Monday, September 15, 2008

I Am An Imbecile

On Saturday, I drove my car to the store. I bought cigarettes and lottery tickets.

(No, wise guy. That only makes me a moron. It gets worse.)

The lottery tickets I bought are called “Cashword.” As you can see from the reproduction above, there is a graphic of a crossword puzzle, and then a place to scratch off 18 different letters of the alphabet. Whichever of those 18 letters matches a letter in the crossword puzzle, you then scrape off the guaranteed-to-be-found-to-be-a-carcinogen-sometime-in-the-near-future substance covering that letter in the puzzle. If you can complete at least three words in the puzzle, you win a prize. Needless to say, when they give you 18 letters with which to work, it will almost always be the remaining 8 letters you’ll need to complete the requisite words. However, the tickets are pretty, about the size of a small paperback book, and instead of losing your money in 10 seconds, as with a normal lottery ticket, it takes five minutes, so you get entertainment value.

(MY WIFE and I buy these tickets perhaps once a week. We uncover a letter, and then make noises approximating the phonetic sound of the letter for which we are currently searching in the crossword diagram. We sit there in the living room, going “Arrrrrrrrrrr” and “Eeeeeeeeeeeeee” and “Oooooooo” as we scrape the cards with our lucky quarters.

Yes, youngsters. This is what married life comes down to after 16+ years. You sit in your living room making pirate and monkey noises while hoping to win $20,000 on a game designed by the state to suck up the remaining dollars of those residents who had planned on making their fortunes by playing Bingo. After that, you watch House Hunters and go to bed. On some nights, this is what passes for sex in the state of human affairs known as “mature love.”)

Well, after pulling into the garage, I put the car into park and gathered up my purchases from the passenger seat. I had bought enough two-for-the-price-of-one packs of cigarettes to last the week. Along with the oversized lottery tickets, it was an unwieldy load. I couldn’t get a hand free to shut off the car. So, I put the 6 packs of cigarettes and the two oversized lottery tickets back down on the passenger seat. I shut off the car, but didn’t remove the keys fully from the ignition, as leaving them hanging there would make it easier to grab them once I had rearranged the other stuff.

I first gathered up the cigarettes and lottery tickets as best I could, cradling them against my side with my right hand, while using my left hand to open the driver side door. I then hit the automatic lock button with my left hand, while still cradling my purchases with my right. I stepped outside of the car, and then used both hands for the cigarettes and lottery tickets, after which I shut the car door with my right foot.

(Well, yes, of course, you know it. That’s because I told you right in the title that I was an imbecile. If I had entitled this, "I Am An Amazingly Smart Person. Can You Guess Why?" then you wouldn’t have any idea, either.)

Yup. Keys. Still in the ignition. All car doors locked.

Is there any moment in life quite so disheartening as when you realize that you’ve locked your keys in the car? Certainly, finding out you’ve got cancer, or that someone close to you has died, ranks higher on the real tragedy list. But, on the Homer Scale (D’Oh!) there is little to match it. It is an entirely preventable and supremely stupid thing to have done. No rationalization works to erase the shame. Cancer, death, and other hideous moments in life – say, watching a Detroit Lions game - are things that come at you from somewhere outside of yourself. Some universal power (God, or, in the case of a Lions game, FOX) is at work to destroy you. You can live with that (although, if it's death, not literally.) But, when you lock your keys in the car, you have no one to blame but yourself.

What’s even worse is to be standing in your garage, knowing that you’ve locked yourself not only out of your car, but also out of your house, and you’re holding 6 packs of cigarettes and two lottery tickets in your hands. The only way I could have felt any stupider would have been if my pants suddenly fell down around my ankles and Moe jumped out of the bushes to hit me in the face with a custard pie.

Here are the thoughts that ran through my head, in chronological order:

1) Shit!

2) Did I leave my lighter in the car? Will I at least be able to smoke the cigarettes?

3) I’ll try all of the doors, just in case the automatic lock didn’t work on all of them.

4) Crap. It worked on all of them.

5) I could scratch the lottery tickets and maybe win enough for a NEW car!

6) Maybe I can force one of the windows down.

7) Repair = $300. That would be really stupid. I’m really stupid, but I’m not that stupid.

8) I could call MY WIFE at work and ask her to come home and let me in the house. That will only cost her a shift at work, and that's less than $300.

9) Nope, that's still really stupid.

10) Shit!

At that point, I truly felt like crying. This is because there were all sorts of excellent college football games being played on my TV and I had no way of getting inside to watch them. Really. That was the next thought I had. I knew that, sooner or later, MY WIFE would come home from work. I could get inside the house then. But I wanted to be inside the house NOW.

Of course, if you’ve been coming around here for a while, you know this isn’t the first time I’ve written about something like this. I did fairly much the same thing earlier this year. That time, it was during the dead of winter, so at least this time I wasn’t in danger of having anything freeze off. And, since it was summer...

When I stepped outside of the garage, still clutching the cigarettes and lottery tickets, I saw the air conditioner in the bedroom window. And now, I knew I could get inside and watch some football.

The air conditioner is in a rear window, overhanging a porch. I climbed up onto the porch. I carefully put the cigarettes and lottery tickets down on the porch, pushed up the screen, and then pushed up the window. I grabbed the air conditioner and pulled it out onto the porch with me. I lifted my left leg up, thrusting it through the space recently vacated by the AC, straddled the window frame, and then more-or-less dove through, landing with a thud on my bedroom floor.

At this point, having been relieved of the prospect of sitting outside for 8 hours, smoking cigarettes and waiting for MY WIFE to come home and find out what a dummy I’d been, I got pissed. I reached back through the window, grabbed the air conditioner, and lifted it back into its space. I slammed the window down on top of it, to hold it in place, and reinstalled it with a vengeance. It usually takes ten or fifteen minutes to put in a window unit correctly. I should get this mad every time I want to install an air conditioner. It took me about a minute and a half. It will probably leak all over the floor the next time I turn it on, but it looks good.

I went back outside – by an actual door, which I was very careful to unlock – and retrieved the cigarettes and lottery tickets. And here I am, typing this while Notre Dame kicks Michigan’s ass. As soon as I finish this, I will have a cigarette. The lottery tickets will wait until MY WIFE gets home, at which time we’ll go “Arrrrrrrrrr” and “Eeeeeeeeeeee” and “Oooooooooooo.”

If there’s any justice in this world, we’ll win the $20,000.

(Oh, who am I kidding? If there was truly any justice in the world, I’d scrape off my ticket and it would say, "You’re about as sharp as a hedgehog on thorazine. Give us another ten bucks.")

As an aside to would be burglars: I now realize how simple it is to break into our house. Therefore, I have booby-trapped the air conditioner. I won’t tell you how. That would make me an idiot. Suffice to say, there is nothing in our house worth what will happen to you. Of course, this means that the next time I lock myself out – you and I both know it will happen again – I will forget about the trap and I’ll be the booby. With any luck, maybe that will be next weekend and it will give me fodder for another post. I had no idea what I was going to write about this weekend until this happened.

Soon, with more better stuff.

P.S. We won $2. The lottery tickets cost me $4. All things considered, this is as it should be.


Rooster said...

One time, we stopped at a sandwich shop on our way to the beach. Upon returning to the car, I noticed exhaust coming from the tailpipe. Turns out, I not only locked the keys in the car, but the car was still running!

Talk about feeling like an idiot.

Amazing piece of luck - the guy who parked next to me drove a AAA truck for work, and was an expert at getting into locked cars. Before I could finish the calculation to determine how long the engine would run before it ran out of gas, he had us back in the car and on our way.


Anonymous said... really are the funniest. It is a very long time since I laughed out loud and a continuing, sustained laugh that bought tears to my eyes. Acyually that isn't strictly true as I go to sleep with my radio on and those ear thingeys in and last night it was a standup night...JP wasn't best pleased.

lime said...

when my oldest was about 3 she locked herself in my mother's car...on purpose...because there was an open pack of oreos on the front seat. however, my mother's only keys were also on the front seat and the locks were the kind designed for little kids not to be able to pull open. she thought she had really gotten away with something until the cookies were gone and we still couldn't get her out...even though we had called the cops who were struggling with the slim jim.

homer scale...oh yeah i am stealing that whole concept.

Shammickite said...

I am very proud to declare that I have NEVER EVER locked my keys in the car. And if I had, I would still be able to get into my house cos my house key isn't on the same key chain! In fact I keep a house key hidden in my back porch just to cover every eventuality... plus it saves having the back door broken down by robbers if they can find the key first.
But my cousin locked her keys in the car in Buffalo USA, got a policeman to help her open the door with the aid of a coat hanger, said "thank you thank you" when the door finally opened, then promplty slammed the door, locking the keys in for the second time!!!!!

Suldog said...

I'm very pleased to see how many of you are willing to give me stories concerning your (or a relative's) own imbecility!

Rooster - That's one on me. I've never left the car running with the keys locked in it. I'll have to try that :-)

Moannie - Well, see, this is why MY WIFE and I sleep in separate rooms. That, and the fact that I snore like an asthmatic lion. We share the same room for other things - like scratching lottery tickets, for example - but split sleeping quarters is definitely the best way to go.

Lime - If there had been an open pack of Oreos on the seat of MY car, I would have ripped the door off with my hands.

Shammickite - That's funny stuff. I am so acutely aware of whether or not I have the keys in my hand now. It will remain this way for about a week, after which I'll again be in danger from myself.

Jeni said...

"A hedgehog on thorazine" huh? I love your comparisons!
I have never (using my ability to remember here, which could be skewed) locked myself out of my house -mainly because I never lock the house. Period. (Don't remember if I ever locked myself out of my car but if I did, you can bet it would have been someplace or sometime when getting into the car was imperative and also very difficult -remember the faulty memory? Self-explanatory there, huh?)
However, my dear daughter did lock me out of the house one time. I came home from a week of working in Baltimore a little earlier than usual, went to enter the house with my luggage, laundry -all good stuff ya know (Probably a six-pack too) and found the place locked tighter than a drum. Fortunately, she was spending that night at her then boyfriend's place -a few houses up the street -so I had to go up there, wake her up, get the keys and get in. Nothing drastic, just annoying. I reminded her there is a reason I never lock the place. It's called "So I can get in!"

Cath said...

Seriously. LMAO.
Read out to hubby AND son (Son instructed to close ears at certain points.)

Hilarious. Glad you got back in the house. I was thinking as I was reading - "he's just told the whole world how to get into his house! And didn't he post his address on an earlier post?" Hmmmm. On the homer scale.... double D'oh!?? It HAD to be a spoof address. Please say it was a spoof address. Or YOUR WIFE will kill you.

And, how did you get your keys back? DID you get your keys back?

Suldog said...

Jeni - We used to leave our dorr unlocked, when I was a kid. Now now. Too many lunatics out and about in the Boston area!

CC - I never did mention how I got the keys back, did I? MY WIFE has a duplicate set of car keys, which she carries with her house keys, etc. When she came home, I told her the story (sheepishly) and borrowed her keys to get my keys.

As for the address, like I said - I've boobytrapped the AC. I'm kind of hoping somebody tries to get in. It will be fun to see what happens.

That's all I'm saying.

tshsmom said...

#2 would've been MY first thought too. ;)
Your story is exactly why we keep a house key hidden in the garage.

The only time I locked my keys in the truck, it was running while I ran into the convenience store for smokes. Fortunately, I live 1/2 block away and my husband was home with his set of keys.

BTW, WHY do you lock the car when it's in the garage?

Suldog said...

TSHSMOM - "BTW, WHY do you lock the car when it's in the garage?"

Because the garage doesn't lock.

Buck said...

Is there any moment in life quite so disheartening as when you realize that you’ve locked your keys in the car?

Well... here's ONE distinct advantage mo'sickles have over cars: I've NEVER locked my keys in my bike. Ever. But then again, mo'sickles can be just a lil bit inconvenient in certain locations (Boston) at certain times (February). And in New Mexico, occasionally, too. said...

Well, at least you have now tightened up your "homeland security!"

tshsmom said...

You want me to come fix that for you when my back gets better? heehee

Chris Stone said...

My first response you covered... no one should live anywhere they can't break in. I even know of a guy that doesn't lock his house doors. That didn't stop a thief from breaking a window to get in though!

The front door to my own home was accidently left open once for 2 days. No one came in. Not one thief in all of Providence stopped by. Not sure how to take that.

My second response is... why do you lock your car? I don't (usually.) I mean, are your seat covers that interesting? Your air freshener really fresh?

Chris Stone said...

oh. when i say my front door was left open... i mean wide open. double "d'oh!"

Ericka said...

oh my dear jim, if it makes you feel any better, there was a time in college when i locked my keys in my car so many times that the aaa guys actually bought me one of those magnet key holder things. they did that after i managed to lock the keys in it again before they'd cleared the parking deck. yeah, i'm special.

but congrats for getting in. :-)

Hilary said...

Not only have I locked my keys in the car, but one time I threw them into the large blue mailbox in front of my husband's work. I heard the sound of keys hitting letters, and I looked in my other hand which of course still had a handful of letters in it... Oops... Can't drive home with those! Double suck because I had a toddler in the car. Luckily I just called my husband out and he gave me HIS keys. Still, I felt like an idiot calling the post office...

Woman in a Window said...

So cannot use lol but I'm afraid I don't know how to convey just how fricken funny you are.

Maybe some exclamation points?


Cath said...

PS Please tell me how you create a link to POTD. It is doing my head in not to be able to manage it. Grrr.

Suldog said...

Buck - If I owned a motorcycle, I'd probably find a way to drop the keys into the gas tank or something.

Mushy - I am the master of my domain!

TSHSMOM - By the time your back is better, I will probably have immolated myself smoking the cigarettes.

Chris - I like my car, and don't want it stolen. That would be much easier to do if I left it unlocked.

(No offense, but your car must be a shitbox :-) )

Ericka - You, and most others here, have made me feel not quite as imbecilic. I had no idea so many of you had done worse things - and some of you repeatedly. By comparison, I'm almost a Rhodes scholar. God bless you all!

Hilary - And we have a winner! That tops them all. Reminds me of the time I was at an ATM, at the supermarket, and I wanted to make a deposit before I did my shopping. I filled out a deposit slip, put that and a check in an envelope, and slid the envelope into the machine upon being prompted to do so. Then I went to go shopping. Except, when I went to look at my grocery list, there was a check in my hand. I had deposited my grocery list.

Womaninawindow - I've found that sending someone a whole bunch of money conveys the thought nicely...

CC - I'm sure that the internet already knew this. If not, then the internet is the imbecile, not me.

If you're speaking about the link at the bottom of my post, I didn't create it. Whoever (David?) linked to me did. The only way I know how to do it is to go to someone's site, copy their URL, and then paste it into a post. Remember, I'm an imbecile!

Louise said...

OMG. This is one of the most hilarious things I've read in a long, long time! You have a way of telling a great story! And the punchline, about the NEXT time you lock yourself out had me rolling on the floor! (I always keep a spare car key in my wallet, and my husband has one severely duct-taped behind the bumper because I do this ALL. THE. TIME!

Anonymous said...

After a Grateful Dead show at the boston garden one time I turned to a friend of mine and asked him if he had my keys(sarcastically). Then checked my pockets and I really didn't have them. When we got to the car the keys were sitting on the dashboard, where anyone who wanted my car could have taken them and the car. But unlike you I ended up breaking my back window trying to get the keys out. Dohhhhhhhh

Leslie: said...

This is hilarious! Thanks for the entertainment - I could just SEE you in your predicament! lol

SandraRee said...

You really should stop smoking Suldog.

Nikki - Notes of Life said...

LOL. Thank you so much for sharing this story with us. I had had such a hard day at work and it was great to have a giggle at somebody else!

Here via Authorblog.

Shrinky said...

Oh Jim, you have such a way with words. I love (and agree with) your definition of "mature love", it may no longer be earth shattering, but it sure as hell is comforting!! Smile.

I don't even know where the key to my front door IS, so there is no chance of me ever locking it!

When I was young, free and single, living in London and usually a wee bit tipsy from after-office drinks, I lost count of the times I found myself locked out of my flat. Luckily, I lived opposite a police station, those guys were diamonds.. grin.

Kimberly A. Suta said...

That was a very entertaining story! I would love for your blog to be a part of – the world’s first blog-to-film competition. It’s free! All u do is link this blog to for a chance to win $2,000!

– Kimberly (co-creator)

p.s. if you also have a video blog, we just launched

Suldog said...

Louise - I'm glad I could get you rolling on the floor. Next time, you might want to wrap yourself in inside-out masking tape. That way, not only will you get a laugh, but it will save you from having to vacuum.

Sully - Sully? Isn't that me? Oh, yeah, I guess there's a lot of us. Are we related? Sounds like it :-)

Leslie - If you could see me in my predicament, why didn't you help? Hmmmmpppphhhh! Next time I see YOU in a predicament, I'll remember this.

SR - I have stopped smoking. I am now on fire.

Nikki-Ann - A hard day at work is a good thing, if you're a porn star. Otherwise, my sympathies. Thanks for the kind words. And, David is the best, isn't he?

Shrinky - Did it ever occur to you that maybe the police were sneaking over and locking your door while you were out? You are quite a looker, you know.

Kimberly - Film? I had some on my teeth, but I brushed.

(OK, I'm game for any sort of gimcrack glory available. I'll check it out.)

Unknown said...

This was hysterical. I am still laughing and plan to write something similar tomorrow now. You have inspired me :)

Rebecca said...

LOL, do you know I tried to have a blog tag called "D'oh" and Blogger wouldn't let me? ;)

Well, at least you made $4. I too, have locked my keys in my car before. Sigh.

It was a full moon yesterday Sulldog. You can take comfort in that. :)

John-Michael said...

Reading your story, I was reminded of the first (and only) time that I decided that it would be fun to watch my daughter's reactions to the "scratch-off" lottery thing. "Dad! It's a sin!" she declared in her Southern Baptist voice of judgmental conviction. I want you to see how this thing that you have asked about works. Then you will know. So, we bought tickets ... one for each of us. Hers garnered a $50 prize. We celebrated by allowing her to exercise her choice of treating her brother, me, and herself to dinner out and some trinkets at her favorite "stuff shop" in the mall. She was then out of money. "That's OK, Dad! We can just buy another ticket!" (That is when the lesson was learned. [smile])

Kristin said...

They make these locks that you can get at home depot (cheap) that will screw into the side of the window and prevent it from opening any wider than the AC unit. That should prevent anyone from being able to easily remove it and break in.

Judi FitzPatrick said...

Sorry, but I have been laughing for about 5 minutes now. You just have a way with telling a good yarn and making it histerical! I once locked my keys in my car while it was running, but it just never seemed amusing in any way.
Thanks for sharing and making it such fun. Keep up the great stories.
Peace, Judi

Janet said...

I am laughing so hard I can hardly read the almost equally hysterical comments through my tears.
Here's my story (one of many, unfortunately, I top Homer on the D'Oh scale). I went home for lunch one day (which I almost never did and can't now remember why I did then - probably to check on an animal or something). I left the car running and shut the door. Which of course i locked first. I realized this AS THE DOOR WAS CLOSING but I couldn't catch it. The key ring also had my house keys. So I had to go in through the dog door in the back of the house (he's a big dog - he wouldn't have let anyone else do that). Then I called the 24-hour emergency hotline - and got an answering machine. So I took a screwdriver and popped the lock out of the passenger side door (I had someone break into a car that way back in 1984). I never did fix that lock. Now we have 3 sets of keys for each vehicle, and about 10 house keys. There's a spare set of everything in the Mountain Man's office.