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Finally, after months of silence, a post and then another.
Sorry. Ben Been Busy. Here you go…
If you’ve read my book, you know that at one point in my life I was broke, homeless, without a phone and Sleepless in Seattle. It was not a good time. Luckily, I was able to avoid freezing to death, broke the downward cycle and returned to my home. It made me much more emphatic for those who are down on their luck and without a casa.
So this morning, having been released several months ago from being the Ward Mission Leader in my local ward, I decided I would write up a short account of what happened over the past year. I didn’t do this on my own. I keep getting emails from the powers that be requesting this info.
First off, I needed the names of the young missionaries who have served in our ward. The young Elders live with us and yet I can barely keep up with their names, let alone remember the guys who were here six months ago. And after just yesterday having forgotten where I had left my primo pickup for the last 2 weeks, I knew there was no way I could remember all the names.
I decided I would go right to the source and contact the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints Mission office. I looked for their phone number and noticed that there were some Google Reviews attached to the Kennewick Mission website.
I decided to check out the reviews. I saw they were all 5 stars except for a 1 star review. I wondered about the one star so I clicked on the disgruntled reviewer. Here’s what I found…
Washington Kennewick Mission
8202 W Quinault Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Not an overnight mission
 
I chuckled, realizing that the guy had probably found the “mission” in the phone book, walked or drove at least a few miles and then couldn’t find a bed in the place and for sure no coffee on the stove. From his point of view, they deserved just one star.
I feel for the guy as I can tell he struggles. In fact, I helped out a homeless guy for several months one winter by providing room and board for him. He was happy for a roof over his head and I was happy I owned a roof.
And even though the LDS “mission” couldn’t help him, they do have avenues of assisting folks like him.  The LDS Church gives tens of millions each year in helping people and communities down on their luck.
It’s just that their idea of a mission and this homeless guy’s idea of a mission are not in the same ballpark.
I then decided to check out his other reviews and comments. They show a tale of sadness and humor, telling his story from his point of view via the stars and comments.
Chiawana Park
2020 Rd 88, Pasco, WA 99301 
Restrooms are locked
 
Smoke City For Less
1057A George Washington Way, Richland, WA 99352 
Response from the owner a year ago
I think you are talking about the koko nuggz which are chocolate jars (a gag gift item that looks like weed). We do not sell weed at any of our locations. The chocolate on the other hand is very tasty 🙂
McCurley Integrity Chevrolet Parts
1325 N Autoplex Way, Pasco, WA 99301 
Paid for a part I didn’t want and didn’t get my refund
 
Metro by T-Mobile
3600 W Clearwater Ave Ste D, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Unlimited data for $50 a month
 
Zintel Canyon
Kennewick, WA 99336 
Can’t sleep there
 
Rodeway Inn
1520 N Oregon Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
Applied for a job. Didn’t get hired and got moved to a room with a broken bed
 
Washington Kennewick Mission
8202 W Quinault Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Not an overnight mission
 
Safeway
2825 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
High prices and a security guard that makes you leave at night
 
Albertsons
5204 W Clearwater Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Poor selection
 
REACH Museum
1943 Columbia Park Trail, Richland, WA 99352 
Heated restroom. No soap on the dispenser
 
Chipotle Mexican Grill
1102 N Columbia Center Blvd, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Good food. High prices
 
McDonald’s
1409 N Kellogg St, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Can’t even get a burger for $1
 
Tri-City Union Gospel Mission
112 N 2nd Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
Spat out the undercooked chicken and walked out so I didn’t have to kill a man
 
Gold’s Gym
151 N Ely St, Kennewick, WA 99336 
The water stinks just like all the water in the city and I couldn’t even get a hot shower
 
A-Z Auto Repair LLC
1401 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Paid $800 to fix my coolant system when I only paid $450 for the car. Now I’m burning oil
 
Yoke’s Fresh Market – Kennewick
1410 W 27th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99337 
Smelled like a toilet
 
Columbia Point Marina Park
Riverfront Trail, Richland, WA 99352 
The restrooms are locked
 
Perfect Circle Construction
6320 W Clearwater Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Minimum wage
 
McCurley Integrity Mazda
1230 North Autoplex Way, Pasco, WA 99301 
I paid for a part I didn’t want and never got a refund after returning it
 
Keewaydin Park
204 W Keewaydin Dr, Kennewick, WA 99336 
The restrooms we’re locked just like every other restroom in the city parks
 
Unemployment Tax Services
4310 W 24th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99338 
You can’t apply for unemployment in the office and the website kicks you out too soon. When you call you can’t get through to talk to anybody
 
Vintner Square
Richland, WA 99352 
Wildhorse Resort & Casino
46510 Wildhorse Blvd, Pendleton, OR 97801 
It’s nice when you can win. Other than that I wasn’t impressed
 
Green2Go Recreational 21+
214307 E SR 397, Kennewick, WA 99337 
Got weed that tasted like piss and they wouldn’t take it back
 
Santiago Estates Cherry Hill
2917 W 19th Ave, Kennewick, WA 99337 
Fiesta Foods
115 S 10th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
A-1 Automotive & Repair
620 E 3rd Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
$800 to fix my coolant system when I paid $450 for the car. They better live up to their lifetime warranty
 
Yachats State Recreation Area
Yachats State Park, Yachats, OR 97498 
Atomic Foods
1212 N 4th Ave, Pasco, WA 99301 
Smells like meth
 
Finders Insurance
3400 W Clearwater Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
Safeway
1616 W Northwest Blvd, Spokane, WA 99205 
Motel 6 Tumwater – Olympia
400 Lee St SW, Tumwater, WA 98501 
McDonald’s
2721 W Kennewick Ave, Kennewick, WA 99336 
The food was good and the children survived so it was a good day
 

 

First Facebook Post from yesterday…

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Reward – $1,000 for the arrest of the thief (or actual scalp of the same) and return of my pickup.

Went to Utah for Christmas. Came home to find my long bed 4 door 4wd 2013 Toyota Tundra missing from our driveway. The four-door long bed Tundra combo makes it a little unusual.

Vin 5TFCY5F15DX014542 License C15911F

There was an electrical tester and 5 cases of Recovering Idiot books in the back seat.

This offer is not valid if it turns out I parked it somewhere and forgot about it.

Second Facebook Post…

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2 Sundays ago I drove my beloved pickup to church filled with an electrical tester and Recovering Idiot books. After church, my wife insisted I drive her around to a couple of minister’s homes where we dropped off some edible treats. We took the van. We then drove home and proceeded to Utah to visit family.

Got back just the other day but didn’t notice the valuable books were missing along with their transporter.

Today I had some electrical problems at work but couldn’t find my tester. I started thinking I needed to check in my truck and my happiness level was instantly downgraded to junk bond status when I observed an empty driveway (Even though I’ve been home for 5 days)

A call to my insurance company produced nothing. A call to the cops produced nothing. A post to Facebook produced a few sympathetic comments but mostly sneers and derision. It also produced a post from a friend with a hopeful tip.

The truck was right where I left it 2 weeks ago. My wife took me down and dropped me off. I got in the truck but there were no keys. My dear and sweet but oblivious wife was driving off. My screams and gestures were of no use. I walked home, hoping no one would steal my truck before I returned.

I offered $1,000 reward but am so glad I put a disclaimer on it concerning my advanced ability to forget. Thanks to everyone for getting the word out even though I ended up not needing it!

There were 22 shares, 46 comments and 167 likes. This shows that people do care about me, my pickup and full-blown dementia. The next time somebody steals my pickup, it’s immediately going on Facebook. Who needs cops?

So I haven’t been able to blog but I’ll try to get it started back up again. It’s been 3 months since a post. I’m sure you’ve all enjoyed the vacation. Finally sold out of my first edition so I went big and got in a semi-load of books. Being self-published is a tough job. The only thing that’s made it a little easier is the response I’ve gotten.

Saturday I’m doing a book signing in Kennewick at the new location for Fountain Books.

https://www.facebook.com/FountainBook/photos/gm.1486486238163079/10156535340398859/?type=3

I was able to drum up a few endorsements that are included in the new edition.

Endorsements:

Michelle Ainge (Mother of six and wife of NBA star Danny Ainge)
“Danny doesn’t endorse books but I’ll endorse this one. Ben’s book was a fun read! His antics made me laugh out loud and exhausted me. I like hearing people’s stories and his is a crazy one.”

Greg Gibson (First U of WA athlete and among the earliest Americans to run a sub 4-minute mile)
“Reading is hard work for me but I couldn’t put this book down! Talk about a perpetual accident waiting to happen! That is Ben in a nutshell. Keep a towel close by. You will cry from laughing so hard.”

Brandon “Bullet” Mackay (F-15 pilot, USAF Lt. Col.)
“This book is unbelievably true! Casper has cheated death more than any other pilot I’ve known. I had to limit myself to two
chapters per night.”

Steve Phipps (Holder of 19 Arm Wrestling World Championships, 9 Right and 10 Left, including a rare “Double-Double”,winning World Titles in Wrist wrestling and Arm wrestling with both arms the same year)

“Casper brings his stories to life and you are sure to get many smiles, chuckles and ‘What was he thinking?’ during your journey along with Ben. I highly recommend Recovering Idiot. Enjoy the adventure!”

Tom Clyde (National Intercollegiate Rodeo Steer Wrestling Champion-1974)
“I loved Recovering Idiot and highly recommend it. Filled with wit and humor that brings you to tears, it is very entertaining and one of those reads you cannot put down.

To me however, the most impressive and inspiring message of the book is the impact of the real life drama of a man who has experienced incredible pain, failures and many defeating setbacks in life. In spite of such opposition, his determined will to pick himself up time and again and press forward is a powerful testament of his resilient attitude and approach to life.

Ben is one who refuses to give up and accept defeat. His unconquerable spirit to persevere is a great inspiration to me. If the reader fails to pick up on that reoccurring theme in this book then its most powerful and motivating message will be missed.”

Stephen Beus (Internationally acclaimed concert pianist)
“Equal parts entertaining and horrifying. After reading this book, I wasn’t sure whether I should laugh or cry –or run to Home Depot and buy some sturdy tie downs for the author’s pickup. A great read!”

David Ottley (Nuclear Physicist)
This book is scientific, albeit anecdotal, proof that Darwin’s theory of natural selection is incorrect. If Darwinism were true, Ben would have been eliminated from the gene pool long ago.

It could also be classified as a religious book, as the fact that Ben is still alive is proof of modern miracles – God must have a purpose for this man. I wholeheartedly recommend this well-written book for your reading enjoyment.”

William York (SE PE, Missile Guidance Engineer)
“I thoroughly enjoyed reading Recovering Idiot! It’s fun to read, well-written and shows what crazy adventures lie ahead if we believe in ourselves and don’t overthink the problems.”

Heidi Young (German Baptist mother of six)
“Coming from a conservative background without many of the modern entertainment inventions in our home, our boys have spent hours reading and rereading Recovering Idiot. Any spare time they get from farm work and daily chores, they will come into the living room and pick up the well-read book and get a quick dose of humor.

We got it a little over a year ago. It is just about worn out. We just got a new book so the kids can keep reading.”

Ben Archibald (Former NFL and CFL player. Now owns bookstores in CA, NV and WA)
“After 11 years playing professional football, I’ve known some real characters! Ben is one of the craziest and this book will open your eyes to a whole new way of life. Recovering Idiot weaves the most idiotic decisions in life into a wonderful read that will lighten your heart and bring new appreciation to having common sense!”

From friends of Ben…
Kyle Huwe: “I laughed so hard, tears were running down my leg!”
Sonja Hansen: “We’ve been waiting 60 years for this.”
Scot Haws: “I see no signs of recovery.”
Brianne Huwe: “A great experience…I laughed to the point of tears!”
Kola Robinson: “Funniest book I’ve ever read.”

I’m sure you all remember Calvin from precious posts. Here’s a text I got from my sister-out-law a while back:

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It’s been a good week. I got a wild hair to quit parking vehicles on our lawn and made an instant transition from a redneck lawnparker to a sophisticated gentleman who now owns a parking lot. In order to provide more parking area, I ripped our deck out and transported it to a new resting place until I have time to reclaim the lumber.

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Michele doesn’t like extra stuff around. I do because you never know when you’re going to need something you haven’t used for 30 years. So she stuck some of my prized possessions on the street.

10 minutes after this picture was taken, my stuff had vanished. Whoever stole my little one-legged scooter, my half-filled bucket of hardened paint, my old fan and my 3 buckets of used red rock, please return them. Otherwise, I’m calling the cops and reporting the theft.

On my wife and whoever took my goodies. Michele should not be giving my hard-earned property away.

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The only damage on this trip was a stiff neck from going in reverse since I couldn’t see anything going forward. I don’t think I could make this particular trip fly if I lived in Seattle.

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The next mile-long trip was also made in reverse.

I then ripped our lawn out to make even more room for the new parking lot.  Paved paradise and put up a parking lot 

We got word that one of our kids in Phoenix had their A/C go out. They sent us this photo of their oldest seeking shelter from the heat. Zoom in just above the salad dressing and meet Jett.

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We are getting ready to bust out our latest product. Here’s a vid showing our improvised sheet metal corrugator we built followed by action around my work space yesterday that got converted into a heliport for 19 fill-ups of non-organic toxins. I forgot to warn the pilot about the power line just in front of him stretched over to the spud shed.

I love the smell of chemicals wafting in the clear morning air. Without them, the world would go hungry, organic marketers keep raking in the cash and clueless people pay through the nose. With them, weeds and bugs die, crops thrive and  people live without hunger.

And lastly, a vid we just finished making of another new contraption we’re rolling out…

 

This morning I decided to try my new turbo propane burner. I burnt some weeds around the edge of our lawn which unintentionally got some dry weeds and cheat grass carbonizing in the brisk breeze. The dry weeds were on my sister’s lot which doubles as my parking lot for excess vehicles.

The excess vehicles I had parked (without permission) on this particular day were my backhoe, a 3-axle equipment trailer, my fairly new Tundra pickup along with my fairly old and totaled Tundra. Also, my Corvette was parked on the same lot. I’ve always thought that the Vette gives just a little bit of class to my redneck parking lot.

Because of the dry and flammable conditions, I turned on a faucet, stretched the hose out to the edge of our grass and started spraying down my sibling’s lot to keep the vehicles safe. In order to provide adequate emergency fire suppression, I had to apply substantial pressure at the end of the hose with my thumb so the water would jet out just enough to douse the flames.

I eliminated most of the smoke and flames with my garden-hose efforts. I figured it was good enough and since the fire had already made us late, Michele and I headed for our high school class reunion. I was looking forward to seeing all the old friends.

Some have died. Most don’t care and a few more just couldn’t make it. My class had a tad over 5% at the picnic.

I have learned through vast experience that most longtime friends are not as lonesome for company as I must be. There have been times when I’ve spent a lot of time trying to track down acquaintances from the past. Usually, they are not near as excited to hear from me as I was to renew our friendship as I tracked them down.

As I thought about it tonight, I would guess that same reunion average of 5% probably also applies to friends from the past who want to hear from me. Most just don’t have the drive to socialize and reminisce with past pals. So I guess class reunions are for the socially needy 5% like me who like to stay in touch with old friends.

Admittedly, this situation has always kind of bugged me. However, after thinking about it tonight, I realize that all these past pals are not the ones with the problem. I am. In spite of the new facts I’ve just come to grips with, I’ll probably keep going to the get-togethers until I die.

So there was a guy there that I’ve been good friends with for decades. However, a couple of years ago I posted a piece on Facebook about how the Clinton’s trashed the White House when they were leaving at the end of their rainbow term. I wondered aloud if Obama was going to do the same? The truth is when looking back, I don’t think that stuff ever happened but it was entertaining news at the time.

Other people posted on my thread, making fun of the Clintons which ticked my buddy off. I guess during the time since I had last talked to him, he had gone from Rep to Demo on me. Because of the other’s comments, he blew up and deleted me as a friend. I messaged him and apologized to no avail. I chalked him up as having a shaky and shallow foundation.

I wondered if he would be at the reunion and still harbor a grudge. He was and did. It so happened that a lady at the get-together was talking to this same guy as I stood in back of them; ten feet in front of her but behind him. I could hear her say “There’s Ben Casper, his book is the funniest book I’ve ever read.”

I was pleased to get the endorsement but also knew this was a critical moment concerning me and this guy. If he turned around, I figured we were still buds. If he didn’t, our friendship was toast just like those weeds I had burned earlier in the day.

He didn’t turn around. It put a damper on my socialistic mood for a few minutes but after lunch, I decided to make or break the relationship. I located him, walked over and started talking to him. The friendship thawed and even warmed back up. I’m glad I made the effort as I can deduct him from my list of icy former pals.

We drove home from the reunion about 5 hours later. As I pulled into my driveway, I could see one of my neighbors was standing by my sister’s lot, trying to spray the smoking dry grass that had come back to life during our absence. I told Sandy thank-you and took over the hose. I was grateful everything was still intact. That fiberglass Corvette body would have notified me with smoke signals at the reunion 20 miles away if it had caught fire.