Whoa! Didja get the numbers off that truck?!?

July 05, 2003 - 10:01 a.m.

The Fourth

I think I got drunk last night.

It doesn’t seem that way because there was never a lack of control. But I have that run-down feeling that comes from it. That and the 2AM bedtime.

It was a good 4th. The sons and I bought a nice assortment of fireworks. We didn’t start launching them until after midnight, when Son1 came home from work. He brought a handful of friends with him and Son2 had two of his own, so there were a lot of folks helping. My favorite of all night were the “Mississippi Gambler” brand of mortar shells. They went off with so much force that they knocked the tubes over! After we were done, everyone helped to clean up the empty boxes and stray sticks and we burned it all up in the chimerea. Aside from the burn marks on the driveway, it looked pretty good.

Son1 and I stood in the basement, remarking at what a good 4th it was. I was downstairs because I wanted to change out of my suit, after cooling off in the pool. I opened the door to the little room downstairs to see a young girl prostrate on the couch, with her head in a Schwans ice cream bucket, attempting to puke. Her boyfriend was standing by, lending what assistance he could. Oh my. Someone had too much fun. I asked what the young girl had to drink, but I didn’t get a firm answer. I asked again, more loudly, “What is this girl puking up?”

“Uh, vodka and some kind of mango juice I think…”

First-timers are pitiful. I said, “Jason, love is holding your girlfriend’s hair back while she pukes. Is someone going to get rid of this mess so I don’t have to?” I got assurances that there would be no trace.

With that, I went to bed.

Newt will be 50 on Monday. 50. I can’t imagine it. I remember when my Dad turned fifty, I remember it vividly. It was 1970; we put sparklers on his birthday cake. He was born on July 3, so it was appropriate. He always told me to watch out for those birthdays that end on zero, those were the milestones. I had only experienced three of them when he told me that, but that phrase becomes more significant as I have more of them.

I have a new hunk of furniture in my living room. I say “hunk” because it wasn’t what I would have chosen. It’s a swivel recliner, clad in genuine vinyl. Son2’s friend Joe brought it over; he and Son2 have become the collectors of cast-offs. Last weekend they brought home a Lane dual recliner couch, complete with fold out table in the center section. They found it on the side of the road with a “free” sign on it. They tried putting it on Joe’s Escort, but the roof started to cave in. They managed to borrow a pick-up to get it the rest of the way home; they had to take it apart to get it up the stairs. It’s in pretty good shape. The genuine vinyl swivel recliner was a garage sale refugee that Joe had gotten for free at the end of the sale. I don’t know why this recliner ended up at my house, but I think I have all the free furniture I can stand now, thank you very much.

On Tuesday they arrived with the back of Joe’s car filled with all sorts of computer junk. They told me some nerd was cleaning out his house and was tossing all this stuff away; he was glad to see these enterprising lads arrive to pick it all up. He was describing what each circuit board was, but he might as well have been speaking Chinese to these guys. Of course I recognized each piece; it was state of the art when I was in the computer business twelve years ago. There were motherboards, memory cards (remember when all the memory wouldn’t fit on the main board? I do), enormous 5.25 inch hard drives, and cards with coax connectors on them. Oh man, ARCNET cards! I said it aloud, and Joe said “Yeah, that’s what those things are! The nerd said that ARCNET was superior to Ethernet!”

Yes it was, in the same way that steam locomotives were superior to horse drawn carriages. I haven’t seen either of them lately.

They were convinced that they could build a computer or two from all this crap; and they were right, they could. But it wouldn’t have been much of a computer and it surely wouldn’t run a present day operating system. I convinced them that there was a good reason why the nerd was cleaning house, and helped them load the junk back into Joe’s car. I don’t know where it ended up, but it didn’t land in my basement.

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