Saturday, May 22, 2010

Never Too Old To Turn "It" On ...

Bluffton Today column
May 19, 2010

You may remember a column I wrote just before Christmas about the passing of my Great Aunt Madeleine. She was defacto-matriarch of our family, based solely on my belief that no one could lip sync “Away in the Manager” on Christmas Eve like she could.

Anyway, last week Aunt Madeleine’s hubby of more than sixty years, Uncle Al, ventured south to visit the Bluffton branch of the family tree. Uncle Al made the trip with my Grandmother (Aunt Madeleine’s sister). It is safe to say that we’re all hoping this new development is platonic in nature. However, we are also a little afraid to ask. Wink. Wink.

So, one morning Uncle Al was venturing out for his morning walk and my Mom reminded him to take his cell phone, just in case. Uncle Al told mom that he has had his cell phone for two years, but he never uses it because the battery is always dead.

Mom, whom I clearly get my sense of humor from, and has an uncanny ability to ask a string of questions in such quick succession that you don’t know what hit you, retorted, “Then why do you even have a cell phone? You’re missing the purpose. What if something happens? What will you do?”

“I need a Verizon store,” Uncle Al declared. So, off to the Verizon store they went. That encounter went a little something like this:

Uncle Al: “My phone doesn’t work. The battery is dead.”

Verizon (after turning on the phone, and not flinching when the AT&T logo appeared!): “Sir, your battery is fine.”

Uncle Al: “Wait! How did you do that?”

Verizon: “Well, I just hit the red button, the ‘on’ button.”

Uncle Al: “On is red? I’ve been hitting the green button all this time. Doesn’t green mean go?”

Mom (under her breath): “For two years!?!”

Back in the car, and back to Mom’s house they went, where apparently Uncle Al thought it would be an appropriate time to make sure he understood how all of the household appliances worked. You know, just in case. That encounter went a little something like this.

Uncle Al: “How do you turn on the coffee pot?”

Mom: “You hit the button that says, ‘on’.”

Uncle Al: “How do you answer the phone?”

Mom: “You hit the button that says, ‘talk’.”

This may have gone on for hours, but Mom had only a few seconds while serving Sunday dinner to pull me aside for the highlights. And knowing Uncle Al like I do, it is perhaps more likely that he did this just to see how far he could push my Mom. He has a hell of a sense of humor for an octogenarian.

Regardless, it got me thinking. About age (as I reluctantly celebrated the glorious “twenty-seventeen” last week). And more significantly - about the recent revelations of swinger activity in Sun City. Yowzer! Hello! This is big news for our little town, so I must address it.

I’m actually torn on the issue – torn between a “good for them” attitude and throwing up in my mouth a little bit. Now, if this little ditty is true can we conclude that there is more sex happening in Sun City than on the USCB campus? That could be revolutionary.

Further, this could be a huge branding opportunity for Del Webb. “Sun City, An Active Adult Community” could easily be transitioned to “Sun City, A Sexually Active Adult Community.” Heck, sales may even “rise.”

Their “Lifestyle” Director (who I am sure is a lovely woman, and hopefully has a good sense of humor), could get a national sponsor courtesy of yup, you guessed it -- LifeStyles condoms. A box of new business cards, maybe some free samples, and she’ll be the most popular gal on campus.

According to Sun City’s website, “team sports” are a big hit and “who knew you could work up a sweat playing croquet” … I would, of course, modify that page completely.

I’ve always been of the “shoot me when I’m sixty” school of thought. I don’t want to get old. But, it seems that although my knowledge of technology may wane, I have a pretty good shot of “gettin’ a little” something else out of my golden years.
If after reading this column you experience laughter for more than two hours, please consult your doctor.

Thursday, May 06, 2010

Pet Peeves, Rants, and Raves. Actually, No Raves.

Bluffton Today column
May 5, 2010

Way back in the olden days, when I took my driving test, I ran over all of the cones during my parallel parking maneuver. But, the instructor was still nice enough to pass me. And this was before I “developed,” so he must have seen a spark of something special in my ability.*

However, since then I have avoided parallel parking (and driving instructors) at all costs. Further, if I don’t have to move the car in reverse, we are all better off. In fact, the day before I moved my boat to dry storage was the day that I tried to back up the truck, the trailer, and the boat and wrapped all of the above around a palm tree.

As such, I will never ever understand why folks will voluntarily back their car into a parking space. I can barely back out of my driveway and into my cul de sac without incident. Backing up on purpose? I don’t get it. Do you walk backwards just for the heck of it? No, I didn’t think so.

While we’re still behind the wheel, let’s address the folks who speed up, race past me, and then end up stopped adjacent to me at the next traffic light. I call this the “hurry up and wait” maneuver. And, I get great joy from giving said drivers the side-eye, a quick tip of the hat, and perhaps an over-exaggerated chortle.

Every time I experience a “hurry up and wait” I am reminded of an outing with my Dad many moons ago. I was driving and apparently tailgating the driver in front of me. My father told me to slow down. But, being the smart-aleck teen that I was, I argued, “but the speed limit is 45!”

And, my father, in all his wisdom said (with deadpan delivery), “but the car in front of you is only going 35, Cour.” Good point Dad, good point.

While I’m at it, might I also mention that people who use the word “irregardless” need to pull out the ol’ dictionary and realize that irregardless is not a word. I believe the word you are searching for is “regardless,” which means, in spite of everything. I’m pretty sure that is what you are trying to say anyway, right? In a chuckle-worthy twist, the dictionary actually has an entry for “irregardless,” that basically says, this isn’t a word. Classic.

Further, if you tend to start a thought with, “we as humans …” you may want to re-think it. If you are talking to another someone, chances are they are also human, so that clarification is probably unnecessary. I’m just saying …

Now, if we are chatting, and you present a number of points and then tell me to “do the math,” I expect some actual numbers to be in the mix. And, if I am telling you a story with stunning statistics for example, I received 1,000 pieces of fan mail last week (an obvious exaggeration, but bear with me)! And you feel the need to tell me that you, in fact, received 2,000 pieces of fan mail last week, that makes you a “one-upper.” In essence you are telling me that everything I do, you can do better. Of course you can. I totally believe you.

Since I am on a roll, I may as well cross the line and tell you that if you truly believe in God and everything he has created, don’t you think you are selling him short when you call him ”awesome” in your Facebook status? I mean, if I was God, and had the omnipotent power that the Bible suggests, I’d feel a little short-changed by “awesome.” (And, if I was God, would I really have time for Facebook?)

And last, but not least, my rant would incomplete if I didn’t thank the Tea Partiers for sending me a copy of the United States Constitution with a note regarding the First Amendment. Many thanks, but that gift was unnecessary. I am quite familiar with my right to free speech and press, as evidenced by the fact that I wrote (and you just read), 704 words of Courtney and no one stopped me. God bless America!

What are your pet peeves? Send them to Courtney Hampson at

*Note this sentence read - "And this was before my boobs came in, so he must have seen a spark of something special in my ability." - before I was advised to change it. :-)

Monday, May 03, 2010

Don't Let the Bed Bugs Bite

Um, let me first say that this was not one of my all-time favorite assignments. I couldn't figure out how I would possibly make this topic interesting (and, maybe I didn't) ... but, as my mentor told me many moons ago ... "the world is about people." And, he was right ... my "subject" John Harris was a riot and once he got me laughing, I was on his team. So, I hope he enjoys my take on his life ...

CH/CB2 May 2010

“Have you ever ridden the tilt-a-whirl?” That is how John Harris, two years into his role as general manager of Hilton Head Exterminators, describes an “average” day on the job. That gem was quickly followed by, “I don’t want to gross you out too much…”

Both statements offer some interesting insight into what Harris’ life is like on a day-to-day basis. He is down and dirty and into all things that creep, crawl, and lurk—in the night, in your attic, in your walls, in your ductwork, in your backyard. Since 1968, Hilton Head Exterminators (HHE) has been making sure that pests live where they are supposed to. However, when the pests invade your world, HHE’s goal is to drive them out. Serving Hilton Head, Bluffton, Okatie, Sun City, and Jasper County, HHE is the Lowcountry’s largest independent pest control company. Part of the key to their continued growth and success is the recognition that their reputation is being built every day. So, every customer interaction is crucial. HHE’s continued focus on building relationships is part of what makes them stand out. Add a favorable dose of community involvement to mix, and HHE’s formula yields a very impressive result. Continue reading