My Omaha Cab Driver


Tuesday, November 3, 2009

My Omaha Cab Driver

My Omaha Cab driver. Hello Gentle Readers, Your Intrepid Traveler reporting… I flew into Omaha the other day and was picked up by a cab to take me to the hotel. The taxi driver was a friendly black man named Max. This fellow was a dead ringer for the actor Samuel L. Jackson. He asked what brought me to Omaha. I told him that Warren Buffet was desperate for some investment advice, so I came up to counsel him. As soon as Max heard that, his head whipped around, his white eyes got as large as hotel soap bars. His mouth was pooched like a guppy. He was instantly frightened and confused. I could see in his face that he was thinking “If Warren Buffet, the richest man on the planet, is asking for help, the economy must be much worse than I thought!” I quickly allayed his fears. No, I was just kidding. Warren Buffet didn’t ask for my help. Warren just wanted me as his new bridge partner. His normal partner, Bill Gates was out of town. Max must have laughed for five minutes, I was afraid he was going to run off of the road. That would have served me right. Max confirmed my thinking that cab drivers are just insane people with car keys.
As Max spoke, I could not place his accent. Max said he was from Burkina Faso, a small nation in Africa. As all of my readers know, I am a world traveler. I have been to more than 25 countries, from the most cosmopolitan locales in Europe to the dreariest mud holes in Asia. I am intimately familiar with the global map, and can even spell MAP, when pressed to do so, But, I had never heard of Burkina Faso. Max said the country of Niger (pronounced Ny-Jer) borders Burkina Faso, (pronounced Burkina Faso). He said that perhaps I was not familiar with it because it has been recently renamed. The former name was Upper Volta. Ahh yes, good old Upper Volta. I wonder how Lower Volta is doing these days? I am not an expert on languages, but if the name Upper Volta, needed to be changed it does not seem to me that Burkina Faso is an improvement. Why not come up with something simpler, like “Arm pit” or “Not Nigeria” or perhaps “Formerly known as Prince”?
Speaking of Nigeria, Max said his country is located near Nigeria. He was not too keen on the place. “Nigeria is a hotbed of corruption and lawlessness”. He did not use those exact words, more like “it is a bery, bery bad place, Mon”. Max asked if I had ever heard of a Prince in Nigeria who desperately needed to send funds to my checking account. He warned me that it was a scam. A scam originating from Nigeria? Impossible!
Max also told me of the time the Burkina Faso (formerly known as Prince) National Soccer team was delayed 5 hours at the airport in Nigeria. It seems that while their plane was on the ground, someone stole one of the engines out of the plane! How does one do that? Didn’t it take a rather large wrench to loosen it? And no one saw it being removed? His story got worse. Max said the perpetrators realized they could not get away with the stolen article, (Duh!) so they abandoned it. Airport personnel found the engine, put it back in the plane and they took off! Who on earth would get on a plane that the engine had just been stolen and then put back in? This may be one of the worst airline stories I have ever heard, even worse than trying to cut airline meat with those plastic knives.
I would rather share a Leopard print Snuggie with Barney Frank than fly to Nigeria. Max drove on. It was getting chilly. And I imagined being wrapped up in a leopard print Snuggie. Might be a good look for me.
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