Since I don’t really know anyone in Cincinnati, I joined a county-wide Facebook group. After one week of listening to them, I’ve decided that instead of cheering for the Reds or Bengals, I’m just going to root for meth lab explosions.
I’ve been without cable/satellite for about five months. With Hulu/Netflix/Amazon Prime/Crackle I didn’t miss it at all, but since I still have a gig as a football writer, I needed to get some kind of television for the NFL/college football season.
I have two options, basically, Time Warner Cable or DirecTV. I loved having DirecTV, never had any problems with the service (or customer service), but it requires a two-year contract, and I would prefer to be able to turn it back off again after football season. So that meant even though it’s a bit more expensive, I went with Time Warner Cable.
Monday afternoon, I talked online with a TWC rep and got their best offer. I told them if I got the service, I’d take the option to install the equipment myself (for free, as opposed to the $39 install charge), which they said was fine. I told them I was going to compare that to some other offers and get back to them. The rep said okay, she’d put this offer in my file and it would be there if I came back for it.
Monday night, I get a call from TWC to confirm my appointment for Tuesday afternoon for installation. Which I never signed up for. Or wanted. Or would have accepted, even if I had agreed to get cable.
I told them no, then held on the line to speak to an actual person. I explained the problem, she apologized profusely and told me she’d take care of it.
Monday night again, I get a second call from TWC asking me to take a survey on my recent interactions. Oh, you betcha, Time Warner Cable.
Tuesday afternoon, I get a call from TWC, from a guy with a connection so bad, it sounds like he’s calling me from a pay phone in 1977. He wants to know about the survey, and what they did wrong. I politely tell him, and he again apologizes profusely. He tells me there’s another package I could sign up for that might be cheaper. I can’t really make out what he’s saying, because it sounds like he’s on a party line phone in Warsaw, and he’s mumbling like Mitch Hedberg after a bender. I tell him I’m busy, but I’d love to hear about this plan later on a better connection. I tell him to call me Wednesday morning and I’ll listen, and he agrees.
Spoiler Alert: I never hear from him again.
Then, Tuesday afternoon about two hours after the previous contact I get another phone call. Yep, from Time Warner. At this point, Time Warner would make up most of my Friends and Family plan. It’s another rep, wanting to ask me about my service. I was honest with her, and she apologized profusely, which is apparently a freshman level class at TWC-School. She says they’re sorry for the miscommunication(s) and it won’t happen again.
Wednesday night, I decide to go with TWC anyway, since even though they’ve already shown themselves to be bafflingly incompetent at listening to me, there’s no long-term contract. What the Hell, I say. At least if they suck, I can cancel. And at this point, there’s not more than a 40% chance of that.
I go online again, chat with a representative, and get set up. I set up my cable package, featuring 200 quality channels! Except that at least 180 of them are not of any quality whatsoever and will never be watched, so they might as well be showing Who’s The Boss reruns all day. I get a price that’s ridiculous but cancelable after football, and tell them I want to do my own installation again. The rep double-checks everything with me, I ask a million questions to make sure there’s nothing I’m forgetting, and I’m signed on. I ask the rep for the closest office to pick up the equipment on Thursday, she looks it up and tells me everything I need to get hooked up, and I’m on my way to being a cable subscriber again.
And then, Thursday morning at 7:45am, I get a call from a Time Warner installer to confirm my appointment to have cable installed. Again.
To begin with, what the Hell is wrong with a company that offers phone service, but every time you talk to them their phone lines sound like you’re calling an underground bunker somewhere? If I got a phone call from Hell, I feel pretty sure there would be a better connection there, and the person on the other end of the line boiling in a lake of fire would at least be enunciating better than TWC’s reps.
After making the guy repeat his orders four times to make sure I understood him, I tell him in no uncertain terms that I don’t want him to come over. I don’t want him to install cable. I don’t want him to bring me coffee. I don’t want him to stand at the foot of my driveway with a jambox playing “In Your Eyes.” I just want him to stay the &%$# away from me before I wake up with him at the end of my bed, sharpening a knife and asking me “Is it safe?”
We hang up. Twenty minutes later, I get yet another (another) call from TWC to ask why I didn’t want the service call. Well, because I never wanted it, TWC. You’re getting kind of date-rapey on me. I feel like Time Warner Cable is just driving past my house all night, listening to “Goodbye Horses” and waiting for a chance to toss me into the pit TWC keeps in its basement.
At this point, Time Warner Cable has tried to send more strange guys over to my house than Craigslist. I just want football, TWC. Not a soulmate.
Time Warner Cable won’t be ignored, Reid. I’m headed off to make sure my bunny is still okay.
Against my better judgment, I went by Time Warner Cable and got the cable box to hook it up myself, only to find that their crack tech staff couldn’t activate it. The tech help was as clueless as a caveman, at one point telling me that my TV was on the wrong input, even though I was seeing the Time Warner Cable screen, just no programming. She tried to fix it, asked me to do things that my cable box wasn’t apparently capable of doing, and then right at 5:00pm, told me that I’d have to take my cable box back to the TWC office and get a new one, which is now impossible because everything closes at five. Whoops! Imagine that.
Continue the apologizing profusely.
Then TWC called me back with yet another automated phone call to ask my opinion on their service. I rated them somewhere between Hiroshima and a swift kick in the crotch.
The next day I returned and got another box, and another round of apologizing profusely. Hooked it up, and it doesn’t work either. After TWC’s reps were clueless again, I figured out that my house’s cable wiring may not actually be hooked up, which is something that neither of the two TWC tech help people could tell, despite their ability to look right into my cable box to tell if I ordered a PPV of “Emmanuelle Gives A Handy.”
So I waited, mostly patiently, for Monday to come. All I wanted to do was watch a football game, and now, I just want to throw my TV out the window.
Sunday, I get two more calls from TWC, and I realize I have spoken to Time Warner Cable more in the last week than I have any of my family members in the last year.
Monday morning, they call yet again, and a rep wants to confirm that I have an appointment with them today to have my internet installed.
No, Chester. I already have internet with you, and have had so for about two years. Please don’t install more internet on top of that.
He’s confused, and has to ask me again what I’m installing, what problems I’m having, which service it involves, where I live, what my favorite Rocky movie is, if I think Ryan Reynolds is a good actor, and all sorts of other things vital to my account. He finally confirms that yes, the thing I confirmed three times already is indeed confirmed.
And so Monday at one, they call again to verify that I am there, and I do indeed exist. I confirm, and we’re ready!
For what, I have no idea. I’ve spent a week trying to get a major cable company to hook up cable at my house. I’m the one trying (desperately) to get service from TWC, patiently answering the phones as they ring over and over again with stuff I didn’t ask for, and correcting them politely every time, and filling out their phone surveys time and again to try and get them to improve their business so they don’t show up at my house to try and hook up a landline, or a cuisinart, or track lighting, or a telegram outpost, or whatever. It’s my time they’re wasting, and I’ve taken it because I still desperately need football.
I realize that if I had another option that wouldn’t make me sign a two-year contract, I’d take it. It eventually dawns on me that cable companies gain their power Walmart style, by being the only available option. It’s a good racket, I guess, so now I get to see whether or not TWC can actually do this without pissing me off so badly I just throw them out, and go without.
Finally, TWC sends a guy out somewhere close to the time they were supposed to, switched the wires, sent the tone, and everything was fine. I had TWC for about a week before the sound on my cable box disappeared.
Yep, just vanished.
Picture was fine, but no sound. I call TWC, they tell me it’ll be fixed soon and they’ll call when it is. Late that afternoon, I get an automated call from Time Warner Cable that tells me that the service problem in my area is fixed!
Except it isn’t. Still no sound. I called TWC after that for help. They tried to reset my box twice. Then unplugged it. Then called in a faith healer. Then they told me it’s not working, and they don’t know what’s wrong with it, so I’ll need to take it down to the service center and get another one. That will make my third trip to the TWC Service Center in less than two weeks. I’m thinking of moving my bank and laundry to something in that area, since it looks like I’ll be going there more than to my mailbox.
The TWC rep does tell me if I’d like, I can plug my cable straight into my TV to watch basic channels, although they’re certainly not going to stop charging me for the channels that are now silent. She also says if I leave my TV alone for a half hour or so, the sound might come back on.
Amazingly, ignoring it and hoping it comes around like some kind of wayward child does nothing to make it work.
Time Warner Cable, I really tried. I’ve patiently answered your phone calls, I went to your service centers three times to pick up three different models of cable box and remotes, and I’ve tried hard not to throw your crappy equipment in the river. I did everything I could to give you my business, and you just kept redoubling your efforts to lose it. Well done, corporate monolith.
Two weeks after getting my service turned on, I went back to DirecTV.
New column up at Project Shanks.com, on Robin Williams, depression, and a confession of my own. I had a lot of trouble dealing with the death of Robin Williams, and I had to eventually realize it went far beyond just being a fan of the man since I was seven.
JAKE RYAN: I can get a piece of ass anytime I want. Shit, I’ve got Caroline in the bedroom right now, passed out cold. I could violate her ten different ways if I wanted to.
FARMER TED: (choking) What are you waiting for?
Ah, 1984. That was back when date-rape was funny, I guess. It’s like remembering that Nick Nolte’s character in “48 Hours” was hilarious, and then seeing the movie again and noticing he’s more than just an eentsy-bit racist.
— Reid Kerr doesn’t even want to start on “The Donger.”
Eating at a nice brunch place (that is neither a house of waffles nor pancakes). My waitress has a machine gun tattooed on her bicep. And not in a “Welcome to the gun show, ha-ha” sort of way. It’s more of a line-drawing, “Viva la revolucion” kind of thing, which makes me scared to ask. She may be taking up arms against the harsh and unfair syrup rules imposed by Obamacare.
Everyone knows her. She’s on your television every night, smiling and reading you the daily news.
It’s a burden being famous. That’s why she’s comes here to this cafe and sits outside afternoons. She’ll smile and be feaux-bashful about being recognized, but that’s her job. She hates the publicity, though.
So why isn’t anyone noticing her yet? Guess she’ll order another coffee.
Quick background, I’m cancelling my satellite service with DirecTV. It’s actually not because of any problems I have with the service, it’s just that…well, TV sucks these days, so I’m cutting the cord for a while. I cancelled my service for mid-March, which was the day my contract ended. DirecTV shut everything down early so I called to complain, then they told me I was actually paid for through the end of the month. After that, it certainly seemed like I was charged for the rest of the month anyway, so I sent them an email. This is the third or fourth go-round with them, after a series of confusing emails.
Bernadette (probably not her real name), I appreciate you getting back to me. Let me make sure I have this correct:
I wondered to myself today if anyone would mind if I strangled the asshole in front of me at the deli counter, the one getting tiny amounts of nine different meats and cheeses all ordered individually. He ordered quarter-pound after quarter-pound, all sliced so thin as to be nearly invisible. Then after the counter worker would bring him his tiny bag of booty, he would scratch his stupid fucking head and come up with yet another small errand.
“Ah, yes…can I also get a quarter-pound of smoked peppered ham? Sliced thin. Thinner than thin. And can you wash the pepper off of it for me, I only want it to have the taste of pepper, not any actual pepper flakes on it.”
“Let me get a third pound of Colby cheese. But not the longhorn. Do you have shorthorn Colby cheese? Go check in the back, I’ll wait.”
“Let me get a tenth of a pound of Dr. Pepper Jack cheese. And can you cut that in individual slices using a machete, please?”
Meanwhile, I was standing there so long my coupons expired, dreaming of ordering something long and thin such as sausages, which I would then use to whip around his neck and choke the life from him until he finally ended his order. Eventually his lifeless body would collapse, sprawling upon the dozen small plastic bags of individual slices of meats, his final resting place the unassembled contents of his sandwich of doom.
Obviously I had a lot of time to think about this scenario while I was waiting on line.
— Reid Kerr doesn’t advocate deli counter violence against strangers, unless you can get away with it.
For those of you looking for some extra comedy in your daily diet, I’m doing a wine review column for Project Shanks.com. And as some of you know, I didn’t actually drink any alcohol until I was forty, so bear in mind that everything I taste goes down pretty awful. Check it out.
#1: Grand Opening, where I say things like “chemotherapy cocktail,” “starter kit for winos,” “Norm Peterson’s liver,” and “passing a demon rectally.”
#2: Second Helpings, in which I use the descriptions “Windex,” “Angry Clown Face,” “bug repellent,” “drunken sorority girl from Birmingham on her last Spring Break to Daytona,” and “unemployed boyfriend.”
My unofficial official Super Bowl XLVIII Timeline:
6:00am, Central Standard Time, Super Bowl Sunday – Punxsutawney Phil emerges from his hole and sees his shadow, which means six more years of losing seasons for the Cleveland Browns.
5:03pm – In the pregame, FOX’s broadcast team discusses the best ways to beat Peyton Manning. Number one on their list? “Play against him in a Super Bowl.”
5:18pm – Both teams are introduced by a leather-skinned Kurt Russell, who played Snake Plissken in “Escape From New York.” Just to remind everyone of what a great image New York has on film, I guess.
5:21pm – Renee Fleming sings the National Anthem. Knowshon Moreno does not cry. The oddsmakers take a beating again.
5:28pm – The coin flip is made by Super Bowl III MVP Joe Namath, who appears to be wearing the pelt of Sasquatch.
5:30pm – The Super Bowl begins, brought to you by Rob Riggle, and also James Franco as Rob Riggle. And possibly Joe Buck as Rob Riggle, too. And fantasy football, of course.
5:33pm – Denver takes the opening kickoff. In a marketing tie-in, Trindon Holliday is brought down by Daft Punk.
5:34pm – On the first play, the center snap sails over Peyton Manning’s head, making the first score of the game a safety. People who like to make weird longshot wagers rush right out to buy a boat with their winnings.
5:42pm – Seahawks coach Pete Carroll challenges the spot on a run by Russell Wilson. Since it’s the Super Bowl, Carroll initiates the challenge by driving a Maserati to midfield and throwing out a cold bottle of Bud Light. Seattle goes up 5-0.
5:50pm – Seattle somehow gets a late hit penalty on a kick that goes out of the back of the end zone, which is like getting an unsportsmanlike conduct penalty during the halftime show.
6:07pm – A Seattle field goal makes it 8-0. This week’s stats for Marshawn Lynch so far, 5 carries, 6 yards, 7 words spoken.
6:12pm – So far, Denver’s offensive possessions have ended in a safety, a three-and-out, and an interception. The Broncos offense is running so poorly, it’s like we’re trying to log onto it and get health care.
6:24pm – Seattle leads 15-0. John Elway begins to warm up and take snaps on the sideline for Denver.
6:29pm – Our long national nightmare ends, as Denver gets their initial first down of the game.
6:32pm – Wes Welker catches a pass for a first down. Somewhere near Boston, Bill Belichick swears and throws his shoe at the television.
6:38pm – Peyton Manning’s arm gets hit as he throws and Seattle runs the interception back for a touchdown and a 22-0 lead. Bruno Mars begins to warm up and take snaps on the sideline for Denver.
6:54pm – Denver’s next possession ends in a fourth-down incomplete pass, and the Broncos wind up shut out in the first half. Seattle has gone six quarters against the Manning family in Metlife Stadium without giving up a point.
7:09pm – The halftime show begins, and so does America’s favorite activity, complaining about the halftime show.
7:10pm – Bruno Mars starts the halftime show with a drum solo. Because there’s nothing casual music fans love more than a drum solo. Maybe next time he could also do something else most people don’t appreciate, like play kazoo.
7:17pm – The Red Hot Chili Peppers perform “Give It Away,” which is not only a classic song, but also apparently the Denver game plan for the first half.
7:22pm – Bruno Mars’ show concludes as Metlife Stadium lights up with fireworks. Apparently they had been saving all of those to celebrate when the Broncos scored, and just decided to go ahead and use them.
7:31pm – The second half begins with the score Seattle 22, Seattle Defense 9, Denver 0.
7:32pm – After the kickoff, the Broncos have now also been outscored by the Seattle special teams. This is a throwback Super Bowl, since the Broncos are playing like an AFC team circa 1985-1997.
7:40pm – Two commercials in, we all realize Tim Tebow is having a much better Super Bowl than Peyton Manning.
7:55pm – Demaryius Thomas turns it over, because…well, it’s been about an hour, so it’s time for that.
8:02pm – Denver’s defense takes a holiday from tackling, and Jermaine Kearse pinballs around to make it 36-0. This game is almost a hate crime.
8:15pm – Denver finally scores, taking an 8-0 lead over the Red Hot Chili Peppers.
8:36pm – FOX brings in Jack Bauer to play quarterback for the Broncos.
– Reid Kerr’s comedy novel, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape,” is now available at Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.
A good life is like riding the bus. It requires change for you to actually get anywhere.
My doctor said I need more fiber in my diet, so today I got my footlong Subway meatball sandwich on wicker.
The answers are easy. You just have to figure out which questions they go with.
Guys, here’s some advice. When the Playboy centerfolds were born after you graduated high school, it’s time to move on.
I diet just so I won’t wind up as one of the headless rounded torsos they always show on the news whenever they report the new obesity statistics. I don’t want to be your b-roll.
Why are there no superheroes with sexually-transmitted powers? If a radioactive spider can rewrite Peter Parker’s DNA, I’d imagine anyone having sex with Bruce Banner has a pretty good chance to wake up green and angry.
Wrist tattoos look like hastily scrawled suicide notes.
My favorite part of Saturday Night Live is where they introduce the musical guest I’ve never heard of, and I spend the next four minutes trying to figure out what commercial I’ve heard their song on.
Due to budgetary reasons, I’m having to scale things back a bit. From now on, it’s only every OTHER day I’ll be shufflin’, shufflin’. Please adjust your schedules accordingly.
Even Morris Day gets lonely sometimes. That’s one of those things I found written in an old notebook and I have no idea why, but I like it too much to throw it away.
If I read your name in my Facebook feed and the first memory that leaps to mind is of you not being smart enough in high school to a) pass an algebra test or b) operate a beer bong correctly, please do us both a favor and lay off the in-depth political analysis, Jethro.
My wife owns a VW Beetle convertible. Or as I refer to it, “Hitler’s final revenge.”
Dear mid-40’s white guy behind me in the Toyota Avalon rapping along with the radio at the tip of your lungs at the stoplight…thank you. You have entertained me in ways you can scarcely imagine.
My two favorite places to eat after midnight are Whataburger, and standing in my kitchen naked. And Whataburger is #1 by a wide margin.
— Reid Kerr’s first novel, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is available now on Amazon and Barnes & Noble.com.
Big news from my house, my first book, “The Great Texas Trailer Park Escape” is out now from Biting Dog Press. You can find the book here, with links to buy it on Amazon and Barnes and Noble.
It’s a dream come true for me, and hopefully the first of many. Hope you guys enjoy it. If you’re a reader of this blog (or my FB or Twitter), thank you so much for encouraging my behavior all these years. Check it out.