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The Fisher of Stories


I hate kids.

Somehow, through tolerance and sheer force of will, I’ve managed to fall in love with the two I call my own, and there are several couples from church who have a few that I like.

But as a rule, the first time I meet or see a kid under the age of 11, I’m not going to like them.

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I also hate hotels.
It never fails that I forget something important, and have to spend the rest of the day with a sore back and smelling like lady Degree.
Other things I forgot:
1. Toothpaste2. Brush3. Patience
There is one thing, however, that I look forward to when I go to a hotel. One amenity I always look for, and won’t book without. And that is…

The Mount Olympus of the hotel.

…the hotel pool.
Yes, I am aware that the kids who just left the hotel pool probably treated it like a personal lavatory, and I’m sure the honeymooning couple that just got out of the hot tub more than likely consummated their nuptials as they relaxed their muscles.
None of that bothers me. Usually there is enough chlorine in a hotel pool/hot tub to clear up Jessica Simpson’s face before Proactiv, so little things like E.Coli and herpes are above my concern.
There is one thing that will ruin a hotel pool faster than anything else though. Something I’ve mentioned already in the blog, and something I wish there were a whole lot less of in the world.
They are the bane of my hotel relaxation existence. They nullify all hope of me ever having a peaceful moment during a terrible hotel experience. It doesn’t matter if the hotel has the best continental breakfast in the world, if there are kids in the hotel pool I will give them a 1-star rating. Jessica Alba could personally greet me in a string bikini in the lobby, and if I took her to the hot tub and there was a kid in it I would do my best to make sure the hotel chain went out of business the next day.
Kids are terrible things.
I’ve told you all that to tell you this:
Me, The Missus and the kids went to Oklahoma City the other night. We thought we’d spend the night, then get up early and hit the outlet mall, try to score a couple of deals.
So I booked us a room at the Embassy Suites where we normally stay when we go to OKC, knowing it had a beautiful swimming pool and an okay hot tub.
When we arrived, all signs pointed to it not being a great trip. The parking lot was jam packed with cars, more than I had ever seen at the place before.
I looked at my family, and with a great deal of optimism, said “Well, as long as the pool’s empty, we’ll be alright.”
I should have known then.
We checked in, set our stuff down, got our swimsuits on and headed downstairs. We walked around the corner and saw this.

Only it was indoors. And there were markedly less Chinese folks. But exactly the same.

I. Was. Pissed.
Here’s the thing though. It was 9 p.m. Every single person in that pool was an 11-year old girl. Not only that, but every single person in that pool was an 11-year old girl CHEERLEADER.
I have never in my life seen such a congregation of tiny cheerleaders. I don’t know where they came from, I don’t know where they were going, all I know is I now hate those kids more than anything in the world, up to and possibly including the University of North Carolina.
They were screaming.
They were yelling.
But alas! There was one saving grace.
They were all in the pool, and not in the hot tub. THANK YOU LORD JESUS FOR BEING A MERCIFUL GOD.
I settled into the hot tub, closed my eyes and relaxed. Maybe this wouldn’t be half bad after all, if I could just drown out the “ONE TWO THREE FOUR GET THAT BALL BACK YAY” that was going on in the background.
Slowly the sound melted away, and I was a moment or two away from complete transcendence…and then it happened.
I looked up, seconds from nirvana, and sure enough, 18 tiny cheerleaders had joined me in the hot tub.
Now. I don’t know what you would have done in that situation, but years of watching To Catch a Predator had primed me for action in moments just like that.
I took both arms out of the water and raised them above my head like I was giving glory to The Highest, when in fact I was probably the furthest away from giving praise I had ever been in my entire life.
“But Travis, why would you take your hands out of the water?”
That’s easy my friend, it was to establish my innocence. If my hands are visible, they can’t be busy doing anything else, and that is exactly the kind of alibi you need when you’re in a hot tub with 200 screaming 11-year old cheerleaders.
“Excuse me officer, but if you’ll check the tapes, you’ll clearly see I had my hands above water level the entire time, and my eyes were fixed firmly on the fake palm tree to the left of the pool.”
The Missus looked at me and laughed, and I began fervently praying for a minor drowning.
Then one of the little idiots touched my leg.
I jumped out of the hot tub like it had suddenly been transformed into a storage facility for black widow spiders.
I stood at the side, silently cursing them all in my mind, and waited for them to get out. Eventually they did. Then they immediately got back in. Then they got out. Then they got in. The whole time saying things like “DE-FENSE! DE-FENSE! GO TEAM GO WOOHOO WE’RE SO STUPID.”
At last, more of them got out than were in, and I got back in the hot tub, hoping for some peace. Immediately after I got in, all of the tiny idiots got back in with me.
After about ten seconds, a couple of them got back in the pool, and then it happened. The Lord moved. A miracle was wrought. My faith was restored. Something great and mighty and ordained and on par with the whole water into wine thing.
One of the girls slipped and fell and hurt her knee.
As she burst into tears, all of the girls rushed to her side to provide her comfort, and my face split into a thousand-watt smile like it does when I see the words “All you can eat.” I struggled not to laugh. I rejoiced. I came very close to eschewing my worldly possessions and pursuing a call to the mission fields of Guatemala.
I was, to put it mildly, insanely happy. That little girl getting hurt was on par with my wedding day. Top ten moments in my life easy.
I slowly lowered my arms back into the water, knowing I only had a few precious moments of unencumbered joy. I closed my eyes, still grinning like an idiot, and replayed the moment in my mind.
I had finally achieved inner peace. The trip had become officially worth it. The day was made.


The morning was fair, and redolent of promise. It carried with it the hopes of a new day, not yet crushed by entering the building where I work. There was joy, there was laughter, and there was good music on the iPod. The day would eventually bring great things – incredible things, actually – but they hadn’t become a reality at this point.

I pulled into the parking lot, and I watched as a woman attempted to swing a minivan into a parking spot that was lined up for a car coming a different direction. When she was finished with her fantastic parking job, this is what it looked like.

Navigating a Toyota minivan is tough.

As you can see, the spot directly next to her is virtually impossible to fill, unless you drive a Prius, or a motorbike, or you roller skate to work. And that just so happened to be the spot that I was lining up to get into. You see, I was going to be parking appropriately, not trying to go against the grain.
I stopped, and I watched as her reverse lights came on.
“Oh! She’s realized the error of her ways, and she’s going to correct it,” I thought. “What a wonderfully nice woman. She is truly one of the people that make our society a great place to live. I shall wait for her.”
Then the reverse lights shut off with no further movement from the vehicle.
“Surely she will see the error of her ways, and surely she’ll see me waiting for the parking spot and fix this egregious error shortly.”
A few minutes passed, me still waiting, her still parked incorrectly, and so I gave a polite “Hey, I know this sounds douchey, but you’re parked like a jackass and I’m a bit late for work so if you could just nip on over and take care of this mockery you call a parking job, we’ll all be fine” honk on the horn.
Nothing. No response.
And still I waited, contemplating my next move. Would I have to have an honest to God face-to-face confrontation? And then I decided, I would exit my vehicle and politely explain to the woman the error of her parking ways.
“But Travis,” you might be asking. “Weren’t there like, eighty-two other parking spots besides the one you wanted?”
The answer to that is a not so simple yes. You see, there were other parking spots. But the point is, this lady needed to be taught a lesson, and it had been ordained and handed down by a higher power that I was to be the one to teach it.
As I got out of the truck, I saw a man exit our building and head towards the vehicle in question.
“Oh! Thank God, he’s getting in, and they’ll leave, and all confrontations will be avoided.”
You see, I’m still a pantywaist, in even the most minor of situations. Just call me Sam Tarly.
The gentleman got in the vehicle, and…
…it just sat there.
And sat there.
And sat there.
I waited another good five minutes before I worked up another set of balls courage to go over there and ask the woman to move so I could park. At this point, I’m about fifteen minutes late for work, and something had to give.
So I got out, walked over, and explained the situation to her. She was not at all polite in her reply.
“You know what, go park somewhere else. There are eighty-two other parking spots. Go use one of those.”
“Yes ma’am,” I retorted. “But what you’ve done is actually narrowed it down to eighty-one, and it just so happens I was waiting to claim the one next to you.”
Then she laughed in my face.
Oh snap.
I walked into the office to figure out what my options were. Turns out, I had no options. So I announced to the entire office that I would be in a stand-off in the parking lot if they needed me, and I returned to my vehicle, ready to stay this out for the long haul. In the meantime, I tried about six different times to call a supervisor to apprise them of the situation, and couldn’t reach any of them.
So I sat there, and I waited.
I really wish this story had a more dramatic conclusion, but in reality it ends with me giving up after thirty minutes, taking a bunch of pictures of their vehicle to try and see if I could get her fired from whatever job she had, the dude in her van taking pictures of me taking pictures, her calling me a “f***ing idiot,” and both my supervisors making a trip down to my office to make sure I was “calmed down” and to write me up.
That’s right, I got a write up.
I won’t get into the details, but apparently the situation could have been handled differently. Who knew?
In the Game of Parking, you win…or you get wrote up.

My Photoshop skills are really developing nicely.

There are a few people who stopped reading at the title, loudly exclaimed, “HERESY!” to no one in particular, closed the window abruptly and stopped following me on every form of social media they could.

To those people I say: “I hate you, and your breath smells like rotten cabbage.”

Shh…they’ll never know I said that. Cause they stopped following…see? Never mind.

When I was a small kid, my dad loved Star Trek TNG. My mom hated it, and she hated the fact that my dad watched it. It got so bad that one night I walked in the living room where my dad was watching it, and I started crying. He asked me what was wrong, I told him he was watching a bad show and he shouldn’t be. He then told me it was an awesome show, and I instantly became a fan. Then when he stopped watching it, I picked it up and had to work out a deal with my mom where I got to watch it every other night while it was in syndication on UPN.

So why am I starting to hate it now?

Mostly because all of the cool stuff it promised us. You might be saying to yourself, “Travis, what exactly did they PROMISE us?” The truth is, it was never a spoken promise. It was a subliminal message of better things to come, and they haven’t gotten here yet, and I’ve got to tell you, I’m being inconvenienced over here in Oklahoma, and that just won’t fly.

So here’s the list of wicked cool stuff we were unconsciously promised by Star Trek: The Next Generation.

1. World Peace – Okay, so I’m pretty sure I’ve given up on this, simply because I think it’s mostly Jesus’ job. However, just a LITTLE bit of world peace would be pretty cool. I’m tired of hearing about those poor Jews over there trying to defend themselves constantly, and then you have the “War on Terror” where we’ve solemnly sworn to take every last BB gun from any country sittin on the ol’ black gold, which is surprisingly NOT a euphemism for Dr. Dre’s #1 records. I want world peace as much as the next guy, but truth be told the only time that’s going to happen is when the zombies have killed everyone. Zombie peace, FTW!

2. Transporters – Listen. This is getting old. The last 3 weeks of my life have been filled with road construction. It used to take me 30 minutes to get to work, now it takes 45-60 minutes, and I’M FRICK FRACKING TIRED OF IT. Meanwhile, Star Trek people are zipping to and from galaxies with the ease of pushing a button, and aside from a little transporter hiccup every 10th episode, things are just peachy. And for sure, I wouldn’t mind taking the risk of becoming a randomly shifting group of particles flowing throughout the universe. Heck, that’s gotta be pretty cool anyway. I’d just spend my days quietly coalescing in a corner. (Yes, that was a Hitchhikers Guide reference) But anyway, I want a transporter. I’m looking at you, scientists.

3. Food Replicators – In all seriousness, I shouldn’t even have to explain this one. Step one: your stomach growls. Step two: you walk to your wall. Step three: you say, “Hey thingy, make me a sammich.” Step four: “What kind of sandwich would you like?” Step five: carefully consider your options. Step six: order a Reuben, because they are effing awesome. Step seven: a Reuben sammich comes to life before your very eyes, made with the most tender beef and tartest sauerkraut to every tantalize your taste buds. Step eight: order a beer to go with it. Step nine: you aren’t hungry anymore. Those nine steps take 30 seconds with a food replicator, and they take 2 1/2 hours if you’re dealing with a retard at the local fast food place, and the sauerkraut isn’t even that tart.

4. Holodecks – Again, something I shouldn’t even have to explain. “Holodeck, I need Megan Fox, naked, with better thumbs and in the mood for some hot lovin and a tolerance for premature ejaculation.” A couple of beeps later and you’re having the time of your life. You know what? Scratch everything else on this list. If just the holodeck gets invented, I’m pretty sure everything else would fall into place. “Listen, these guys want to go to war with someone.” “Well, put em in the holodeck.” There’s your world peace.

5. Tricorders – I think we currently have all the things a tricorder could do, but all of those things are really big, and if you put them together on one device, I’m pretty sure you’d need something the size of Rhode Island to carry it in. Plus it would really slow you down when you needed to whip it out fast to check out something suspicious like a random rock or tree. Let’s make these machines smaller, and put them on a cell phone.

6. Communicators – I like cell phones better. Comms didn’t even give you a choice if you wanted to answer. It beeped, you were live. Unless you got some sort of alien force field to mess it all up. I’ll stick with an “FU” button, thanks.

7. Klingons – You want to meet one, I want to meet one, we all want to see one fight in the UFC cage match. $6,000.00 for pay per view? I think so.

8. Better Health Care – If Obama wants to impress me, he needs to come up with a healthcare plan that involves a hot ginger doctor holding up a painted white out container with flashing lights on it that makes me skinny, THEN make it free. I’ll vote for that. Twice.

9. Phasers – How many of us would honestly use stun? Vaporization is where it’s at.

10. Hot Android on Human Action – Eight words say it all: “I am fully functional, programmed in multiple techniques.”

Things I DON’T WANT from Star Trek:

1. The Borg
2. Cardassians
3. Hot female counselors who know when I’m lying
4. Space-Time continuums
5. The Borg