July 19, 2012No man but a blockhead ever wrote except for money.
– Dr. Samuel Johnson, April 5, 1776
I am confused by my paychecks.
For one thing, if I look at the line at the top, which says what I made for that pay period, then it looks like I'm doing OK.
But then, when I get to the bottom line of the paycheck – after it says this goes here and that goes there – and it gets to the part about the money that I actually get, well, the difference is disturbing to say the least.
But you know, just like it is for both you and me, everyone else must take their cut before we get our cut.
Here at The Rhino Times, we are paid twice a month, but there are about three times a year when there's no paycheck, and I go to them and I say, "Hey, we didn't get paid this week but we were supposed to." And they are like, "No, this time, you get paid next week – but you'll get paid for three weeks, so don't worry that you are being cheated or anything."
And I always say, "Fine." But then, when that paycheck comes, wouldn't you think that it would just be your normal paycheck, plus half of a paycheck added together?
But it's actually less than that, and, when I ask about why that is, they never have an explanation; but, you know what that is: That's just the man getting his cut. You know, that's how they get you – or, at least, it's one of the many ways how they get you.
However, for the most part, they hand me a paycheck every two weeks, but what they hand me aren't really paychecks, because the money is actually put automatically into Wells Fargo.
If you don't bank at Wells Fargo, it's the bank that took over Wachovia and then made all the branches look exactly like fast food restaurants.
It really throws me because every time I use the drive-thru at Wells Fargo, I'm like, "Uh, yes, I'd like to deposit this check and could I have some fries and a chocolate shake."
But they don't actually serve food there, which is too bad, because, from the way the buildings look, it looks like they would have some really great fast food – you know, if they actually did serve fast food there. "The Wells Fargo super bacon cheeseburger combo," for instance, sounds like it would be really fantastic.
Anyway, so I've been at The Rhinoceros Times for almost 10 years, and I've always been confused about the way I get paid, because, for one thing, no matter how much I write each week, the pay for that week is basically the same.
The other day my boss happened to mention to me, "You know, Scott, you don't get paid by the word," and I didn't say anything, but I was like, now you tell me.
After I've worked here for almost 10 years.
So, this week, in an effort to make more money per word, my column isn't going to be as long as usual. It's only going to be twice as long as most people's columns rather than four or five times as long.
Also, this week's column is just going to be kind of strung together because it turns out that I also don't get paid a dime extra for putting things in any type of order …
Speaking of fast food restaurants, I don't think we give enough credit to fast food restaurant architects. I don't think – to put it another way – that they really ever get their just desserts.
Because I think it's absolutely brilliant the way the fast food architects decided to place the walk-in entrances of every fast food restaurant 10 feet in front of – and in the direct path of – the takeout window exit lane.
That right there was a stroke of brilliance. With that design, you have all these people in motor vehicles who have been waiting a long time for their food who are hurrying to get home and eat; so they're speeding quickly away as they're simultaneously putting away their money and checking the bag to make sure the order is correct (and probably the whole time they're also talking on the phone and yelling at their kids in the backseat to behave), and they're speeding directly into the path of the people and families who are walking into the restaurant.
I think the fast food architects did it that way so that, if there's an accident, and people on foot entering the restaurant are mowed down by a car, it will happen in an area where there is both high car traffic and high foot traffic – so the accident won't go unnoticed for long and someone will call 911 quickly. You know, because people are passing by that same exact spot all the time, both in cars and on foot.
Now that's thinking ahead for you.
And, before we leave the subject of fast food restaurants, let me say this about Chick-fil-A: By far, without question, of all the fast food restaurants, Chick-fil-A is the hardest to spell.
I've been writing about Chick-fil-A for my entire adult life and I swear on a stack of Bibles that, to this day, I have no idea how to spell that name without looking it up. To tell you the truth, I'm probably getting it wrong even after looking it up because the internet doesn't really agree on a spelling either, and the only reason you're seeing it correctly now, if you are, is because the copy editors caught it and corrected it after I turned this in.
Anyway, one time when I worked for a business paper, I spent the entire day with the founder and owner of Chick-fil-A, Samuel Truett Cathy; and we went around to various Chick-fil-As while I interviewed him about his business. (It turns out, by the way, that if you are president of the company, you get all the free Chick-fil-A food you want, and, if you are with him, you do too.)
Toward the end of the day, I said, "You know that cow ad campaign – don't you think it's kind of worn out its welcome?" and he looked at me, and it was like I had just spoken utter blasphemy – or maybe I should say udder blasphemy.
He was like shocked that I could even ask that, and he said, uh no, not at all. And he meant it too; because it's over a decade later and everywhere you turn there are bovines with signs that say "Eat Mor Chikin."
Get it? Because cows can't spell very well.
Anyway, so last Saturday I walked into Chick-fil-A at Friendly Center and the whole cow theme was going very strong because, while I didn't know it, it was Dress Like a Cow and Eat for Free Day. It was freaky inside with everyone dressed like cows and there were cow people all around outside too.
I walked in and I was surrounded by people dressed like cows, and I wanted to scream out: "Uh, hello, people – cow costumes cost more than a Chick-fil-A meal."
And all sorts of questions came to my mind.
Like, how much do you have to look like a cow to get a free meal? Could you just, say, put a bell around your neck? I mean, what if you just walked in and that day you happened to have on a blue shirt and white pants; could you just make it up on the spot and go, "Uh, yeah, I'm a blue cow with white legs. Moooo – now I'd like my free meal please."
Anyway, outside the restaurant there were three girls who are apparently really into Dress Like a Cow Day. And there was this guy with the three girls who was all in black. When I asked him what he was supposed to be, he said, "I'm a bull."
Anyway, the girls seemed to be having fun, but I was just thinking: I'm sorry, but that's just a whole lot of work for a free Chick-fil-A meal.
I said something to that effect as I took the picture.
This is what the mother, not shown in the picture, said to me: "We're from Reidsville, so we don't have a lot of excitement."
And I was like, yeah, I'm getting that vibe.
Hey, why is loading the dishwasher kind of enjoyable, but unloading it is no fun at all? It's certainly true, but it doesn't make any sense.
Over the Fourth of July I went up to spend the holiday with my father and stepmother and other family at a cabin on a lake next to Grandfather Mountain. On the way up there part of US 421 is a nine-mile stretch in Yadkin and Wilkes counties that's named "Junior Johnson Highway."
But here's the thing: Don't you think that, if you're driving on Junior Johnson Highway, you should get to drive as fast as you want? Isn't that how it should work? Doesn't that just make sense? It does to me.
Of course, like most things that make sense, it's not the case: The speed limit on Junior Johnson Highway is the same as it is just about everywhere else on 421. Now, if you ask me, that's no way to honor our state's moonshine runners.
I think you should be able to drive as fast as you want on that stretch of highway and that goes for Dale Earnhardt Highway and Richard Petty Highway too. I think we should start a letter writing campaign to the speed limit people to see if we can't get that changed to where it makes sense.
All right, that's it for this week. I mean, it's not like I get paid by the word or anything.