Well, the economic downturn has finally hit central Utah!
This morning Trillium and I went out to go shopping. As we began our prance through Costco, we noticed that the price of gas had dropped eleven cents since the last time we bought any. Trillium said, "Well, maybe we ought to go over and top off the tank." Then she looked at the gas gauge. It was almost full. "It hardly seems to be worth the trouble." The fact that we had filled the tank six weeks ago says something about the amount of time that we have devoted to stimulating the U.S. economy. We took T-ma out to eat last week and went to Village Inn instead of Carrabas, not because we couldn't afford the latter, but we thought that it was really important to support a place that otherwise would have no customers at all. For my money, I simply bought myself about six hours of bad indigestion. The upside was that my body completely rejected all of the available iron in the onion rings, the deep fried cod, and the jumbo scrimp slathered in cocktail sauce. As my duodenum said later, "I am not going to stand for this any more! From now on, I am only going to accept the Pollo Rosa Maria." Works for me.
As part of this morning's adventures we drove up to the DFCU to see about getting our annual box of free checks. Since we have been depositors and investors in the place for more than 30 years, the credit union has a special place in their hearts for us. We are "Loyal" customers and therefore, DFCU tries to benefit us in a variety of ways. We have been in Utah for nine years now and at some point early on the credit union sent us a notice saying that they were going to shower us with gifts as an act of appreciation. They would pay all of our bills for free. They would give us checks for free. They would do notary work for us for free. They would give us a considerably higher rate of interest on our CDs than the normal dweebs received. We could eat all of the lobby candy that we wanted, which usually consisted of rootbeer barrels. Just a whole bowl full of things for us if we simply dropped in. The bill pay went away after about six months. I asked what had happened. They said that the whole thing fouled up their computer system. A couple of other benefits have gone by the boards, including, as it turns out, the free box of checks every year. When I asked about it this morning, the teller said, "I'm new here. I don't think we do that." I said, "You have been doing it for at least five years. What's happened?" The teller contacted her supervisor.
"Oh, we don't do that any more. The downturn in the economy, you know."
"Hey! I didn't become involved in risky business dealings all over the country. I didn't invest in sub-prime mortgages. I didn't spend more than what I had coming in. I stuffed all of my disposable cash into this place, figuring that I would thereby have my free box of checks every year because I was LOYAL! Now I suppose I will have to leave a ten-dollar bill in the basket just to have one of these rootbeer barrels!"
"No, Dr. Beeblebrox, those are only two dollars. The economy isn't that bad."
This afternoon I went over to the Infusion Center to have my bi-monthly phlebotomy. The girls all ranted and raved at my appearance, commenting appreciatively about my blog, how wonderfully entertaining it was, in spite of the fact that I made them out to be a pack of ghouls from time to time. One of the nurses said to the other, "You know, Majel, Zaphod thinks you are his hero."
"Why does he think that!" I love being talked about in the third person when I am in the same room.
"Because you were the first nurse to take his blood and it didn't hurt as much as he thought it would." I wondered when that happened. I thought it was the Girl in Glacier Ice Blue that had managed to cure me of my phobia, or at least part of it, when she told me that the Lyticane was what really hurt and not the needle. I decided that it was not worth my life to tell "Chester" that she had confused my nurses.
In any event, "Nurse Chappell" arranged all of the gear around me in the cubicle. I said that I was grateful that I had learned that it was not the needle but the local anesthesia that hurt me at the first. It was then that the horror began.
"Oh, Zaphod, the needle always hurts, no matter how small. It just does... It just does..." Then she began to morph into Peter Lorrie, in texture and temperament.... "Yessss... I really don't want to hurt you, but....... I just,... I just,... I just can't heeelllppp myself."
And, lo and behold, that needle did hurt, it hurt a lot! I almost jumped up out of the chair. "Wasn't that nice?" the nurse said.
"No, no, it wasn't!"
"Good!" Then she pulled out a needle the size of a broomstick and tried to jam it into my elbow. "There," she said, "Does that hurt? Does that hurt? How about over here?"
When I came to, the nurses were pouring me a glass of Barq's rootbeer, while a third one of them was stepping on my package of Lorna Doones. "Sorry about the cookies," she said sheepishly as she poured the dust into my hand.
"What is going on here?" I said weakly.
"Oh this is just part of our inservice training for the new healthcare program that the Senate and the House are getting ready to vote on. We just wanted you to know what your service is going to be like if it goes through."
"Really? Even Medicare patients?"
"Especially Medicare patients. I hope that you didn't mind too much that we used rootbeer instead of Lyticane to deaden the place where we drew your blood. We literally wanted you to get the point."
I decided afterward that I would get my haircut, so I went up to the Dollar Cuts next to Macy's on State Street and had a lady work me over. She was an old time barber, one who had been doing hair for 35 years, one that put the little tissue around my neck first before cinching down the apron. After she did my hair, she worked my eyebrows over and the tuffs of fine white hairs that collect on my ears from time to time. I think she actually put Brylcream on my hair. I felt like a new man. It was an $11.00 haircut. She managed to get so much iron off my head that I gave her a three dollar tip. As I was paying my bill she said, "The girls from the Infusion Center called to say that they were sorry and that I was to give you a really good hair cut. They said that if you tipped really well that they would take it easy on you next time, even though it is their current policy to really stick it to everyone who comes in. Actually, they are really worried about what you are going to write about them in your blog."
As I thought about it, I laughed right out loud. I laughed all the way out to the Mustang, all the way down State Street, all the way to the house, and I am laughing as I am putting the final touches on this little entry.
Waters Blue - This morning I was prancing through the text of the first volume of my autobiography, in preparation for its printing in a month or so. As I was reviewing...
6 years ago