WHO IN THE HELL IS EDDIE HASKELL???
I graduated from the University of Iowa with my Bachelor's in Spanish in May
of 2002. Graduation was a blessing, moreso due to the fact that I no
longer had to attend these bogus and annoying ROTC classes. I swear,
when I return to school, it will be infinitely more enjoyable without
spending a quarter of my free time tied up in pseudo-Army bullshit.
I found a unit, and scheduled a date for Officer Basic Course. My OBC
would be in Ft. Gordon, Georgia, and quite honestly, I couldn't wait
to go. Normally, these courses get scheduled no later than the end of
the summer following graduation. Unfortunately, I was told, because of
the attack on the Pentagon, our paperwork was unavoidably delayed in its
By summer's end, I still had no information on my OBC date, and my cash flow
was running dangerously low. I had to find a job. I was singing
karaoke 2 to 3 times a week, and, as fate would have it, one of my
acquaintances had an opening for a Karaoke Jockey.
Actually, not an opening so much as a full-blown takeover.
His name was Jeff and he was married to a woman named Joy. Joy was
preggers. She had her baby 3 1/2 months prematurely. Jeff told
me one night, "I can't do this any more, but I need the money. I'm at
the hospital every day with my kid. I need to find someone that I can
trust to run the show. Can you do it?"
He agreed to split the money we'd get every Friday (200 dollars) right down
the middle with me, and then let me keep tips. He also assured me that
within a month he would have me working shows three nights a week.
He went with me and made sure I did fine the first night. I wasn't
expecting payment, I figured it was on the job training. But, he was
good about it and gave me seventy-five bucks. Unfortunately, the
following Friday, on my own, I got the envelope with my money and there was
only $75 in it. I should have walked. Right there. But, I
needed the money, so I didn't. He wasn't awake, naturally, when I got
to his house at a quarter after two, so I had to wait until the following
week to call him on it.
I did. "Jeff," I said, "I noticed last week that I only had 75 bucks
in MY envelope. Why?"
"Well," he said, "it IS my equipment, but more importantly, I have to clean
the books, buy pens and make the song slips every week. I ought to get
a little more for that. Plus, you get to keep the tips, so it should
all even out." I didn't really make too much of it, but I sure as hell
should have. The problem with tips is that they're unreliable.
Some nights I'd get five dollars. On average, I'd get about 18-25.
On rare occasions, fifty.
Only then would we truly be
'splitting the profits down the middle'.
One time, on New Year's Eve, the owner of this one bar (he loved my show)
passed around my hat and raised $175 for me. It was satisfying to see
Jeff look enviously at my hat that night. Still, on average, I made
20-30 less than Jeff did, and he didn't have to lift a finger. That
wouldn't have bothered me if it had been the original deal, but that was NOT
our agreement. Over time, it festered.
After about six months of this, I'd grown weary. I was still playing
only one show a week. It was pissing me off even more that this guy
was getting paid, but was unwilling to simply look for another place or two
to set up. I didn't even care about that as much as I did about the
six or seven places I'd found that were willing to have karaoke. I'd
get numbers, but he'd never call. That made me look like an dipshit,
and I didn't like it. The fucking jackass.
I never ONCE hooked up because of karaoke, which was another disadvantage.
I made out quite a few times, but that was it. Danielle, that crazy
bitch. Andrea, the utter whore. Jenny, oh, those beautiful fake
tits...No one wanted to date me, because they thought I was some player or
pimp. Every woman who sang talked to me. Out of necessity, mind
you. For some reason, if a woman was interested, she'd watch me, see
them talk to me flirtatiously (they thought erroneously if they'd flirt I'd
move up the song) and then any woman I was after would be pissed.
That, of course, was not the only problem. Originally, a job where you
make at least eighty bucks for four hours work sounds like a great deal.
However, there's the set-up. That takes at LEAST half an hour, if
you're good. I'd be able to do it in twenty if I was on fire, which I
normally am. Tear down takes just as long, if not longer. Then,
of course, there's the drive. It took me twenty minutes to drive from
my Broadway Condominium in Iowa City to Jeff's house in West Liberty to pick
up the equipment. I couldn't take his truck, though. Hell, no.
That's too easy.
I'd offload the equipment into my Ford Escort ZX2. Then, I'd drive to
the Third Base (Last Stop Before Home) Sports Bar in North Liberty.
Even though the names of the two towns sound similar, geographically,
they're, like, thirty miles apart. Thirty minutes or more drive time,
with stoplights. So, in essence, this four hour job became a six and a
half to seven hour job. Still, ten bucks an hour is better than
nothing. It's little better than nothing, however, when you only work
ONE FUCKING DAY per week.
I paid my bills...barely.
Most people loved me. It's hard not to love me. I'm pretty
congenial. There were a few who didn't, though. One guy told me
he was the owner and if I didn't play his douche-bag song, I'd never work
there again. I knew the owner's name, and the head bartendress told me
he wasn't in the bar that night. I turned him over to her, who told
him to fuck off, I assume. I turned around and he said, "You son of a
bitch!" and then he swung at me. Surprisingly, I wasn't pissed.
This guy looked like Danny DeVito, and I'm 6'4", so I leaned back and
laughed. They threw him out. He waited for me in the parking lot
to 'beat me up', but the cops came by on their regular patrol and hauled him
crying to jail. What a bitch.
Once, when I was singing, this bastard that always dogged me about my cowboy
hats started howling. I gave him the finger and he stood up, pulled
his pants down and slapped his ass at me. That got him barred, too.
Good. I was sick of his ass. Literally.
Then, there were the raggedy women. Some women are always in a foul
mood, and, for some reason, they like to hang out in sports bars. One
night, a mid- to late-thirties broad called me Eddie. I told her my
name was Seth. She introduced herself as Nancy and asked me why I
always sing country. I told her because it was easy to sing all night,
and I thought country music is more like 70s rock than rock music is similar
to its predecessor. I know that's a hard sentence to read. It's
even harder to explain to a inebriated mongoloid. She told me that I
should sing something that suited me better. I asked her if Billy Joel
would suit me better. She said, "It might."
Then I went and sang Honesty. She hated it. "Eddie! You
need to sing something that fits you."
I said, "That does fit me...you'd know that if you knew anything about me."
She replied, "No, it doesn't." Suddenly, I was back in second grade.
I shrugged. "Whatever." Anyway, this dumbass gal kept coming back,
week after week, just like this tool named Ben who always wanted to sing
Margaritaville. You'd think after eighty times, a person would get
better. You'd also be wrong. When this guy sang in the shower,
the water would turn cold.
She finally asked me one week, "Eddie, why do you always dress like that?" I
usually wore a T-Shirt with another long-sleeved shirt over it, Dean-style.
"I don't know," I said, exasperated. "Why are you always a bitch?"
She snapped. Not in a bad way. Suddenly, she was very into me.
She started flirting wildly. Doing this blinking move, which, while
I'm sure it was very effective twenty years ago, was somewhat disconcerting
now. During our conversation, I asked her, "Why the fuck do you always
call me Eddie?"
"Well," she answered, "when you wear your shirt open like that you remind me
of Eddie Haskell."
"Who in the hell is Eddie Haskell???"
"You know...the guy off Leave it to Beaver."
"Sorry, I'm not a fossil." Every insult made her even hornier. A side
effect to which I didn't know how to respond. I knew I hated this
woman, that was true. But part of me, for some reason, wanted to take
her back to her place and savagely rail the shit out of her for being such a
I'll give you a little background on this particular evening, so when you
see the events unfold, you'll know why I didn't just drive away. Jeff
was drinking at Third Base, celebrating his brother's birthday. My
friend Bill was there, too. He and his fiancée were having problems
that night, so he agreed to make the trip with me. The very next
morning, a Saturday, my friend Justin (who was staying at my place) was
getting up at four thirty in the morning to attend his drill for the
National Guard in Mount Pleasant. I was going to go with him, because
a mutual friend of ours, Donnie, was moving to Texas and I wanted to see him
before he left. Got that? Good.
Nancy invited me to her house after the bar closed. I always assumed
that the after-hours activities was where people were hooking up. Jeff
had a strict rule that the equipment always had to be back in his truck at
the end of a show. That eliminated me from any hook-up possibilities.
Even if I wanted to come to an after-party or something, I had to drop off
the stuff, which would have taken at least an hour and a half. No one
wants to wait up until 3:30 for me, anymore.
I suppose I could have gone to the party and dropped off the stuff later,
but I never did because the thought of hooking up until five or six and then
having to leave to drop off speakers and shit really didn't sit well with
me. I must have been aging, even then. The thought of that kind
of sex seemed like too much work. The sleepover is the best part.
I never sleep as good as I do when some little beautiful woman is beside me.
Plus, I'd miss out on any chance of morning sex. What do you think
morning wood is for...?
Well, with Jeff here, he could take the equipment
He was shit-faced, but he always drove. Maybe I kind of hoped he'd
crash into a culvert somewhere and lie paralyzed while he drowned slowly.
The only problem was Bill. I gave him my car and told him he could
drive home. "I'll pick up my car tomorrow," I informed him. He
wanted to drive me to her house, though. We talked, and he was
excited. I think he was animated due to the fact that he'd been
engaged since High School and never got to go on adventures like this.
He didn't know how lucky he was, in that regard.
Bill had a good plan, though. "I don't want you to be stranded," he
told me. "Go to the front door, see if everything's cool, and, if it
is, give me the thumbs up and I'll leave." I did, she opened the door, I
looked inside to see some excellent mood lighting in the living room.
I looked back at Bill and gave him the signal.
Maybe my assumptions are poor ones. I don't know. But when some
chick looks at me and says, verbatim, "Why don't you come over to my house
tonight. C'mon...I promise it'll be fuuhuhn....." I assume the game
tilts towards Advantage: Wookie.
Anyway, I sat down on her couch in the living room. I like the couch,
plenty of field. She asked me, "Do you want something to drink?"
Ah, she wants a little foreplay, okay, I thought.
"Beer," I told her. I figured with this chick, I may as well let
Budweiser do the job that L’Oreal couldn't.
"Here you go," she says. "I'm going to go check on my two kids.
I'll be right back."
Suddenly, it hits me. Kids?!? When the fuck did this happen, and
why was I only recently informed? Great. Now, I'll have to
ferociously rock the Grand Canyon's box.
I heard the toilet flush, so I wondered if one of these crayon refrigerator
barons just emptied his bowels. I thought I saw Nancy come out of the
hall, so I looked up to ask her a question when, to my absolute
consternation, I saw a guy standing there. "Uh....hi...." was the best
I could muster.
"Hey, man, how you doin'?" he asked me.
I didn't know. "I don't know."
He sat down in a recliner and picked up the beer I'd failed to notice.
Nancy came out and said, "Here's my babies!" as these two huge fucking
Labradors, again, started running around like rats on crack. One
jumped up on the couch and started mating me with its tongue.
"That's...nice," I decided.
Apparently, this woman invited the both of us over. Making sure she
had all her bases (even Third) covered. We sat there and fucking
talked for two hours. I tried to call home, hoping that Justin woke up
early. No such luck.
As the three of us continued to talk, I could feel my soul trying to claw
its way out of my body. It was even less successful than I was that
night. The dude finally decided he wanted to sleep, and she told him
he could sleep in her bed. We stayed up, and I decided to make my
move. We made out for two minutes, maybe, when the dog decided to get
in on the action. She took him outside to pee.
I once asked a blind friend of mine why he didn't just get a dog. He
told me he had one, once. "You know what I like about a cane?" he
asked me. "You don't have to take it for a piss at three in the
morning in the middle of fucking January." How true.
She eventually came back inside and laid on the floor. I kept talking
with her and then went over to try to get my mack on again. She was
passed out. Well. I picked up her phone and tried to call Justin
again. He answered, finally.
"Hey, man...pick me up." I tried to explain where I was, but he's not the
best with directions. As a matter of fact, he's not really the best at
I finally told him that I'd start walking down Highway 1 between Coralville
and North Liberty. "You'll see me on the side of the road," I
explained. "I'm probably the only idiot walking at four in the
Apparently, it was too difficult the task for him. It was late fall,
and the weather had turned fabulously shitty. Freezing rain, to be
exact. I was wearing my khaki pants and jacket. Woo-hoo.
Didn't stop my ears, face, arms or legs from feeling like hell, though.
I started walking down Hwy 1. I went half a mile. A mile.
Two. Past Oakdale Prison. Past the Oakdale Campus.
Every car still held hope for me, though. Headlights! I
thought. This is him, it has to be...he's slowin---oh, nope.
No, he isn't. Fuck this sucks! I'm cold. I'm gonna be
pissed when he finally shows up. What the hell did he do? Take a
shower? FUCK!!! Where the hell is he?
I ended up walking the full four and a half miles to Coralville. I
scaled the final hill just in time to see the Perkins by Interstate 80 turn
on their lights, signifying the beginning of another business day.
Shit! It must be six o'clock in the morning! I thought. I
stopped in, freezing my ass off. The hostess asked, "One?"
To verify, I tried to say yes but, literally, could not get the words out,
because I was so damn cold. I shook my head. She took me to a
booth, where I ordered coffee. After about half an hour, I'd warmed up
sufficiently. I called a cab and got a ride home. I went inside
got to bed at seven thirty in the morning. My brother was just waking
up. I slept until four.
Interestingly enough, I never saw Nancy again. Just as well as far as
I was concerned. Donnie did move to Texas, but I saw him before he
left. I hated on Justin for about a week. He said he drove up
and down Highway 1 three times. Hmph. He eventually moved out
and joined Donnie in Dixieland. Before they both had enough of Texas
and decided to move back to Iowa. Don't know why, though. Damn,
there are a lot of beautiful, easily acquired women in Texas. But
that's another story.
I quit working for Jeff, eventually. He was kind of pissed, but I
didn't really care. Sometimes, I still wonder if his head's been
smashed into a tree yet.