Charlie Stole My Tiger

Tigers have always been “my thing.” For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them. They represent strength and beauty, cunning and intelligence. In my 9th grade art class, I created a tiger batik that hangs on my bedroom wall to this day. Furthermore, my friends can testify that Survivor’s “Eye Of The Tiger” (from Rocky III) has always been my personal anthem. Whenever I feel like my back is to the wall and life is overwhelmingly difficult, I play this song really loud, and it enables me to find my inner strength and come out swinging. I find the lyrics inspirational, and the driving beat makes me feel like I’m winning.

So many times, it happens too fast
You trade your passion for glory
Don’t lose your grip on the dreams of the past
You must fight just to keep them alive

It’s the eye of the tiger, it’s the thrill of the fight
Rising up to the challenge of our rival
And the last known survivor stalks his prey in the night
And he’s watching us all with the eye of the tiger

I am so enamored with tigers that there’s a key scene in my hopefully-soon-to-be-published novel involving a tiger. And my favorite aquarium fish (I currently have six of these guys swimming around in my tank)? That’s right: tiger barbs. So, when Charlie Sheen started talking to the media about how he possesses “tiger blood,” I was annoyed. How dare he sully the reputation of the mighty tiger by comparing his inner strength and fortitude, nay, his very blood to that of the tiger. That’s my line! Charlie stole my tiger. And I want it back.

tiger batik
My 9th-grade art project. Eye of the tiger, baby!

Charlie can have all his other quotes. I don’t care about “Adonis DNA” or “rockstar from Mars” or “warlock.” I’ve never uttered any of those lines. But tigers…c’mon, man. They’re mine. Cease and desist already.

But enough about Charlie Sheen. His 5 minutes are over. Well…his twenty-five years and five minutes, anyway. I regret even mentioning him again in my blog, but I felt I had to reclaim ownership of tigers once and for all.

There. I’m done.

In other news, it appears I’ve discovered a great way to save money: receive bad service or an inferior product, and then complain about it. This works like a charm! Last week, I stopped by Starbucks while driving Audrey to school. I pulled into the drive-through lane, ordered a vanilla latte, and drove away. One minute and a mile later I took a sip and discovered, to my chagrin, that the barista had forgotten to add vanilla syrup, making it a plain latte. I still drank it – gotta have my coffee fix, don’tcha know – but I didn’t enjoy it as much, and besides, it was the principle of the matter. I ordered a vanilla latte, and they screwed up. To make matters worse, they didn’t give me one of those cardboard sleeves that protects your fingers from the scalding cup. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to drink and drive without a proper sleeve? Err…you know what I mean. Disappointed with my Starbucks experience, when I got home I went to their website and gave them feedback about my visit. Within twenty-four hours, I’d received an e-mail from their customer relations department apologizing for the mishap, and they mailed me coupons for two free drinks, any size.


Then, earlier this week, I met up with my parents for dinner at Sweet Tomatoes, a soup-and-salad-bar casual dining chain. They have rotating specials every month, and in March they were advertising grilled cheese focaccia dippers and creamy tomato soup, a classic and delicious combination. Eager to get my dunk on, after grazing on salad I returned to the table with the dippers and the soup. While the grilled cheese was awesome, the soup was horrible. It had a sort of “metallic” taste to it, and I couldn’t eat more than a spoonful. Fearing it might be a trick of my taste buds, both my parents tried it, and agreed. The soup was definitely “off.”

This made me very happy. Learning from my Starbucks experience, I was off to the races! I went to the Sweet Tomatoes website and lodged a similar complaint. Don’t get me wrong, I was polite and tempered my negative comments with positive ones. I then sat back and waited. Sure enough, the store manager called me personally the next day to apologize, and he is sending me vouchers for three free meals.

Score, part deux! At this rate, I may never have to pay for food again.

I am now hoping for something to go wrong every time I go out. Ideally, in the best case scenario, my waitress would trip and spill food all over me. A mishap like that would likely result in not only a free meal or two, but a new wardrobe to boot. I should be so lucky! Barring that, I’d love to find a fly in my soup or a hair in my mashed potatoes. Undercook or overcook my burger – please! Serve me barbecue sauce when I ask for sweet ‘n sour. Give me onion rings when I order fries. I won’t hold any of these things against you. I’m unemployed over here. Your mistakes are like money in the bank.

I wonder what would happen if I called my local Mercedes dealership and complained that some guy driving one of their products cut me off in traffic, and I was therefore unsatisfied with my overall driving experience? Hmm. Food for thought. The ol’ Hyundai is getting a bit long in the tooth, after all…


Published by Mark Petruska

I'm a professional writer and editor living my best life in south central Wisconsin.

14 thoughts on “Charlie Stole My Tiger

  1. Oh, that’s funny about the eating out bit and the free meals…It made me think of the opening scenes of Victor/Victoria, where she hijacks in a cockroach to put on her salad…

    Mark–don’t worry-the tiger is yours to keep.

    funny post, as ever–\


  2. “Tigers have always been “my thing.” For as long as I can remember, I’ve been obsessed with them.”

    OMG, Mark…….meeeeeeeeeeeee too! I almost died when I read that! Tigers are not only my favorite big cat, but also my favorite animal in the whole wide world. There is a quiet elegance, yet a powerful strength about them. I once did a magic trick with a team of magicians in Florida, where they turned me into a tiger. It was an amazing trick!

    I had to laugh at your means of saving money, because last week I called the company of the toothpaste I use (Rembrant) because the last two tubes I bought we runny, so that when I squeezed out the toothpaste, TONS of it came out and I lost so much of the product. The damn stuff costs almost $8.00 a tube! So you know what? They mailed me check for the cost of a FREE tube! Yaahoo!


  3. Theme from first Star Wars gives me that “Eye of the Tiger” uplifting spark. Your 9th grade tiger would make a great sports logo for a team. Check out the one for the Florida Panthers hockey. Or maybe it’s soccer. Whatever.


  4. No sooner did I finish reading this, than I left the house to meet my Beloved, stopping at Dunkin Donuts on the way. When we sat down by the water (a few blocks away) with our breakfast, lo and behold, his order had been completely screwed up. I’m heading for the DD Website …


      1. I discovered later that they’d also screwed up my bagel, which I had purchased for later. Aside from turning Roger’s latte with sugar and a turboshot into an unsweetened regular latte (after I hadn’t seen her put a shot in and asked three times if it had been added), they had turned my multi-grain bagel into a plain one. Sigh. Is it too much to ask for more than three of five items to be correct? But I filled out the on-line survey they’d been advertising in the store and, when after that I discovered the bagel was wrong, too, I wrote them again in the regular contact form. Oh, and when we went back, they wouldn’t give a credit, only replacement we no longer wanted, and they initially objected to Roger’s service dog, too. I’m hoping for lots of nice freebies 🙂


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