While attending the OWFI conference at the Embassy Suites in Oklahoma City, I went to the vending machine on my floor to get a soft drink. In a dark corner, I found a Pepsi machine, but as I fed my dollar into the slot, I noticed the machine was filled with Coke products: I could tell this by the selection labels. I stabbed the button designated for regular Coke and a twenty-ounce bottle fell into the tray below. There was only one problem. I couldn’t get the bottle out of the slot: It was too large. I don’t know what the other customers did. Perhaps I was the first to try the cross-genre cola experiment. You know what they say: you can’t roller skate in a buffalo heard, and you can’t put a Coke in a Pepsi machine.
Again in Oklahoma City, I was attending the Oklahoma Book Festival where I met an old friend. I also saw something unusual… perhaps bizarre would be more descriptive. It was a dog that only had two legs, the back ones, which it walked on quite handily. The dog didn’t hop like one might expect in such a situation, but it actually walked, like some forgotten humanoid species, or an alien from another world.
Back in Tulsa, I saw an old Camaro parked alongside the road. It had two flat tires and an inscription written across the rear window. It read: Just married. Off to a bad start I’d say.
My family and I had heard of this new restaurant called – I better not put the real name here – so we decided to give it a try. I knew something wasn’t quite right when I saw the décor. I’m not sure how to describe it. Let’s just say they were trying for the mix-and-match look and overachieved their efforts with stellar proportions. Being led into a dining area that might have been better suited for an automobile repair shop, we were seated beside a large white-painted buffet. The doors of the buffet were open, showing not only bottles of catsup and mustard, but also blue signs taped inside the doors that read: Please keep doors closed. But the fun was just beginning. We had just ordered from a one-page, plastic-coated menu when one of the employees began to walk through the area. If you can imagine a vendor at a baseball game, hawking his wares, only with a lot less enthusiasm – I mean a lot less; we’re talking just this side of manic depressive – then you’ll get a pretty good idea of how it went. I can’t say that I blame the poor guy. He had to walk around the restaurant announcing “fried okra” to the backdrop of Country music, Merle Haggard no less, wailing, “We don’t smoke marijuana in Muskogee.” I still have nightmares about it.