Monday, October 12, 2009

Playing "Beat the Friggin Clock"

I'm sure I'm dating myself, and I'm sure I'm being a little too esoteric with this, early 70's, young lad addicted to daytime TV reference, but does anyone remember "Beat the Clock"? The show that had people trying to complete stunts within 60 seconds, that at first, seemed somewhat difficult but doable in the time frame, until the announcer pulled out the crazy twist, like doing the stunt in scuba flippers? Even if you never saw the show, you get the idea; but I think that God was a fan, fancy's Himself a game show host, and it seems I am the latest contestant.

Or maybe He thinks he's producing a reality show, or thinks He screwed up enough and wants to take over Punkd with 'regular' people. I just feel like I have been in several TV shows this weekend, and I ain't gettin no consolation prize either!

It started on Saturday morning. We were invited to the Autism NJ Conference to help man the booth of Livie and Grace's school. We thought it would be a good idea; we'd talk to a bunch of parents, hopefully help a couple find the school that we love so much, and maybe make some connections, learn a few things. Things didn't turn out as expected: Most of the people we talked to were fellow 'exhibitors'; not too many parents around. The speculation was that it was a combination of a lower turnout due to the economy and the larger representation of the more 'regional' autistic schools like ours attending.

The school representative decided to call it a day around noontime; and so began God's version of Punk'd. The school rep had a lot of stuff to get back to his car and pulled it to the loading dock to try and sneak his stuff out the backdoor rather than making the long journey around through the hotel lobby. He had two large display cartons, about 3 feet wide, four feet high with rollers on the bottom to roll them behind you. I followed behind him as he went through the curtain partitions dividing the exhibitor area from the large area behind it where the 'behind the scenes' area for the convention center was. The rep went through without a hitch; I followed him without a second thought. Two things combined: MY carton got caught on the curtain and I realized that these dividers were not really tied down at all. As I slowly turned to try and untangle (you know how God just LOVES to put the slow mo on in these situations), I watched as the two poles holding up the curtains begin to teeter and topple. But the gravity of the situation didn't stop there. As I brought my head up from the detail of the two poles falling, I realized that ALL poles had the same potential. Imagine, if you will, each pair holding 12 feet of black curtain; three more to the left and some 10-12 to the right; then, a right angle and 12 more poles. My only hope was that God was taping this and he would share; I didn't notice the three to the left fall. I was watching the domino effect to the right as two fell, then four, then five. It got to seven and thank God He didn't take the joke all the way; it stopped as the last pole hit a table and the nightmare stopped.

I got a few cheers from the exhibitor peanut gallery; glares from the staff as I choked out 'sorry' and moved a little quicker to cover the 30 yards to the loading dock. When we got back to the booth 10 minutes later, my wife took one look and said "That WASN'T you was it??" I hung my head as I nodded.

The 3 hour drive round trip; the 12 bucks parking, all that to talk to a handful of parents for 15 minutes and learn new things about NJ's new Autism Registry program, and a whole heaping helping of embarrassment. Not exactly what I had envisioned for the Saturday. Once God posts the YouTube, I'll let you know.

But the shows on Almighty's Comedy Central just kept on coming. Up next: Beat the Clock. I'm your announcer, Saint Peter and now the host of

Beat the Clock, Wing Yahweh. Hi folks we have great show today, let's bring out our first contestants: Bill and Linda. Bill's an overworked virtual janitor; Linda coordinates life for 5 kids and therapies for two of them who are on the autism spectrum. Pete, tell them what their challenge is....Yea, Yah...their challenge for Monday is: Get pictures taken at JC Penney of the ENTIRE family, brought to you by JC Penney...YOUR portrait studios, back to you Yahweh.

OK, Bill and Linda, sounds like a tough one, but you guys seem pretty adept at handling these situations. I'm afraid we're going to have to make it a liiiitle more difficult. Bill, you wanted to take the whole day off, wellll, we talked with your employer and you'll have to go to work afterwards because too many people are going to be out on Monday. OK folks, we'll start the clock on Sunday afternoon, you have to get outfits picked out and have these kids primped and ready for the appointment on Monday at 10am.

While they get started folks, we have a liiittttle surprise for them that St Pete's going to tell US about but not THEM. That's right A.Y., our little surprise is that we've broken their hot water heater, that's brought to you by GE, the FIRST name in water heaters when you're on your LAST nerve. Thanks Pete, let's get to the action: the boys have just informed dad of the flood in the garage; he's assessing the damage, he's discovered the leak. He's telling Linda now aaaannnd...let's go to a commercial break while they gather their sanity, THIS commercial break brought to you by XANAX.

We're back and the action is fast and furious. Bill's looking for a bucket and mop; Linda's calling the HVAC guy who's coming to clean the furnace tomorrow. What's this? Bill's using a LITTER box to drain the water heater! And in a stroke of absolute brilliance, he has found an old case of hospital pads they had used when Livie was in her toilet training phase. I guess that little sponge mop was not going to work very well. Linda's got the number of a good plumber who's watching football right now but will get back to us. Bill's on the third package of pads. It looks like they've got the emergency at hand...or do they?

Eight people, two showers, scratch that...ONE shower, the other doesn't work with the hot water off. Let's see what they do. I don't believe this, he's boiling WATER, he's going to use it to give the girls a bath. They get through the baths, and the oldest even uses the water for her bath too. Amazing, I think they're going to get through this, one more obstacle...THE MORNING. As they go to sleep let's take another commercial break...brought to you by Captain Morgan Spiced Rum.

We're back, it's 7 am Monday and it's time for the SHOWERS. Listen to Bill squeal and that cold water hits his body, now the boys, now Linda. They've got everyone out,the clothes are on, some minor sock fashion emergencies; the color coordination is NOT going well with the grandmother, but she FINDS and acceptable brown dress to match the rest of the family. How's their time look, Peter? Well Yahweh, they're getting out the door 15 minutes late, it's not looking good. They've called the studio and there is another appointment coming in at doesn't look good.

Thanks, Pete, lets get into the action, they're taking 3 cars so that Bill can take off right after this...and they make it to the studio at exactly 17 minutes after 10. This is not looking good, the studio is trying to offer them a fill in around 11 or 12 if someone doesn't show up. It's getting a little heated in there, Linda's saying they still have 20 minutes left on their appointment and what's this? She's pulling the autism card, yes she didn't think she would have to use it until the woman was trying to take pictures but she's asking for mercy and pleading that she'll only have pictures of the kids taken and...they...ACCEPT, we're going to have to get a ruling on this Saint Peter, it's not what they were supposed to get done, what do the judges say? Well Yahweh, I'm going to have to defer back to you... you're the boss. Oh yea, right...OK we'll let it ride and see where it goes. These guys are pros and they're getting through the sitting with not a tear; group shot and the three girls even get individual shots done.

Bill's taking the 5 kids into the mall while Grandma and Mom pick out pictures goes off withOUT a hitch! A carousel ride, an early lunch, Mom calls back and THEY ARE DONE! Time, Pete? The time is 11:55.... they've DONE it folks! Tell 'em what they've won Peter.

Bill, you've won an hour and 15 minute commute to a crazy afternoon at work. Linda, you have repair men traipsing through your house for the rest of the day. But BEST of all...more than a DOZEN pictures of your precious kids who actually looked good in the photos. Thanks for playing Beat the Clock, we'll have them back next week for fall cleanup and winter clothes changeover. I'm your announcer, Saint Peter, for God and me...have a great day and a great time playing your home version of Beat the Clock.


Anne said...

You'll have to have a meeting with Mr. Deity to sort this all out.

Clay said...

Really very funny. Glad you got your pictures.

Hmm, my word verification is "deitize".