Misconclusion

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Arrive at the gym.

Big guy I think might be a jackass holds the door for his girlfriend and then insists on waiting and holding the door for me, too.

I say “Thank you.”

“You’re very welcome.” he answers like he means it and then smiles.

Dammit.

Kind of made me like the guy.

Look who the jackass is for judging.

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From the comments:

Christi: I was leaving the convenience store recently when a very large black gentleman was coming across the parking lot toward the store. He was wearing the typical “gangster” looking attire and had a rather menacing appearance.

I held the door open for him as he slowly walked across the parking lot and when he got closer and realized I was holding the door for him he started doing that fast walk/jog thing and thanked me very sincerely.

He walked in then stopped in his tracks shook his head looked back at me with a puzzled look on his face and said “thank you so very much…thank you, thank you.” May have had to have been there but it was actually a very moving moment.

Zero: Thank YOU for doing that. And thank you for sharing.

A positive distraction

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In line at the red dot and circle shop.

I get to the cashier. She’s visibly frustrated.

Only 1 register is open and there is a line building up behind me.

She shouts to some unseen person across the floor, “Why am I the only one open!?”

I answer with a calm confidence, but loud enough for others to hear, “Because you’re awesome.” I smile, “You got this.”

She smiles back and says, “Thank you.”

“You’re welcome.”

She continued to wear that smile as I walked out of the store.

But also just a slightly brighter shade of red.

It happens.

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Boomerangs

boomerangs-zero-dean

I just saw a business with one of those changeable letter signs out front that said:

“Kindness is like a boomerang, it always returns.”

Clearly these people have never thrown a boomerang.

Otherwise, it would say:

“Kindness is like a boomerang, sometimes it goes flying off into the bushes where you can’t find it, sometimes it ends up in the crazy neighbor’s yard with the ‘Trespassers will be shot’ signs plastered all over, and sometimes a racoon grabs it and runs up a tree with it and you have to coax it down with peanut butter, bananas, and left over cornbread.”

Actually, that sounds about right.

Fine, kindness is like a boomerang.

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My birthday adventure with Bill Dollar

ATTENTION: This page has now found a permanent home on the official Toyscapades site.

NOTE: The following “adventure” played out over the course of a few hours — with those who were following along wondering what would happen next and being surprised with each photo. While it is still enjoyable presented all at once like this, it does lose a bit of the “adventure” aspect.

2:22 PM

Decided to go for a walk on my birthday with Bill Dollar. We came across some train tracks.

Bill tells me he’s always afraid of walking along train tracks because he fears he might twist an ankle.

I told Bill Dollar that he should probably be more concerned about oncoming trains.

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2:58 PM

As we walk along…

Bill Dollar thinks he heard something in the bushes.

I didn’t hear anything…

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3:11 PM

Turns out Bill Dollar was right! There was something in the bushes!!! O_O

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3:21 PM

Bill Dollar thinks this is a good hiding place.

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3:28 PM

Bill Dollar is wrong. This is not a good hiding place, Bill. This is a very, very bad hiding place.

bill-dollar-has-chosen-a-very-bad-hiding-place

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3:36 PM

Bill Dollar thinks we should do more cardio…

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3:52 PM

Even while being chased by a T-Rex, Bill Dollar makes a good case for being the Lego version of ridiculously photogenic guy

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3:57 PM

Bill Dollar asks if the T-Rex is still chasing us.

Yes, Bill. He is still very much chasing us.

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4:08 PM

Bill Dollar thinks we are incredibly fortunate that T-Rexes don’t know how to use stairs.

I just think it’s an incredibly convenient plot device.

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4:46 PM

It turns out T-Rexes have no problem navigating stairs after all, Bill Dollar!

bill-dollar-is-chased-by-a-trex-along-the-beach

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4:52 PM

I asked Bill Dollar why he is always smiling. Bill says he just loves life. Every moment. Even moments where he is being chased down the beach by a Tyrannosaurus Rex.

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5:46 PM

The End.

?

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Q&A:

Q: Who is Bill Dollar?
A: Bill Dollar is Bill Dollar. It has been noted, however, that he strikes an uncanny resemblance to a Lego minifigure in the upcoming Lego Movie. But that’s not Bill Dollar. That’s some other dude who looks like Bill Dollar.

Q: What did you take the photos with?
A: A Samsung Galaxy S3. I think my real camera would be overkill for now.

Q: Are we going to see more adventures with Bill Dollar?
A: I hope so. This was silly fun to do and I’d love to expand this concept even further. Way further.

Q: How did you develop the story?
A: I had Bill Dollar with me. And a dinosaur. I simply made it up as I went along — dramatic pause — through the amazing power of imagination!

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False forecasts

That awkward moment someone writes you an email that starts with:

“Zero, I’m rather disgusted with…”

And you find your body tensing — while you hold your breath — because you are fully expecting it to end with:

“you” or “your post from earlier today” or any number of ways in which it could go poorly —

But instead, it ends with: “the system, too”

And you find yourself letting out of huge a sigh of relief. And now smiling, unexpectedly, because it was just someone agreeing with you.

Phew!

That’s like starting a conversation with “We need to talk!”

Don’t ever do that unless it’s bad. Because even if it’s good, I am totally on the other end of the spectrum when you start speaking.

“We need to talk…”
“Uh…”
“We won the lottery!”
“I’M SORRY!” … “Wait.” … “Wut?”

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A Subway reunion

Walk into one my favorite SoCal Subways for the first time in over 5 months — ten minutes before closing. The place is empty.

One of the two guys behind the counter throws up his hands, “OH MY GOD! We thought you went to jail!”

I smile and wave, “I did. I went to jail… And I got some tattoos… On my butt.”

They laugh. “Good to see you, man. How have you been?”

“Good! And you?”

“Good. Just another day in paradise.”

“Indeed!” I rub my hands together, “So, I haven’t been to a Subway in a while (not since the last time I was here, actually)… Help me here. You guys make sandwiches?”

“Yeah, you used to get the egg and cheese.”

“Oh right! I did! And then I read about what your eggs are made of… And… (whispering) it’s not really eggs.”

They laugh, “So where were you?”

“Oh, I was up in San Francisco…”

“Making workout videos?” (This is funny. I’m not sure if he was serious or kidding — because I have been told I look a bit like Tony Little).

I smile, “Yes. That’s what I do. I make workout videos.”

“Well, I know you blog!”

“I do! But I was really up there just waiting for my car registration…”

“How’s your leg? All better?”

“It’s good! That’s funny. I came back to the area and a few people have asked me about my leg (at the gym) — only to remind me that I’d stopped thinking about it, which is a good sign, right?”

“Yeah! Man, it’s good to see you. We’re about to close and we saw the car drive up and we thought it was going to be some dickhead.”

I laugh, “Come on guys, you can say it. I’m a dickhead. I’m just at the lower end of the dickhead scale. I know how working with the public can be.”

“Oh, you have no idea!”

“Oh, I think I do!”

We all laugh and chat it up some more while they make my sandwich.

They ring me up and give me a 10{82b2ded5ae086bbe31c001f0374079c9503b180ae813ec027549eb44365a9474} discount (which they used to).

When I’m done eating and about to head out, “Alright you guys! I’ll see you next year!”

“That sounds like so long.”

“I know. But it’s only just a couple hours. I’ll be out in the parking lot. You guys can help me jumpstart my car.”

They laugh.

“Happy New Year!”

Making good memories. It matters.

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Relational aspirations

Confession of the day:

Couples that look genuinely happy together make me happy. Especially older couples.

There is this couple that comes into this cafe (in southern California) almost every day around 2pm. They sit, talk, and enjoy coffee together.

They’ve seen me enough times to know that I’m a regular (when I’m in the area), too.

I was away for 5 months, but they were here the day I got back (a few days ago).

They didn’t say anything, but they gave me a nod of recognition, and a smile. That was enough.

And today when I came in, they offered me their table as they got up to go — which is what they used to do on occasion (because it’s in a convenient spot for working on a laptop).

I don’t really know them. And we’ve only exchanged a few words here and there, but they feel familiar. Like good people you want to know.

As you know, not everyone is like that.

I hope that when I’m with someone later in life, we can give off the same kind of vibe.

It’s remarkable how much of a difference you can make by just setting a good example.

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Cafe compassion

Just watched a manager offer a homeless guy a sandwich.

Made it for him.
Brought it to him.
And then sat down and talked to him for 10 minutes.

“Why are you being so nice to me?”
“I’m nice to everybody.”

I found her display of compassion to be extremely inspiring as well as a little eye opening. She really listened. But she was also pretty direct.

“How long have you been drinking?”
“Well, I had my first drink when I was 7.”

And thus began a rather interesting story.

Anyway — if you ever wonder, yes — there are really good people out there.

And one of them is a manager at Panera Bread in Fremont, California.

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More story details:

I didn’t catch all of it, but I caught a lot of it. She was harder for me to hear than he was, but not everything he said was spoken in an easy to follow fashion.

He really started drinking when he was 17. He had a rough year — and, “that one year turned into twenty.”

The manager asked if he’d gone to rehab before, “Yes, but it didn’t stick.” But he said he learned some things and “I got a good shave when I was there.”

“They told me I don’t shake because I drink. I shake because I don’t drink.”

He mentioned being embarrassed. She asked why he was embarrassed.

“I get embarrassed because I shake. I went to the bank with around seven dollars in change to change it into bills and my hands wouldn’t stop shaking. And that’s so embarrasing.”

“I’ve been drinking since 3:30 this morning, but it’s not like I act drunk. I don’t get belligerent. But I need it. I have half a gallon of vodka up my sleeve right now.”

He did. He was wearing a jacket, but held out his arm in from of him and his sleeve had a bottle in it. Not noticable unless you were looking for it.

The manager has two jobs. She told him to stop by at the other job any time for coffee. And it sounded like she was working on ways to help him. It also sounded like she already had.

“Do you remember my name?” He didn’t. “Do you still have the card I gave you?” He didn’t. She made him stay put while she went and got another one.

She came back, gave it to him, and then gave him an awkward hug.

He said, “Thank you.”

Follow-up November 29:

In a follow up to my post, I just spoke with the manager. Her other “job” is volunteering at a place called Compassion Network, which is a local organization.

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Just Married

I’ve decided that tomorrow I’m going to tie a bunch of cans to the back of my 4Runner, paint “Just Married” on the back window, and just drive around and see what happens.

If people ask me about my partner, I’ll just say that she doesn’t exist yet and that I’m really just practicing.

Because, seriously, how am I supposed to know how dragging a bunch of cans behind my car is going to affect my driving — or my gas mileage for that matter.

Because on my wedding day, I want to be able to turn to my newly wedded wife and say, “Don’t worry about the cans, baby. I spent a day in back 2013 driving around with cans hanging off the back of my 4Runner. I’ve prepared for this moment. I know what I’m doing.”

And she’ll believe me, too.

Because if she’s marrying me, she’ll know just how odd — and yet amazingly prepared! — I really am. ;)

Also, at my wedding, everyone needs to throw dried bread instead of rice.

Because I made a pact with a bunch of ducks once and I’m not going to break it.

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