Jon Dawson: New business mixes Andy Griffith with Uber
Tina Fey once suggested it was a bad idea to go with a hippie to a second location. Then came Uber.
When Kevin Morgan, 49, of La Grange recently retired after 30 years as a taste-tester for Sherman-Williams, he didn't want to sit around the house.
"Everyone who retires and does nothing seems to decline at a rapid rate," Morgan said on Thursday. "I had no clear idea of what to do until my cousin Tyrone showed up one day being driven by someone I'd never seen before."
At first, Morgan thought his cousin had come into some money and hired a personal driver.
"I knew Tyrone had been doing pretty good as an aerobics instructor for obese cats," Morgan said. "I figured someone with money and a fat cat had signed him to a big contract. Turns out his car was in the shop and he used this service called Uber to get a ride to my house."
For those of you who value your well-being and aren't familiar with Uber, it's a service wherein you hit a few buttons on your phone and a dude or dudette shows up at your house to give you a ride, bring you food or possibly lure you to a pit in their basement.
Uber — which is Latin for "he was quiet and kept to himself" — has replaced the taxi for an entire generation. If you own a car and can fog a mirror, you may qualify to drive for the company.
"When Tyrone explained what Uber was and how it worked I wanted to sign up immediately," Morgan said. "Unfortunately, my car is more than 10 years old, which disqualifies me from Uber eligibility."
Later that evening while watching MeTV, Morgan had a eureka moment.
"I was watching the Andy Griffith Show," Morgan said. "Barney was giving Ernest T. Bass a ride out of town. Then it hit me: I could start my own Uber with a little Mayberry seasoning. Most sane people are wary of Uber, but I thought if I drenched it in something familiar like Mayberry, folks might give it a shot."
When it came time to name Morgan's Mayberry-themed Uber service, there was only one choice: Guber.
"Goober was Gomer's cousin on the Andy Griffith Show," Morgan said in a recent interview with NoDuh Magazine. "I didn't want to be sued for using the names 'Goober' or 'Uber', so I went with 'Guber'.
Morgan's Guber-mobile is a 1980 Yugo with 347,000 miles on it.
"I have to fill up the oil more often than the gas but it's still cheaper than a car payment," Morgan said. "Besides, you can't get a car with an 8-track player in it anymore. I have Earle Hagen's Andy Griffith Show soundtrack playing on a loop when I'm on the job. I've also installed a siren and a CB radio with a P.A. system, and for an extra $5 I'll roll up on someone my passenger knows and let them make a citizen's arrest."
Since starting his Guber driving service, Morgan has been reading up on the actor who portrayed Goober, master thespian George Lindsey.
"According to actors Leonard Nimoy and Ernest Borgnine, George Lindsey was offered the role of Spock on Star Trek but turned it down," Morgan said. "I would have enjoyed seeing his interpretation of Spock.”
A recently discovered screen test shows a pointed-eared George "Goober" Lindsey trying out for the part of Spock. The following are fragments of dialog from the screen test:
"I'm giving her all she's got, Captain, but the Enterprise has a bad radiator and we won't be able to get a new one delivered until next Thursday."
“Hey Scotty…Lt. Uhura says ‘hey’…or was it Judy, Judy, Judy?”
"I tell you one thing Capt. Kirk, those Tribbles are a little boney, but they're some goo-ood eatin'. Set your taste buds to stun!"
If you feel the need to snack during your ride with Guber, Morgan has Mayberry-themed food available for purchase.
"It's just an old jar of pickles I found in an abandoned house when I was a kid," Morgan said. "I put a piece of freezer tape across the front and labeled it 'Aunt Bee's Kerosene Pickles' as a little prop joke, but every once in a while somebody feels the need to eat one - hence the plastic upholstery covers."
Jon Dawson's humor column is published weekly by NeuseNews.com.
Contact Jon at firstname.lastname@example.org and www.jondawson.com