(Note from the Editor…I spent about an hour on-line, trying to find an old black and white photo that captured the theme of today’s post, with no luck. So I said screw it and went with a “Spring-time” pic from Cap’n John’s portfolio of photos. See above.)

I note with no particular interest that it’s that time of year again when the Hallmark holidays of Mother’s Day and of Father’s Day are almost upon us; as I’m sure you’re all aware, and for those of you who are not, Mom’s Day is Sunday, 5/13, and Dad’s Day is next month on 6/17. Wasn’t it thoughtful of President Woodrow Wilson, back in 1914, and President Lyndon Johnson in 1966 to declare certain Sundays of the year as days to express some type of affection towards our Parental Units? (Can we assume that President Tweety Bird will soon issue a proclamation, declaring some date or another as “National Porn Star Day”?)

I’m deeply grateful to Mr. Wilson and Mr. Johnson for the reminders…of course, both my folks have gone on to their eternal whatever, so for me, the point is moot. But Publix is most definitely aware of the impending spring-time celebrations of the joy of parenting.

As some of you may recall, in addition to my duties as the Captain and Master of the R U Kidding, I am also employed part-time by the Publix Supermarket chain, one of the largest in the country and the dominant group of grocery stores here in Florida, as a Front Service Clerk; as I have remarked previously, this is a $200 title for a $27 job…I’m a grocery bagger. Publix, like many large corporations these days, is awash in jargon, right up to their little green name badges.

Publix gets a lot of mileage out of the fact that the company has been on the Fortune 100 Best Companies To Work For list for the past twenty years running, and for the most part, it is a pretty good place to work; they have their moments, but overall, I’ve had worse jobs. (I’ve worked in places where that old joke about “The beatings will continue until morale improves” was operative.)

Although I’ve never had the job, I have to think that working as a bagger for Pubics, as I like to call them, is probably a better gig than being a proctologist for Butts R’ Us.

Now as you may have noticed from time to time, I have a well-developed sense of irreverence towards, well, just about everything, now that I think about it; I can do serious, but it’s an effort. And as I further think about it, this might be genetic…keep that thought in mind as you read the rest of this story.

So my “irreverence” towards most things will not come as the surprise that the iceberg was for the crew of the Titanic to my loyal and long-suffering readers…humor is my coping mechanism. If I got my tit caught in the wringer, I’d find a way to make light of it. (And as I wrote that line, I realized for the first time ever that, given the way the old wringer-type washing machines were constructed, it was entirely possible to have that happen.)

(I have a friend who I went to high-school with who went on to become a doctor…he always said that laughter was the best medicine, except for treating diarrhea.)

Back to Pubics, and being irreverent…about a month ago, as I was standing by the time clock waiting to punch in for my shift that day, I saw a notice on our employee bulletin board that caught my attention…it was from the “Corporate Communications Department”, which is Publixese for the PR people, asking anyone who cared to do so to send them a note telling them “the best advise you ever received from your parents”, and giving an email address to use for this corporate communication.

As Gru from the Despicable Me movies would say, lightbulb.

I noted the address and when I got home from work later that afternoon, sent off an email to the CorpComm people, telling them that the best advice I had ever gotten from my parents came from my Dad, who once told me this: ”If at first you don’t succeed…get a bigger hammer.”

Several points here…one, I did this in jest, strictly to have a little fun with the PR folks. Two, my Dad never said this to me, although given his personality, it is something he might have told me. (I once asked him, in the midst of a home project with which he was having some difficulty, said difficulty causing great profane expressions to emanate from him, if I could help…I was about 10 at the time. He turned to me and said, you want to help? I nodded, and he responded bluntly, then stay out of the way. He later apologized.)

Three, I had NO friggin’ idea what was coming next, believe me.

The email, once sent, was forgotten by yours truly. Completely…I had my yucks and moved on.

So imagine my utter surprise when I opened my email inbox yesterday to find a message from Megan in the CorpComm office, to wit:

“We would like to feature your Dad’s advice in our upcoming issue of Publix News.”

After I was able to get up from the floor where I had been laughing hysterically, I continued reading Megan’s message…she requested a pic of my Dad, preferably one of both of us together, included a “photo release form” I needed to sign, told me they needed my answer by May 3 and thanked me “for sharing”. (FYI, Publix News is a monthly news magazine sent out to the stores for the greater edification and enjoyment of the employees.)

In for a penny, in for a buck three eighty-five, I thought, so I immediately went online with the devious intent to find a pic I could use…see the photo to the right. However, upon reflection, I decided that sending this picture would be taking the joke a bit too far, so I rummaged around in the large box of old photos that lives in my closet and came up with the one below, scanned it onto my PC, signed the release form and sent them both on their way.

As I explained in my response to Megan, that’s Dad on the left…I’m the one in the beret.

The old man would have been proud of my restraint, I’m sure.

And you know, I have a feeling that this isn’t the end of the story…more later.

Love and greeting cards,

Cap’n John

Post Script…if you would like to see more of Cap’n John’s photography, here’s the link to a video on the Welcome Aboard The R U Kidding‘s Facebook page…I hope you like them.

Go ahead…there’s no charge.