wiki pulled me in because she loves to chase stuff. The entire class imploded into a shit show. Barking, knocked over chairs, Patty screaming, Kitty in the corner still in the midst of her nervous breakdown.]

Me: And I’m paying for this?