How Being Under-Qualified Saved Me

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Normally I wouldn’t be especially satisfied with being told that I’m under-qualified for a specific job position. However, having the lack of one specific qualification saved me from moving somewhere I really didn’t want to live. Now that I have the definitive answer let me start from the beginning of how this all came about. Before I get to far ahead of myself let me explain the above photograph. It was taken earlier this year by my cousin who lives outside of Bismarck, North Dakota and sent to my mother (his aunt by marriage) to illustrate what a great winter they were having. My mother thought it humorous to show me the photo since I spend 98% of the year in shorts and flip flops. Anyway, back to the story. Seems in my family circle news of me being laid off has expanded out to extended family as well. Well, my cousin, who has lived in and around Bismarck his entire life, works for a company there that manufacturers diesel powered recreational vehicles (RVs), buses, and large specialty vehicles. Anyway, he had a position open and wanted to give me an opportunity to fill it for him.

Our first telephone conversation was short and to the point, he needed my resume. Now, that’s convenient because I had recently updated my resume. After a few days he called me for an impromptu telephone interview. Seems I offered everything he was looking for with one exception, I don’t have any over the counter sales experience. It would appear that being a bartender isn’t considered actual sales experience. Who knew. Unfortunately, this minor detail is a major deal breaker. In many ways I’m not disappointed in the decision, in other ways, financially speaking, it was a let down. I mean, I just let an $80,000.00 a year job slip through my fingertips as well as a company sponsored relocation. So, in that regard it sucks a bit. Perhaps I wasn’t meant to live that far north, because I’m really not a fan of the cold weather or snow.

In review, I would have had to uproot my family, lease out my home & property, and go live in a place that is known for its harsh winter environment. What in the fuck was I smoking! I imagine, if things would have turned out different, that we would have moved. But, I think I would have regretted leaving Texas. Plus, those damn yankees talk funny, it would have been like moving to a foreign country or something. Personally, I think the right thing happened, maybe for the wrong reasons, but I can live with that.

The Blonde With The Hip Tattoo

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First of all I would like to take the opportunity to thank all the people who continuously support The Magic Weekend in my efforts to share the fantastic stories of your weekends. It has been fun to watch the evolution of this particular segment of The Sting Of The Scorpion. The unfortunate part of my role here is I have to weed through and moderate the flow of stories that hit my e-mail. I spend so much time reading that it cuts into my time I could be posting these stories and then throw in a little life, well you get where I’m going with this, it becomes a time issue for me. As well, many of the great stories come without picture proof and their candidacy automatically gets dropped out of the hat, which sucks, because some of them are really good. On the other extreme end of that is that I get e-mails with a butt-load of pictures, really good pictures, but have very little story if any. Now, I don’t know why people don’t reply back to me when I request more information but that is the way it happens, y’all send the first e-mail and forget all about it. Then we have the perfect combination of story and pictures which y’all will see today. Now, let it be known that there were more pictures and the use of those pictures were approved but due to the nature of the pictures they will not make it into this post. Y’all will understand why later I hope.

This weeks story comes from Jason, a University of Houston student with an undisclosed major, who has lived in the Houston area his whole life. For the most part he lived on the fringes of the city and when he got accepted to the University of Houston he moved into the city to cut down on his commute considerably. Where he lives puts him only 4 miles from school and also just a few miles from work. He states he works at a book re-sale shop in his off time to help offset the bills. On most days he makes his commute to UH on his bike but on days with really crappy weather he is forced to take the bus. As was the case a few Thursdays ago, typical Houston weather, the weather man said sunny and clear all day but rained most of the day. It’s like the weather has a mind of its own or the weatherman never looks out of his window, take your pick. So, let’s get started so everyone can see what his story has in store for us. Y’all can be the judge, does it have sex, jail, money, blood, or fame?

“Scorp-

I have read your blog for some time now, it used to be my dirty little secret that I would look at when I knew nobody was looking because I never knew what you might be showing, but I always knew I would be liking it. The Magic Weekend is one of my favorite sections because it’s true the real life just happens before our eyes without us having to do a thing in return. I realized that after what had happened to me over the last few weeks that I just might have something for your blog. A few Thursdays ago I was forced to ride the bus to class due to some really shitty weather. It wasn’t supposed to rain but of course being in Houston it did because the weather-men here suck ass. Nonetheless, I rode the bus to get to class instead of riding my bike. The bus was fairly packed, by packed I mean that the standing people had to hold on to other people standing in the aisle. I think the rain brought in the over-run of people because I have ridden the bus before and only a handful of people were riding. I’m lucky because my ride is really short. After a few stops the bus cleared out for the most part, the next stop being mine so I got my stuff together. As I was getting off the bus I looked down on one of the seats and noticed a nice cell phone. I looked around and didn’t see anybody around so I picked it up to give to the driver. The driver explained to me that he could not accept any lost items and if I wished to turn it in that I needed to do so at the campus police department. All I can think is this is great, now I get to babysit somebody’s phone until the afternoon because there is no time to go turn it in right away.

Almost immediately after getting into class the phone kept going off, call after call, text after text, and finally I just had to turn it off so there wasn’t any trouble with the instructor. I had a real heavy schedule that day so I was busy the entire day. My last class ran a little long and before I knew it I was in a rush to get to my part-time job. It was still raining so Instead of walking I went ahead and took the bus again. After getting lectured about timeliness and how there are thousands of kids who would like to have my job I was finally able to get to work. I have a simple job that takes hours every day. I sift through all the “bought” books to organize and place on the shelves. It’s time-consuming but it pays the bills for the most part. I worked a little overtime that day so I got out real late. The rain had stopped so I went ahead and walked home. After eating a late supper I decided to dig into my homework. As I emptied my bag the phone I found came tumbling out and I had my first “oh shit” moment of the night. When I went to turn it on I found that the battery was completed down so I plugged it in to my charger for a while so I could try to figure out who it belonged to. After a couple of hours of schoolwork, making it about 1am, I passed by the phone and noticed it was fully charged, so I unplugged it and decided to sit down and take a look. The damn phone had like 60 missed calls and just as many text messages. Whoever owns this phone is pretty busy with it. Once I went through the hundreds of contacts I found her contact information but the only thing it listed was her cell phone number. I looked through some of the texts to see who she texts the most because I was going to send that person a text letting them know to contact her with my information so I could get her phone back to her. I took a picture of the phone for “proof” and sent it to who was listed as “sister” in her contacts. I wrote “My name is Jason and I found this found which belongs to Ella on the bus this morning on the UH campus. Please contact her and forward her this number so I can get the phone back to her”. I sent the text from Ella’s phone with the above picture enclosed. I was expecting an immediate reply but it was just after 2am so I wasn’t holding my breath.

Out of both boredom and curiosity I started snooping in her phone a bit, just to be nosey while I waited. One of the first pictures I saw was of this blonde girl with a tattoo on her hip. I couldn’t tell if she was wearing a bikini or what it was. She seemed to be pointing at her hair, bed head would be my guess. There were hundreds of pictures of this particular tattooed girl on this phone. I began to wonder if this was Ella. Out of all of the pictures only a handful were of this girl with clothes on. Most of them were of her topless and many times bottomless. This was quite a bit to take in all at once. I hit the bed around 4am and went right to sleep, dreaming all night of the blonde girl with the hip tattoo. Who was she? That morning there was a text on Ella’s phone from contact “sister”. All it said was that she went to Ella’s apartment to tell her about her phone. She wasn’t home so she had to stick a note on her door. When Ella gets in contact with her then she will let me know. Okay, I will wait. A few days went by, 6 to be exact, and finally a text back from sister telling me that Ella will be calling me from this number when she gets over to her, please be looking out for it. For 2 more days there was nothing, I carried her phone everywhere I went, she got many texts and many calls, but not from the sister’s number. I was sitting out on my patio doing some homework when the phone rang, it was from the sister phone number. I answered it of course. An angel’s voice asked me if I was for real and I really had her phone. I told her obviously because I am talking on it. We arranged for me to return it to her at a little pizza pub not to far from my apartment. I asked how I would know who she was and how would I recognize her from everybody else. She replied by telling me to go to the photos in her phone and look for the blonde girl with the tattoo on her hip. I didn’t tell her that we had been fucking in my mind for more than a week now because I was already in lust with the blonde girl with the hip tattoo.

I got to the pizza pub right on time. I waited around a bit and finally I saw her walk through the door. She looked amazing in person. I walked up to Ella and introduced myself. Then, being sneaky, I said she looked allot like the girl I have seen on her phone but could she prove it by showing me the tattoo on her hip. She took my arm and led me to a booth, sat me down, and she remained standing in front of me. She looked around a bit, waited for two people to pass us by, then slowly unbuttoned her jeans, slid them down a bit, and exposed the tattoo. Then she asked if I was satisfied. I guess that will do. She sat down next to me, really close, and I handed her the phone. She asked me to hold on a minute and let her check texts and messages because she really wanted to talk to me. Which was fine with me because I was somewhat mesmerized with her every movement. She took all of 3 or 4 minutes and she was done, now it was my turn I guess. She took ahold of my hand with both of hers and asked what she could do to repay my patience and kindness. Tell the truth, a payment option never crossed my mind so I had to tell her to let me think on it for a bit, let’s eat something and that should give me time to think. Then, I hatched my plan, I told her that “if” she could cook that I would like a home cooked meal in my apartment. She told me that she thinks that can be arranged and we set the date for this past Saturday. I gave her my address and phone number and we parted ways right there. I watched her walk out the door, it was just like in the movies, hot girl walking out the door with the lights coming through the glass to illuminate her shape as she disappears into it. I needed to get home, I needed to clean up my pig pen because there was no way she was going to see it like it was, and I only had two days. I don’t think I have actually cleaned my apartment once in the 2 1/2 years I have lived there. Tells you allot about my lack of social life and entertaining.

Shortly after 8pm Saturday evening there is a light knock on my door. I tried to move slow to not give away my anticipation but I nearly tripped over the end table getting to it as fast as I did. I opened the door and Ella stood before me, as beautiful as I remember her to be. She asked if it would be okay if we had one more for dinner because her sister really wanted to meet me as well. Before I could nod, or comment, or move, her sister walked up to the door. Holy fuck! They are twins! I must have had a stupid shit eating grin on my face because the two of them just giggled as the walked by me. After I picked my jaw up off the floor I turned to close the door. They were both carrying grocery bags so I’m thinking this ought to be one hell of a dinner they were going to be preparing. I was instructed to remain in the living room and to never come into the kitchen unless I was called. All I can think now is that they are serial killers and they are making me a poisonous last meal. As much as my imagination was running away from me I was able to remain focused, for the most part. After about an hour I was instructed to have a seat at the kitchen table (sadly it is a folding card table, but I have 3 chairs) and remain with my eyes closed until told otherwise. I could hear them moving around me, I could smell their perfume beginning to mix in with the smells of something I was guessing to be Italian, and they both continuously brushed me or set a hand on my shoulder as they moved by. One of them placed a napkin very gently, but firmly on my lap for me. I heard them take their seats, one on either side of me, and I heard the magic words, “open your eyes now please”. Talk about an amazing first view after opening my eyes, both of them were sitting extremely close to me on both side and both of them were completely naked, oh, and , yea, I was right, they had prepared lasagna. Wow, I mean it is hard to put into words what I was feeling. And the kicker, they both have the identical tattoo but on opposite hips, how weird is that. No wonder I didn’t know there were pictures of both of them when I thought I was only looking at one of them. They served all three of us, we had wine as well, and we sat there and ate. They both were in charge of conversation and we talked about really nothing but I was enjoying the conversation 100%. When the meal was done, they cleared the table, told me to go have a seat, and they went to the kitchen where I could hear them doing dishes. I know, right, bonus!

They both came out and sat on both sides of me on the couch. I asked what was going on, not that I minded, but this all seems way to good to be true. Grace, the “sister” started by saying she knows I went through all the pictures on Ella’s phone so I have already seen both of them naked multiple times so they just wanted to skip all the formalities. They did say that there was nothing sexual going on here and there would not be anything sexual going to happen, not yet. So, we sat there into the wee hours of the morning talking, drinking wine, and getting to know each other, just the 3 of us. They volunteered to take as many pictures as I wanted just as long as I promised they would never make it onto the internet, ever. I agreed. Then, they got dressed and that was it, they were gone. I knew I had to send this story to you the next morning but I had one problem, no pictures. Problem solved, I called Ella and Grace and they sent me a number of pictures which I am forwarding to you, so I hope some of them at least will be used. And that’s it, hopefully the three of us will remain “friends” and keep in close contact.”

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Two of the pictures to be exact were usable here for this story. However, I didn’t mind Jason sharing all the rest as well. So, let’s review the criteria. Was there sex? No, but there was nudity. Was there jail? No. Was there blood? No. Was there fame? No. Was there money? Not exactly, but there was a reward and in my book that counts in this category. I look forward to any follow up there may be because if there is I’m sure it will be pretty interesting to say the very least. I hope y’all enjoyed Jason’s story and will return to see more. Which makes me want to ask all of y’all, what did y’all do this weekend? Sex? Jail? Blood? Money? or Fame? E-mail The Sting Of The Scorpion with your fantastic tale and be sure to include many pictures, because without pictures it’s probably bullshit anyway.

Me And My 1973 VW Thing

 Only surviving picture of my 1973 VW Thing (circa 1983)


See an archived blog post called
A Moment In Time Became A Memory
for a story involving this VW Thing.


A brief history lesson of how I ended up with this one of a kind car known only as the Thing. My parents, who lived in Rapid City South Dakota at the time, purchased the 1973 VW Thing in the fall of 1973 for my mother to drive. In 1975 my parents divorced and my dad kept the car. My mother re-married a few years later and moved us to Houston Texas. My dad remained in South Dakota but moved to Sioux Falls. Before I was old enough to drive legally I learned how to drive in that Thing. When I was 14 my dad passed away in an accident. Having no will to speak of my grand mother saw to it that I took possession of what she considered to be my car even before he died. I drove it until 1988 when I sold it just prior to leaving for Japan because I joined the Air Force. I have regretted selling it every day. But that’s life, right? We do things everyday that we may regret and want to change? Anyway……..The reason we have gathered here today is to actually take a walk back into time, back to 1973. Do y’all remember where you were in 1973? I don’t plan on writing about all of 1973, rather I’m going to give a short history lesson about the 1973 VW Thing. Volkswagen was always believed to be on the cutting edge of bringing the “people” what they wanted and has secured itself a place in pop culture worldwide. You might have a hard time finding that one poor soul who has never heard of Volkswagen or VW. Even the young bucks today know what it is. They may not know what it’s all about but it always seems Volkswagen tries to keep their products fresh, popular, and on the scene for each coming generation of drivers. Take me, I grew up in and around the VW brand. My parents owned this VW Thing, a Rabbit, Bus (Transporter), Westfalia Camper, Dune Buggy, and the Crew Cab Pickup are the ones I can remember right off the top of my head. My dad thought VW’s were great and had just a few as you can see. Of all of them tho, the 1973 VW Thing was my absolute favorite. The information I will be adding now, to include the brochure pages seen below have all been borrowed from a variety of places on the internet over time because most of it was used in a history report my son did for a 6th grade paper early last year. I don’t remember where I gathered most of this information from, I just know it took a fair amount of time. I won’t intentionally step on anyone’s toes and if I do just realize that this is all written in celebration of the all time great and grand VW Thing.
The VW Thing might just look like the illegitimate love child of a shipping container and the common everyday dumpster, but the Thing was in fact the ultimate resurrection of the German military vehicle known as the “Kubelwagen”. The Thing was originally built for the Bundeswehr (German Federal Army) and was designated the Mehrzweckwagen (multi-purpose vehicle). More than just a specific model of car, the Kubelwagen was truly a complex conceptual idea. Consider this tidbit, most Americans consider and call a military runabout a “Jeep” generically instead of anything specific. Get the idea? If we break down the word Kubelwagen  we will see that Kubel means bucket and Wagen means car, so what could have been a better name for this steel tub of a car than the Thing? Nothing, there’s not anything that could possible describe the car better.


But, this VW convertible breadbox was only called the Thing in North America when it was introduced in 1973. Elsewhere it was known as the Trekker, the Safari, or just simply the Type 181 for left hand steering models and Type 182 for right hand steering models. The Thing was actually built on the same chassis as the pre-1968 Microbus and was powered by VW’s air-cooled, 46-hp, 1600cc flat four engine. Your only option was a manual four speed transmission. This car was definitely not built for speed, unless you consider 0-60 in 23 seconds to be blazing fast. The 1973 VW Thing came in three eye catching colors, Pumpkin Orange, Sunshine Yellow, and Blizzard White.


The interior of the Thing was the very definition of stripped down. The only instrumentation was a speedometer that housed a fuel gauge on it’s dial. Most cars had a glove box, but not the Thing, the Thing merely had a glove hole since it lacked a door altogether. The great thing about the interior of the Thing was that it could be entirely washed out with a hose or be left open to the rain and it all drained out thru holes in the floor with no harm to the car.
It wasn’t the conveniences offered or any great abilities that sucked people into falling in love with the Thing, it was the super screwy appearance that made people either love it or hate it. The Thing had some pretty cool features like the rag top either folded down or could be removed totally, the windshield (the only glass window) laid forward to rest on the hood, all four doors were detachable and interchangeable front to rear. The heater was “optional” equipment and was gasoline fueled, drawing it directly from the gas tank. Most importantly, however, was the Thing was just so very, very, weird looking. The Thing wasn’t the typical vehicle a regular housewife or anybody normal would consider buying.


Naturally, the youth of America loved the Thing, however, the youth of America had a small problem, they couldn’t afford a brand spanking new VW Thing which was priced at $3150.00 and that wasn’t cheap in 1973. The Thing costs as much as many of the sports cars offered in 1973 and was nearly $1000.00 more than a 1973 Beetle. The Thing was considered to be real expensive for such a basic mode of transportation. To downplay it being expensive to purchase, Volkswagen used advertising that talked about the Thing’s modest off-road abilities and pitted it against more expensive off-road vehicles of the day. However, the two-wheel drive Thing with it’s four-wheel independent suspension had little chance of competing with other vehicles that were built to ride the trails.In 1973 Ralph Nader pushed to have the VW Thing pulled from the U.S. market on the grounds that it failed to meet the safety standards for passenger cars. Nader soon got his wish and the tighter regulations forced Volkswagen to stop importation of the Thing after the 1974 model year. Only about 25,000 Things were imported for sale in the two years the Thing was sold in the United States. Since so many of the parts are commonly shared with the Beetle and Microbus, the Thing is inexpensive to run and maintain. What else could one expect from a bucket car?
Even back when I was driving my Thing in high school it was not a car that you saw driving down the road. In the town I grew up in just south of Houston I never saw another Thing driving around. Did people know me for the car I drove, perhaps, since it was hard to miss the orange box driving down the road. My girlfriend (now my ex-wife) had a nickname for my orange Thing, she called it The Great Pumpkin. Yes, there is a small reference to Charlie Brown and the Peanuts here. It was a fine name as far as I was concerned, it was painted Pumpkin Orange. This wasn’t my only vehicle in high school, I also drove a jacked up 4×4 1980 Ford F250 pick up with a big block 460 jammed in it since I worked with my step-father doing concrete contracting. But, that truck got such poor gas mileage it cost allot to drive on a casual basis. Where as in my Thing I could drive what seemed like forever on a tank of gas. I have many fond memories of my Thing, as I look back in time I’m reminded of a solid fact, it never broke down on me. But, I did keep the oil changed, I did keep it lubed up, I kept it clean and shiny, and I didn’t drive it like the hot rod it wasn’t born to be.


I have mentioned I regret ever selling my Thing. It’s very true, I do regret it. Why? I think of the fun my family and I could have in it today. I see one driving down the road on occasion and it gets me wanting one again ever more than before. I have come across my fair share of Things for sale over the years but the owners are usually pretty proud and don’t want to let them go for what I think would be a fair price. I’m kinda torn however, in a way I would like to find one to be restored and in other ways I would like to find one that is an immediate driver. I suppose one day I will just bite the bullet and spend the money for one. I would also like to find a 1968 VW Crew Cab Pickup because I think it would be real cool to bring one of those back to life with my own special flare. So, if you live somewhere where either of these vehicles can be bought at a reasonable price I would appreciate y’all passing that information on to me @ Scorpion Sting because I would really appreciate it. Also, if you have a VW thing story of your own you would like to share I would really like to hear about it. Make it long enough and I will even feature it as a guest post. Well, thanks for listening to me ramble on about my Thing and the days of the past. I found it gave me a new perspective writing this post and has left me with remembering many happy memories.