Sir, do you know how fast you were going?

Yes. Yes I do… and apparently you do as well, officer. I got pulled over for the first time in 7 years yesterday on my way home from work. It hardly seems right, really. I was in an awesome mood, had finally gotten my satellite radio in proper working order, and had 381 horses under the hood. The fact is, I blew by the nice sheriff’s deputy in a marked car like he was sitting still and he was at least nice enough to only write me at 14 over the 65 miles per hour limit. Now I just need to figure out if I want to pay or drag my ass to court and pretend to be humbled by the experience. Somehow I think I’ll be writing a check to Shelby County sometime in the near future.

Deliverance…

My voice has been heard calling out from the wilderness and I have been delivered! Unending thanks to an old friend who with the simple word “tomorrow” has granted a reprieve from two months of delaying tactics which others were too timid to protest. With that, I conclude my short career as an emergency manager. I still love the work, but find that continuing to work under a regime willing to exploit my talents while at the same time being told that I was not yet ready for greater authority was simply intolerable.

I’m just glad this version of deliverance doesn’t have a scary banjo-playing kid.

Smell…

I’ve hear it said that there’s nothing as powerful as the sense of smell to carry us back to a moment or a place we haven’t thought about in years. I had one of those moments a few minutes ago. In smelling the combination of fresh-cut grass and the exhaust of a not-quite tuned gas engine, I was hit with an overwhelming recollection of my grandfather and his Allis Chalmers B-10 lawn tractor. I don’t think my grandfather was ever happier then when he was tooling around the yard on that mid-60s vintage machine. With that smell hanging in the air, for just a second, I was a kid again and could see people and places I haven’t set eyes on in twenty years. It was really quite remarkable and, I’m not too proud to say, it choked me up there for a minute. Memory is a funny thing like that.

Used Car Salesman…

No, I’m not changing careers, but having the ability to talk like a used car salesman has a plethora of important uses. Among the most important of them was trolling for freshman as a junior on the 5th floor of mighty Cambridge Hall. Now you all know that I’ve never really had any game to speak of, choosing instead to rely on sheer force of will and infinite patience in pursuit of the fairer sex. Theoretically, Cambridge was reserved for upperclassmen, but the 5th and 6th floors were assigned to the Honors Program, which guaranteed an influx of freshmen every semester… We’d later learn to call this a target-rich environment.

I suppose it would have been October of 1998 and I was targeting a particular freshman with lots of attention, long talks on the back patio, romantic,lingering dinners in the dining hall, and of course, booze. After an extensive “softening up” period, I decided that a frontal assault was in order, saying simply, “I’m gonna sell this like a used car… What do I need to do to make this deal?” Well, in making a long story short, for some totally unknown reason, it worked and began a whirlwind romance that would practically end with a war between the north side of the floor and the south… That’s right, our own little version of the Civil War. Come to think of it, that was also the night I learned that no matter what you are doing, having two people in a single bed is just damned uncomfortable. So, yeah, that’s the story of How “like a used car salesman” came to be a phrase in regular use. I don’t get to use the phrase often these days, but it still crops up from time to time.

Sense of smell…

I’ve hear it said that there’s nothing as powerful as the sense of smell to carry us back to a moment or a place we haven’t thought about in years. I had one of those moments a few minutes ago. In smelling the combination of fresh-cut grass and the exhaust of a not-quite tuned lawn mower, I was hit with an overwhelming recollection of my grandfather and his Allis Chalmers B-10 lawn tractor. The mid-60s vintage machine was practically new even when I knew it in the 80s. With that smell hanging in the air, for just a second, I was a kid again and could see people and places I haven’t set eyes on in twenty years. It was really quite remarkable and, I’m not too proud to say, was the best warm fuzzy I’ve had in quite a while.

Gonnaherpasyphilaids…

Gonnaherpasyphilaids is actually one of my personal favorites. I find it to be an excellent all-purpose word basically meaning that the individual in question has a high likelihood of carrying one or more diseases of the naughty regions that are non-responsive to penicillin. This word came into usage during my sophomore year as a response to the choruses of “I’d do her” that accompanied almost any chick of even modestly attractive features. That is to say, “Yeah, you’d do her, but you’d probably end up with gonnaherpasyphilaids.” This term is still regularly in use.

Taking requests…

At the request of a dear friend, I have undertaken a small project to catalog many of the “Tharpisms” that have evolved over the years. Many of them have their origins high atop Cambridge Hall in the land of single rooms and honors students. Others are more recent additions to my personal lexicon, but nevertheless, they will be familiar to anyone who has spent any amount of time anywhere near me in the last 10 years… If there are any particular favorites, feel free to make a request. I’ll start you off with two that top my list in the coming posts.