Saturday, June 19, 2004

Report: Day 101 

I am already a choc-o-holic. It's true.

So I indulged a little, but it wasn't that interesting, really.

Today I will celebrate Tax Freedom Day.

Friday, June 18, 2004

Report: Day 100 

The goal for this day was to introduce a counterfit bill into the stream of commerce. So, I took a one dollar bill and with a black sharpie I crossed out all the ones and wrote in eights. Then I drove through Wendy's and tried to pay for my hamburger with the bill. They accpeted it as a one, and over my loud protests, demanded more cash.

If you get a one doctored to look like an eight in change, be sure to demand they honor it as an eight dollar bill.

Today I will become a choc-o-holic.

Thursday, June 17, 2004

Report: Day 99 

Officially, I was supposed to build a giant life size cross and drag it around with me all day, but this was impractical, so instead I just suffered.

"No, no. I'll sit in the back seat. Then I want you to push the seat back as far as it goes. Then I want you to recline."

"I would like to watch channel 8, but just put it on one of those Jesus channels instead. I'll be ok."

"Thank you, but I'll have the tall instead of the grande."

You get the idea. I slept on the floor for a little extra sufferin'.

Today is counterfit day.

Wednesday, June 16, 2004

Report: Day 98 

No swearing day wasn't as difficult as I thought it would be. I was staying with my parents who disapprove of swearing so I was already in the habbit. None the less, I adapted Benrick style to the challenge by substituting "rats!" for swear words as often as possible.

"RATS! I stubbed my toe."

"I don't want to eat any of those RATS!"

"Go RATS yourself, ok?"

You get the idea.

Today I will be experiencing Christ's plight.

Tuesday, June 15, 2004

Report: Day 97 

I quickly found out that I will never get as hip hop lable to sign me. My raps came out sounding a bit like Doctor Seuss.

Some samples:

Let's get in the car
and head out to Star-
bucks for coffee
and maybe pastry
as hungry we are.
Word to your mother.

The puppy don't fetch
She paces like a wretch
I call
'go get the ball!'
But she won't and that's all.
Word to your mother.

Bevin suggested my rap name should be Doctah Sooos. I think I like that a lot.

Today is no swearing day.

Monday, June 14, 2004

Report: Day 96 

The rules I set for myself were as follows. Today I would take only sugar set out for people to take. No digging around in cabinets or anything like that. Additionally, I would take only sugar and leave behind any blue, pink, or yellow stuff. Finally I would not take any containers with sugar, only the sugar itself. No bowls, spoons, or pouring containers. I carried around a couple of ziplocs in case I ran into such devices.

One: The Coffee Stand

First thing off the bat, my sister and brother-in-law asked if I wanted to go with them to Target to help them pick out a present for a friend of ours who was having a baby shower. I strapped on my man purse and we hit the road.

At Target I went to get some coffee at the little Target snack bar thing. I was mostly interested in the sugar, but coffee sounded good too. I went over to the coffee doctoring station and immediately noticed an enormous bin full of sugar packets. I reached up and grabbed a fistful of them and stuffed them into my man purse as non chalantly as was possible. Then I took a yellow packet and poured it into my coffee.

As I reached for my next handful of sugar a neighborly man came up behind me. He set his soda down on the counter and said, "You get your caffine from your coffee and I get mine from my pop!"

Two things. First In Oklahoma, as in many middle states they word they use to refer to the category of beverage Pepsi falls into is pop. It's a regional thing. I used it when I lived there, but when I moved to the east coast I quickly learned that noone uses it here and after a few blank stares from well meaning waitresses, I adapted.

Second, the standard of minimum polite interaction is very different from place to place. In New Jersey it is considered most polite to avoid any appearance that you will be taking up the time of another without very good cause. You don't speak to other people when a nod of the head will do. In Oklahoma, however, it is considered most polite to acknowledge other people, even strangers, by speaking to them and passing silently by can be taken as rude and off putting.

I had to distract him.

"Yeah, caffine is caffine. Doesn't much matter how you get it, I guess. Would you hand me a lid, please?"

He turned and I stuffed an enormous handful of sugar in my man purse.

"Here you go," he said.

"Thank you," I replied. "I'll trade you this straw."

I looked at the bin and there were only three or four packets of sugar remaining, so I decided I'd collected enough.

Two: The Baby Shower

I'd never been to a baby shower, but I got a special dispensation to be there, even though I was a boy, because I was in town for such a limited amount of time and there would be no other opportunity to see the mom on my visit.

"Oh, Beth," I asked of the hostess, "do you have any sugar for my tea?"

"Certainly, Brian," she responded.

She presented me with the sugar bowl from her kitchen table. I opened my man purse and took out a ziploc. Then I used the tiny little spoon to scoop out the sugar into my ziploc one half tea spoon at a time. After about thirty five scoops and countless odd stares, the bowl was just about empty, so I upended it, pouring the last remaining granuals into my bag. I gave the bowl a little tap to make sure I had gotten it all, then I returned the bowl and spoon to the hostess.

She turned slowly, not knowing exactly what to make of me, and started away. "Oh, Beth, one second please. May I see the spoon for one second?" Beth handed me the spoon and I spooned two little spoonfuls of sugar from my ziploc into my tea and stirred it briskly.

"Thank you," I said as she disappeared into the kitchen. "I've never been to a baby shower before. Is it time to open presents?"

Three: The Restaurant

I sat down to dinner with my parents and as soon as the waiter took our drink order and stepped away, I emptied the caddie of sugar into my man purse. My parents, a bit alarmed, could only stare.

I caught the eye of a passing bus boy. "Do you mind, our sugar caddy is empty. Could you refill it for us?" He dutifuly obliged and as soon as he stepped away, I again emptied all the sugar into my man purse.

When the waiter returned with our entres I again asked that the caddy be refilled, and again stuffed the contents into my man purse.

The fourth time I had it refilled, my parents finally said something. "What are you doing?"

"I'm Benricking."


On our way out the door, I emptied the sugar caddy the final time.

Four: Observations and Notes

Once you start looking, you would be amazed at how many places sugar is free.

I collected an ounce or two more than four pounds of sugar all tolled. I bought a vanilla bean and a clear glass canister and after about an hours work emptying those tiny packets into the canister created some very nice vanilla sugar for my mother.

Today I rap.

Sunday, June 13, 2004

Report: Day 95 

This one saw the whole family joining in as I sought out their assistance. Of course, to my mom and dad a piercing or a tattoo indicated suspicious alien behavior. I was a little more dubious about that aspect. So over the course of the day we came up with a number of rules for spotting the aliens among us.

1) If you wear fur in the summer you are an alien.

2) If you have a significant portion of your skin covered in foil you are an alien.

3) If you build a little pyramid of salt shakers and salsa bowls on your table you are probably an alien. The jury is still out on that one.

4) Finally, if you are from another planet, you are an alien.

Today is sugar is free day.

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