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Friday, 07 October
I Believe The Chickens Are Our Future

A big issue this week seems to be the avian flu, which, depending on who you listen to, is either an impending world health crisis that could possibly kill millions and millions of people, or is simply this month's particular flavor of gleeful fearmongering. The former view seems to be espoused most prominently by those hilarious jokesters at the World Health Organization, a group of malicious sprites who just last week threw fart bombs into my office and ran away giggling. I later found that they had etched "WASH ME" into the dust of my rear windshield. Scamps! And the latter view is mostly espoused by those who take the sensible point of view that the world, right now, simply could not even remotely be more fucking terrifying than it already is.

Look, I want everyone to relax. Because I have the solution. In fact, it's better than a solution. It is . . . how do I put this? I can only say that it is my gift to all of humankind, even the ugly people.

We must irradiate our birds. All of them.

If comic books have taught us anything--and Hollywood has shown us they have--it is that our genetic well-being and general fucking awesomeness has been enhanced by irradiated animals. Look at Spider-Man, arguably one of the coolest superheroes ever. Radioactive spider, dude.

We have an opportunity here. I embrace the avian flu. Irradiated avian flu.

I envision myself--after a long, debilitating illness--as imbued with the proportionate strength of a chicken. Carried aloft over the city skies by confused hawks who are unable to penetrate my thick hide, I watch for wrongdoers. I see others, such as my wife, sleek and feathered, in a domino mask, ready to fail to fly into the sky to do battle with evil, but flapping like a motherfucker anyway. She's a trouper, and will be known, confusingly, as "Matthew Modine." "See, he was in that movie, Birdy!" she'll try to explain, but evil never listens.

Your best friend will be the Eggman, and with his terrifying, puzzling cries of "Goo Goo Goo Joob!" he will lay mighty Justice-Eggs filled with clever crime-fighting devices relevant to the situation at hand. His little brother will be his ward and sidekick, and will strike fear into the criminal element, and will be known as "Peepsy." The Eggman will always awkwardly deflect questions as to why a rooster is laying all those goddamn creepy eggs, and "doesn't that just hurt your ass like hell?"

Somewhere out in a lonely desert, a shy, awkward scientist will be violently pecked by an agressive, gamma ray-saturated Rhode Island Red. And so the legendary "Incredible Flaps Beakman" will be born, a freakishly strong, bright green beast with terrifying strength that increases exponentially the more scared he gets. His only weakness? Being held upside down by the legs.

(I am assuming that once we get used to this sort of thing, our superhero names will get less stupid.)

We must not shirk our genetic duty--nay, destiny. One way or another, we will succumb to this encroaching threat. How we choose to face it is entirely in our hands. I say we must irradiate the birds to save the man. Homo sapiens is nearing its end. We must become a different kind of homo.

Hear me now, or we will perish.

I teach you the Chicken-Man. Man is something to be surpassed.

Wednesday, 09 July
Great Moments In Not Learning, Pt. II

I had such a blast writing about these the other day, and I thought of other lovely misadventures, so what the hell.

. . .

Sixth Grade. Again, Mr. Bald's class. I've been a dedicated bookworm all my life, so then as now, I didn't go practically anywhere without a book in my hand. I had, over the past couple days, been stifling laughter over my book with limited success; it was really cracking my shit up, and it apparently caught the notice of J. (NOT the really popular J. from the previous entry, but shyly pretty J., who would later become MY FIRST GIRLFRIEND for about five days). J. came over and asked me what was so funny. I told her about my book, and about how dang funny it was, so she asked me if she could borrow it for a little while, as she was done with her homework. Why not? A girl would owe me a favor. Nothing to lose here.

She took it and sat down, and I shot her a few warm looks as she read, but she didn't look up; she was kind of engrossed. Cool! I went back to my own business. Then, about fifteen minutes later, I caught a glimpse of her: to my mounting horror, she was getting up, book in hand, and walking up to Mr. Bald. Showing him the book. Pointing to a page. Asking something. And then pointing at me when Mr. Bald had obviously asked where she'd gotten it. It was then that I thought I was really fucked.

The book, you see, was Catcher in the Rye, and the particular term that had baffled J. was "whore." Now, those of you who are doubting our level of naivete at the time, or my overblown fear of getting busted over it would do to remember that this was over twenty years ago in Deepest Idaho. This was, to a lot of people, just fucking smut, and we farm kids knew fuckall about sex (see next entry). So I was feeling pretty cooked when Mr. Bald confiscated the book and told me that I could see him after class. Some other kids shot me quizzical looks, like perhaps I had smuggled a copy of Juggs into school.

But I had misjudged Mr. Bald. After class, he returned my book and said, "I'm really very glad you're reading this, but I'd appreciate it if you wouldn't bring it to school, okay? It just might be . . . disruptive." I said okay, and he said, "Anything else?"

Well . . . I was marginally more sophisticated than J. I knew what a whore was. But . . . I held up the book. "Well, can you tell me what a 'scag' is?" Mr. Bald pursed his lips. "Ask your dad."

. . .

Seventh Grade. As most of you probably realize (at least the Americans), most seventh graders exist for one purpose only: to be picked on by eighth graders. This Is The Law. Anyway, in seventh grade, in classic boy fashion, I picked up some piece of garbage off the sidewalk, because it looked interesting. It wasn't, but that never stops little boys. What it was was a little clicker-counter device that incremented up one digit with every click; this one had the capacity to go all the way up to 99999 before rolling back over to 00000. Figuring I had nothing better to do for the rest of my life, I decided to carry it around, clicking it constantly in my free time, just so I could see the INCREDIBLY SPECTACULAR MOMENT when it rolled over. So I did.

In addition to being a nearly farcical irritant to those around me, it had another downside: it got noticed. This is never good news for seventh graders. Soon enough, some eighth grade guys noticed me doing this all the time. "Hey Kurruk!" they'd menace me, "What the hellya doing with that? Is that your jack-off counter? That how many times you jack off?" I muttered into my shoes and walked away. I had no idea what they were talking about.

So I asked someone, namely my best friend B., who was no more worldly than I was, but B. had an impressive mullet, so I figured he'd be worth a shot. And he was!

"Hey, B., what's 'jacking off'?"

Look of incredulity. "You don't know what jacking off is?"

Shameful admission of spazosity: "No."

B. laughed at my horrifying ignorance. "It means fucking! Jacking off is fucking somebody!"

I found this information very interesting. And the next day, sure enough, it had become a routine catcall: "Hey, Kurruk, still jacking off, man? That your jack-off machine?" But this time, I knew what the game was! I raised my chin defiantly and brandished my clicker like a talisman.

"Yeah! This is my JACK-OFF machine! I've jacked off over FIVE THOUSAND TIMES!"

They stared silently at me for a moment, and I felt the flush of victory, briefly, before it was rapidly crushed as they all burst out into wild, hysterical laughter, pointing at me, laughing so hard they bent over double, and I realized that something had gone horribly wrong.

The jack-off jokes lasted a really, really long time, well after I learned the actual act it defined, which at least proved to be somewhat mollifying.

Monday, 07 July
Great Moments In Not Learning

A few recollected snippets from my grade school memories.

Math class with Mr. Porn Moustache. We had been given a big test the previous day. Enter J. J. is the prettiest girl in our grade, and of course quite popular, and, for reasons known only to herself, generally nice to me. Anyway, she's typically effervescent as she walks into class and as she wanders by Mr. Porn Moustache's desk, she tosses her hair and tinkles, "Hi, Mr. P.M.! Did you get our little testes taken care of?"

. . .

Sixth grade with Mr. Bald. I liked Mr. Bald, who let me joke about said baldness . . . once. But anyway, in his class, I was sitting next to my geek friend M., who was a frighteningly good artist and, incidentally, a diabetic. We were utter tools; at one point we decided to see if we could forge a "psychic link," and spent much time furiously thinking of funny shapes or objects and seeing if the other could scribble down a picture of it. Once he showed me a drawing of a beetle. "Is that close?" I stared at it; I had been thinking of the Millennium Falcon. "Yes," I said, "that's really close."

Mr. Bald was droning on about some fucking thing one day, and it must have been something interesting, because there were a lot of questions and digressions and discussion and so forth; kids were waving their hands around like semaphores. Not M. though; he sat quietly with his hand up, waiting patiently for about twenty minutes, which was odd in and of itself, because M. was, in true geek fashion, painfully shy. But he apparently was going to have his say. Finally, finally, Mr. Bald called on M.

"Yes, M.? You've been patient."

"I'm having a reaction, Mr. Bald."

Mr. Bald wigged out. "JESUS! Don't just sit there! Go get some juice or something!" He looked poleaxed. So did we; yelling "Jesus!" in a classroom in deepest Idaho is, ah, just not done.

It shames me now, but for a long time, I thought that M.'s diabetic reactions were really cool. It was, I think, an early hint of why people experiment with drugs: "I wonder what that's like?" On the other hand, it's possible that I'm just a fucking weirdo.

. . .

Geography time with Mrs. . . . Somebody. Let's call her Mrs. Shoes, because I'm pretty sure she wore some. We're looking at a map of Europe, and Mrs. Shoes is pointing at good old Italy. "Now, Italy here is pretty easy to recognize, because most people think it looks like something familiar. Can you see it? Anyone?"

A red-haired kid named D. raises his hand. D. was a nice kid, I remember, not terribly given to the behavior of his peers, which was pushing Skot down frequently, so I didn't mind him. Mrs. Shoes calls on him, and D. says, "It looks like a boot!"

Mrs. Shoes is pleased, and decides to see if she can get D. to get another hit off a slow pitch. "It does look like a boot, doesn't it?" Then she points to Sicily. "And what does it look like it's kicking here?" D. stares at the map for a few seconds.

"A typewriter?"

That might be my single favorite moment from grade school. I could not stop laughing. And you know what? The little fucker was right. Go look. To this day, whenever I see a map of Sicily, I secretly think, "Typewriter."










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