2011 Season

Edition No. 5

Thurs., March 24, 2011









As I reflect on the encroachment of Draft Day, which is less 24 hours away, I realize that I have put in less than 10 minutes so far to prepare for this year’s Draft, and, if I am lucky, I will put in another 10 minutes, tops, between now and then.  I feel kind of like my old law school classmate, “Peterbowl” (unaffectionately nicknamed for his functional but decidedly unattractive haircut style), who used to tell us that he was so damned busy he couldn’t “even take two craps in one day.”  


In reality, I am probably not any busier than the average Joe, but like most self-important people, I just think I am.  In any case, it sure feels like I’m awfully damned busy, so much so that it feels like I can’t get anything done, which makes me very cranky.  As a matter of fact, I have been so crabby so often lately that I am thinking of starting a new website called IAmCrabby.com


The reason I am crabby most recently, today, is because of my little misadventure at Nebraska Furniture Mart this morning.  I had carved out just enough time from my schedule to stop in and pick out some new carpeting for the family room in the house, which I have been trying to get done for the past couple of weeks, without success.  When I arrived at the Mart, I worked efficiently and was successful in picking out the new carpet that I wanted within about 15 minutes.  With time to spare, I went to the cashier to square up on the tab.  When I realized that I had left my wallet (with my debit card in it) at the office, I asked the cashier  to simply put this new purchase on an old Nebraska Furniture Mart account that was opened 15 years ago and has been seldom used.  It was then that I learned my X had moved our old account to her new address, and that she had purchased furniture on this account recently.  I was advised to close out that account and open a new one, which seemed like a great idea. 


After the nice young lady at the cashier’s station filled out the paperwork to close out the old account and open a new one, she asked to see my driver’s license.  Well, it was in my wallet back at the office.  However, I keep a spare driver’s license (the one that expired in 2010) in my car, and so I presented that form of ID so that I could complete my transactions.  To which the cashier cheerfully pointed out, “Mr. Ernst, this driver’s license seems to have expired.”  To which I responded, “Yes, I know, but it has been renewed, and I just don’t have the current one with me right now.  But as you can plainly see from the photo on my license, I’m really me, and now would you please go ahead and close out our old account and open up a new one for me?” 


My chances of making it into the West Wing of the White House with a forged Gaddafi ID would have been better.  Explaining until I was blue in the face that I wasn’t planning on actually delivering the carpet from NFM to my home‒‒hence, I had no need for a current operator’s license‒‒I pointed out to the nice young lady that all she really needed from me was a photo ID so that she could be sure that I was who I said I was.  A couple of phone calls from the cashier’s desk to the NFM Credit Department brought no relief whatsoever, only mounting frustration on my part.  A mountain of mounting frustration, you can be sure. 


With the window of opportunity for completing this transaction closing quickly, I suggested that I could call my office and have my assistant photocopy my current operator’s license and fax it to the fax machine located about three feet away from the cashier, so she could have proof in hand that I have a current operator’s license and that I am who I am.  No, it seems there is nothing in the NFM training manual that will allow for this type of extraordinary proof of identity, and so sadly, there was simply nothing that she could do for me under the given circumstances.  I was tempted to tell her that I once convinced a federal agent in Omaha to let me on a plane to Pittsburgh without my driver’s license with me, and then persuaded the gate agent in Pittsburgh to let me board the flight to Omaha armed only with a photocopy of my driver’s license which had been faxed to Pittsburgh.  (True story.)  But then I realized that her response would probably be that they don’t have any Nebraska Furniture Mart stores in Pittsburgh, only in Omaha and Kansas City, and therefore my story, while interesting and noteworthy, was not good enough for me to open or close an account at Nebraska Furniture Mart. 


Derailed, deflated, and defeated, I slumped my shoulders, dropped my head in exasperation and acceptance, and headed out to my car, my window of opportunity having slammed shut behind me. 




As I was leaving the Mart in my car, I was reminded of a book I read many years ago, written by a sports author named Larry Merchant, I believe, with the apt title:  And Every Day You Take Another Bite (Larry didn’t need to include the five prefatory words “Life is a Shit Sandwich,” because he, and we, all get it). 


Luckily, tomorrow is another day and the sun will come up in the east yet again, and life will be good once more.  Draft Day!  It doesn’t get any better.