Today, April 10, 2013, is the saddest day of my life.

Early this morning, I was informed that my second-oldest son, Robin, passed away at Gardena Memorial Hospital. He was 52 years of age.

It all started this past Saturday evening as we were watching TV.

He suddenly passed out and fell to the floor.

I immediately dialed 911 and the emergency crew showed up within five minutes.

When the medics examined him, they quickly took him to Gardena Memorial and we followed in our car.

After the medical staff at the hospital examined him, we were given some bad news.

“He is in grave condition,” the doctor who examined him told me and my wife.

And he told us there was no purpose in our staying up all night, so we should come back in the early morning.

We did and stayed at the hospital much of the day.

Ditto for Monday and Tuesday.

He remained in critical condition, but we returned home.

And when I got up this morning, I found six messages on my cell phone, which I forgot to leave on when we retired Tuesday evening.

I sensed it was not good news and I was correct.

The doctor on the phone told me that Robin had passed away just past midnight Tuesday.

We quickly put on our clothes and drove the three blocks to the hospital.

The message on my phone was confirmed.

Robin has left us.

Needless to say, my mind went blank and I knew I would have a difficult time trying to write my Saturday column, which I write on Wednesdays.

But, I decided I had to put together words at least to tell my reading audience that I will be absent from the pages of The Rafu next Tuesday and Saturday because I will have so many details to handle in preparing Robin’s memorial service next week, probably April 20.

This will be decided when I meet with Fukui Mortuary’s director, Jerry Fukui.

I dug up a photograph of Robin and my other three sons and their mother taken 40 years ago. That’s Robin, second from the right, next to oldest son Paul, Mark, and youngest son Tim (now a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force).

Time passes by, doesn’t it?

Well, let me try to continue with a little more of my column because I know Gwen and her staff always reserve a space for me and I’ll try to fill as much as I can in my state of mind.

First off, I’m canceling my trip to Las Vegas slated for the last week of this month. I frequently mentioned in recent months that since I can’t drive all the way like I used to and Robin was my chauffeur, I’ll have to find another driver or give up my frequent visits to Vegas.

Of course, Vegas won’t need me and my few rolls of quarters.

The latest stat indicates that gaming has jumped considerably and most casinos are showing a major increase in profits.

Good for them.

If I ever do get back to Vegas, maybe I’ll line my pockets with a few bucks.

Well, because of my sad frame of mind, I guess I can’t get words together and I probably caused a bit of sadness among my readers.

So I decided to see if I can get people to giggle by throwing in the following and calling it a day until I return the third week of this month, hopefully in a better frame of mind.

This one is entitled “The $2 Bill I Tried to Spend”:

If you’re as old as I am, this is a riot.

Everyone should start carrying $2 bills. I’m still laughing. I think we need to bring them out in public. The younger generation doesn’t even know they exist.

On my way home from work, I stopped at a taco stand for a quick bite to eat. I had a $50 bill and a $2 bill. I figured with the $2 bill I could get something to eat and not have to worry about irritating anyone for trying to break a $50 bill.

Me: “Hi, I’d like one of those seven-layer burritos, please, to go.”

Server: “That’ll be $1.40. Eat in?”

Me: “No, it’s to go.”

At this point, I opened my billfold and handed him the $2 bill. He looked at me kind of funny.

Server: “Uh, hang on a second. I’ll be right back.”

He goes to talk with his manager, who is still within my earshot. The following conversation occurs between the two of them.

Server: “Hey, you ever see a $2 bill?”

Manager: “No. A what?”

Server: “A $2 bill. This guy just gave it to me.”

Manager: “Ask for something else. There’s no such thing as a $2 bill.”

Server: “Yeah, I thought so.”

He came back to me and said, “We don’t take these. Do you have anything else?”

Me: “Just this fifty. You don’t take $2 bills? Why?”

Server: “I don’t know.”

Me: “See here where it says ‘legal tender’?”

Server: “Yeah.”

Me: “So, why won’t you take it?”

Server: “Well, hang on a sec.”

He went back to the manager, who had been watching me like I was a shoplifter.

Manager: “Doesn’t he have anything else?”

Server: “Yeah, a fifty. I’ll get it and you can open the safe and get change.”

Manager: “I’m not opening the safe to get change with him here.”

Server: “What should I do?”

Manager: “Tell him to come back when he has real money.”

Server: “I can’t tell him that. You tell him.”

Manager: “You tell him.”

Server: “No way. This is weird. I’m going in back.”

The manager approached me and said, “I’m sorry, but we don’t take big bills this time of the night.”

Me: “It’s only seven o’clock. Well, then, here’s a $2 bill.”

Manager: “We don’t take those either.”

Me: “Why not?”

Manager: “I think you know why.”

Me: “No, tell me why.”

Manager: “Please leave before I call security.”

Me: “Excuse me?”

Manager: “Please, sir.”

Me: “Uh, go ahead, call security.”

Manager: “Fine, have it your way then.”

Me: “Hey that’s Burger King, isn’t it?”

At this point, he backed away from me and called mall security on the phone. I had two people staring at me from the dining room area and I began to laugh out loud, just for effect.

A few moments later, this 45-year-old-ish guy comes in.

Guard: “Yeah, Mike, what’s up?”

Manager: “Get this. A $2 bill.”

Guard: “Why would a guy fake a $2 bill?”

Manager: “I don’t know. He’s kind of weird. He says the only other thing he has is a $50 bill.”

Guard: “Oh, so the fifty’s a fake.”

Manager: “No, the $2 bill is.”

Guard: “Why would he fake a $2 bill?”

Manager: “I don’t know. Can you talk to him and get him out of here?”

Guard: “Yeah.”

The guard walked over to me and said, “Mike here tells me you have some fake bills you’re trying to use.”

Me: “Oh no.”

Guard: “Let me see them.”

Me: “Why?”

Guard: “Do you want me to get the police in here?”

At this point, I was ready to say, “Sure, please,” but I wanted to eat, so I said, “I’m just trying to buy a burrito and pay for it with this $2 bill.”

I put the bill near his face and he flinched like I was pointing a pistol at him.

He took the bill, turned it over a few times in his hands, and said, “Hey Mike, what’s wrong with this bill?”

Manager: “It’s a fake.”

Guard: “It doesn’t look fake to me.”

Manager: “But it’s a $2 bill.”

Guard: “Yeah, so what?”

Manager: “Well, there’s no such thing as a $2 bill.”

The guard and I both looked at him like he was an idiot, and it dawned on the guy that he had no clue and was an idiot.

So it turned out that my burrito was free and he threw in a small drink and some of those cinnamon thingies too.

Maybe I’ll get a whole stack of $2 bills just to see what happens when I try to buy other stuff.

George Yoshinaga writes from Gardena and may be reached via e-mail at Opinions expressed in this column are not necessarily those of The Rafu Shimpo.

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  1. My deepest condolences to you and your family in the loss of your son. May the memories of your times together, be of some comfort to you.

  2. My heart dropped when I read the paper tonight, Horse. I’m so sorry. Cherish the memories Robin gave you. Maybe writing about him in your column will be cathartic.