My Dad’s name is Bob. I can’t begin to even imagine what my life would have been like without him as my father. He has influenced me in more ways that I can count. He has never met a stranger, can engage a brick wall into a conversation and makes everyone around him feel like they are the most amazing person on the planet. He is a list writer, early riser, early arriver, creature of habit, sports lover, organizer, picture taker, story teller, meal planner, game player and world’s best grandpa. He is highly entertaining and funny with a capital “F”!
So in a little tribute to my Dad, I thought I would write a little series called the Bob Chronicles. This will be the first story in the series. Not sure how often these will run, but honestly the material is endless, just trying to figure out how to describe his antics in words so that you can fully appreciate Bob’s world will be the hard part.
This first story is about Bob and the photo processing machine at the local Walmart. Many of you have heard this story and I imagine are already chuckling to yourselves. Be a sport, keep reading and see if I can do it justice in writing.
Here we go…Bob can use a computer, but as with many of us, some of the new fangled technology is kind of tricky to figure out. At the time of this encounter with the photo processing machine Bob was a newcomer to the world of digital photography. He had recently retired and his wife and children all chipped in and bought him a brand new digital camera so he could document his travels and adventures. He took to that camera like a duck to water and was a picture taking fool! One day, he decided it was time to print out some of his digital images for some project or another. He copied the pictures he wanted to print onto a CD – a technical feat and small miracle in and of itself. He and my mother went up to the local Walmart where he had many times walked past the big yellow self service photo processing station. He had seen lots and lots of people using it – how hard could it be? Bob pulls out his CD and inserts it into the machine. Then he reads the instructions that tell him to touch the screen to get started. He touches it. The first thing that comes up is directions on how to insert your media into the machine. He has already inserted his, but there is no way to bypass this instruction page so he dutifully touches the CD icon on the screen. To his utter amazement and dismay, a CD drawer pops open. This is where he is supposed to put his CD. Too late, he realizes that he has crammed his CD into a crack in the machine. Dropped it down between two parts of the machine not a CD drawer. He cusses a little under his breath and my mother immediately realizes this is going to go very wrong, very quickly and makes her escape over to the purse department. She does not want to be around when Bob tries to explain this.
Most people would be mortified and would just act like their full intention upon arriving at the machine was to shove a CD in the crack, turn around, slink home, redo the CD and go to another Walmart and try again. Not Bob.
No, Bob goes up to the Photo Desk and tells them he has a problem. The exhausted, underpaid photo employee I am sure is rolling his eyes at another old person trying to work the self service machine. He follows Dad over to the machine to help him out. Dad points out the CD, which although deep in the crevice of the machine, can still be seen if you tilt your head just so. The kid tells Bob that he has never had that happen and he might have to call a manager. Bob tells him to call away. Nothing that Bob likes better than a Manager especially one that knows customer service. In fact, Bob’s dream job is to work the Customer Service desk at Lowe’s. He would take that job in a second if it didn’t involve working nights, weekends or lifting anything heavy.
Anyway, the Walmart manager comes and he is also perplexed. My mom is watching this go down from a safe distance away and just laughs when the manager gets a flashlight out to shine in the crack. They are using scissors and various long narrow items to try to work down in the crack and get the CD out. Doesn’t work. Bob notices some screws on the side of the machine and asks the manager if he as a screwdriver. Maybe if they loosen the screws they can get something down there to grab the CD. The manager doesn’t have a screwdriver, but hey, it is Walmart. He goes over to the hardware department and opens up a package of screwdrivers. They set to work unscrewing all the visible screws they can see that could allow the crack to be widen. As with any project like this, as it goes on, there are other tools needed. Maybe a wrench or something. I don’t know how many trips that poor manager made over to the hardware department, but it was more than one.
My mother reports from the purse department that there are tools and pieces of the photo machine all over the floor in electronics. Other people who have come to develop their pictures have long given up waiting in line and have moved on to their other shopping. After about thirty minutes of disassembling this machine, they are stuck. The manager has to give up. Not only does he have other work to tend to, but they have unscrewed everything they can and that crack is not widening. He tells my Dad that he will call the company rep for the machine and have them come out and try to get the CD out.
Bob shakes hands with all the new friends he has made in electronics and gives them his heartfelt thanks. In the end, he goes home empty handed, with a mortified wife and no pictures. Guess what he did then? He went home, made a new CD and went right back up to the very same Walmart and followed the instructions. Thank goodness, there is a high turn over in retail employees because these days the new guys don’t even know they should turn around and run when they see Bob coming!
Maybe you have someone like this in your family. I hope you do. If you don’t, come on back every once in a while and see what other trials and tribulations Bob has encountered and/or more likely caused. It is the stuff that family legends are made of!