Posts Tagged ‘adventure’

Jingle Bowels

December 26, 2013

Wednesday December 25th, 2013 – Rolla, MO/Amarillo, TX

And what did I get for Christmas this year? Diarrhea! How does one gift wrap that? In my case it was in underwear, and it was the gift that kept on giving for most of the morning. I stopped for a Chinese buffet lunch in Normal, IL yesterday, and something I ate gave me the old rocket ass.

I could feel my stomach gurgling a little before I fell asleep, but this morning is when it kicked in and hit the jackpot. It was a bizarre morning all around actually. I was awakened by the sound of cops knocking on the door of someone down the hall. Apparently, an escaped felon was at the motel holing up and someone turned him in. There were four cops at his door with pistols drawn.

I’ve had some unusual Christmases in my day, but I must say I’ve never had this. They tried to get him to come out, but at first he wouldn’t. I was only a few doors down from the action, and it occurred to me that bullets could start flying at any moment. I was trying to think of where I’d be the safest, and I thought the bath tub would be best. Before I could go there, the guy surrendered.

I’d parked right in front of the motel office, and I was concerned about my rental car. It would be absolutely my luck that bullets would fly and I’d have to pay the deductible out of my pocket. It ended up ending peacefully, and no damage was done to anything other than the guy’s record.

I don’t know what he did, but by the look on the faces of the cops it was pretty serious. It took two pairs of officers in Rolla, MO to get it done, and I have to believe there aren’t many more on the entire force in a town that size. I bet none of them had expected that on a Christmas morning.

I wasn’t able to go back to sleep after all that excitement, so I packed up and began driving but had to stop every few exits to find a bathroom. Only Mr. Lucky would get a green apple splatters attack on the ONE day of the year when 99% of businesses are closed. It would be very funny if I didn’t have to live it. I don’t need any more jokes. I’ve got enough to last for multiple lifetimes.

Eventually the volcano stopped erupting, and I settled in and just tried to get some miles in the rear view mirror. I haven’t been to this part of the country in a while, and it brought back a lot of memories. When I first got bitten with wanderlust, I came this way several times in my travels.

Back then it was a thrill to set foot in places I’d never ever been before. It felt like an explorer discovering a new world. It was gritty adventure. Now it’s just more hours behind the wheel of a car, but at least it’s a much better car than I’ve had in the past. I used to take beaters on the road.

I’ve left several dead cars in several states through the years, and it’s a good thing I was young and full of piss and vinegar then. I don’t know where the vinegar went, but the piss is still here. I have to stop a lot more frequently because of it, and that’s another reason I’m not thrilled by this lifestyle anymore. It was new and fun in the day, but I can feel that I’ve matured a lot since then.

Now I’d like to have a different kind of adventure. I’d like to settle SOMEWHERE, and allow some roots to grow. Whatever I was running from or trying to catch all those years is not what is my priority now. I’ve been through the buffet line a few times, and I’m not hungry anymore. It’s time for dessert, and that would be a family and steady source of income. This is a farewell trip.

Diarrhea is HILARIOUS...when someone ELSE gets it.

Diarrhea is HILARIOUS…when someone ELSE gets it.

I would have been delighted to get this for Christmas this year. I'd have put it to good use today.

I would have been delighted to get this for Christmas this year. I’d have put it to good use today.

Pleasant Problems

March 26, 2013

Sunday March 24th, 2013 – Spencer, IA/Chicago, IL/Kenosha, WI

   My grandpa used to tell me it’s better to wear out than rust out, but I’m closer to feeling inside out right about now. I’m pushing myself harder than I have in a long time, and I feel every bit of my age. In my 20s, I could stand this pace and more. I was bullet proof then. Now, I’m just shot.

The shows the last two nights were beyond great, but that’s only a small part of my day. Today was the most hectic trip of all as I needed to be at Zanies in Chicago by 3pm to teach a class and then up to Kenosha, WI by 8pm to host the Mothership Connection radio show. I knew all along this would be the roughest day, and it didn’t disappoint. I made Indiana Jones look like a slacker.

I laid down at 1:30am after hanging with the comedians and it seemed like mere minutes when I checked my watch and it was 4am. I’d gotten just enough sleep to make me cranky, and that set the tone for the drive. I drove south on US 71 out of Spencer, IA and it was snowing just enough to make the drive even more brutal than it already was. It added tension to the mix I didn’t need.

Iowa is a lot bigger to drive through than it is to look at on a map. It seemed like Texas as I had both hands on the wheel in the pitch black early morning hoping I wouldn’t slide off into a ditch for a final curtain call. It was icy, snowy and windy – three dwarfs that didn’t make the final 7.

I had a lot of time to think as I drove, and did exactly that. Here I am all these years later after a lifetime of chasing a dream, and I have to admit I got exactly what I wanted. I wanted to be a full time headlining comedian who worked all over North America and that’s exactly what I’ve done.

Nowhere in that dream did I picture driving in a 1994 Nissan with a cracked windshield and no spare tire across two lane highways in Iowa during a snow storm, but that wasn’t in the equation. I wanted to be a real live professional comedian, and I’ve done it. Nobody can take that from me, but I must admit it sure didn’t come about like I pictured it. I assumed my problems would end.

The only time anyone’s problems end is when the coffin lid clicks, but even that’s no guarantee for any of us. For all we know that’s when a whole new set of problems arises. Personally, I have all I can handle and then some with what’s going on here. I’ll worry about the great beyond later.

Today I had to make it to Chicago, and I did. I was beat like an egg yolk in a French restaurant when I got there, but I made it. Class started at 3pm, and I showed up at 2:57. Again, that kind of stress wasn’t in my initial dream but I made it nevertheless. The students made it worth the drive.

I made it to the radio station in plenty of time for the show, so I stopped to get a salad to try to maintain a halfway healthy lifestyle. Road life is hellish on one’s diet, and that’s why I have had my issues with type 2 diabetes. I totally see how I got that way, and I don’t want to do it again.

The radio show was good, but I had a hard time staying awake for those four hours. I thought I was going to nod off a few times, but I held it together. If everyone has to have problems, I love the ones I’m having. Trying to squeeze too many fun things into each day is what life should be.

Ten Cent Triumph!

November 9, 2012

Thursday November 8th, 2012 – Fox Lake, IL

   One of a precious collection of useful things my grandpa told me that still sticks with me today is the difference between good luck and bad luck is good luck isn’t funny. When someone else is mired in a losing streak, those who see it laugh out of sheer tension relief. The only one laughing during a streak of good luck is the one experiencing it. Everyone else is feeling jealous or angry.

I’d much rather be the only one laughing, and today I got my chance. Actually, I have been in a tremendously upbeat mindset of late, and I can’t say it’s bothering me in the least. I’m enjoying a brief respite from being life’s dart board, and quite frankly if I never go back to the other side I’ll be more than fine with it. ‘Mr. Lucky’ is a character that lives onstage, and he needs to say there.

Dobie Maxwell is an entirely separate entity. He’ll take all the breaks he can get – funny or not. Today I caught a nice one, and it piggybacked on a couple of others I’ve had recently. I’d like to gratefully acknowledge them all, and vehemently ask the universe to keep sending them my way.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened to find a $10 bill crunched up on the ground and stuck it in my wallet to decide what to do with it later. A few days after that, I was walking through one of my favorite thrift stores and happened upon a collection of Apollo 12 collectible drinking glasses dated November 19, 1969. There were five of them on the shelf, and they were priced at $1 each.

I bought all five, thinking if nothing else they’d make fun gifts on The Mothership Connection at some point for either guests or listeners. I paid for them with the $10 bill I found, and in return I received a receipt with a red star on it and was told those are lucky winners of a $5 store credit.

Technically, the glasses were free and I still had the $10 I started with. I decided to keep going and see what else I could buy for ten bucks and hopefully spin it for more. I would have to scour the thrift stores, but I do that anyway. It’s a relaxing pastime I’ve always done. I enjoy the hunt.

It’s kind of like my own personal ‘Storage Wars’ or ‘Pawn Stars’ adventure. I’m trying to find something someone else didn’t know the value of when they priced it, and neither did those who looked at it on the shelf before I got there. Chances are low that it happens, but once in a while it absolutely does. It’s all about being in the right place at the right time, and having street smarts.

Today I drove by the same thrift store and was kind of in a hurry but that little voice inside told me to take a quick lap. I almost blew it off, but decided against it as I felt it strongly urging me to do it immediately. Positive things usually happen when I listen to that voice, and they did today.

I walked past a shelf of knick knacks and saw two official National League baseballs in plastic cube holders screaming at me to buy them. One was priced at $2.12 and the other $2.62. I looked closer and saw that one was autographed by Hall of Famer Ernie Banks and the other by some of the 1989 Cubs including Mark Grace, Jerome Walton, Mike Bielecki and Rick Wrona. I couldn’t believe they were priced so low, and I took them right to the checkout and the total was $5.10 for both balls. I gave them my winning receipt and my total was .10! I floated to my car in ecstasy.

So let’s review. I started with ten bucks I found on the ground and bought five collector glasses for $5. With tax, it was around $5.40. I won $5 in store credit, and used that to buy two baseballs in plastic holders – both autographed. The total was $5.10, so my out of pocket cost was a dime.

There’s no way to authenticate the signatures, but I’d bet they are legit. They’re official league balls, and I’ve seen autographed stuff before. These should have no problem selling to somebody in the Chicago area who loves the Cubs, and I can hold out for my price since I have little into it.

All totaled that would mean I’d have five collector glasses, two autographed baseballs plus my left over total of roughly $4.50. That’s a pretty good start, and I think I’ll be able to sell all of it for a healthy profit without gouging anyone and keep the ball rolling. I know how to find stuff.

Selling it has been an issue, and it may continue to be. Where would I sell collector glasses or baseballs? The first thought would be Ebay, but I’ve never sold anything on it before. I bought a ton of stuff over the years, but never sold even one thing. But how hard can it be? I can handle it, but I’m not sure if I want to. I have enough going on without starting some new time demander.

Still, the lure of the treasure hunt is strong. Who doesn’t love looking for the big payoff? I sure do, and I freely admit it. I know every deal isn’t going to be a winner, but I’ve heard tales of big scores through the years and I do believe things like that happen. To win, one has to participate.

I did take a quick lap through Ebay and saw that the glasses weren’t all that rare, and weren’t at all priced consistently. I saw them listed for anywhere from $2 to $20 each, but shipping was the big expense. I’d be thrilled if someone gave me $20 for four of them, and I’d keep one to give to my Mothership Connection co-host Greg DeGuire. He’d enjoy it, and it would be a fun souvenir.

The baseballs should realistically bring somewhere around $100 for both, or at least that’s what I’d look to get out of them. They’re in great shape, and Ernie Banks is a Hall of Famer without a doubt. I know he signed a lot of stuff in his life, but some Cubs fan would love to have that ball.

Say I can manage to score my asking price somehow from someone and walk away with $120 for everything. Couple that with the roughly five bucks I have left from my original $10 and call it an even $125. That’s well over ten times my original stake, and it literally came from nowhere.

I don’t think it’s realistic to expect to keep pulling off ten times my investment on a consistent basis, but doubling my money doesn’t seem out of line in the least. What could I invest $125 into that will bring me at least double in return? The possibilities are endless, and I’d love to give it a shot. I’d get it in cash in smaller bills and have them available to make a buy everywhere I went.

Eventually, $125 becomes $250 becomes $500. Then $1000, then $2000 and on and on. It may take a while, and I’m sure I’ll blow it on occasion and make some less than stellar buys, but on a long term basis I like my chances to be able to build a significant wad of cash I can use to keep a constant flow of more items and cash coming in. It’s been done before, but not by me. I’d love to take it all the way from $10 to enough to walk in and pay cash for a new car. It will be fun to try.