Henry Classen

When I was in my mid-20s I was a taxi driver for a time. One late night I picked up a fare named Henry Classen. I knew his name because he continually slurred “I’m Henry Classen and I’m from Kansas.” This refrain got tiring quite quickly.

I did have some info about Henry Classen. There are a lot of Mennonites in Kansas named Classen, and many of them are in my family tree.

I interrupted his refrain with “Did you ever know any Mennonites in Kansas?” Bingo. Henry Classen bristled, and said that if he never met another one it was too soon. Then he hit me with “You aren’t getting a tip.”

I took Henry Classen to his Single Room Occupancy Hotel. After he left I checked the back seat to ensure that it was clean for my next fare. What a surprise – Henry Classen had left me with the biggest tip of the night.

Dental Work

My friend, Hazel, went to a dentist in Naco, and I accompanied her. In the plaza there was a dental patient smoking. And how did we know that he was a dental patient? Because he was wearing the dental patient bib.

We walked into the lobby of the dentist office. The seats for the patients to sit in the lobby were stuffed leather chairs; there were places for at least 10 people.

Hazel checked in at the reception desk as one usually does in a dentist’s office. Meanwhile I sat down.

A guy walked into the office, checked in, sat down, got called in to see the dentist, walked out, and paid the bill. This happened with several patients.

Meanwhile a lady came out of the dental exam room looking like she had just done 10 rounds with the devil. She walked up to the front desk. Then I heard, “Do you want to pay now? It will save you 400 dollars.” Then she asked what the total was. “$6000!”

The receptions at the front desk had obnoxious ringtones, and they handled calls simultaneously in Spanish and English. Obviously privacy wasn’t a high priority in this office. In between calls one of the receptionists complained how sick she felt.

Another phone receptionist had a lengthy conversation as to why the patient’s dentures were bothering her. After hearing these conversations, I knew that I would never have work done at this dental office.

I had to wait for a long time for Hazel to return from her teeth cleaning. Beware of a dentist office with comfortable chairs in the lobby. You will need them.

One Woman, 5 Jobs

I needed to go to the dentist. I decided to try a dentist in Mexico. The cost is less in Mexico and the reputation of the dentists is quite good.

We stopped in a dentist office when we visited Naco. The receptionist, Carmen, spoke very good English. She said that the dentist was out to lunch. We made an appointment for the next day.

The next day we showed up at the appointed time. Imagine my surprise when the dental assistant was Carmen, yesterday’s receptionist. It turned out that the dentist needed a translator to communicate with me. And the translator was … Carmen.

The dental work was fairly extensive, and I saw the dentist, and Carmen, often. The most recent visit to the dentist, the dentist was late for the appointment. I got into a conversation with Carmen.

I found out that she was from Mexico, attended high school in Tucson, and that one of her daughters lived in Tucson. Naturally [gulp] I asked if she went to Tucson often. Her response was that she had been deported for drug violations in the US, and was not allowed to cross the border.

One woman, 5 jobs — receptionist, assistant, translator, mother, deportee.


I met Susan on the street. We exchanged pleasantries. Despite the fact that it is a winter day, we agreed that it was a nice day. Susan conceded, despite her liking the weather, that she was wearing long underwear.

Susan: I wear long underwear all winter long. I put them on the first cold day in winter, and wear them until the first nice day of March.
Roger: Yeah?
Susan: Each pair of underwear is a different color.
Roger: Why?
Susan: So I know what day it is.

5 Fingered Discount

Quinn has an old car that he uses to get to work. Tom had taken the busĀ  to Safeway, and was buying his groceries. Quinn stopped at the Safeway on his way home from work. Quinn ran into Tom at the Safeway, and offered him a ride. Tom said “Sure”. Then he wouldn’t have to wait for the bus to get a ride home.

Tom waited for Quinn to get his groceries, and climbed into Quinn’s car. As they went toward home, Quinn said, “Hey, I hope you don’t mind, but I need to make a stop at the thrift store.” What could Tom say? Actually, he needed to get a winter jacket himself.

They each made their purchases, and returned to the car. As they drove away, Quinn said, “See what I picked up.” Besides the purchases that Quinn had made, he had stolen an almost new pair of gloves.

At this point Tom wished that he hadn’t accepted the ride. Quinn said, “Don’t worry about it. I always get a little extra when I buy anything there.”