September 6th, 2006: Little Torak comes of age. Not so his idiot father.
Over the years people have asked me many times, "Jenkins, how is it that you manage to thrive while others around you fall so often by the wayside?" to which I will respond, "Wow. You all keep saying the exact same sentence, using the same words and everything!"
It's time to come clean, chums. While I cannot solve all of your problems I can at least point you in the right direction in a little spot I like to call...
Giving Good Accent
I live in Georgia, where my neighbors' accents make them sound as if the most natural thing in the world is to shoot at you from their porch with a shotgun. All too often, I find myself in conversations with people whose idea of a mathematical equation is to determine the numbers of the three cars who finished first in this week's NASCAR race, or who are genuinely confused that the last Presidential election wasn't won by Boss Hogg from the Dukes of Hazzard.
The fact is I stick out like a sore thumb with the word "Freak" written on it in neon green ink. I wear earrings, I couldn't give you the name of a single quarterback in the history of the Georgia Bulldogs, and thinking about my female cousins does not fill me with nostalgia for my wedding day. You'd think a comic book-writing, soccer-loving, Guinness-drinking Brit would most likely be found hanging from a tree with a NO TRESPASSING sign around his neck, wouldn't you?
But you'd be wrong.
In fact, I am veritably embraced by my American cousins. They think it is "cute" that I'm unable to recite the names of any of the Confederate Generals. When I express my ignorance of any of the following...
- pig roasts
- marryin' ma sister
... they seem genuinely sorry for me.
Southern girls have a way of narrowing their eyes and uttering the (now-dreaded) phrase, "You have such a purty accent" that befuddles the mind and often puts me in harm's way when Nigh Perfect is in close proximity. Where I come from, I sound like a cross between a criminal and a redneck. But here in the good old "U.S. of A." I am a king.
Here are a couple of my favorite moments of Britishism from my time here in The Colonies. All anecdotes presented are for entertainment purposes only, and should you find yourself at the business end of a twelve-gauge trying to explain to a man named Cletus that your fake British accent was "just a joke," I hereby absolve myself of all responsibility.
Frankly, I think this technique works for any guy ballsy enough to try it. For a time, I lived in a little apartment in Northampton, Massachusetts, and I was a single guy, though never single for very long.
I lived fairly close to the University of Massachusetts, near which there was a laundry frequented by pretty female college students, all of whom used to band together and wash their unmentionables in public. I learned that if a guy with a British accent were to go to the laundry on, say, a Tuesday night and if that British guy were to wander around looking confused and scratching his head at the impossible-to-decipher washing machines, then he could draw a great deal of female attention.
The first step would be to load washing powder into a dryer and stand back, then look confused as to why the clothes weren't getting wet. If the young college fillies needed any further coaxing, I would fish a treasured ten pence piece from my jeans and ask - in the thickest Cockney accent possible - if anyone had the correct change.
Now I am not a Cockney by any stretch of the imagination. Nevertheless, I can be one if I want to. I can also be from Liverpool, Scotland, and Australia.
I do not recommend you try this with a French accent.
How To Get Out Of A Very Large Speeding Ticket
For a time, I owned quite possibly the greatest automobile in the United States - my beloved cop car, Buster. One of these days I'm going to have to spin a few yarns about that car - he was pure magic... two tons of mayhem wrapped around a person driving on the wrong side of the road.
Buster's greatest moment occurred in the sleepy town of Brattleboro, Vermont, early one August morning. At the time he, myself, and three of my golf buddies were clocking speeds in excess of 120 miles per hour because we were late for a tee time at a golf course a few miles North.
As we crested a hill on a fairly narrow mountain road, we were alarmed to spot a waiting State Trooper. No doubt, the State Trooper was alarmed to spot us, especially since Buster carried a rather provocative sticker on his rear bumper, which read: Bad Cop, No Donut.
I briefly considered making a break for it - certainly, Buster was willing to give it a go - but I thought better of it given the concerned yelling of my golfing chums. Moments later, a very frantic State Patrol Vehicle crested the rise to find a former police vehicle populated by four very nervous golfing buddies traveling at a now-sedate 40 miles per hour.
I looked in my mirror. Perhaps the State Trooper hadn't noticed the streaking flash of blue that had almost caught air a few miles back. Perhaps we'd gone by so fast that the Trooper had been unable to get a firm I.D. Perhaps there was another Ford Crown Victoria on the road with a dented front Fender and blue paint faded at the front from traveling at warp speeds.
No such luck. I pulled to the side of the road, expecting the worst.
The first thing my pals and I noticed was that the State Trooper was of the female variety, and very attractive at that. My pal, Mark Mantegna, leaned to the front of the vehicle. He had had a wonderful idea:
"Jenks! She's a girl!"
"She's not a girl, Tegs... she's a bloody State Trooper! I'm doomed!"
"Yeah... but she's not bad looking. Ask her out."
The State Trooper approached, pulling down the brow of her hat and unclipping the holster of her enormous gun.
"I'm not asking her out! Are you fucking crazy?"
"What have you got to lose?"
The general consensus of opinion, though, seemed to be that this was the moment of truth for my evil powers of seduction. It was now or never. I was either going home with a copper or I was going home in a pine box.
The State Trooper approached. I quickly ran over a few of my most effective lines and settled upon the tried and tested, "'Ello, luv! It's a nice day, innit?"
I had a feeling this was not going to go well. I would need something special, and I would need to think of it quickly. I glanced in my side mirror at the approaching instrument of my death.
To my amazement, the Lady Trooper did the most curious thing: noticing Buster's "Bad Cop, No Donut" sticker, she visibly smirked.
I rolled down my window.
"Hello, officer. What seems to be the problem?"
"Do you have any idea how fast you were going?"
"Why, yes. Yes I do."
The Trooper stared at me, expectantly.
"According to my speedometer, I was doing a hundred and twenty kilometers per hour. Is that too fast?"
"You were doing a hundred and twenty miles per hour."
In my rear view mirror, "Tegs" was giving me the thumbs-up and silently mouthing the words, "Ask her out!" My other two pals were as white as ghosts. I decided to go for it.
"Blimey! That's a lot faster than I thought. I think I got the metric conversion table around the wrong way. Are you sure?"
"Of course I'm sure."
"Well, I won't do that again, Officer. What are you doing later this evening?"
The officer suddenly scowled. I cursed myself for my stupidity.
Hadn't considered she might not like boys.
"It's just that, uh... if you're still here later I'll make sure to drive a lot slower so we don't put you to any more trouble. We're all terribly sorry."
In the back of the car, two of my pals nodded enthusiastically. "Tegs" maintained a goofy expression, unable to comprehend what was occurring on account of being terminally stupid.
The female Trooper leaned down to the edge of the window and looked inside.
"I'll let you off with just a warning this time."
"Oh, thank you, Officer! That's very kind."
The Officer smiled. We had gotten away with murder, and she was none the wiser.
"Just do one thing for me: the next time you're late for a tee time, call the Pro Shop."
Final Moment of Spousal Madness
Since the last time I wrote this column, Torak the Slayer has turned six months old. He's graduating from milk to soft foods, such as pureed carrots or bananas.
This, however, did not deter Nigh Perfect from canceling the dental insurance she took out for him, and for which I have been paying since he was born.