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Rick & Bubba's Expert Guide to God, Country, Family, and Anything Else We Can Think Of
By Rick Burgess Bill Bussey Martha Bolton
W Publishing GroupCopyright © 2007 Rick Burgess
All right reserved.
Chapter OneErrand Boy
Have any of you married men ever noticed how easy it is to go from being a well-respected professional, who has worked hard to get to a certain position in life, to being nothing more than an errand boy for your wife? Even some of the most powerful men on earth-CEOs, celebrities, and world leaders-have been seen walking into grocery stores with a list of items to pick up for their wives before they dared to come home. I don't know if this is a power trip for women or if they think running errands is the modern-day version of dragon slaying to prove how much we love them. Whichever it is, wives do seem to enjoy sending their men out on errands.
I have trained myself to check in with my wife, Sherri, every time I leave the house to see if she needs me to do anything while I'm out. It's a preemptive maneuver. If I ask what she wants me to do before she has time to get a list together, she will only name one or two things. But if I give her time, she will keep adding to the list until it's so long that to accomplish it all I will never be able to return home again.
One day, though, she had just three things for me to do. The first thing on the list was to go by the toy store and pick up a few last-minute Christmas gifts that we still needed to buy. Then I was to pick up pictures of the baby at a photography store. And finally, she wanted me to stop by the optometrist's and pick up her new glasses. None of it seemed too demanding, so I agreed.
Now, because of its location, I decided that the toy store would be my first stop. I knew what I was going to get, and I figured it would take me ten minutes tops. What I didn't factor in, however, was that just before Christmas, the customers at this store have been known to wait in line long enough for the teenage clerk to qualify for retirement.
I grabbed the toys and suffered through the shortest checkout line, then I got in my car and headed off to my next stop, Sherri's optometrist. I made good time and was feeling pretty pleased with myself. That is until I got out of my car, felt for my wallet, and realized it wasn't there. I checked under the car seat, on top of the sun visor, and in the side pockets. The wallet was nowhere to be found. Now a little bit of panic started to kick in.
I mentally retraced all my steps back to where I'd last had my wallet. The toy store. It had to be there. I had taken it out of my pocket to give the girl my debit card. Maybe I'd left it on the counter. Maybe I dropped it when I went to put it back in my pocket. Or maybe it was somewhere in the parking lot.
I called the toy store on my cell phone and heard the recorded voice tell me how important my call was. The voice repeatedly told me this for the next fifteen minutes. Just as I started to say, "If my call is important to you, I wouldn't be here holding for fifteen minutes!" the clerk finally came on the line. I explained my situation to her and asked if anyone had reported finding my wallet.
Now, if you've ever lost your wallet or purse, you know exactly what was running through my mind. I was playing out all the scenarios that could be happening to my wallet at that very moment, and none of them were good. I was thinking that right at that moment someone had my debit and credit cards and was buying all the things that I had denied myself for the past twenty years. That was the worst pain of all. Hey, why should he get to have a Jet Ski? I've been wanting one for years! Tickets to the Super Bowl? I can't afford those and make the mortgage too!
You also start thinking about all the other important things that were in your wallet, things that you're going to have to replace. Like your driver's license. But I remembered that I didn't really like the picture on the one I had, so I was fine with that. You don't even think about getting any of your cash back. That's a given. Cash is the first to go, so in your mind you give that up immediately.
While I was processing all of this, the clerk came back on the line.
"Sorry, it's not here, sir."
So I drove back to the toy store to look in the parking lot. Now, let me just say that I love the fact that Bubba and I are on a lot of TV commercials now. I love the fact that we are recognized by the general public. But in cases like this, when you're crawling around a parking lot on your hands and knees, it leads to a lot of confusion. Since Bubba and I do a lot of radio contests, a group of onlookers apparently assumed that it was some sort of bumper-sticker promotion and I was looking at people's cars to see if any of them had the Rick and Bubba bumper sticker.
They started yelling, "Over here, Rick! I got one over here!" And slight mania breaks out. I, of course, would have to tell them that it wasn't a promotion. I didn't really want to say that I was looking for my wallet because the guy who had it might hear me and run. So I walked back into the toy store and asked them to look again. They insisted the wallet was not there, and then I started to panic. I asked the cashier who waited on me if she would mind looking around her station just one more time. She got offended, thinking that I'm accusing her of stealing my wallet. I tried to salvage the situation by explaining the three-errands day I had and how this was really throwing me off my schedule.
But she repeated, "Sir, we don't have your wallet."
On the way out of the store, I stopped and looked in the trashcan, thinking maybe someone found it and just threw it away. But it wasn't there either. I retraced my steps over and over again. But it was nowhere to be found. Then I conceded. I declared to myself that I had indeed lost my wallet. I am walletless. I have no money, no credit cards (and let me remind you this was Christmas time and Sherri wasn't through shopping), no pictures of my family, not even my driver's license. And I have completed only one of the errands.
As I drove off, I picked my cell phone up and reported in to headquarters.
"Hey, babe. You are not going to believe the day I'm having. I lost my wallet."
I expected sympathy. Maybe an, "Awww ..." or a "Poor baby ...", but she just said, "Rick, that was an eighty-dollar wallet. That was a gift from me for your last birthday. Rick, that's a nice wallet."
Then she added, "So, did you do everything I told you?"
"Not yet. I've been looking for my wallet."
"Well, on your way home, stop and pick up some milk too."
I didn't even bother bringing up the fact that I can't buy anything because I don't have my eighty-dollar wallet. I continued driving while she was talking, but then I happened to brush against my jacket and noticed that there's a little pouch at my side. I felt inside it, but the wallet was not there. Then I realized there is one more pouch on the other side. I reached over, nearly hitting another vehicle in my anxiousness, and I felt it. Hallelujah!
Sherri was still on the phone and I go, "Yeah, baby, I found it!" and I just started laughing like a crazy man. I have to say that it was one of the happiest moments of my life.
Now I drove on to finish my errands. I got to the optometrist's office and walked in. I was walking on air. Sure, I lost some time with the wallet incident, but I'd make up for it. I'd just get these last two errands done, and I would be home free.
When I walked in the store, it was nothing more than an empty room. A woman was in the corner of the room, holding a cat. Not the sight I expected.
"Uh," I said, "I'm here to get my wife's glasses."
"They packed their stuff up and got out of here in about three hours on Friday."
"Well, I don't suppose you'd have any idea where my wife's glasses might be?"
"You could try their main office."
I left "catwoman" and drove across town. I found the main office and picked up the glasses. Then I drove over to the photo place and picked up the pictures. These three little errands ended up taking me two hours. But I had completed the tasks set before me. I had been presented with obstacles, but I had overcome. It was now time to return home triumphant. I had fought the crowd and bought the toys. I had picked up the glasses and pictures. And I had found that which was lost-my wallet. I walked in the door and awaited my kiss.
Sherri took one look at the picture envelope in my hand, the bags from the toy store, and her new glasses, and said, "Did you forget the milk?"
Excerpted from Rick & Bubba's Expert Guide to God, Country, Family, and Anything Else We Can Think Of by Rick Burgess Bill Bussey Martha Bolton Copyright © 2007 by Rick Burgess. Excerpted by permission.
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