Jul 082012

Anybody familiar with writers and the writing process knows that while having a good imagination helps, we don’t have to search hard for things to write about. Usually all we have to do is observe and listen. And trust me, truth really is stranger than fiction!

Comedian Bill Engvall has made a career out of the line “Here’s your sign!” pointing out the silly things people do and say everyday. More than once I’ve wanted to say the same thing to somebody.

A few months ago, somebody was asking us about our inflatable Sea Eagle kayaks, and we were explaining their benefits over our previous hard shell kayaks. “How much does your kayak weigh,” he asked, concerned about carrying it from his car to the water. I told him that my PaddleSki 435 weighs about 42 pounds, and he asked, “How much does it weigh when you fill it up with air?”

Recently a lady was complaining that she loves to read, but that with her arthritis, holding a book for any period of time was painful. Terry showed her the Kindle e-book reader I bought her for Christmas and was explaining its many benefits. “You can make the type size bigger or smaller to fit your needs,” Terry told her, “and it can hold up to 3,000 books.” The lady, who had been marveling over how light the Kindle was, and its electronic ink display, said “Oh, with my arthritis, that would be way too heavy! I could never hold it with that many books in it!”

Yesterday I had a conversation with a new reader who was complaining that when she asked me about subscribing to our digital edition, I told her she could read it online or print it out, but that she wasn’t able to print it. I wrote back and explained that all she had to do was open the PDF file, click print, and it should print out fine. She said she had tried that over and over with no success, so I tried to walk her through it, step by step. She opened the PDF file, and I told her to click File and a window would open.

“Yes, I’ve got the window.”

“Okay, scroll down in the window and you will see a command that says Print. Click it.”

“I did, nothing happens, it just says “Choose Printer.”

“Okay, for some reason it is not recognizing your printer,” I said. “Does it give you a list of printers to choose from?”


“Alright, what kind of printer do you have?”

“I don’t have one.”

“You don’t have a printer?”


“Than you can’t print it out,” I told her.

“Well, you never told me that! You should be more specific!”

She’s not the only technically challenged customer we have. Once we were vending at an RV rally, and a lady bought one of our 7-in-1 CDs with our guides to Free Campgrounds, Fairgrounds RV Camping, Casino Camping, etc. A little while later she returned and said the CD didn’t work. I assumed that for some reason the CD was flawed and gave her a new one. She took it and was back in a few minutes, complaining that the second CD would not work either. One bad CD I could accept, but two in a row? I asked her if she got any kind of message on her computer screen and she said, “I don’t have a computer, I’m putting it in my stereo CD player, and it doesn’t work, no matter how loud I turn the volume up.”

Another time, I was talking to a man in an RV park when another gentleman walked up and and joined the conversation. Actually, he didn’t exactly join the conversation as much as dominate it and change it to a different topic entirely. It didn’t take long for the first man to walk away, leaving me stuck with the boor. He talked on and on about how much he knew about the RV lifestyle, how little most other RVers knew, and such. Then he noticed the tire pressure monitors on the tires of our bus conversion and asked what they were. I told him and explained the benefits of a tire pressure monitoring system – including monitoring the tires while underway and not having to crawl around in the dirt with a tire gauge to check tire pressures. “Wow, that’s amazing! A guy would have to be an idiot not to have one of these. Why don’t I have one?”  All I could do was smile and walk away. 

You can’t make this stuff up!

Thought For The Day – Our capacity for self-delusion is boundless – John Steinbeck

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Nick Russell

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  18 Responses to “You Can’t Make This Stuff Up!”

  1. As a friend of mine used to say: They walk among us, they reproduce and they vote!

    That, explains a lot of things.


  2. Nick please tell me you made those up!!!! they cant be real, haha!!

    I think I have dealt with these same people years ago when I was working!! I bet if we compared names it would be the same ones.

  3. It is too bad not everyone is as superior as everyone else, but wait then no one would be superior.

  4. Hi Nick,

    I have a good one also. Not long ago, I sold a Tire Monitoring System to a gentleman and he called a week later to say it just wouldn’t work. After spending about 30 minutes on the phone with him trying to diagnose the problem, I finally told him to remove all the sensors from the wheels and call me back when he had done that. He said there was no need for him to call back in awhile, because he had all the sensors in the box on the table. Oh well – gives us all something to smile about down the road.

  5. I had a lady come in to my tire shop a week ago complaining that the new tires we sold her the day before must be bad because they made a loud humming noise whenever she drove past a certain business. In talking to her she said it was only in front of this one place nowhere else. I told her if the tires made the noise all the time that was one thing, but if it was only one place it was either a noise from something local like a piece of equipment in that business, or something on the road surface. She insisted it was the tires’ fault and that it only happened at one intersection. Yesterday her husband came in to say he went for a ride with her to see what the problem was. The business is a factory with some kind of machine that makes a loud humming noise. But she still knows we sold her bad tires.

  6. Too funny! Reminds me of my sister, who was always complaining about something dumb that was usually her fault. When our uncle died we couldn’t make it back to Ohio for the funeral, so a year later we did and she was appalled that he had a blank gravestone. No words, no symbols, just smooth granite. Then I led her around to the other side to read the inscription.

  7. And then we have the neighbor in our RV park who for some reason wanted to park the opposite direction in his site than the way it was planned. That made his water hose too short to reach, so he asked the park owner of they could possibly move the utility hookups to the other side of the site for him.

  8. Oh yes, they do exist, procreate and vote! I worked with a man who set fire to his house because there was a ground squirrel hole in the bushes around the front of the house and he poured gas into the hole to burn the squirrel out. I don’t know about the ground squirrel but he burned down half his house.

  9. Dinah’s comment made me laugh out loud!!! Very funny!! Hope that man was not married!!

  10. Nick,
    I am currently reading Meandering down the highway, A Year on the Road. I appreciate your insight and experiences. My wife and I are in our mid-fifties and exploring RV’ing full time. We recently purchased her brothers RV, a 2000 Fleetwood Flair ( interior refurbished) and in good condition, we are a few trips in and soaking up all we can read about using and maintaining the vehicle properly. I am a shooter and gun enthusiast and appreciate your occassional comments on working gun shows to make some extra cash, something we may consider ( my wife and I are both experienced sales people). Your insights have been both interesting and insightful and I look forward to your blog updates on a daily basis. We wish you and Miss Terry well on your adventures.

  11. I work in the insurance industry and have been dealing with a client whose 14 year old son took his dad’s new $45,000 SUV for a joyride and wrapped it around a light pole. The company refuses to pay the claim because he reported the car stolen, but when his son admitted what really happened he called the police and said he found the car. He doesn’t want his son prosecuted, he just wants the whole thing to go away and can’t understand why the company won’t pay up.

  12. You can’t fix stupid but you can enjoy a good laugh!

  13. Here’s two true stories:

    When my husband was selling computer software, he would ask the customer, “What kind of computer do you have?” More than one customer replied, “A blue one.” We had to train these folks after we sold them the software.

    A relative, who shall be nameless, (not me!) who worked in our family business, was learning to use some new software. The instructions said, “Touch any key.”. She asked my husband, “Which key is the any key?”

  14. That’s priceless, Jodie. Years ago I owned a gun store, and I was amazed at how many people came in wanting to by ammunition for their gun. I’d ask what kind of gun and the typical answer was a rifle (or a shotgun, etc.). I would tell them I needed more info than that to know what kind of ammunition they needed and the answer would be, a bolt action rifle.

  15. Years ago I worked at a bank. The new year started and a co-worker was looking at the banks’ list of holidays and checking them off on the calendar.

    She became upset and told me we would not be having Good Friday off that year. I asked why. She said because it is on a Saturday this year.

    Upon investigating I found she was looking at the new years calendar but the old years dates! Yea, she was a natural blond (sorry to the blonds out there)

  16. We have volunteered for state parks in 4 different states, we have seen & heard some pretty funny stuff. The best was at an oceanfront beach park. A man came to the entrance booth and asked me what time the dolphins swam by! I had to bite my tongue and just answer “in the afternoon”.

  17. Hi Nick…I used to repair computers and computer equipment for a living. You’d be amazed at what I’d hear. I think my favorite was when I worked for NEC and they made printers for the PC market. A customer called and told me she couldn’t get her new printer to work. After running through the standard checks, such as self-test, check the cables, etc., I went over to her office. This was about 1985.

    Her PC was against one wall and her printer against the opposite wall. That was a long distance to run a printer cable in those days and I pulled the printer out to check the cable. Sure enought, no cable. No cable on the PC either.

    When I asked her where her printer cable was, she looked at me and said, “No one said I needed to hook them together with a cable.” She was upset and felt we had cheated her by not telling her she needed a cable. I moved the printer beside the PC and gave her one of our standard cables to keep her happy.

    Maybe she was prophetizing wireless. lol.

  18. But I have to ‘fess up to one of my own. When I was about 21, I had an old plymouth. We were going to take a car vacation that summer…our first ever…and I found a used set of metal roof racks so we could put stuff on top of the car. I installed them about 2 months before we left on our trip.

    A couple of days after I installed the rack, I was outside of town and I heard a loud roaring noise coming from my car. I drove it straight to the garage to have it checked. I couldn’t have a major problem on my vacation. The owner drove it around town and heard nothing and gave it back to me.

    Two days later I heard it again. This time the mechanic rode with me. at about 70 mph (speed limits were much higher in Wyoming in those days), the roaring sound started. When I slowed down, they stopped. The mechanic put duct tape over the open mounting holes in the roof rack and the noise stopped.

    At high speeds, my roof rack turned into a giant kazoo!!! lol

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