What Have I Been Smoking?!?

Lately I’ve had reason to question my own sanity…

Okay; so ‘sanity’ might be a bit of a stretch for me.  Let’s just say that lately I’ve been wondering if I’m crazier than I realized.

Here’s why:

A couple of weeks ago I stopped off at the lumber store.  I was in there for about two minutes, and as I walked back to my vehicle I thought, “Shit, did I forget to lock the doors?”  (I’m having a hard time adjusting to power locks after decades of locking my old car manually.)

So I walked up to the driver’s door and pulled on the handle; and was pleasantly surprised to discover that I had actually locked the car.  So I unlocked it, got in, and drove away… for about ten feet, when the overwhelming smell of cigarette smoke nearly made me gag.

I thought somebody must have walked by with a cigarette and the smoke had been momentarily sucked into the fresh air intake, so I kept driving.

A block down the street, the smell was getting stronger.

What the hell?  Had somebody flicked a live butt into my front grille?

I got out, popped the hood, and examined the front grille from top to bottom.  Nothing.

By the time I got back in the vehicle the smell had dissipated, but as soon as I drove forward again the reek was back, just as strong as if somebody had gotten into the car and lit up.

I stopped again.  Got out and checked the entire vehicle inside and out.  I even looked under the floor mats in case some diabolical smoker had seized the scant moments while I’d been inside the store to open a door (which I might have forgotten to lock after all), hide a butt somewhere, lock the car just to mess with my mind, and then flee.

But nope.  Nada.

I made several more stops where I repeatedly checked the vehicle from nose to tail and even checked the treads of my hiking boots to make sure I hadn’t stepped on a butt and carried it into the car with me.   I drove to the dealer and asked them where the secret cigarette-butt hiding place was; but they were as mystified as I.  Finally, I resigned myself to the knowledge that I was being haunted by the malevolent ghost of chainsmoker who only lit up when my car was in forward motion.

The smell is gone now and I never did find the source, so who knows?  Maybe a butt got stuck in the tire tread.  Or maybe it really was a ghost.

And speaking of ghosts in the machine, my TurboTax program is haunted, too.  Only a few days after the car debacle I was confronted by this:

TurboTax says that a Total Federal Tax of zero, minus tax credits totalling zero, equals $214.04 tax owing. I haven’t even entered my income yet.

I won’t get into the tooth-grinding frustration and unending support calls this has produced; but ultimately the TurboTax no-help-whatsoever-desk decided that it’s my fault1 their software subtracts zero from zero and gets two hundred and fourteen, and they’ve closed my so-called “support” ticket.

I’m not surprised; because clearly, I’m nuts.

Or at least, I am now

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1 Transcript of the call, after the first hour of futility:

TurboTax HelpDesk:  “You’ve done something wrong.  Our software is infallible.”

Me:  “Okay.  What have I done wrong?”

TTHD:  “I don’t know.  You’ll have to enter something somewhere on a form.  Make sure you fill in all the fields.”

Me:  “Okay, which form?”

TTHD:  “I don’t know.  We don’t give tax advice.”

Me:  “I’m not asking for tax advice.  Your software is subtracting zero from zero and getting two hundred and fourteen.”

TTHD:  “Yes, because you’ve done something wrong2.”

*repeat loop*

2 Clearly, I did do something wrong.  I bought TurboTax.

Disgusting Butt Mounds

So tell me:  When you read the title of this post, what was your mental image?

Okay, maybe that isn’t a fair question.  After all, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while, I’d be shocked if you didn’t immediately leap to an off-colour interpretation just because you know me too well.

So let’s keep this scientific and unbiased.  I’ll rephrase the question:  What would you have envisioned if you’d seen that title on the page of a serious and established online newspaper?

At this point you may be shaking your head and saying, “Get a grip.  It’s just another one of your twisted misreads.”

You’d be completely justified in thinking that, but no; this time I had read the headline correctly.  In its entirety, it read: “Will Timmins council get rid of downtown’s disgusting butt mounds?

I read it once; then again.  Triple-checked to be sure I wasn’t misreading it.

Stared at it, wondering, “What the hell can they possibly be talking about?”

And then my brain exploded with speculations and vile mental images:

Speculation 1:  Maybe the denizens of downtown Timmins have frequent and/or intentional wardrobe malfunctions that expose their disgusting butt mounds, and everybody’s sick of seeing them.  (I visualize the follow-up headline: “Timmins eyes buttcrack bylaw”.)

wardrobe malfunction

Speculation 2:  Perhaps people are reacting to one of those ill-conceived investments in Downtown Art that leaves everybody questioning the sanity of both the city council and the artist.  (New headline:  “Timmins makes cracks about butt-ugly sculpture”.)

kiss this

Speculation 3:  Or maybe the Butt Mounds are some sort of natural landscape feature that the citizens of Timmins find offensive and their city council is coming under pressure to raze the eyesore.  (New headline:  “Environmentalists implore: ‘Timmins, support your Butt Mounds!’”)

butt mounds

Sad to say, I wasn’t even close with any of my speculations.  Nope, they were talking about mounds of cigarette butts in the outdoor smoking areas:  https://www.sudbury.com/around-the-north/will-timmins-council-get-rid-of-downtowns-disgusting-butt-mounds-328274

Well, shit.  Talk about anticlimactic.  But at least it gave me a giggle or three.

What’s funny in your world this week?

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New discussion at the Virtual Backyard Book Club:  Two Guys, One Girl – What Do You Think?  Click here to have your say!