Mighty Quinn

There is a spot just before the No Hitchhiking sign where people can catch a ride without being hassled by the cops.

I stopped in this spot to pick up Quinn. I was going to Safeway, Quinn was going to pick up a package at his grandmother’s place a quarter mile from Safeway. I agreed to drop him off at his grandmother’s. If he was back before I left Safeway I would give him a ride back into town.

Just as I finished getting my groceries, here comes Quinn, right on time. Quinn said it was no problem; he ran track in high school.

On the drive back into town, Quinn said that he had reformed his ways. I dropped him off in downtown Bisbee.

“When Quinn the Eskimo gets here, everybody’s gonna jump for joy.”*


* from Bob Dylan’s Quinn the Eskimo

Peephole Optimization

Dr Beferooz taught computer science. He walked into compiler design class one day, and said that we were going to discuss loophole optimization.* He pronounced it as peephole (\ˈpēp-ˌhōl\ ), but the next time he pronounced it as peefole (\ˈpē-fōl\ ).

Thereafter Dr Beferooz alternated the pronunciation of peephole and peefole. He either didn’t know how to pronounce peephole, or he was playing with our minds.

From his normal use of English, I am fairly sure that he was playing with our minds.


* For the sake of this story, knowledge of compiler design is not necessary.

Bisbee 1000 Stair Climb

The 1000 Stair Race is one of the big annual events for Bisbee. This year the city repainted the curbs, and the cross-walks, and mowed down all the weeds along the sidewalls.

There are about 2000 competitors who sign up for the race. The competitors race over 10 stairways for a total of more than 1000 steps.

To complement the event, there are other events the same weekend. Many of the employees have to work extra hours to make the events work.

The following conversation was between a plumber and one of his fortunate friends who doesn’t have to work. The conversation between these two guys was shouted across Main Street the day before the 1000 Stair Race.

Fortunate One: Do you have to work this weekend?
Plumber: Yup, but I get paid double-time.
Fortunate One: That’s a good deal for you.
Plumber: Ja. You know that shit isn’t the only thing that goes down stream when you flush.
Fortunate One: [Looking perplexed] Yeah?
Plumber: Gringos, guns, illegals, wallets.

Enough for identity theft.


There is a grammar problem with how we Americans use “this” and “next”. If you tell me that you are going to do something next Friday, I had better ask the date. Otherwise, there is a good chance I going to have the wrong date for the event.

When I was in college, one of my professors, Dr Beferooz,  was an Iranian. He knew English better than most of us who had grown up with the language.

He was well aware of our collective dislike of getting up early in the morning. He taught a first period class that met on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. One Monday he announced that the next Thursday we would meet on Thursdays so that we could finish our class early, and be able to concentrate on our other end-of-semester obligations.

Come three days later be were all in class except Dr Beferooz. Two of the more senior members of the class went to see whether Dr Beferooz had forgotten us.

He said, “I didn’t say this Thursday, I said next Thursday”. He also had a wicked, twisted sense of humor.

The Madman II

The Madman would only talk to me when we were out of earshot of others. The more the Madman talked the more bizarre he got. He says that I have seen ghosts in Bisbee. How does he know what I have seen?

He said that the ghosts of Bisbee were Civil War vintage. They were mostly ghosts with amputations that were the result of Civil War injuries.*

Come to think of it, maybe I have seen a ghost or two. Maybe I was seeing a ghost at that moment. Every time that I have seen him, he seems to just magically appear from near the Grand Saloon. I don’t wish to talk with him again.

By now we were under a green ATM machine. His skin was sweating, giving him a palish green, beady appearance.

As I left, he reached in his pocket, and pulled out a flask. He sprinkled the contents on me. Am I now a Madman too?


 * Fact check: Bisbee was founded in 1888 – a little too late for the Civil War.

Escape the Coming Wrath

I recently met a guy who had greeted me and my nephews on Main Street a long time ago. He was really weird.

Now, a couple of years later, I encountered him again. He was an even weirder character than the snapshot that we experienced the first time we met him. He told me his name but given the ensuing conversation, I think of him only as The Madman. He tries to show off his knowledge of my past as if he were Rasputin. However he is never right, usually way off.

He has about 10 teeth left, a scraggly beard, and longish scraggly hair. He acts as if he is delivering a message for only me.

He said, “You see things that others don’t see.” Duh.

“You have been here 30 years. You have another place up the coast that you can go to. Go now. Escape the coming wrath. Jessica prays for you every day.”

Either he thinks that I am someone else, or he is a terrible psychic.