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How I Spent My Summer

By Phil Jones

As it's January 2004, now would be an appropriate time to report on what I did last summer. Basically, when I didn't have my head shoved under the surface of our pool looking for algae, I sat on my butt and watched TV while three toddlers patiently beat my legs and arms with heavy plastic toys. The highlight of the summer though had to be my trip to Atlanta, Georgia. From July 27 to August 1, I was sentenced to hard time in downtown Atlanta. I'm still not sure what I did to deserve this little excursion to H-E-DOUBLE-TOOTHPICKS on Earth, other than being the butt grub of human I am. Ostensively, my company, Killer Schredder & Associates, decided that I could benefit from some training in PeopleSuck's PeopleRTools product so that we could confuse our clients into believing that I know what I'm doing, as opposed to them having low level suspicions that I can't tie my own shoes let alone develop PeopleSuck applications.

Let's be straight about this; we hates Atlanta, my precious, we hates it! As a city, Atlanta is just pointless, and besides which it was too darned hot when I was there. Atlanta spawned the demon Ted Turner and the wicked CNN cable news channel. And for six sold days, Atlanta held in its sweaty grip and made my butt melt off. The city had levels of humidity over 100% because any poor biological entity foolish enough to leave the comfort of shade had the moisture immediately wrenched violently from their cells.

Atlanta made me feel stupid. While planning my trip, William Shatner possessed my body and made me use to find a hotel for my stay. While singing "Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds" and thereby making our cats puke, I picked a Marriott in an area of the city called Buckhead. I eventually figured out that this area was called Buckhead because the sites it offers can best be enjoyed with a bucket over your head. Here is an important tip which I learned and wish to pass onto you: If you book a room in the Marriott Hotel on Lennox Road in Atlanta, DO NOT TRY TO CHECK IN AT THE HYATT REGENCY ON PEACHTREE STREET. I tried that, and it didn't work. It was 10 pm, I was filthy, tried, retarded, and desperate. I begged, pleaded, screamed, went rigid all over, and laughed hysterically when the check in guy at the Hyatt couldn't find my reservation. As a last resort, I took out my itinerary from PriceLine. It was uncalled for Hyatt security to drag me out of their crummy hotel and throw me into the street. They also told me that they had put a "do not allow reservations" tag on my record. As if! In defense of this stupidity, I was dehydrated by the heat within moments of reaching the Atlanta city limits, despite running my car air conditioner full blast.

There are valets everywhere in Atlanta. I have no doubt that if you drove to the desolate, outer edges of the city (as opposed to desolate interior of the city) and pulled over to take a leak, some valet would show up and try to park your car. I'm cheap and don't have a problem admitting it. I'm especially cheap when it comes to giving money to guys dressed better than me who want to get tipped for doing a task I've been doing capably since I was 16. It became a game to figure how not to let my car fall into the hands of valet. One good ploy was to pretend that I was a valet too. "Yo yo, dawgs, I is just parkin dis heap fer sum udder white boy." By the time I left for home, most valets were wary of me, which suited me just fine.

The main drag in Buckhead is Peachtree Street. The motto is "If it can't be found on Peachtree, you do not need it anyway." The city planners were so chuffed at picking out such a sweet name as "Peachtree Street", they decided to name practically every other road in the area with some variation of "Peachtree" in it. Here are some of the street names you'll find in Buckhead:

  • Peachtree Hill Rd
  • Peachtree Valley Ave
  • Peachtree Hill Valley St
  • Peachtree Square
  • Peachtree Curve Head Alley
  • Peachtree Bend Circle
  • Peachtree Hobo Blvd
  • Peachtree Crack Cocaine Lane
  • Peachtree Opium Field
  • Peachtree 7th Circle of Hell Because We're Out of Good Street Names

Atlanta obviously does not like drivers under the age of 18. If you're 17 or younger, you can't buy gas unless accompanied by someone 18 or older. As I drove around, I half expected to find gaggles of teens stranded on the streets begging adults to buy gas for them. When I was a teen, we just begged adults to buy beer for us. Times are tough for teens in Atlanta. In 1998, Georgia drivers under 18 had a crash rate that was 227 percent higher than for drivers older than 24, according to the Governor's Office of Highway Safety. This fact may have something to do with the crazy gas law. You can't crash a car if it has no gas. I decided that this little peculiarity worked for me.

Elevators in Atlanta bite. For someone who gets confused doing up his own shoe laces, labeling floors like "1CF", "X^&", or "OU812" just about did me in. "G" for ground floor or "M" for mezzanine I get, but how many ground floors can one building have? The PeopleSuck building must have had several, because there were elevator labels like "1G", "2G", "G sub A", "G U R Really Lost". Another asinine thing about buildings in Atlanta is that the people who run them don't believe in air conditioning. A/C is just something sissy Northern people go in for. I learned that if you're in Atlanta during the summer and are sweating great chunks of flesh off, your best bet to cool off is to leave the building you're in and go outside. I think the good and toothless people of the South inherited a hard streak from their Civil War ancestors. Men who fought for the South were tough. Instead of smoking tobacco in pipes, these guys stuffed the tobacco in theirs mouths and lit it. During lulls in battles that made rivers run red with Union blood, Southern soldiers played a game called "Shoot my farking foot". The rules were simple. You took turns shooting each other in the foot and the first guy to wince had to have his foot amputated without anesthetic. The winner got to keep his foot and the loser's foot, but he usually bleed to death anyway. In General Lee's army, if you were a general who was given a toothpick and told "go take the hill full of cannons and thousands of sissified Northern wuss soldiers", you were considered a coward if you didn't give Lee a steely eyed sneer, break the toothpick in half, and give the fat half of the toothpick back to Lee.

Being thousands of miles from home, I was naturally depressed in the evenings since I was not surrounded by family. Say what you will, you can sit around all evening watching TV, but if your family isn't there for you to ignore, it just isn't the same. The Marriott that I stayed at arranged their cable system's show schedule so that it showed Adam Sandler movies all the time, every channel. That being the case, I opted for the Fox News channel. Unfortunately, that selfish jerk Bob Hope just had to pick that week to die. Fox News give his death 24 by 7 coverage with late breaking updates every few minutes to inform us all that Bob Hope had died and that it looked like he was going to be dead for the foreseeable future. I got so depressed that at one point, I considered jumping out of my 10th floor window. The only thing that held me back was the realization that I might catch a glimpse on the way down of an Adam Sandler movie through the window of someone else's room. I'd watch a 24 hour marathon of Battlefield Earth before I'd let that happen. Going to the movies was option, and I went to see Pirates of the Caribbean. If you go to the movies in Atlanta, make sure your neck bends at a 90 degree angle, because the screens are 200 feet above the seats. It's been months, and my neck still hurts.

When I got back home, the first I did was to kiss our home's air conditioner. I found out later that Timm Buchanan and Sammy Hagar were both in Atlanta at the same time. Neither one called me while I was there.

* * * * *

Read more articles by Phil Jones at Brain Bullets


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