Tag Archives: Rich

Four extra-large sodas

And I was like, “Just try to stay out of my way, OK?” which, yeah, it sounded a lot cooler in my head, I was going for the whole, “I got this,” or at a more basic level, “Don’t worry, don’t have any doubts in me,” but it came out the way it came out, arrogant, dismissive. It was too late for an apology, it would have killed the momentum, totally destroyed whatever we’d already set up for ourselves, the mood, the false determination.


A week earlier, my friend Rich had showed me this video online of two guys ordering four extra-large sodas at a drive-thru, and right as the cashier handed them their drinks, the driver threw the oversized containers back through the window. All you heard was the scream, she must have gotten soaked, followed by the crazy laughter of the two guys in the car as it sped away.

I remember laughing so hard at that video, the insane kind of funny that, looking back now, I’d never laugh, I’d never let myself. It’s too mean. I’d feel automatically too bad for that woman, she probably hates her job, or maybe she doesn’t hate her job, maybe it’s just me, I hate my job and I assume everybody else hates their job also. Maybe she’s happy. But she’s working the window at the drive through, she gets out the XL cups, fills them all up.

And then what does her boss say? The manager hears the spill, he looks up and the window-girl is doused in soda, there’s a mess everywhere. Did the computer get wet? What about the register? Did the soda make it to the cash? It’s everywhere. She feels bad, like even though everyone says they believe her, she’s worried some of them might suspect she’s making it all up. Because seriously, who would do something like this? And why?

But back when I was seventeen, when I finally had a car, independence, those were things I wasn’t focusing on, the who, the why. My whole world was all of the sudden open and new, I got such a crazy thrill out of anything I hadn’t been exposed to before. And this act summed up everything that I wanted in life at that moment, the ability to look around at the most mundane of situations and still be thrown for a total loop, like nothing applies anymore, everything you thought you knew, forget it.

I think Rich might have suggested we try it out also, or maybe he didn’t directly suggest it, but he said something like, “We would never do something like that,” just something to say, but I took it as this personal challenge, I was like, “Well, I would do that,” not even thinking about how this was already escalating dangerously. “No way, you would never do that,” so now here I was, Rich had thrust all responsibility my way, now this was my joke, my prank, my wild act to either carry out or chicken out of.

So we went to Taco Bell. My euphoria had definitely dwindled down into something else, an anxiety, my heart was still racing but I could tell that there was a part of me I wasn’t willing to yet consciously acknowledge that told me this was a stupid idea. And again, I wasn’t emotionally mature enough to be thinking about anybody else besides myself. I was purely concerned with what if we get in trouble, what if my parents have to get involved?

And Rich, he was pretty nervous too, but it was a carefree worry, like settling in to watch a really scary movie. Sure, he’d be along for whatever ride this turned out to be, but at the end of the day, he could always shrug and be like, I don’t know why Rob threw those sodas. I had nothing to do with it.

I pulled up to the drive-thru, I ordered four extra large Baja Blast Mountain Dews, and as we turned the corner to the window, we both kind of giggled a little bit. It was happening. The sodas had been ordered. Maybe this would be easier than the mental struggle I was setting up for myself here. Maybe all I had to do was throw and drive, and then I could laugh and laugh and laugh.

But we pulled up, and it’s this big dude, he’s passing me the sodas, telling me how much they cost. I didn’t even look at Rich, I just took out a ten, gave it to the guy, took the change, and left. Rich started laughing, I guess I deserved it, I guess he had to make fun of me, I mean, I was the one behind the wheel.

And looking back, I have that whole justification, the putting myself in the other person’s shoes, the realization that people shouldn’t go around throwing sodas at each other. But I still cringe, I still get pissed, like why wasn’t I thinking? Why did I sit there and let Rich make fun of me for the rest of the night? Why didn’t he offer me even a dollar for one of those sodas? Man, I haven’t seen my old friend Rich in forever. I wonder what he’s up to right now.

I used to be rich

Growing up is tough. Like when you’re a little kid and you have to beg your parents for everything. “Mom! I want some new action figures! Mom! Take me to the comic book store!” and, I shouldn’t assume everyone had the same childhood as I did, but my parents weren’t the type to drop whatever they were doing to satisfy the demands of their snot-nosed little son. Before I was old enough to get a job, this meant waiting desperately for some sort of a special occasion, Christmas, my birthday, one of those automatic days where I was entitled to presents.

Now I’m an adult, and yeah, I guess if I really wanted to, I could buy whatever I want. You know, within reason. If I don’t have the cash, just put it on the credit card. Theoretically speaking, there’s really not too much that’s off limits. But at what cost? Am I really willing to put myself into unnecessary debt because I want something that badly?

And so I don’t know what’s worse, being a little kid and having no sense of money, or being an adult and knowing all too well the true cost of material desires. I think back though, and there was an exception to this, it was a period in my life right after I got a job but before I had any bills to pay. It only lasted for about two years or so, but man, I was a god amongst men.

I started working at a restaurant when I was fourteen, scooping ice cream and making cappuccinos at a place a few towns over. After an eight-hour shift, the boss would give me sixty bucks, cash. It doesn’t sound like a lot of money, but to a freshman in high school with absolutely no responsibilities besides doing homework and working at this restaurant two nights a week, this job meant that I was rich.

Like, really rich. I remember the first time I got paid, I went from having absolutely nothing in my pockets, ever, to having sixty bucks. I might as well have been carrying a grand. The day after my first shift, I rode my bike to the park to play basketball with my friends. Normally, we’d all be lucky if we could pool a dollar and a half together to buy a soda.

But like I said, now I was rich. I took everybody to the pizza place and bought a pie. It was incredible, all of that cash, just burning a hole in my pocket. And that’s how it went for the next two years or so, before I bought a car, before I wound up throwing all of my money into a 1991 red Dodge Stealth.

The car gave me an even greater sense of freedom, but it was just a taste of what lay ahead, bills, insurance, gas, repairs, tickets. I still had money, but now when I went to the comic book store, I couldn’t just buy every new release without consequence. I’d been living the past two years never in want of anything. If I even remotely saw something that I liked, I bought it. But little by little, the adult world sucked away my surplus of money.

After school it was rent, and then cell phone service, and healthcare premiums. Whatever, everybody has to pay bills, so I’m not going to go through all of the things that I currently have to save my money for. But nobody prepares you for how it’s really going to be. I think back to when I was fifteen, when I had stacks of twenties in my underwear drawer, how I couldn’t imagine a time where I’d be even remotely close to having to stick to a budget.

I had no idea how good I had it. Maybe it’s a pattern, always looking back and waxing nostalgic. Maybe ten years from now I’ll look back upon right now as the best time of my life. I don’t know, I just remember going to the mall and buying like twenty new CDs. I think this summer I bought two albums on iTunes. What happened to my priorities?

The American Express Black Card

I love it when people pay for stuff with an American Express Black Card. Technically it’s called the Centurion Card, but nobody calls it that. It’s always just the Black Card. It’s just like a regular credit card, except it’s nothing like a regular credit card at all. What’s yours made of, plastic? Ha! I’m laughing at you, because that’s pathetic. But I’m also laughing at myself, unfortunately, because I don’t have a Black Card either, I just have a stupid plastic card, just like you. Ha!

amex black card

How does it feel to know that I could be sitting next to you at a restaurant, and I could be waiting there with a pair of scissors, and when you take out your credit card to pay, I could snatch it out of your hands and cut it into pieces before you even realized what I was doing? You dumb jerk.

But go ahead and try that trick on an American Express Black Card. I hope you have enough cash to buy several pairs of scissors. Why? Because the American Express Black Card isn’t some shitty piece of plastic. No, it’s made out of metal. If you want to cut the Black Card, you’d need like a pair of diamond bladed scissors. And have fun trying to buy a pair of diamond bladed scissors with your stupid plastic cut-in-half credit card. The saleslady will be like, “Ha! That’s cute. Security!” and they’d toss you straight out of the diamond bladed scissor store.

Look, it’s not for everybody. If the Black Card were for everybody, like if American Express decided to change its policy, to make it easy for anybody to apply for a Black Card, people currently holding Black Cards would revolt, they’d all start applying for some new even more exclusive credit card, like a card made out of moon rocks, or mercury.

Because its exclusivity is what makes the Black Card the Black Card. You have to be really, really rich to get one. There’s a huge membership fee. You’re required to charge a ridiculous amount of money every year. And what does this all get you? What makes the Black Card different than any other credit card?

It’s about sending a message. It used to be that if you wanted to tell a complete stranger,

“Listen pal, I know that I don’t know you, that you don’t know anything about me, or what I do. But I want to let you in on something. Come here. Come closer. Ready? Here it is. I am super rich. Like much richer than you’re imagining in your head right now. Here’s a pad and paper. I want you to go ahead and write down how much you think I made this month. No, seriously, I insist. OK, let me see. Yeah, not even close. Ha! Let me put it this way, you could work you’re entire life, and that wouldn’t be half of what I spent on lunch. Now get out of my face, asshole,”

you’d have to actually call them over and make them listen to you.

Nowadays all you have to do is pull out your Black Card. It’s great, because most of the time, the people that are handling your credit card are exactly the people that you’re trying to put in their place: salespeople, waiters, the guy making your coffee, the gas station attendant. Now you don’t even have to say anything to them. Just barely acknowledge their existence, don’t look them in the eye as you hand over that hefty slab of a status symbol. Watch them try to act like they don’t care, like they’re not trying to bend it with their hands as they run it through their machines.

You don’t have to have any more of a human interaction with them besides rubbing it in their face, that you’re rich, that you’re a really, really, really rich person, somebody with so much money that all of the ridiculous fees, all of those stories you hear about how impossible it is just to be invited to be able to purchase a Black Card membership, it’s nothing to you, it’s a micro-fraction of half of a drop in the bucket, a bucket so big that most everybody else’s buckets, even if they were combined into one big bucket, it still wouldn’t be big enough to hold even half of one of those micro-fraction drops of yours, the one you used on your Black Card.

I hope that someday I’ll be able to have my own Black Card. I’ll walk into a restaurant, a car dealership, a yacht club, some private wine cellar somewhere, and if my eighty thousand dollar watch doesn’t give it away, if the people I’m dealing with don’t recognize my designer suits or my helicopter waiting for me outside, if for some reason I ever find myself in a position where a regular nobody for some reason doesn’t recognize who I am, what I’m worth, just exactly what I’m sitting on top of here, I can just pull out my black metal credit card as a subtle reminder to everybody of my lot in life. It does all of the same things as your credit card, only the money supply behind it is nearly infinite, no upward limit. It’s the ultra-wealthy equivalent of going to a screen-printing place and having a t-shirt made up that says, “I am richer, much, much richer than you are.”

I haven’t seen my old friend Rich in forever

Rich? Is that you Rich? How long’s it been? Really? Oh, sorry, well, you look just like my friend, my old friend Rich. You’re not like his brother or cousin, are you? No, that’s a totally different last name. You ever do that? You ever walk up to somebody and think it’s somebody else? And now what are we supposed to do? Waiting in line like this, it’s kind of awkward, and I’m still talking. Can I call you Rich? How about, I’ll buy your cup of coffee if you pretend to be Rich for the rest of the time we’re standing here in line. Come on, it’ll be fun. Rich, come on, Richie. I never called him Richie. Well, maybe once in a while, if I was just talking for the sake of talking, I might be like, “Yo Richie!” but it was always just Rich. Or Dick. What’s up Dick? That was funny mostly when we were much younger, but, I don’t know, if you ask me, certain jokes never lose that zing, that certain whatever it is that makes you laugh so much. Dick. What a ridiculous nickname. You ever go by Dick? No, we’re still pretending here, you, pretending to be Rich. So in this scenario, where I just said, “You ever go by Dick?” you’d say, “No, never,” because I just told you that we never called Rich Dick. You ever go by Richie? No, act like you’re still pretending to be Richie. Come on, I’ll buy you one of those muffins. Jesus, this is a long line. You know Rich-O, it’s only going to feel longer, just standing here not talking to me, after we’ve already been through so much. Come on Rich, I’m starting to look like a crazy person here. Just give me something to go with, something, anything. Hey, you know what’ll be really fun? If when the guy asks you what your name is, so he can write on the side of the coffee cup, say Rich, and we’ll watch him write it down. Then I’ll get somebody else to take photo of us, me and you, standing side by side, smiling, and you’ll be holding the coffee cup towards the camera, so it clearly says Rich. Or even better, tell him that you’re name is Dick, and then we’ll take the same photo, and then I’ll send it to Richie, not you, the real Rich. I haven’t seen that guy in years. I’m sure he looks like what you look like right now. I mean, you’re everything that I’ve ever imagined Rich would look like at this age. I wonder if I still know anybody that would have his cell phone number. What am I saying? I can get that online, anything online. God, that’s going to be so funny, because he hated being called Dick, that’s why we never called him Dick, only like during really, really rare kind of in-the-moment type jokes. Like we’d be playing video games and we’d all get in an argument over who gets to play what and who’s next, and I’d say, “Stop being such a dick,” and that would be kind of funny, we’d go into the whole Richie, Dickie, man, that was fun. If I find him, would you ever want to get together? Me and the two Dicks. I’m just kidding. I’m just messing around. But that would be so funny if I set up a little reunion with Rich, and I tell him to meet up at a certain bar or whatever, but me and you, we’ll get there a little earlier, and when Richie walks in he’ll see us both talking, and I’ll do a fake double take, say something like, “Wait a second, if you’re Rich, who’s this clown?” and then you do some real evil laugh and run out of the bar. I won’t explain anything. That’ll mess him up good. That would be so funny. Come on man, we have to make this happen. Yeah, two coffees please, just write Dick on both of them. And a muffin. No, please, I insist. Well, whatever, one coffee, one latte, and a muffin. Just take the muffin. So what? Take it home. Eat it later. Hey, you’re writing Dick, write? This is going to be so funny. You know that a latte is mostly milk, right? I’m just saying. If you can handle that, that’s cool. I can’t. I don’t know if Richie can. We were all much younger, nobody drank coffee yet. No it’s cool, I’ll meet you over by the sugar. Yeah, for that picture. Come on, please you have to. Because, man it’s crazy, you look just like him! Just like my good friend Richie.