Posted in Food, Life

Call the bacon guy

So we are on our way somewhere in suburban Dallas when this work van pulls up next to us. I quickly snapped a picture, then pointed it out to my wife and some of our grandchildren riding along with us. I asked, “Wouldn’t it be great to work for bacon?”

That’s all it took to spark our imaginations. A granddaughter asked, “Who wouldn’t want to work for bacon?” I can almost smell bacon frying on the stove as I worked to solder copper pipe to fix a leak.

“How much bacon would it cost to fix the leak in your house?” My grandson added, “I helped the plumbers when they came to our house.” He’s considering that career path, although at age six, he may change his mind a few times. I asked, “How much would you charge to fix the AC?” He said, “A package of bacon!” “How about a BLT?” “No thanks, just bacon.”

“What if you get a free package of bacon every time you hire them for a repair?” “That would be great! The plumber comes to our house all the time.” This is true. My son has had a number of plumbing issues over the past year. A pound of bacon would take the edge off that flat-fee for just showing up.

It’s a win when your family name is the perfect marketing strategy. Who’s going to forget this logo-wrapped van? The next time there’s no hot water, someone’s going to say, “Call the bacon guy!”

Posted in Stories

Everyone wants my attention!

The intersections in my community are clogged with campaign signs of every size and color, vying for my vote this fall.

Emails fill my inbox that used to be informative newsletters, but are now pleas for subscriptions to courses that will improve every aspect of my life. Once they have your contact info, you will hear from them for the rest of your life, and I believe, from beyond the grave!

I get text messages from anonymous sources who seek my vote in this fall’s elections. Interestingly, the emails are often addressed to my wife’s name or my son’s name. He doesn’t even live in this state anymore.

About half of my social media feeds are sales pitches for T-shirts, subscription boxes, testosterone supplements, fitness programs, how-to-preach-a-better-sermon courses, IQ tests, and of course, your candidate for office.

Phone calls at church offer me endless resources for youth curriculum, audio-visual technology, text-the-whole-congregation and web site design services.

Pretty much all of my mail consists of large campaign postcards or offers for home and auto warranties. Oh, and of course, lot and lots of bonus mile credit card offers.

Every realtor in a ten-mile radius lets me know of houses they’ve sold. Every independent insurance agent has already worked the numbers and covets my business.

Auto dealers in a seventy-five mile radius bend over backwards in emails offering to help me find the vehicle I am looking for.

People knock at my door to give me quotes for window replacements, security systems, trimming my palm trees and cleaning my roof.

And every time – and I kid you not – every time I go to Home Depot, a gentleman approaches me and askls me if I drink bottled water. Duh. Doesn’t everyone? He is there to harvest leads for water tries water purification systems. I got to Home Depot about once a week. Fifty-two times a year. Every week the very same person approaches me. My radar is on. I’ve learned to quickly walk walk away from the obvious question. From adjacent aisles I overhear female and male voice lament, “You talked to me last week.” Or in a nastier tone of voice, “You talk to me every week!” It. Never. Stops.

Everyone is trying to get my attention, my vote, and of course, my money. I know, none of this would happen if someone somewhere didn’t have some modicum of success or earn some cash. It’s a numbers game.

I have never been so popular in my life! Everyone wants to talk to me, help me, encourage me, improve me and enhance me. I’m at my wits end. I am not seeking any of these things. But everything that I have ever even dreamed about is now relentlessly pushed on me. I’m so glad you all want the best for me.

Posted in God, Life

They’re watching me.

Photo by Nine Köpfer on Unsplash

I know they’ve been watching me. I’ve known it for a long time.

No, I’m not paranoid. I’m simply aware that the advertisements that frame my searches and litter the news articles I read are not random. They are reflections of me. They are linked to things that I have either searched for, shopped for, or recently purchased.

As I was recently reading a New York Times article about Haiti and its people on my phone, I noticed that the advertisements that showed up every 300 words or so were for yogurt. Usually the ads are for Harry’s Razors (which I have purchased) or Stitch Fix (from whom I sometimes buy clothes) or some Mac maintenance software (I own a Mac). But yogurt?

After a bit of thought, I realized that I had just bought one container of yogurt at a local grocery store recently, after a long period of not buying any yogurt at all. Hmm. Another ad that kept showing up was for Target. I hardly ever shop at Target, but I had gone there just a week ago to pick up a few items. Hmm. I had been searching for some information on reading and writing short stories, and Medium suggested a few articles for me. Hmm. Someone is watching me. Someone knows what I am doing. Someone knows the places where I go.

Apparently, they are watching what I buy and where I shop, as well as what I am looking for. In some ways, this is threatening. In other ways, it’s kind of exciting. Rather than getting a lot of junk advertising – and I get plenty of that – I get stuff that actually interests me. And I learn some things about myself. I don’t pay much attention to what I buy or where I shop. But someone does, and if I pay attention, I discover something about me.

So now I am thinking, “How can I tap into this?” If someone knows what I am thinking and doing, then someone knows what other people are thinking and doing, too. Like the members of my congregation. Like the people I preach to each Sunday. If I could tap into that information, I could hit the nail on the head every week. I would know exactly what sins to mention and how to shape my presentation of the gospel. I could cut right to the chase each and every week!

As I write those words, they sound kind of crazy. But they aren’t. I could pay and get that info. I could acquire mountains of data and details about my members’ lives. But I don’t have to. Like wise Solomon said, “There’s nothing new under the sun.” No one is inventing any new sins. We just keep doing the same old ones. Immorality, dishonesty, and hate. You got a body and a mind? You know exactly what I am talking about. I do. And I do.

More than a few times, someone has spoken to me after church and said that I must have bugged their home. What I talked about that Sunday addressed the very thing that had been going on in their lives that week. Of course, I hadn’t. And it wasn’t even me who was addressing the situation. It was God. It was his word speaking to them, to their situation, and to their hearts.

So I’m not all that worried about someone knowing where I’m going, what I’m doing, or what I’m thinking. Someone already knows. The one who counts already knows. It’s convicting. He’s forgiving. And it keeps me on my toes.