When music lovers become parents

Who's idea was it to let Bekah and I become parents? There must be something wrong with us, some mental deficiency... as we attempted to teach our son the chorus to Under the Bridge. Why we did this is still a mystery, but all intentions aside, the result is different than expected.

His version is in bold. In case you are not familiar with the song, the real lyrics follow.

I-oh whan feeeeel (I don't ever want to feel)
Ike a day! (Like I did that day)
Take luv (Take me to the place I love)
Awl duhway (Take me all the way)

List of people that don't deserve to be parents; who, by the grace of God, have been blessed with children that will hopefully grow up to be nothing like their parents:
Nicholas Casey
Bekah Casey
Add your name here _________________


The Pillsbury Dough Boy and the Burger King Security Guard

Yes, you did read that correctly, Burger King had a security guard. I was just as confused as you probably are now. Why? For what reason would a fast food joint in a Seattle suburb need to hire a security guard? I have been in numerous Burger Kings between Seattle and Denver (even one in Canada) and I have never seen a security guard patrolling the grounds. Not even in the Burger King in downtown Seattle. Nor have I seen them in any other fast food chain.

It was a strange sight, at 19, walking into the Evergreen Way Burger King in south Everett, to see a security guard. I grew up on Burger King (my parents had a strange aversion to McDonalds) and the security guard feature was new to me, as was the rest of the BK dough boy experience.

It was the last summer before I moved away from home, and much of my adventures were a last hurrah before Shane, T-Dog, and I started out on our own. There were six of us that night: Pike and his sister Shelly, Nick and his sister Jen, Shane, and myself. We had been hanging out at the Everett Mall for most of the afternoon and evening; as closing time approached we found ourselves bored, hungry, and cruising north on Evergreen. Shane and I were the drivers. Nick and Shelly rode with Shane while Pike and Jen were in my car. Shane pulled off first and I followed him into the Burger King Parking lot, beginning the most unlikely of adventures.

Once inside, the security guard was the most prominent figure behind the counter. Dressed in a Charlie Brown yellow shirt, tight enough to be painted on, tucked in to too tight black denim that would have been better fitting on a Chippendales dancer, this meathead was built like a genetic crossbreed of a buffalo and a honey bee... hopped up on steroids. He was brooding and bald; not the male pattern baldness that will someday consume my hair, but the redneck Neo-Nazi I shave my head with a strait edge razor kind of bald. The long lost Stryper fan looked out of place behind the counter. Adding to the oddity, he walked around insulting the kitchen staff, slapping “kick me I’m stupid” signs to the back of the nerdy kid working the cash register, while sucking down a king sized chocolate milk shake. He finished off that shake and refilled it with more of the frosty brown dairy product before we even had a chance to order. The addition of six new customers did not diminish the flow of insults and emotional abuse the security guard inflicted upon his coworkers, if anything he increased his efforts to humiliate the BK staff as if he was performing for an audience.

Part of me felt pity for the poor BK employees for having to endure such torture. The other part of me wanted to jump the counter and punch the guy, but I resisted. Somehow, I felt that punching the security guard would be equivalent to a rabbit trying to tackle an elephant.

I ordered a hamburger - ketchup only, but they ran out of ketchup so I ate it dry. Jen ordered a chocolate milkshake, but they ran out of chocolate (seems the security guard drank the last of it). Instead Jen ordered vanilla. Other things that Burger King ran out of that night: cheese, salt, onion rings, napkins, and ice. The place was falling apart: the abusive security guard, the employees near tears, and a stock supply that seemed like they had not received a delivery in months.

It was not a pleasant experience, but the six of us made the best of it. At the front of the store was a five foot tall cardboard cut out of the Pillsbury dough boy (and you were wondering what the dough boy had to do with this story). The giant dough boy was advertising the new miniature cinnamon rolls Burger King had added to their breakfast menu. We joked about how it would match the décor in Shane’s room. We left, everyone except Shane... something about having to use the restroom. Huddled by the cars, Nick and Shelly waited for Shane to unlock his doors so we could leave.

Moments later, we heard someone inside shout “HEY” and Shane burst through the doors, Pillsbury dough boy in hand.

“Nic, do you have a rope?” he asked me. “We need to attach this to your car.”

I did not have a rope, but I did have a sunroof. Shane threw the large piece of cardboard onto the roof of my Acura Legend, opened up his car, and started the engine. I opened up my sunroof and employed the only method available to secure the dough boy: Pike reached up and held on to it with both hands, making sure it would not blow off as we drove away. Again, I followed Shane. He turned south on Evergreen, but immediately turned into the Value Village parking lot across the street. He wanted to fit the dough boy into his car, but he drove a hatchback Ford Escort (a white car he affectionately nicknamed Iceberg). He made a couple of attempts to stick the cut out into his trunk, but he could not fit it in AND close the back door. The only way to fit the cardboard advertisement into his car would be to lay down the back seat. Unfortunately that seat was occupied by Shelly.

Shane tossed the stand up back on top of my car and we drove off... again. Shane still took the lead, driving to the north end of the parking lot, passing Burger King on the other side of the highway. I followed close behind and when we reached Evergreen Way, Shane inexplicably turned south. Naïve as I was, I followed. Pike and I had been laughing at the madness of our pilfering, but within seconds, Pike noticed something unusual.

“Who’s that crazy guy jumping up and down in the middle of road.” Pike asked.

Before I go any father, I must explain something about this stretch of Evergreen Way. It is one of the busiest north/south routes through Everett. Traffic is thick at all hours, even the twilight hours of our exit from Burger King. If you follow it south, it becomes Highway 99, which in downtown Seattle comprises the famous Alaskan Viaduct. Traveling north, and skipping a few blocks east to Broadway, you can follow Highway 99 all the way to the Canadian border. At this particular junction between Burger King and Value Village, Evergreen Way has a 45mph speed limit with seven lanes: three northbound, three southbound, and one turning lane in the middle. Sane people do not normally dance like Donkey Kong in the middle of Evergreen Way, especially at 10 pm.

Where was I... Oh yeah.

“Who’s that crazy guy jumping up and down in the middle of road.” Pike asked.

I shrugged and continued driving. Within seconds the identity of the crazy guy jumping up and down in the middle of the road became clear; it was the bald gorilla in yellow and black from Burger King. I had just reached speed limit when the crazy jumping gorilla stepped in front of my car. It takes a crazy person to stand in the middle of the road, but only a fool would step into traffic to play chicken with a large speeding machine of metal and glass. I slammed on my brakes to prevent hitting the security guard. Although I had no sympathy for the guy and wouldn’t mind injuring him, I did not want to damage my car.

As I skidded to a stop the guard started running toward me, charging my car like a bull charges a matador. Perplexed and not sure what to do, Pike let go of the Pillsbury dough boy. The security guard's once pale skin had turned beet red. He pounced onto the hood of my car, growled, and snatched the dough boy display. As soon as he rolled off to the side of my car, I stepped as hard on the accelerator as my car would allow. As we tore away, the guard slapped my back window hard enough I thought it would shatter. Jen screamed. She must have had the same thought I did because she was leaning forward, hands covering the back of her head.

I looked in my rearview mirror as we drove off. Two blocks later, the guard was still standing in the middle of the road. One fist in the air, as if threatening to hunt me down; his other arm around the Pillsbury dough boy like a prodigal lover returned. Six lanes of traffic passing on either side.

Side note: Shane drove buy Burger King later that night and the Pillsbury dough boy was not in the store, but instead, sticking out of the dumpster.

Second side note: The security guard left a dent in my hood. When people doubted the retelling of my story I would show them my car, and they believed.

Third side note: This is also the same night that Shane and I drove side by side down Evergreen to the Snohomish/King County line at 11 pm... at 25 mph in a 45, with a parade of irate honking drivers behind us. Poor Jen, curled up in as close of a fetal position as her seat belt allowed. She was afraid that some one would shoot us. We all returned home safely, though sore from laughter.


Almost Hypothermia

My office (actually, it is two rows of four computers that I share with five of my peers) is cold. Chilly. Frigid. Icy. Air conditioned in January. Winter weather indoors, I might as well stand outside in my underwear it is so cold in there. My fingers are turning blue… Call me the abominable snowman.

When I was 19, I worked at Albertsons for a while, throwing freight and stocking shelves. About half of my shift was spent in the dairy cooler, stacking milk crates, and making sure the store had a full supply of all things that came from the udder of a cow. My “office” feels like that dairy cooler in the back of the Marysville Albertsons.

I love my job, but honestly, if I wanted to feel this cold at work, I would have picked a different profession.


Real life conversation: I'm not a telemarketer; I just sell products by phone at inconvenient times

[ Bekah’s cell phone rings, interrupting our conversation.]

Bekah: Hello?


Bekah: (mock excitement) He is, can I ask who’s calling?


[ Bekah holds her phone out to me with an annoyed look on her face. Perplexed, I ask who it is. I have my own cell phone, so no one calls her looking for me. Apparently, some credit card company has called six times all ready *in one day* looking for me, this caller would be number seven. I do not have a credit card, so I know it is not for collections. Only one of the previous six callers would speak with my wife, and he insisted he would call back, despite Bekah’s request not to. I do not remember the name of the company, but they had the word “gold” in it. From here on, I shall refer to them as Golden Idiots. ]

Me: Hello?

Golden Idiot: Is this Nicholas?

Me: It is.

Golden Idiot: Hello, sir, my name is Fran with the Golden Idiots. We have pre approved you for a line of credit to help you rebuild your credit.

Me: I don’t care. You’ve called me seven times today. I personally believe that seven calls in one day is a bit excessive for a telemarketing company, and you can not…

Golden Idiot: (interrupting) Sir, We are not a telemarketing company.

Me: You have a product that you are offering, and you are calling me. That makes you a telemarketer. (thinking: you’re not a non-profit organization, civic or government agency, no are you conducting a survey or requesting campaign contributions. You are a telemarketer.)

Golden Idiot: (aggravation beginning to show) Sir, we are a financial institution, we do not…

Me: (my turn to interrupt) I’m sorry, but I used to work for a “financial institution” and we did telemarketing. Do not ever call me again.

Golden Idiot: Well, you have a nice eh…

[ I can see it clearly. She’s gripping her keyboard like it is the bottom rung of a fire escape, knuckles ghost white. Jaw clenched, teeth barred, cheeks flushed, hair frayed, temples pulsing, and forehead creased; her body trembles as her blood red eyes burn. She is staring down her mortal enemy, the computer, as if it is the embodiment of all things evil. She is repeating the mantra in her head, "I am not allowed to disconnect the call. I am not allowed to..." ]

Golden Idiot: Have a nice life! (click…)

[ I snap the phone shut and hand it back to Bekah ]

Me: She told me to have a nice life. I don’t think we’ll hear from them again.


Generation Gaps

"I must study politics and war that my sons have liberty to study mathematics and philosophy in order to give their children a right to study painting, poetry and music."
- John Adams, second president of the United States

This statement of civil pursuits in America is not only an interesting look into the inner psyche of our founding fathers, but also a reflection of the affairs of our current society.

My grandparent's generation is the greatest generation. They are the ones who fought in Korea, and World War II before that. Their passions and ethics stemmed from a sense of duty; it is what they felt was owed to their families and their nation. They waged wars, set laws, and focused on politics for one reason only: to make this nation a better place for their kids.

My parents generation worked with the sciences, science of the mind and the world around us. The delivered the concept of civil discontent and disobedience. They gave us the internet, environmentalism, satellite television, and innumerable revolutions in technology and society. They brought us into the information age.

My generation's realm of comfort is in the arts. Raised by MTV, we are desperate for stimulation. Our music is loud and obnoxious. Our poems bare our souls. Our appetite for instant gratification seems to dictate the policies and habits of the generations that paved our way. We are creative, yet misguided.

It is funny. The first generation acted out of duty, the next generation acted out of freedom, while the last generation has mistaken a privilege as a right.

I think it is about time we restart this pattern. It is time we start training the new generation to care about our country, to take a stand and fight. If we don't take that step, future generations may not have freedom to pursue science or the right to create art.