The Unauthorized Biography of Rosco P. Coltrane

When it's my moment in the sun, I won't forget that I am blessed, but every hero walks alone, thinking of more things to confess

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Location: Owensboro, Kentucky, United States


Thursday, August 20, 2009

A Hundred Miles in Half a Day: How My iPhone Battery Helped Me Find Donald Miller's Hidden Manuscript

(A Quick Preface: I used to update my blog a lot. But, now that I am married and own a business, my time to "write dumb stuff on the internet" has been decreased dramatically. The reality is I have just become undisciplined with my writing. I used to write more frequently on my blog as well as for my own amusement. But I have become lazy with my words. That is one reason for the lack of new content. The other reason is because something happened earlier this summer that I have longed to write about. It was an incident that totally disrupted our lives. I have wanted to write about the anger and frustration that I have been dealing with after this incident, but I am sure that my wife and my attorney would prefer me not to say anything. So those are the reasons, but I shouldn't use them as excuses. I need to get more in the habit of writing not only on my blog, but for other outlets as well. So, I will try to do better, cause I can't get much worse.)

So last night, Jen began to, well not really scream, it was more of a squeal.

"Tomorrow Indiana, Tomorrow Indiana!"

I thought she was saying something about one of our cats. She explained that one of Donald Miller's A Million Miles in a Thousand Years manuscripts was supposed to be hidden in Indiana. I had been keeping up with this contest/game/promotion not only on Donald Miller's website but also on his Twitter feed. (Quick explanation: Donald Miller is a writer and he is promoting his new book by "hiding" 60 manuscripts across the U.S. If you find one, he asks that you read it and then call him at the phone number that is listed on the cover sheet to talk about the book with him.)

I looked at Jen and said, "There is going to be one in Evansville."

She asked me how I knew and I told her about the similarities that I had noticed on the previous locations. I am sure that I am not the only one that has noticed the similarities, and though I joked that I "cracked the code" it wasn't hard to do with a little bit of research. So as we went out to run errands, we joked about how awesome it would be if we found one of the manuscripts. Jen said that they should hide the book in the Drive-Thru drawer of the bank that she works at. We kept thinking that be funny if we found one.

This morning I awoke to the rain coming down pretty hard, and I knew that the rain would force the job that I had planned for this morning into fruition. And that if there weren't any problems at the job, I would be done before lunch. So I thought to myself, if they reveal the location of the manuscript towards the end of the day, I could go to Evansville and find it. (For those that are geographically challenged: I live in Owensboro, Kentucky and Evansville, Indiana is about an hour Northwest. The only reason why my Facebook network says Evansville, Indiana is because Owensboro doesn't have it's own network yet. Don't get me started on that.)

So after I got through with morning job, I came back to the office and checked online to see if there was any news on the locations of the manuscripts. Nothing. I waited. I didn't want to go out of my way if they had already reveled the location. Still nothing. I sent some emails to my wife about the contest/game/promotion a few times. When they finally revealed that the location of the manuscript in Alabama and that Indiana would be next, I figured I had as good a chance as anyone else. All the while, there was no guarantee that it was going to be in Evansville. But I thought it was a pretty safe bet.

I sent an email to Jen and told her that I was going to Evansville to find the manuscript. I borrowed my dad's truck and headed towards Evansville, with a quick stop to a customer's place in between.

Jen got off for lunch and called me. I asked her to Google Map a few places that I thought might be prime locations for the manuscript. We came up with the best strategy we possibly could. When I arrived in Evansville, I stopped at a place called the Donut Bank because it was pretty central and had easy access to the Expressway that goes East/West and the highway that runs North/South.

So I waited. I refreshed my Twitter account on my iPhone every 10 seconds. Made a withdrawl of a couple of donuts and waited some more. I got bored and waited some more. I finally decided to move down the road a little bit because there was a school nearby and I didn't want to get caught up in traffic. So I stopped at a parking lot on Weinbach just North of the Expressway.

And waited and refreshed my iPhone. Waited some more and refreshed some more. I looked down and my Twitter feed said that I had reached my limit of 150 reloads an hour. I didn't know anything about this so I began to read the Twitter feeds on Safari and through the Facebook application. Something else popped up soon after that.

"Power At Less Than 20%"

I hit dismiss. I needed to go get a phone charger. So I turned out of the parking lot and headed towards Best Buy to get a iPhone charger. I parked the truck and started to walk inside. All the while, refreshing my Twitter. (By this time, I am a pro at refreshing Twitter.) I guess I had come under the limit somehow.

I walked through the first set of automatic doors and was heading through the second set of sliding doors when the tweet popped up.

(Hello Evansville, IN, here's your copy: 5721 E Virginia St #don_miller)

The Best Buy Bodyguard was just welcoming me into the store and I turned around in a sprint. The door began to close on me. Imagine the scene from The Fugitive. I am Dr. Richard Kimble and the Best Buy Bodyguard is Federal Marshal Gerard. Except the Best Buy Bodyguard isn't trying to shoot me, but rather trying his best to figure out what in the hell I am doing. I push the door open and finally escape and run out the other exit door.

I am sprinting. My sunglasses fall on the ground while I am running and I don't even think about stopping. I am pretty sure I passed Usain Bolt as I was running towards the truck. I hop in and quickly Google Map the location of the manuscript with the location of Best Buy.

2 Blocks away.

I hurried through a couple of intersections and when I got close, I turned right into a strip mall parking lot. I looked at the addresses and realized that the number was on the other side of the street. I look over and there is Vineyards Bookstore. Of course.

I hurry over across the street. I park haphazardly. I run inside. There is a young woman washing the windows of the doors.

I wheeze out, "Is this 5721 E. Virginia?"

She stops washing the windows. "Uh....................I'm................uh..............not"

This time I am trying my best not to, but undoubtedly berating her, "Is this or is this not 5721 E. Virginia?" I probably should have went on and screamed, "Did you or did you not order the Code Red!" but I didn't.

"I just started to work here not to long ago, I am not sure what the address is," she pointed to the customer service counter, "the lady at the customer service counter will be able to tell you.

I run through the store somehow not knocking over any Precious Moments figurines. (Did you know that Precious Moment figurines aren't worth anything unless they have the box. I learned this while working at a Pharmacy/Gift Store for a year. There was a room upstairs that had thousands of PM boxes. And I always had to go up there and find one for some 80 year old woman. It was maddening. I have never understood why they sell PM at Christian Bookstores because my way of thinking that Hell is most certainly filled with Precious Moments boxes.)

I lean on the counter.

"Is this 5721 E. Virginia?"

She said yes.

"Do you have a Donald Miller manuscript here?"

"Yes, I do."

She handed me a big padded envelope and had me jot my name down and my phone number. I was grinning and the young lady cleaning the windows said something to me, but I don't know what it was because I was only thinking of one thing: I got it.


Jen called me as I was getting into the truck. She was calling me to tell me the location of the manuscript. I told her that I had already picked it up. This time, she didn't squeal, she screamed. I told her that I couldn't talk long because my battery was almost dead. I didn't think about opening the envelope for a second, I wanted to save it until I got back home to open it with Jen.

I pulled out of the parking lot and headed back to Best Buy. I got my phone charger and I looked on the ground and my sunglasses were still there.

So I made a bet. I bet that in a state that has 36,418 square miles I could find Donald Miller's manuscript. I did the research. But in reality, it was luck and a slowly dying iPhone battery that got me within two blocks of the manuscript.

Can't wait to read it.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Wayne Newton Vs. Johnny Cash: My First Experience with UFC

I promised my friend Jerry that I would blog about this, so here goes.

Last Saturday night I found myself somewhere I didn't think I would be, watching something I didn't think I would be watching, asking a question I never thought I would ask.

"Is that a tattoo of Wayne Newton on that guy's arm?" I kept saying while squinting at the television. Even in HD, it was tough to distinguish. Especially, since the arm that had the tattoo emblazoned on it was furiously trying to knock another man's brain into the side of his skull enough that the man could no longer get up in UFC 100.

The longer the fight went on, the more and more people kept asking the question.

"That's gotta be Wayne Newton." someone would say more as a question, than an answer.

It wasn't until a slight silence in the action, one of the announcers said that it was a Johnny Cash tattoo. And when he said that, we still thought it looked more like Wayne Newton than Johnny Cash's profile from Live at Folsom Prison album.

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Because I Honestly Don't Write Enough About My Experiences In Public Bathrooms

Yeah, another post about bathrooms. But first a bit of a preface in the form of a way back machine.

To truly understand this post, we have to go back in time. All the way back to 1992. I had just finished my freshman year of high school, that kid that no one really cared about shot himself on Beverley Hills 90210, the first season of the Real World was on tv, and I rollerbladed all around Owensboro. My freshman year of high school (91-92) was a phenomenal year in music.

Roll Call:
  • Pearl Jam's Ten
  • Nirvana's Nevermind
  • Red Hot Chilli Peppers' Blood Sugar Sex Magik
  • GNR's Use Your Illusion albums
  • U2's Actung Baby
  • Peter Gabriel's Us
  • My strange fascination with Genesis' I Can't Dance
  • REM's Automatic For The People.
But a very underrated album in that time, but one that I connected to just as well as the above mentioned was The Black Crowes' Southern Harmony and Musical Companion. It appealed to a different side of me. When all of rock seemed to be going in a very different and forward way, this album seemed to be going back in reverse. And I loved the album. Still do.

So when I was in the local T.G.I. Friday's men's room a few weeks ago when "Thorn In My Pride" off of SH&MC came on, I began to tap my foot at the urinal. What can I say, I have talent. I even began to sway a little bit. I was alone in the bathroom and didn't think anything of it. I heard the door open. And as the door began to close, Chris Robinson began to sing the song.

If you know the song, you know that the first vocals is not a lyric, but rather the front man going "Shhhhhhhhhhh!"

Well, I forgot all about it. All I knew was that I was alone in the bathroom, in what would best be described as a "vulnerable" position, someone just walked in, and someone just said "Shhhhhh!"
I tried my best to use the chrome urinal handle as a mirror, but the image behind was was blurred. Of course, me being the rationale person that I am, I immediately thought that my toe tapping at the urinal was some sort of strange unknown signal and thought that what might happen next would be similar to a scene from Shawshank Redemption.

When I turned around to find an older gentleman washing his hands, I quickly realized that nothing was happening in the T.G.I. Friday's bathroom. I washed my hands never looking up with embarrassment and nearly sprinted back to the table to tell my wife how big of an idiot I am.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Can You Feel The Love Tonight ? Part Three: Citizens On Patrol

I was checking one of my buddy's twitter photos yesterday when I came across this picture.

He is traveling around the East Coast with his band and saw this on a bathroom wall. So he took a picture.

I saw this and my mind began to race at all the possibilities. Maybe this is some sort of secret message that aliens are using to mark the men's restrooms that are being infected with tiny robot germs, which we now call swine flu. Luckily, I googled that possibility. Amazingly, there are 83 results. Which proves that you can google anything and find something.

So I googled, "Toy Sto...." before I could even finish typing, the predictive text came up with "Toy Story 2 Was Ok." After a little bit of reading and watching videos on the internet, I found out that this grafitti stems from a joke from Demetri Martin.

I laughed a little bit, and then I realized something.

The person in the Books-A-Million men's restroom couldn't even get the damn joke right. The guy wrote the wrong freaking movie!

And that says a lot about my hometown.

Sunday, May 10, 2009

My Mother's Day Gift: A Day Early

I got my Mother's Day gift a day early this year. But, unlike most Mother's Day gifts, I didn't buy it. I didn't even, truth be told, the mother's day gift wasn't from me to my mother, but just the opposite.

My mom gave me something very special.

We sat down and talked for about 45 minutes about a lot of different subjects. It was quite a heartfelt talk that seemed more like two friends than a mother-son talk. My mother and I rarely get occasions to sit down and talk like this. There is always something going on, something that needs to be done, or someone else in the room. So even though I knew that I needed to go pick Dad back up at the shop, I sat there soaking in the conversation.

We began to talk about Mother's day, presents, and mother's days from the past. Mom told me that as far as she is concerned, everyday has been Mother's Day because of the way my sister and I have turned out. She said that she never remembers a lot of problems with me and Brittany while we were growing up. Then she looked up at me and asked me if that was true.

I told her that I don't remember a lot of trouble. Mom told me that sometimes she forgets things that have happened a long time okay. She called it editing. I told her that I firmly believe that the past is the only thing we truly have control over. We can edit our past. We can over emphasize something that we like and under emphasize something that we don't like. Or we can just forget the whole matter.

We talked about relatives long, long gone. And mom let me into little secrets that as a child I never knew. Though, whenever she revealed something to me, I quickly answered "I know." My answers surprised me. The words coming out of my mouth before the realizations could make it from my subconscious. But they didn't seem to surprise my mom.

When we began to talk about faith and the lack of faith, I could see my mother's eyes begin to wet. We sat there for a second, the emotion sitting in the room like a fog. The fog began to clear when we heard the downstairs door slam. It was my father, he had waited up at the shop long enough and had walked home. He asked what was going on and we said that we had just been talking. He asked about what and we tried to explain our topics. Dad looked at us sort of puzzled.

I guess he was puzzled because it wasn't so much a conversation as it was a gift. It was a gift of spending time with each other. A gift we don't give or receive enough, but should. And maybe then, mother's days, father's days, and birthdays would be more of a year round occasion.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Can You Feel The Love Tonight? Part Two: The Legend Of Curly's Gold

Jen and I went out to Buffalo Wild Wings for dinner on Saturday night. And BWW is still batting a thousand when it comes to poor service. But after we finished eating, I suggested to Jen that we go over to Books-A-Million to look at magazines. Now, I knew that I had to go to the bathroom before we left BWW, but I didn't use their restroom for a couple of reasons.

Reason #1 -- There is no partition in the bathroom for the urinal. Which means that whenever anyone opens the door to the men's room everyone with a line of sight can see the whole enchilada. (Please note that I do not call any part of my body "enchilada." I simply couldn't think of another expression in this case and point.)

Reason #2 -- Even though I made a vow to myself to never again step foot inside the Books-A-Million men's room, it would give me an excellent excuse to go to the Books-A-Million men's room to see if any aspiring Roger Eberts had posted their movie reviews on the wall.

So, Jen started looking at the the fiction books and I headed back to the bathroom. I turned the corner to the bathroom and saw a small note right above the handle to the door.


I smiled and started to walk back towards the front. I passed by Jen and she looked at me quite oddly. She grabbed my hand.

"I thought you were going to the bathroom?"

I noticed an associate was shelving books right beside her.

I replied, "I am, but I have to find an associate to unlock the bathroom."

I asked associate to let me into the bathroom. As I walked past Jen towards the bathroom, I could see her face had turned bright red. I tried to chat up the employee about why they had started locking the doors. I wanted to ask him if this was all because of some ironic/unusual graffiti that someone had blogged about, but I figured that would be too much. He opened the door, and I went in.

I stepped up to the urinal and proceeded to have the most satisfying "void" I have had since I passed a kidney stone in October. I washed my hands, and went back outside to find Jen. She standing in the magazine aisle waiting for me to come out.

"This is all your fault," she said.

"Fault?" I replied.

"Yeah, this is all your fault."

"You've got it all wrong. I was the victim. This is justice. I'm a vigilante."

She began to roll her eyes, but I was already envisioning what my "Watchmen" character would be. We sat on a bench and watched probably a dozen or so folks try to go into the bathroom. And each one had to go find the same employee to let them in.

"I bet that guy hates you," Jen said.

"Well, I didn't write the graffiti, I just wrote about it on my blog."

I have a site meter on my blog, so I know the number of hits my blog has had. I can view locations as well. And the week after I blogged about the Lion King graffiti, there were quite a few hits that showed the Books-A-Million IP address from Birmingham, AL.

So maybe some upper level mustaches from Books-A-Million found this blog about "The Lion King" in the bathroom and decided to do something about it. I never figured that a blog with a grand total of 24,000 hits could be so powerful.

So maybe the pen truly is mightier that the sword. Except I don't write this with a pen. And I am not exactly sure what the sword would represent in this metaphor either.

We walked back out to the jeep and Jen looked my smug smile that couldn't wiped off my face.

"You are so proud of yourself?"

"I am. Some people are reading my blog, and it is making some sort of a difference."

"Yeah, but you are making a difference in Books-A-Million bathrooms."

I laughed. "I know, and I have never been more proud of myself."

This pride must be what Upton Sinclair felt.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Intimated is a Word I Hate -- An Animated Blog Post from Me