When Life Hands You Lemons…Make Root Beer


Ok, the day started fine. Well, fine if you think getting up at 5:15 am on a morning when the temperature was in the teens is a good thing. But really, things went fine. I got ready for work, the dogs cooperated, the car started, I bought donuts, the employees were happy—all pretty good.

And then about two hours into my day, my phone stopped working. Well, let me clarify, it didn’t stop working entirely, but the display stopped working. This makes selecting functions a tad tricky. It would be like handing a blind person a Samsung Galaxy S-4 and telling him to check text messages. Not fun or funny.

Shame on me, but phone withdrawal was setting in fast. I grew up in the phone-attached-by-a-cord-in-the-wall-at-home era, so you’d think I would almost see this as a blessing, but no. I have embraced technology and NEED to know everyone’s latest status. I MUST be available at any and every given moment should someone need to invite me to lunch at the last minute. Something had to be done. Yes, I once survived without constant contact, BUT NOT ANY MORE.

So off to the cell phone store I went. They would have a quick fix, right? That’s what they do. They keep us connected.

Well, not so much. My little (seriously, she was actually tiny) friend at AT&T gave me a very sad look when I told her that my phone was playing hide-the-display-screen with me. She got quiet. Very quiet. She started to take the back off my phone.

“I have already pulled the battery and restarted it.”

“Oooooh. Didn’t work?”

Oh sure. It worked. I just wanted to come hang out with you anyhow. I’m on a mission to make new friends and what better place to start than my neighborhood AT&T store? (Voice inside my head)

“Nope. Still a black screen.” (Pleasant voice I allowed to escape my mouth)

More silence. More sad looks at my phone…which by now is making all sorts of alert noises, but I had no way of knowing why/who/what/what/WHAT!

So, Ms. AT&T informed me that I was going to have to take it over to the repair center. My phone and I had officially presented a problem beyond the realm of the quick-fix bag o’ tricks that the sales staff had in their repertoire.

Fine and dandy. Point me in the direction of technology salvation. I was in need of a geek. I needed a nerd-in-the-know. High school girls, don’t turn your backs on those nerdy boys. You’re going to need them and they will one day rule the world.

Ok…quick drive to Oz, aka the Magic Kingdom of Cell Phone Repair. Walk in…empty lobby. YES! I’m the only customer. This is going to be a snap. Techie guy, who soon revealed himself to be bitter techie guy, steps out to hear my tale of woe. I notice that his name tag says that his name is Jimmy. Only it wasn’t Jimmy, it was Jimmi. Hmm. Interesting, but amazingly enough for me, I let it go and did not question him about it.

I explain my dilemma. I show him sad, blank phone. I expect him to say that he will run in the back, sprinkle some nerd dust on the screen and restore it to its beautiful, full-color glory.

Insert sound of crickets chirping here.

He said nothing. He stared sadly at my phone. He shook his head. He mumbles something about how much he hates AT&T…the company that allows him to put food on his table.

“Well,” he said, “I have some bad news.” My screen would not be magically restored. AND, because my screen was dead and I had not backed my info up in any clouds anywhere, we were reduced to hoping that the guy who sold me this phone had transferred all of my data over properly (this involved some discussion of a magical chip inside the phone). If he hadn’t, I might lose EVERYTHING. Everything? EVERYTHING.

Of course he also found a reason why my phone did not qualify for the warranty that should have guaranteed free replacement within our first year together. Something about little hairline cracks he could see in the screen when he shined an evil flashlight on it, followed by more mumbling about how much AT&T sucks. (Really? You’re badmouthing your employer…to a customer? Seriously?)

Had I dropped my phone? NO.

Well, maybe.

A little.


So there would be a fee…of course. Whatever. Just make it happen. New phone…same number…I could rebuild my mobile life if need be. I would bounce back, I bravely thought as tears pooled in my eyes.

As I was waiting for the transplant surgery that would hopefully transfer the brain of my old phone into a new body, another woman entered the store.

“Name?” asked Jimmy with an “i.”

“French,” answered the pretty brunette.

“First name?”

More crickets as new customer took a deep breath.

“Omega. It’s Omega.”

Reeeeally? Ok, I had refrained from commenting on Jimmy with an “i,” but was I really expected to let this go? Had this girl really spent the 30-someodd years of her life avoiding telling people that her parents saw fit to name her after one of the lesser letters in the Greek alphabet? In fact, the last letter? The sad cousin of the powerful Alpha?

I tried. I did. I bit my tongue. Hard.

And I failed.

“Did you have a lot of siblings?” I queried. She laughed, thankfully, and said no, she did not have Alpha, Beta, etc., as brothers and sisters. Her parents had just been a tad creative. I recovered by telling her how unique her name was and that while there were a herd of Nancys in my generation, it must be nice to be the only Omega. Ever.

We all continued chatting about names while Jimmy with an “i” worked to resolve our phone issues.

Then the bell on the door sounded and another young woman walked in. Dare I hope?

I held my breath as Jimmi asked her name.


JACKPOT! And it was the Spanish pronunciation. Aun-hell-ick-ah. You have to say it all breathy to really do it justice. The bonus here is that she was distinctly not of Latin American descent.

We caught Aun-hell-ick-ah up on our name game. She joined the conversation. Well, weren’t we all just making a potentially tedious visit to the phone repair place as fun as a barrel of monkeys?

Just then…you guessed it…door jingle. An older gentleman stepped in.



“Sylvan.” Hallelujah! AND he had a French Canadian accent to boot. Oh happy day!

At this point I officially changed my name to Nancois. I just couldn’t refrain from being a part of my newfound fraternity/sorority of uniquely named friends.

Jimmy with an “i” tried to claim a normal name. I threw my earlier restraint to the wind and informed him that Jimm-EYE was NOT ordinary.

He then informed all of us that he had chosen to spell it with an “i” to be different.


Ok, we killed a little time, and surgery was finally complete on my new phone. Fingers crossed, we turned it on. Everyone—all of my new friends and I—looked on. Then the clouds parted, the birds started singing, and my contact list appeared. As did all, ALL of my photos. Goodness I take a lot of cell phone photos. Even Jimmi thought so.

I bid Omega, Aun-hell-ick-ah, Sylvan, and Jimmi farewell and headed back to work where I would steal some time to get my apps back, set up my email again, etc. Life would soon be returned to normal. This was NOT going to be a bad day. This was just a tiny little hiccup. Onward and upward.

On the way, I stopped at Quik Trip to get my nectar of the gods, Diet Dr. Pepper. By the way, if you don’t live in an area where there are Quik Trip convenience stores, I am truly, truly sorry for you. LOVE my Quik Trips. They are clean, predictable, have good bathrooms, and attentive employees.

Because they are predictable, I headed straight to the refrigerators where I knew the bottles of Diet Dr. Pepper would be waiting in all their frosty glory and goodness. I grabbed a bottle…you know, in a hurry because my whole morning had taken a serious detour…paid quickly (they’re good at that too! These clerks can count change faster than seems humanly possible), and hopped back into the car.

Buckled in and ready to head out, I grabbed my bottle of DDP, only it wasn’t named DDP. My DDP was named Barq’s Root Beer. I had grabbed the WRONG bottle. NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

The name game came back to haunt me. I started to peel back into the QT parking lot to exchange my root beer, but then I stopped. No, I said to myself, you were meant to enjoy this root beer today. Embrace the Barq’s. Omega would want you to.

So I did. And it was really very tasty. It was no DDP, but like changing my name to Nancois for the day, it was a nice change.

If I learned nothing else on this fine morning, Omega, Aun-hell-ick-ah, Sylvan, and Jimmi had taught me that different could be good.

Thanks to them, I was having a really good/bad morning. I was embracing my new/old phone. I was sipping  Diet Dr. Pepper in the form of Barq’s Root Beer.

When life hands you lemons, sometimes you just have to make root beer.

5 thoughts on “When Life Hands You Lemons…Make Root Beer

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