May 13, 2008
By Max Baker, Clarkston, MI

“It’s closed?” was my initial response. I couldn’t believe my eyes, it was as if I were dreaming or something. I had to spend 16 minutes stuck in a car with these two losers, wasting our entire Monday afternoon, just to get a 7-11 that isn’t open? What a load of bull crap. Riding 16 minutes in a car with no AC stuck with Elmer and Richard ain’t no walk in the park. It ain’t no day at the beach. It ain’t no Doobie Brothers concert. This is what I get for going to community college, this is what I get for doing so mediocre in high school. This life, right here.

Woke up, got out of bed, drag a comb across my head. No, I’m not quoting the man with the plan, Sir Paul McCartney that is honestly what I do every Monday morning. Come to think of it, that’s what I do every single morning, so that day was no different. Sometimes I get sick and tired of doing the same thing every day. Sick of waking up in this bed, watching the sun shine through my blinds with that crappy Zeppelin poster staring down at me. There’s more to life. Going to community college isn’t that bad, but man do I get lonely. All my friends were all smart so they were able to get into Big Name College, but I did not have a 4.0 or whatever, so I’m stuck here in my home with my mom. I love my mom though, what a great lady.
When I say all my friends are in Big Name Colleges, that’s a lie, you know I have many friends that are younger than me that I hang out with, but they still have high school stuff to do, which is cool I guess, if you’re in to that kind of stuff. The only friends I have that are my age that I’m stuck with are not too thrilling to say the least. I got Elmer and Richard. They’re my buds, but someone telling you, “You’re stuck with Elmer and Richard for the next two years of life,” is kind of a slap in the face. It’s kinda like when it’s 6:30 on New Year’s Eve and you’re about to leave work and your boss comes and says, “Hey, what’s cooking? So, umm, Bob is sick, could you stay a couple extra hours?”
Elmer and Richard are the kind of guys that act like women, and man does this girlish persona get quick soon. Don’t get me wrong, I love women, but there’s a fine line between men and women, and when men cross that line, boy howdy, its hell. Elmer’s the type who complains about his life to me, tells me I’m a bad friend, and then calls me back and says, “I’m sorry, I didn’t mean it, lets hang out bro.” Richard is manlier than Elmer, but his fault is he always has to be clean. He takes like four showers a day and shaves twice a day, so on and so forth. It’s ridiculous. Not to mention, he doesn’t have his license, so he always needs a ride everywhere, and him taking his five hundred showers, he takes about twenty minutes to get out to the car. Put all that aside, I guess they’re pretty cool guys.
“I want an Arizona Green Tea,” I say to Elmer. “I want one, and I will not rest until I have one. My house has green tea mix, but I’m not in the mood to wait for like 2 years for that crap to finally be ready. I want an ice cold, oh so delicious Arizona Green Tea.”
“What are you telling me for?” Elmer replies with that stupid smart a** tone.
“Well, as many of us know, the Kroger by the house that we are currently chilling in does not refrigerate their Arizona Green Tea supply and the Walgreens near us, you know, down in Clarkston, does not even have a supply to refrigerate, so we need to travel to 7-11 on the other side of town to satisfy my needs.”
“Then let’s go, god you’re so ridiculous.”
“Well, my friend, since I sort of, kind of wrapped my Saturn around that telephone pole, it does not run as well as it once did. It’s a pain in the armpit to get it started then I finally do and it sounds like “Hot For Teacher,” so we’re gonna have to take your car. Plus, Richard called me not to long ago, he wants to hang out, so I’m thinking he could join in on this adventure.”
“I don’t want to waste gas so you can have a dumb little green tea, it’s so pointless. God, you’re so stupid Stan, so stupid, I don’t even know why I hang out with you. All you do is make me drive everywhere and waste gas. I have more important things to spend my money on.”
Yadda, yadda, yadda, Elmer gives me this hilarious speech just about every single day, but he always gives in. Honestly, if he doesn’t have me and Richard to hang out with, then what is going to do with his time? That’s what I thought. Any who, so we’re driving down the road… trying to loosen my load, got seven women on my mind. NICE, sorry, I just couldn’t resist. So we’re going to pick up Richard when he calls to tell me that we need to pick him up from his work. This is much more convenient because his work is much closer to my house which means Elmer won’t waste as much precious gas thus less pissing and moaning.
“I’ll be right out,” Richard says via cell phone as Elmer and I wait in the crowded parking lot of Kroger. Who knew that Monday would be such a busy day for the Kroger industry?
Well, being “right out” eventually changed to ten minutes of me and Elmer sitting in his little Neon listening to CCR on the radio. I didn’t have the heart to tell Elmer that he would waste less gas he if turned his car off while Richard was getting all perfect for our little trip to 7-11. I guess some people just aren’t as smart as me.
“It’s about time!” Elmer literally, I kid you not, yells. “Do you have any idea how long we’ve been waiting for you. You know how long it was going to take us to get here, but you still decided to take your precious time.”
“Dude, shut up,” was the best response Richard could come up with. “I had to change out of uniform, and I had to clock out, I couldn’t just leave, my boss would be all like ‘hey Richard you didn’t clock out, you’re fired you little white boy.’”
Ah, yes, Richard jokes. The jokes that one says and nobody laughs at the actual joke, just the fact that the joke was so bad. You know the kind? Everyone has experienced them. Some call them a “swing and a miss,” but I prefer to call them Richard jokes because nobody has a worse batting average than Richard.
“So what are you saying?” Elmer asks as this ‘power trio’ makes their way to 7-11. “Are you saying that getting a detention is worse than getting a Saturday school?”
“I’ve gotten so many in my time, I think I should know the difference between the two,” Richard says as he attempts to defend his case. “Saturday school is usually just like for being tardy to a class or something like that. Detention is what they usually give when they truly hate you, or you’ve truly done something wrong. It’s like the bases you go through with your girl friend or a guy friend in your case. Snap, anyways, first base is a Saturday school, second base is detention, third base is suspension, and home plate is an expulsion, which really sucks.”
“Yeah, but you feel good because you got a home run,” I say as I try to add some comedy in this pointless conversation those losers sparked to kill some time on our journey to 7-11. And when I say add some comedy, boy howdy do I. Both of those little turd piles erupt with laughter after I make my little quip. See, now I’m funny, unlike Richard, and that may sound arrogant, but damn it is it true.
We finally arrive to our destination after about 16 minutes of this “joyride” and my heart skips about 10 beats.
“It’s closed?” I exclaim. “This is an outrage, a complete joke. 7-11 never closes; I thought it was supposed to open 24-7!”
“It says it’s closed for good,” Elmer says as he replies to my little outburst. “I guess people don’t really care much for slurpies on this side of the town. Now we wouldn’t know about this because we don’t live in this area. And just think about all the gas I’ve wasted.”
“There’s a 7-11 in Waterford that we could head up to,” Richard butts in, rudely. “You could’ve just gotten your little ice tea thing at the Kroger I work at and save a lot of time, and gas in your case over there.”
That little comment did not fly well with Elmer, big surprise, so he began yelling at Richard. Richard tried to defend himself which never, ever goes well for him, so that made Elmer even angrier. He got so angry to the point where he got in his little car and drove off without me or Richard. Now, I understand why he left Richard, that little hooligan, but I never did anything.
“I’m thirsty as hell,” I shout in a very ‘complainy’ manner. “All I want is a green tea, and 7-11 is closed. And to top it all off, Elmer just left us out here, so now we gotta walk back to Clarkston and my thirst is just going to grow stronger.”
“Relax man,” Richard says, in hopes of calming me down. “Walking isn’t that bad, you may never get your green tea, but man, this will be a good story to tell everyone in the future.”
As pissed as I was at the time, I couldn’t fault him there. Elmer is the butt of everyone’s jokes, so this can just add to the list of times he flipped out for no reason. Those are the best stories of all time; Harry Potter ain’t got nothing on Elmer.
The walk was not as bad as one would think. Just a little reflection time on everything that had happened in the past hour or so. Quite relaxing, and it wasn’t even that hot out which is always a plus. Apparently, neither of us really paid much attention on the way there, so we just went wherever the road took us. We had been walking for about twenty minutes when we came upon an unfamiliar Speedway.
“I’ve never seen this one before,” I said in awe of this glorious gas station. “Shall we take a stroll inside?”

And we did, we took a stroll inside. That was probably the most phenomenal idea we had all day long because this was no ordinary gas station, this was heaven. It wasn’t one of those crappy, run down pieces of trash, it was different. You know those ones that have like fast food restaurants built onto them? This was one of them, a Speedway/Taco Bell and lord knows I love Taco Bell. When a restaurant is added onto a gas station, it immediately makes this gas station a dream come true with a bunch of souvenirs and DVDs and what not. I’m not even mentioning the best part, not only did they have the ice cold Arizona Green Tea I wanted so very, very badly, they had a whole line of Arizona products like Arnold Palmers and Ice Tea. It was awesome.

“Ninety nine cents,” said the cashier. That’s another amazing thing about Arizona Green Tea, they’re so damn cheap, you heard the man, 99 cents! So I hand him my dollar with a big smile on my face. “Out of a dollar, one cent is your change, have a nice day.”
“No thanks,” I say to this guy with a little chuckle, you know, the ones that rich people do. “Nothing against Honest Abe, but one penny really won’t get me anywhere. The 40’s ended quite some time ago.” Honestly, one penny, the guy has the nerve to try and give me one penny. What am I gonna do with one penny?
“Vitamin Water?” I ask as I watch Richard twist the cap off his beverage. “You have the choice to get an Arizona Green Tea or basically any pop in the whole world, and you get a Vitamin Water.
“Dude, shut up,” Richard’s classic response. “I don’t care what you say, this stuff tastes good.”
“Only girls and five-year old kids drink Vitamin Water.”
“You have to have a dumb little come back and a stupid comment to go along with everything. You make fun of my job, my music taste, my drink taste, jeez.” I guess this comment really pissed Richard off because after he went on his little rant, he slapped the oh so beautiful Arizona Green Tea out of my hand sending it straight to the ground where it spilled everywhere.
Now I say that I’m a cool, laid back kind of guy, but I have buttons and when those buttons are pushed, they’re pushed. Richard had just pushed every single one of my buttons. I went into a rant much like he did. I yelled at him, I made fun of him, and then I ended it by slapping his Vitamin Water out his hand making it neighbors with my Green Tea which I could not bear to look at laying there, all tragic and heart broken.
It was like 4:45 by then, I wasted my entire day just for a Green Tea. I was so pissed off, pacing back and forth, muttering. I couldn’t think straight, I couldn’t walk straight, heck I couldn’t see straight. I thought I was having a heart attack. This was one of those moments that you look back upon and just laugh for hours because I’m looking and I’m laughing. It was a stupid Green Tea.
Well, unfortunately I didn’t bring any more money to buy another one. I spent a dollar on mine, and I had to lend Richard two dollars to buy his dumb little Vitamin Water, that turdpile. It really stinks that we went on this epic journey and neither of us got anything out of it, but life goes on. Sure I was ticked off beyond belief, but after those ten minutes, I sucked up and moved on.
In my life, I’ve learned many things. The most important thing I’ve ever learned I couldn’t have learned without the help of Mick Jagger and that is you can’t always get what you want, but you find sometimes, you get what you need. As cheesy as it sounds, it’s so true. There have been obstacles that have stopped me from having that perfect life, but I don’t care. I may not live it up in a 5-story house with 40 cars and a piano shaped pool, but I still have this. Even though I live at home, going to community college, wasting my spare time with Richard and Elmer, I know there’s more out there, and I’m still young enough to achieve what I have set in my mind, so this mediocre life will not get me down. Even a goal as simple as getting an Arizona Green Tea, it may not happen then, but if I keep trying, it will happen, no question about it.
“Well, let’s start making our way back to Clarkston,” I say to good ol’ Richard as we both cool off after our little feud.
“Dude, your cell is ringing,” he informs me as we both hear my cute little ‘Wake Me Up Before You Go Go’ ring tone, god I love that little diddy. “Who is it?” I look down at the screen which reads, ‘Poopface calling.’
“Oh, it’s just Elmer,” I roll my eyes, have a good little laugh, and answer it. “What’s up dude?”
His response, “I’m sorry man, I didn’t mean to be such a loser, wanna hang out bro?”

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