Category Archives: United Parcel Service

I work as a United Parcel Service package car driver in Loveland, Colorado. Occasionally I’ll mention something about my day job, but if you are looking for some juicy anti-union, anti-management, or anti-FedEx rantings you should probably look somewhere else.

Dog Days

I pulled up to the house just as a woman and her dog were leaving to go for an afternoon walk.  I reached for a dog biscuit as I stepped out of the truck.  The dog ate it up while I talked to the woman.

“This is for you.”  I said as I handed her the small cardboard box.

She examined the label with a slight look of confusion on her face.  The dog had by now made quick work of his unexpected treat.

“You are on the wrong street.  This package is for 3001 Swallow Place.  My house is 3001 Swallow Bend.” she replied.

“My mistake, but I will need that dog treat back.”

A moment of awkward silence ensued.

This whole situation happened to me this week, but the I didn’t come up with the last line until after I drove away.  I guess my sharp wit is balanced out by my poor timing.  Maybe that’s why I write so much stuff on the Internet.

Personal Grooming

Being a UPS driver, people often ask me how I keep my hands so clean given the grungy nature of my job. Actually, nobody has ever asked me that, but I have to start somewhere.

Every night when I come home from work I start the shower running and prepare what some would call my “Ancient Chinese Secret” for cleaning the deep seeded grime from my hands. This procedure uses two solid pumps from my 1.25 gallon Gojo dispenser and a light sprinkle of Ajax worked into all the nooks and crannies of my hand with a small oval shaped pumice stone. I scrub vigorously until the shower warms up, at which point I enter the stall and continue to shower in more or less the traditional manner. When I’m done in the shower, I dry off and rub a healthy amount of lotion into my hands.

Interesting points:

  1. I’m pretty sure this is NOT an approved official use for Ajax.
  2. For anyone considering robbing their neighbors in the near future, I believe this procedure is also effective at temporarily removing my fingerprints.
  3. You may be asking yourself how this is Ancient, Chinese, or a secret. The old Chinese man I have locked in my basement taught me how to do it. Now that the secret is out, however, I’ll have to kill him. He will understand.

The Profiler

I’m getting married in June, which means I’ve got a lot of stuff to do before then. Of course I’m putting off all those things and procrastinating by writing a story about my old myspace profile when I really should be going to the Men’s Warehouse to get fitted for a suit. Anyone looking to meet people on the Internet is going to have to create a profile to describe who they are. A good profile will catch the attention of the type of people you would like to meet. A bad profile will repel these types of people, and, in some extreme cases, get your name permanently added to several government watch lists. Below is my old Myspace profile, along with some pointers in bold.

About Me:

First of all, I’m a delivery driver in Northern Colorado. Saying where you live and what kind of work you do is a good place to start, but don’t be too specific.

What does this mean to you? I’m pretty active since I’m running around town in a big brown truck 45 hours a week. I have a nice tan, except for the fact that my feet are totally white from my socks. I’m in good shape, except my love for Taco Bell means I have a few extra pounds to deal with. Be honest about your age and physical description. And while I’m on the topic, make sure to put up a reasonably new picture of yourself, preferably looking somewhat happy where your body takes up at least half the image. Sending a picture you took at a bar with 17 other people all wearing novelty Saint Patrick’s day sunglasses isn’t going give the other person much to go on.

Finally, I have a habit of droning on about work related stories, but I’m currently getting counseling and electro-shock therapy to keep it under control. References to electro-shock treatments can be a good ice breaker.

I’m also a writer. Not the kind that had made any money, but I keep plugging away at it. My goal is to get one of my stories on Saturday Night Live or Mad TV. I run a website at Newfunny.com where I put a lot of my writing. Mentioning what you would like to be doing is a good idea. Not too many people work at their dream job, so knowing that your soul hasn’t been crushed from years of cubical nesting gives your profile a positive spin.

What else do I do? I’m currently building an entry for next years Kinetics Race in Boulder. Once I get my hands on some welding equipment and some industrial grade marine Styrofoam I’ll be 80 percent finished. OK, this brings up a concept that many people don’t grasp too well. Many people assume if you write about your strangest hobbies everyone will thing you are crazy and nobody will talk to you. In reality, a certain percentage of the viewers will be turned off by this, but the ones who aren’t will be even more intrigued. For example, saying that you’ve been to one or more Star Trek conventions will make 90 percent of the viewers move on to the next profile, but the remaining 10 percent will be 90 percent more likely to keep reading. On the other hand, saying you like movies and going out to eat isn’t going to win points with anyone. You might as well say you like breathing air and drinking water.

I also like to play pool, ride my motorcycle, and meet new people. I’m very outgoing when I’m working, but more quiet and reserved when I go out socially. For some reason the UPS uniform gives me special powers– I can park where ever I want, ask random questions of total strangers, and of course run to the front of the line at any business without anyone getting mad. Talking about your job is good in moderation. Just remember to keep is positive. Starting a sentence with, “My boss is such a jerk-off for the following eleven reasons…” isn’t the best way to go, even if have detailed documentation to back up your claims.

Who I’d like to meet:

What do I want from a woman? Well, have you ever seen “Lord of the Rings”? All I want is a beautiful elven princess, like, say, Arwin (played by Liv Tyler) who possesses eternal beauty, courage, passion, and kindness but is willing to give it all up for a stuck up, half-witted, scruffy-looking nerf-herder (hmmm… I might be mixing my sci-fi metaphors a bit here). Am I asking too much? If you fit all of these criterion but are only a regular human princess, give me a call. If you are Liv Tyler, give me a call right now. This section is largely a trick question. Many of the things you want from a potential mate you can’t come right out and say in the beginning, like, say, “I want to meet someone who will paint my house on a regular basis. And not just going through the motions either. They need to do all the proper preparation like scraping the old paint, filling in the cracks, and laying a solid coat of primer.” And when you say “paint my house” you really mean something else like “cook all my meals,” “do my laundry,” or “satisfy my deviant sexual fetishes.”

Seriously though, I want a woman with a strong sense of balance. Not falling over too much, being able to ride a bicycle, and perhaps even the ability to juggle a few tennis balls is a good start. But more important is having a balance between your own needs and the needs of partner. Give and take is a big part of a strong relationship. Like saying, “OK, we can watch the stupid History channel special about subway construction (which I’ll bet you’ve already see before) but I get to put my feet up on your lap and so you can rub lotion on them during the show.” or “I’ll do the laundry if you do something about that rotting dead hooker in the trunk.” Another thing about what type of person you want to meet: You don’t need to say that you are looking for someone who shares common interests. That is kind of assumed. Nobody looks at profiles and thinks, “I want someone who is totally opposite than me in every possible dimension so we can just sit at dinner silently night after night knowing that any attempt at communication is destined to fail until the weaker willed of the union can’t take it anymore and, in a fit of uncontrolled anger, throws their dinner plate across the table accidentally decapitating their partner and damaging beyond any hope of repair, the Persian rug sitting underneath the dining room table that had been in your family for two generations.”

So now that my days of online dating are over, I hope this helps out everyone out there who haven’t met/seduced/started stalking their favorite lover. Keep your spirits up, your profile up to date, and your dates full of spirits.

2008 Christmas Letter

The days are getting cooler, the political issue rob-calling is winding down, and most stores are busy setting up extensive Valentine’s day promotional material– which means it must be time for me to write my annual Christmas letter. 2008 has been a crazy year with the economy, the presidential election, and, of course, the wonderfully crazy mid-season cliffhanger of Battlestar Galactica which led a shaky alliance between the Cylons and the fleet back to Earth only to see the crumbling remains of New York City. What the frack happened? We have to wait until January 2009 to how that’s going to play out.

The first project I tackled this year was cleaning up some of the loose ends on my entertainment center. A few years back I installed a projector and a large screen in my previously underused living room. This let me watch movies and television on a screen that’s about 10 feet across. Since I had become such an expert in cutting holes in drywall, I decided to add front and rear built in speakers to replace the speakers sitting on the floor. I also closed off the “projection room” with glass to cut down on the fan noise. Finally, I added a picture frame on hinges in front of the electronic equipment to give the room a more finished look. If I ever decide to to move the entertainment center is going to have to stay with the house– I’m pretty sure I don’t have the skills to repair all the drywall damage I’ve created.

My next Christmas-letter-worthy project was to file for a United States Patent. I’ve been kicking around this idea for a remote control holder that shuts off power to the television when not in use. (Many people don’t realize that any electronic device that uses a remote draws power when plugged in but turned off.) So I hired a lawyer who took my idea and transformed it into 30 pages of techno-patent-babble. We would sit at my kitchen table as he explained why he replaced the phrase “electrical switch” with “electronic control device” to make the patent as broad as possible. So now I’m in the process of promoting the idea to various companies. I put together a website at www.BlackRemote.com to explain the idea in more detail. If all goes well my 2009 Christmas Letter will describe production of a wacky remote control holder infomercial.

In August Katherine, my mom, and I went on a cruise to Alaska. Since water based transportation options in Colorado are somewhat limited (the canoe ferry down the Colorado river was booked months in advance), we chose to fly to Seattle and get on a boat from there. Coincidentally, we traveled aboard the same ship we were on during our trip to the Caribbean. When we picked our room this time around we decided NOT to be directly under the aerobics room where people gathered at way-too-early hours of the day to jump up and down in unison. Traveling through Alaska’s inside passage in a 14 story mega cruise ship took some getting used to (I’m still not sure exactly why the ship doesn’t tip right over, especially with the two pools, four hot tubs, and the food buffett on the very top), but I did enjoy eating a leisurely breakfast while watching various islands move in and out of my field of vision. We took a scenic train ride in Skagway. It is one thing to watch the History Channel and have them talk about some small foot path that prospectors used during the gold rush, it a much different experience to see it in person. Other highlights of the trip included the optional fire drill and mandatory midnight chocolate buffet.

This year saw the end of my ownership of my Saturn. Since 1996 I’ve driven a hunter green Saturn SC2 coupe. I’ve managed to put 131,000 miles on it, and I decided that if I didn’t sell it soon I would just end up driving it until the last of the plastic body panels decomposed. After looking at all my options, I decided I wanted an all wheel drive car. After looking at all kinds of Subarus, a few Ford Fusions, and even kicking the tires of a Dodge Challenger, I decided on a used 2004 Audi A4 quattro wagon. It is fun to drive, gets decent gas mileage, and, most importantly, the dog likes the big flat area in the back when we take him places. I listed my Saturn on Craigslist and had it sold in two weeks.

I’m still working at UPS. I’m now on year number seven and counting. I am still a driver who covers other driver’s routes when they are sick or on vacation. Each year I learn a few more of the fifty five or so routes covered by the Loveland center. This year’ highlight was when I spent a few weeks working way out in Milliken, Colorado to see what’s going on out there. Short answer: not much. Long answer: nothing, I was exaggerating when I said “not much” for the short answer. I’m not saying Milliken is small– just go to the main restaurant in town, “Jose’s Taco Factory,” and ask anyone there.

So that summarizes 2008 for me. My resolutions for 2009 include watching all the Battlestar Galactica that I can get my hands on, getting out to see the new “Star Trek” movie coming out in May, and, of course, spending a few minutes each day watching my dog race around the house like a maniac. So until next year remember what they keep singing in the “Smokey and the Bandit” movies: We’re going to do what they say can’t be done. We’ve got a long way to go, and a short time to get there.

UPS Super Bowl Commercial

Sunday early morning local news program. The stadium crew is busy setting up chairs in the middle of Investco Field.

News anchor: … and preparations are underway for what is expected to be largest single event at Investco Field…

(Quick Channel Change)

Mid-morning: News reporter standing next to the highway at I-70 and the Kansas border. Eighty percent of the vehicles going west are UPS trucks, both delivery and feeder trucks.

Reporter: …here on I-70 at the Kansas border since dawn. As you can see behind me, a majority of the vehicles passing by are the familiar brown color, and it shows no signs of letting up…

(Quick Channel Change)

Noon: News reporter in the control tower at Denver International Airport. Outside UPS planes are parked everywhere on the tarmac. Three lines of planes in the sky can be seen on the approach. The radar shows a solid line of planes in the air ready to land. In the background an air traffic controller is giving direction to countless UPS flights.

Reporter: …from the main control tower at Denver International Airport. Usually a quiet time for the airport, this Sunday afternoon controllers are busy directing planes and finding space on the ground for all this incoming traffic. Fortunately, the three parallel north-south runway configuration allows concurrent…

(Quick Channel Change)

Dusk: News reporter at one of the entrances at Investco Field. The parking lot behind her is filled with UPS trucks of various sizes, some of which are still in the process of parking. A steady stream of UPS drivers are the only ones entering into the stadium.

Reporter: …everywhere I look I see more and more brown. Delivery trucks of all sizes and even the big 18 wheelers are quickly taking every available parking spot.

Switches to helicopter footage showing the stadium and surrounding parking lots. All are filled with different sized UPS trucks and drivers walking towards the stadium. The highway and most nearby roads contain mostly UPS trucks.

Reporter: I’ve just received a parking update. All Investco Field parking—FULL. Pepsi Center lots—FULL. Auraria campus and Coors Field—ALL FULL. Officials are requesting that drivers…

(Quick Channel Change)

Evening: News reporter inside Investco Field. The stadium seats and the entire field are all filled with UPS drivers finding their seats with the exception of a small square shaped stage in the middle of the field with a single microphone on a stand on the edge of the stage. The crowd is talking amongst themselves creating a high energy level.

Reporter: …standing room only here inside the stadium. We have gotten word that the ceremony will begin momentarily. The latest official attendance is 91,312 with a few latecomers trickling in the gates. This is by far the largest single event to be held at this stadium.

The audience lights start to dim and two dozen spotlights around the stadium light up the stage.

Reporter: It looks like things are starting up. We are going to try and get a close-up now.

The camera zooms into the stage. The crowd quiets down surprisingly quickly. A small girl wearing a dress walks up to the microphone clutching a doll and a small book. The microphone is a little bit too high on the stand, so she has to reach up on her tip toes to get it. She puts the microphone to her mouth, hesitates a second, and says, “Thank you Santa.” Then, not sure what to do, she looks around, sets the microphone on the stage, and runs over to her mother waiting for her on the side of the stage.

The entire crowd starts clapping and cheering wildly. They all rise to their feet to give her a standing ovation. Then it fades out to brown and says “What can brown do for you?”

2006 Christmas Letter

Two thousand and six– what a year. Some professional football team won the Super bowl, the Democrats won a majority in both houses of Congress, and almost all of humanity was destroyed in an unexpected large-scale thermonuclear attack from a previously unknown Cylon attack force. Hold on—I might be confusing things that happened on television with stuff outside television. Now that I think about it, it was the Cylons who won the Superbowl, and the Dallas Cowboys who destroyed the twelve colonies of mankind.

In an unrelated note, I finished Netflix-ing the first two seasons of the SciFi Channel series Battlestar Galactica. On a whim I added the first DVD to my queue, and after the first twenty minutes I was hooked. I would say it is like crack to me, but I’ve never smoked crack, so something like “high fructose corn syrup” or “partially hydrogenated oils” would be more appropriate to my situation. What’s so great about Battlestar Galactica? (or, as we in the business like to say, BSG) Sure, I’ve always been a Science Fiction geek, but this series is so much more than I expected. I like to think of it as Star Trek with a healthy dose of nuclear annihilation, drug abuse, and (best of all) hot human/Cylon threesome sexual encounters. That, and they aren’t afraid to kill off main characters on a regular basis. Who is going to get thrown out of an airlock this week? Stay tuned!

In more reality based news, I’m still working as a driver at UPS. One of the highlights of the year was delivering a package near the Colorado State University campus and receiving, at no charge, a song sung to me by the entire tri-delta sorority. I don’t remember all the words, but it sounded like a cross between the theme song to “Friends” and that creepy song they force the wait staff sing when you tell them it is your birthday at Bennigans. When the song ended they asked, no, begged me to stay and referee their impromptu sorority wide pajama-clad pillow fight. Before I could answer, however, Sir Gallant and King Arthur broke down the door and dragged me rather unwillingly back to my UPS truck—thus saving me from certain temptation.

With the exception of the entire tri-delta sorority, I seem to have a new woman in my life. Katherine started out as my Kinetics craft assistant, but her ability to deal with my lunatic ravings quickly led to a promotion. This, by any measure, is not an easy task. Our relationship is quite similar to that of Doctor Who and his latest sidekick Rose Tyler. The only difference is that Katherine isn’t blond and doesn’t speak with much of an English accent, and my time-traveling tardus currently lacks any time traveling abilities and is constructed chiefly from a port-o-let acquired from a nearby construction site.

Since Katherine and I both seem to have an unexplained attraction towards shiny objects, we decided to go visit Las Vegas for a week in November. Outside most casinos are elaborate setups specifically designed to capture the attention of nearby pedestrians. If you are able to get past this small army of scruffy looking middle-age men trying to sell time share vacation plans and discounts to various strip clubs, the actual casinos themselves often times have their own form of visual stimulation designed to lure people inside their establishments. Treasure Island has one of the most well known setups on the strip.

Based on a true story (as told by someone on an acid/Viagra trip), things start out with a raggedy, sassy band of exotic dancers who eek out a living on a large sailing ship by plundering passing ships of their Victoria’s Secrets cargo. In their spare time, just like any other pirates of the sea, of course, they dance and sing highly choreographed musical numbers. Neighboring pirate groups know them as simply armed, arrogant, and argumentative, or in pirate talk, “the three Arrrs.” Trouble erupts, however, when they come across a ship of raggedy, sassy exotic male dancers who don’t want any trouble as they are merely on their way to a friend’s nearby houseboat to attend their annual gay pirate party costume party. One thing leads to another, and eventually the matter is settled with a traditional “pirate dance off.” Loud music plays, hips are thrusts in perfect sync, and cannons are discharged until only one boat is left floating.

That about sums things up for this year. So, to anyone planning on visiting remember the saying, “What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas—especially the dead hooker in the trunk of the rental car.”

This just in…

Today I was making a delivery when a helicopter landed about 50 feet from my truck. And not just a typical television news one either– if my extensive viewing of the Discovery Channel is any help, I believe this exact model is used to move large battleships around. Standing-next-to-a-landing-helicopter-hair is the worst, but fortunately I’m bald.

Parade Skit

I never thought I would say this, but it turns out our Kinetics theme was too liberal for Boulder. After considering a handful of options, we decided to be “Official Government Surveillance Mascots” since the whole unauthorized wiretapping is such a hot topic these days. So we decorated the craft and constructed some appropriate costumes. We also had to come up with a three minute skit to perform during the parade. I thought it was really funny and would have played well in Boulder, but we got booed off the stage after getting about one quarter of the way through.

Omar: Hello, I’m TAPPY!

Katherine: And I’m TIPPY!

Omar: And we may or may not have been created as marketing tool from an unnamed government surveillance organization.

Katherine: It seems that a lot of people are upset because the government is trying to find all the terrorists. We are here to set the record straight about stuff like this. Are there any concerned citizens here that have any questions for us? How about you? (points to Cindy)

Cindy: My friends tell me that government surveillance is bad.

Omar: Your friends are just plain wrong. We just want to make sure everyone stays away from danger.

Katherine: Is it wrong for a mother to limit the amount of lead based paint her children drink every day?

Cindy: Umm, I guess not, but didn’t President Bush violate the 1978 FISA bill when he authorized the NSA to eavesdrop on US citizens without a warrant?

Katherine: Of course he didn’t do anything wrong. If the president did something wrong he would tell us—that’s how great of a guy he is.

Omar: He just decided that when Congress passed the Patriot Act it gave him the right to do whatever he wants—including not telling congress what he has been up to.

Cindy: So is the government watching me? I’m not doing anything illegal.

Omar: Of course we are watching you. Since we can’t separate the good guys and the bad guys, we have to listen to everything so we can sort things out. It is just like dredging an entire lake to find all the dead hookers at the bottom. What’s wrong with that?

Cindy: Nothing, I suppose, but doesn’t that mean we are losing our civil liberties?

Katherine: Only the people who are breaking the law should be worried. We just want to find the bad guys—like Osama Bin Laden’s social planner or that old lady with cancer who grows her own marijuana plants instead.

Cindy: She is a terrorist? I thought she was doing that to ease the constant pain that prescription drugs couldn’t help.

Omar: Just because someone had a perfectly good reason to break the law doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be locked up in jail.

Cindy: So can you give me an example of some terrorist that have been caught through this program?

Katherine: Of course not. That would just assist the terrorists.

Cindy: What about these secret government operations recently disclosed at AT&T switching rooms across the country? What are those for?

Omar: We have a trouble maker in section 5. Roger that.

Then Scott, wearing a trench coat and sunglasses comes over and carries Cindy off the stage.