The UPS and Downs

I think I’m generally a pretty tolerant person, but there are a few things that just stick in my craw, especially when it comes to spelling and grammar.  Here is one.

UPS — It’s an acronym, not a word.  It stands for United Parcel Service, and it’s pronounced “U P S”, not “ups”.  Does one say “us-puss” for the United States Postal Service?  Or “ibim” for IBM?

I can understand pronouncing acronyms intended to evoke words: CARS, NORML, AIDS.  But as far as I know, that was not the intention with UPS.

One more thing.  There’s no apostrophe in UPS.

Repent, Democrats!

“You Democrats won’t go to heaven.”


“With the ideals you have, you won’t be allowed into heaven when you die.”

“Are you for real?”

“Yes, I mean it.  Democrats lack strong values, and without them, they can’t have eternal salvation.”

“That’s ridiculous.  How can you equate a person’s political beliefs with … with eligibility for ascension?”

“It’s simple.  If you don’t live a righteous life, you can’t come in.”

“And if I’m not a Republican, I don’t live a righteous life?”

“Exactly.  Only Republican values are in line with God’s word.”

“Since when is St. Peter a hard-line Republican?”

Take a Penny, Leave a Penny

The lone service clerk worked frantically, but despite her best efforts, the line continued to grow.  We waited patiently; she was doing the best she could.

While we waited, a short man with messy gray hair and a greasy jacket muscled his way to the front of the line.  He carried a thick stack of scratch tickets.

“Hey buddy, the line’s back here,” said the guy ahead of me.  The man ignored him and made straight for the “Take a Penny, Leave a Penny” cup on the counter.

He took a penny, then left to go scratch off his winnings.

Speaking of Wal*Mart …

She grew up in that small Mississippi town and had rarely ventured beyond the city limits.  She was a very sweet young woman: pretty, respectful, and frighteningly naïve.

I mentioned Wal*Mart in passing, and her eyes brightened.

“Oh, you have Wal*Mart in Colorado, too?” she drawled.

“Um … yeah.  There are lots of Wal*Marts in Colorado.  They’re in every state.”

“Really?  I didn’t know that.”

“Yep.  Every state in the union.”

Her eyes widened and she shook her head slightly.  “Oh, we don’t talk much about the Union down here.”

Over one hundred forty years later, the war still rages.


The car idles as my stepson and I wait in line at the Walgreen’s drive-through.  A fancy SUV waits in line ahead of us.

“Look, it’s the Wal*Mart dude!” he says.

“Who?” I ask.

“You know, the Wal*Mart dude.  That yellow smiley face guy.  On that car’s antenna.”

I look up and see a faded yellow antenna ball smiling down at me, a 70s cultural icon, rendered in three dimensions and impaled on the antenna of a $70,000 gas guzzler.  In my stepson’s generation, the smiley face has been co-opted by the world’s largest retailer.

Have a nice day, indeed.