How High Can The Fox Jump?

I think I’m in the wrong line of work. Instead of writing, I should become a politician. What prompted me to come to this conclusion, you may be wondering? The answer is simple.

I am not above bribery.

I learned this about myself yesterday, and while I’m a little ashamed to admit as much, they say the truth shall set you free. I have dubbed 2014 the Year of Honesty.

I’ve also dubbed it the Year of Downsizing, the Year of Publishing a New Book, the Year of Learning To Use Chopsticks Without Looking Like a Fool, and the Year of Funny YouTube Videos Featuring Animals Other Than Cats, so I’ve got pretty high expectations for 2014. And just to prove I’m taking this shit seriously…

You’re welcome.

Anyway, about the bribery. Yesterday, I had a stack of work orders from several of our marketing coordinators overflowing in my In Box. I try not to play favorites, tackling them in the order they arrive, unless one of them is especially urgent. So when Dave sent me an email from the road that started out with

I am certain you are overloaded with content projects. However…

I was, quite frankly, ready to break the news to him that his request was seventh in line and there was no way I’d be able to get to it by the end of the day, like he wanted. But then I read the fine print.

I’ll be sure to bring you back some goodies…what’s your poison? Sweets, alcohol, etc.? 

I should have told him I run an honest ship here, and wouldn’t put his request atop Sarah’s, which had been sitting there for five days already. Instead, I found myself saying, “Whiskey is good. Honey Jack is especially good.”

Oh, the shame. Though I didn't hear any mention of cash...
Oh, the shame. Though I didn’t hear any mention of cash…

Oh, the shame. Please don’t tell Sarah.

(In my defense: have you tried Honey Jack?!).

And then I found out he was in Denver, and the request had escalated to a Peyton Manning t-shirt, and he had the project he wanted completed and in his hands in less than thirty minutes.

It had already been a stressful day. The morning began with a hostile encounter between myself and the guy who owns the parking lot next to our building, who – oddly enough, and I’m sure this is the source of contention – is not the same person who owns the building. I’ve already talked about how parking is at a premium here as we have rapidly outgrown our 2,500 square foot office but can’t move until the summer. There are a good 50 parking spaces, at least 48 of which – on any given time or day – are empty. He had previously roped off a bunch of those spots, and we were told not to park there, so when I arrived yesterday I dutifully complied, parking beyond the farthest roped-off spot, already a decent haul from the front door. The moment I stepped out of the car, this bushy little guy appeared from out of nowhere, and was suddenly in my face. Seriously, was he hiding behind a tree or something?!

“What are you doing?” he asked.
“Parking,” I said.
“Why?” he asked.
“Because it’s a parking lot,” I said.
“Do you work here?” he asked.
No, I’m parking in the middle of a lot next to an empty field across the street from a shopping center just for fun. “Yes,” I said.
“Your company has X amount of spots available, and they are all filled. You can’t park here. This is my lot.”
“What am I supposed to do?” I asked, genuinely perplexed.
“Not park here.”
“But it’s a parking lot, and I’ve got nowhere else to go.”
“I need these spots.”
What for? Your fleet of invisible cars? “Well, I don’t know what to tell you. We just added two new employees this week, and we’re stuck here until summer. I’ve got to park somewhere.”
“I offered to sell extra spots to your boss, but he wasn’t interested.”
“I’ll talk to him,” I said.

Oh, sure. It LOOKS easy...
Oh, sure. It LOOKS easy…

At that point, I walked away, leaving my car where it was. I hoped he wouldn’t have it towed away during the day (he didn’t). And yes, I talked to my boss, but Parking Lot Man wanted an exorbitant amount of money to rent five extra spots, in the neighborhood of $500 a month, which is ridiculous considering – once again – 95% of his parking lot is empty. A little less greedy, and I’m sure we could have compromised and he would have ended up with a little extra cash every month for doing absolutely nothing at all, but he had to go all Gordon Gecko on us instead. Ugh. My solution? Get to work ten minutes earlier, as I did this morning. Plenty of free spots still available at that time.

With the extra time in the morning, I can practice my chopstick technique and watch funny animal videos (but not cats) on YouTube.

Or, I suppose, actually work.



Published by Mark Petruska

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

26 thoughts on “How High Can The Fox Jump?

  1. Hmmm….so someone was in Colorado and you didn’t ask for a no longer illegal substance? Or maybe he can’t cross the border with it? I haven’t kept up with the new law.

    Ive found that being just slightly inebriated helps with chopstick use. You’re welcome!


    1. Colorado isn’t the only state that approved recreational marijuana use. Washington is the other. And hey, lookie there. I just happen to live in Washington! How about that…

      Slightly inebriated, eh? I guess the solution is simple: more sake!!


  2. Mark, I learned how to use chopsticks while living in Japan for 2 1/2 months. I was bound and determined to eat using those suckers and eventually did. Rice was the hardest thing for me to learn how to pick up with chopsticks. I kept FLINGING the rice everywhere, like confetti – HA!

    I don’t eat Chinese/Japanese food much, so I wonder if I tried using them again, I could?

    Maybe it’s like riding a bike, you never forget.

    “I’ve found that being just slightly inebriated helps with chopstick use. You’re welcome!”

    Bwhahahahahahahaha! LOVED Bijoux’s comment!


    1. Hell, I have a hard enough time using chopsticks to pick up big, fat noodles. Tiny kernels of rice, though? That’s just downright cruel. I will stick with a fork (or spoon!!!) for that, thank you all the same.


  3. Use of chopsticks is highly overrated especially when we have FORKS!!

    The weasel of a man just pisses me off.

    You settled for a PM shirt? Seriously?

    *Shakes head and walks away*


  4. Getting to work early is a great solution to the parking problem. Speaking of cars…I just spotted the yellow Karmann Ghia on your page. I had one exactly like that. It was a 1965 and I loved that car. When I got married in 1969, we traded it in for a 1969 Ford Bronco that we still own.


    1. I loved that car, too! As I recall, we only had it for about a year. It was just too small for our family – getting into and out of the back seat was a chore. But it sure was a great looking car! It would be fun to own one, today.

      Thanks for stopping by. Haven’t seen your name in a while! 🙂


  5. I can teach you how to use Korean chopsticks! They’re flat instead of round like chinese ones. My first day in Korea I dropped so much food! I thought I was going to starve. But the second day, they fed us bulgogi and I was dammed sure I was going to eat a lot of that, so I learned really quick. Soooo tasty! Bulgogi is korean barbecue – you and Tara should try it if there’s a Korean place around you.


    1. Somewhere else they’re not supposed to be, I’m sure. Fortunately a lot of our RMs are on the road traveling at any given moment, so sometimes parking is less of an issue than at other times.


  6. First World Portland problems. LOL.

    We pay $100/mo for EACH parking spot. We have two. One we pay entirely ourselves. One we pay half of for one of our employees. The other PT employee (2 days a week) sneaks into the garage and gets “Your car will be towed” notices on it by the building manager every other week. We figure there’s no way they can get a tow truck into the tiny garage, so she’s safe.

    Good luck on the chop sticks, though. I look like a fool, too.


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    1. Well, that’s the problem: this is Vancouver, WA – but the parking lot owner wanted Portland prices. That’s just not going to happen out here in the ‘burbs. So he’s not making any extra cash and we are scrambling to figure out where to park on a daily basis. Talk about a lose-lose situation.


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