I wrote a few posts ago about the theory and practice of calling “dibs” on something. Although that practice was and remains of key import in determining ownership rights, there was another key practice that sometimes came into play as a necessary adjunct to calling dibs. Here’s how it would work. Let’s say The Princess and I are both peering into the freezer looking for something for desert. As an aside, here are the things that at anyone time one might find in our freezer: ice cream (usually two to three flavors), pieces of blueberry buckle, slices of pie (usually a couple of different types), cookies, Klondike bars, and frozen fruit. Then there might be a token package of chicken and a bag of shrimp. Finally, tucked here and there are hermetically sealed bags of garbage that if put in the trash 5 or 6 days before pick-up would reek to high heaven from our constant, low to mid-90’s weather. That makes a pretty packed freezer, and in this case led to our pawing around doing a shelf by shelf examination when “bingo,” we both spied the last piece of peach, blueberry pie at the same time and simultaneously called out “DIBS.”
Now, since calling dibs is supposed to solve problems, not create them, another practice was developed to deal with the occasional simultaneous calling of dibs, or anything else for that matter. The simple solution was the invention of “Pokes you owe me a Coke.” Following the simultaneous “dibs,” the first party to call out Pokes you owe me a Coke was not only awarded dibs rights, but a bonus. The bonus could vary depending on neighborhood custom, but as the phrase implies, the loser had to buy the winner a Coke. In our neighborhood, where no kid had much money, the Pokes winner instead of getting a Coke, got to take a free punch at the upper arm of the loser.
Now don’t forget that Pokes could apply to any word or phrase spoken simultaneously. So you can imagine, with the popularity of words such as “neat,” and “cool,” where practically entire conversations would consist of those words, there was ample opportunity for Pokes. Consequently, every kid was on the alert for this potentiality and ready in an instant with that phrase. This led to the ridiculous scene you might come across where two kids on the sidewalk are shouting Pokes you owe me a Coke at each other over and over again, because in addition to the initial simultaneous phrase, they had also simultaneously spoken the “pokes” phrase. They were so hair-trigger good at it that they continued to yell it until one of them ran out of breath and finally (and literary) took his lumps.
In our case, The Princess was a little slow on her “pokes,” and I got the pie.
Another subject. The Princess is absolutely “hell on wheels” when it comes to examining and paying the monthly bills. This week she caught Time Warner once again trying to pry a few extra bucks out of us on our cable bill. When you go through those bills you can never figure them out. There are incomprehensible charges, fees and taxes and then when you get to the end, nothing adds up. The Princess is convinced that they have a secret program (I’ve dubbed it “The Weasel”) that just slightly scrambles-up every bill by some odd little amount like $2.15 with the hope that people will not notice, or even if they do will consider it to small an amount to spend half an hour on the phone arguing about. Unfortunately, The Princess only finds the errors. I’m the one on the phone for half an hour. The call this week was typical. I would state the case, the TW person would give a nonsense answer, I’d restate the problem, another nonsense answer and so on. In the end, the TW person backed down and agreed to remove the charge. So, fair warning, watch out for the “weasel!”
As for the Pony? I should never write things like “next I’ll be torquing down the head bolts;” it’s a jinx. That statement first led to the need for all new head bolts. Then I found that in addition to the air filter and the spark plug wire guide, the oil cleaner is also attached to the head. So that led to the cleaning, wire-brushing, sanding and painting of all the parts to the oil cleaner. But when I got the canister’s bracket clean, I noticed it had a crack in it, so now I need to find a welder, someone other than the hack who fixed the bracket on the air cleaner. Hmmmm, who do I know that is a professionally trained welder? So, the long and short of it is that I have not torqued down the head bolts (hell, I’m not even close), but I am making other progress.
When I got the radiator back, I noticed this tag, but it was half-peeled off the radiator and covered with black paint. On one corner I noticed a little gleam that looked like brass. And sure enough, after a bit of elbow grease the tag shown beautifully and boasted its Canadian origins. Ahhhh, those folks up there could really make a radiator. “Cool!”…Pokes you owe me a Coke… and thanks for reading.