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Strove to find a way to punch people in the face by using the Internet.

3/30/2006

DIARY OF INDIGNITIES
25 Years of Notably Stupid Conversations
…as well as my personal contributions.

1982: We’re Ninjas
“Let’s meditate at the same time tonight and try to contact each other on the astral plane.”

1983: Bauhaus or the Sex Pistols – Who is True Punk?
“The Sex Pistols started it, but Bauhaus are like the true punks of today.”

1984: No, I'm Not High
“You don't even fucking understand me!”

1985: Who Cares if I Make Bad Grades?!
“We’re all going to die in a nuclear war.”

1986: I’m Going to Get All the Same Tattoos as Henry Rollins
“...As soon as I turn 18.”

1987: A Diploma is Just a Piece of Paper
“I don’t plan to live to see 30 anyway, man.”

1988: Fuck Jazz
“I don’t give a shit about some dude in a Bill Cosby Sweater tootling around on some horn.”

1989: Fuck Affirmative Action
“When you really think about it, it’s just another form of discrimination.”

1990: Fuck College
“Journalism school perpetuates a false notion of objectivity.”

1991: I Think I’m Becoming an Alcoholic
(Quiet weeping)

1992: They’re Rioting in Los Angeles
“...And if I was there you know I’d totally be out there with them!”

1993: Fuck Reggae
“Maybe you just think you like it because you smoke so much pot.”

1994: What Do You Mean That’s Not Chinese?
“I don’t even think you know what a phoneme is.”

1995: Your Poetry is Really Great
“Would it be alright if I kissed you?”

1996: There’s a Revolution Coming
“We need to get into shit like real estate and fucking run this town, yo!”

1997: I’ll Always Love Professional Wrestling
“It’s an underground art form with absolutely no potential for getting co-opted by the mainstream.”

1998: Ian MacKaye Shoots Heroin
“No he doesn’t.”

1999: No, I Appreciate Your Input
“I feel like I learn a lot from your criticism.”

2000: They’re All the Fucking Same to Me
“You think Gore would be any better?”

2001: A Bird is My Spirit Guide
“I really, really don’t want to hear about this.”

2002: No, This Job Means a Lot to Me
“I’m going to incorporate the results of this review into my work processes and bring about some positive changes.”

2003: We’re Currently Efforting On That
“I plan to stay proactive.”

2004: Technology is Evil
“Mom, if it wasn’t for ‘technology’ you would have died toothless and riddled with scurvy before you were 35.”

2005: Gays Don’t Provide Good Family Role Models
“Yeah, not like the straights, ah ha ha hah ha ha!”

2006: A Kilometer is Equivalent to, Like, a Mile and a Half
“I’m sure of it, dude, a kilometer is equivalent to, like, a mile and a half.”

2007: ???
Maybe it’ll be you!

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3/26/2006

DIARY OF INDIGNITIES
He Only Killed the One Guy And I Don’t Think Ever Actually Ate the Baby
Despite being unfit for most types of human interaction, I was a champion babysitter.

In fact, in ninth and tenth grade, I was sort of a kickass babysitting mercenary, called in by frantic parents of monster children, people who were desperate for a night out on the town but couldn’t hire a regular sitter at any price because their kids were so horrific. Most sitters in the area were just, like, girls, who might have — at worst — been sexually molested a little by a beloved family member or two but certainly not exposed to the kinds of horrors I had survived, such as the Tribunal of Sapphos or the Moss Man, and weren’t equipped to handle a real Damien or two.

So having been forged in the fires of Webelo I was made of slightly sterner stuff than your average 13-year-old girl, and, yeah, I will brag on that a little, thank you very much (even if I suspect it might no longer be the case). But even more important to my success was the fact horrific monster children loved me. After all, I was one of them. My personal proclivities are were perfectly in line with theirs, and had cash not been involved I would’ve been happy abdicating from any sitter duties to instead encourage horrific monster child activities, which back then typically included setting fires, stabbing a Barbie in the head with a steak knife 317 times, and running around in tight little circles screaming and banging two frying pans together until completely out of breath.

Because the only food Dad allowed me to eat was stuff I bought myself, though, I developed a money-generating babysitting strategy out of pure self-interest. Basically, this was a delicate balancing act where I convinced children I was, in fact, encouraging forbidden monster behavior while simultaneously giving parents the impression their little beloved little hellspawn were in responsible hands, freeing them to go off and smoke up a rock of that good crack down at the Orgy Hut. Or whatever.

We didn’t have roofies back then, so central to my little ruse was a game called “kung fu.” Nanoseconds after hearing the parents’ car leave the driveway, I’d bellow “KUNG FU!!!” at the top of my lungs and me and the kids would commence to lightly kicking each other in the face for an hour or two, until they were either exhausted or unconscious, and I could just chuck ‘em in bed and commence to the good stuff: the sweet spot between beddy-bye and parental return where I made good money gorging on snacks, hunting for the porno stash, and soaking up that sweet, sweet cable TV with no adult oversight.

God damn, what a great scam. It sure beat mowing lawns, which as far as I was concerned was a sucker game for short-bus dudes who were too stupid to not be hot or afraid of bees. On a good night I could get four or five unsupervised hours where I’d just be cramming handfuls of Cheezits into my mouth, drinking gallons of Choco Charm and watching mind-bending shit like Hell of the Living Dead, an Italian zombie flick set in a jungle where genius director Bruno Mattei spliced in anthropological footage of real-life aboriginal funeral rites featuring actual corpses. This life-affirming piece of cinema also features a child zombie that eats his mom before getting his brains blown out, a chick who thinks she needs to whip her boobs out to commune with a wholly unconvincing non-spliced gang of natives, and a climax where a zombie rips out the heroine’s tongue, jams his hand up in her head through her mouth, and pushes her eyes out of their sockets, from the inside.

Oh, and what about Xtro, the delightfully repellent British movie about evil space goblins? It had a murderous midget homunculus, a woman who dies after getting mouth-humped by an alien tentacle and subsequently giving birth to a full-grown man who bites off his own placenta, and Maryam D’Abo’s attention-grabbing and extremely perky hoo-hahs. Or the original Toxic Avenger — not that fake shit they tried to pawn off a few years later, but the real deal, where the kid on the bike gets his head squashed by the evil teen hijinx, and they show it, by gum, not puss out and cut away. Or, jeez, what about just anything on Cinemax after 10? Talk about your hoo-hahs! So many beautiful hoo-hahs on the Cinemax... So many. So, so many.

Yes sir, they knew how to make a damn movie for kids back in those days, something that would really make you think. Made me feel damn glad to be alive, sitting on a couch watching hoo-hahs and grotesqueries while eating a piece of ice-cream cake sandwiched between two Pop Tarts, and not all dead and gooey and eye-sockety, or out there mowing a hot-ass lawn full of fucking bees.

These gigs were made even sweeter because Dad was too cheap to spring for cable — even basic. Babysitting was the only chance I ever had to engage in the preferred ritual of my immediate circle of friends, sitting in front of the TV for six hours hoping MTV plays “Institutionalized.” It came on once when I was sitting the legendarily nefarious Hart brothers and we went totally apeshit and I fell down and twisted my ankle, which made a sickeningly loud pop. First thing in the morning my left foot still sounds like a kitten got caught in your fan belt, 24 goddamn years later. Happy now, Dad? Happy with my crackly ankle?

Man, not only was Dad tight with a penny, but I’m pretty sure he was suspicious of all the hoo-hahs and zombies and general enchantment cable could potentially bring to our lives, and wanted no part of it. Eh, maybe it’s just as well. Cable would end up being just another hoop for me to jump through... I already had to put on a veil and a Herb Alpert record and do the Harem Girl Dance for Dad and his buddies every time I wanted to go in the pool. Who knows what crippling toll he’d demand before loosing the chains of sweet Cinemax?

One time while sitting, after this one kid went to sleep, I hit play on the VCR and there was a dirty tape in there, one featuring a lady hosing out another lady’s cooter with a, uh... Well, a cooter hose, I guess. It was smaller in diameter than your average garden hose and seemed better equipped to reach awkward nooks and crannies. Anyway, Cooter Hose Friday was a glorious day, I tell you what. It really opened up my young mind to a lot of possibilities, and, if you couldn't already tell, I can picture that magical hose like it was yesterday.

The parent was a new client, though, and I guess one with a manageable child, because she balked at my two dollar an hour price, which I swear was the goddamn going rate at the time, and never hired me again. Shit, if I was smart I would have bicycled back over there and renegotiated, cut some sort of deal on the sly where once or twice a week she’d leave that cooter tape in the machine and I’d smack around her stupid kid for free. In the interests of scientific research, of course.

Kids, if you’re reading this and not sure what a VCR is, all you need to know is it was a magical box we used to look at cooters back in the 1980s, years before the Internet became such an efficient medium for delivering your pornography.

Anyway, the kicker to all this babysitter shit comes 20 years later, when I find out that because of me one of the kids I sat turned out to be a serial killer who totally, like, ate a baby!

OK, not really.

Really I only bring all that shit up because babysitting is also responsible for the first time I drove a car, and this was supposed to be the lead-in, but I got carried away.

Really, though, the driving story is a tale for when the gibbous moon hangs yellow and full in the autumn sky and the night wind hints at Old Man Winter’s sharp kiss. Or, ah, maybe next week, we'll see how it pans out.

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3/02/2006

DIARY OF INDIGNITIES
We Will Be Good Penisheimers
When I was 12 or so I spent a year as a Webelo, which is the pupal stage of American scouting... Yes, the transitional period between wormy, larval Cub Scout and the splendid, colorful butterfly-dom that is, uh, Boy Scouts and... Jeez, never mind.

If I remember correctly, I think “Webelo” is supposed to be some kind of fuckin’ anagram or euphemism or something for “We will be good Scouts,” although frankly the connection there strikes me as tenuous, at best. And, frankly, I wasn’t really paying a lot of attention, there, back in the day.

Regardless, it’s clear to me that whoever thought that shit up was a fucking dumbass, because in addition to not really doing a very good job of evoking that little “good scouts” mantra, “Webelo” is the most awkward and stupid name for an organization this side of my grandfather’s beloved Penisheimers, a popular American social club that as I’m sure you know was founded by West Coast community leaders in 1887 to oppress the Chinese.

Man, I was a shitty Webelo and... Webelo... Webelo... Weeee-be-looo... Wheee-buh-looow... Wheeee-blow... Ah hah ha ha, “We blow.” I just noticed that.

Anyway, I was a shitty Webelo. Perhaps the shittiest. I had long, greasy hair and had been raised to hate America and not care about the Bible. All the clean-cut churchy dudes that had blossomed into full Boy Scout status and were supposed to be mentoring us Webelos, but they could totally tell I was a degenerate and didn’t even talk to me. My mom was too cheap to spring for a proper uniform, so I had to wear a faded, ancient Webelo get-up scrounged from some garage sale, and it was all fucked-up looking and unstylish and made out of, like, stained pantaloons and ripped lederhosen.

Pretty much the only people in my troop who acknowledged my presence, and really the main reasons why I signed up in the first place, were my buddies Chip Coldwell and Alex Stein. By getting on board with all that Webelo shit we could all go camping together, which was super appealing, since my mom had up and converted to lesbianism by that point and the only camping we did as a family anymore involved the female softball team. Joining the Webelos gave me my only real opportunity to go fool around in the woods without being subjected to shit like Sapphic tribunals tasked with deciding whether me and my 11-year-old weiner should be sequestered away from all the womyn-folk, lest they stray too close to my crotch and get raped by the pre-tumescent man-vibes emanating from my ding-dong, and I swear to god I’m not even making that last part up and if you say I am I’m going to punch you in the brain.

This should come as no big surprise, since I’ve already informed you that they were my friends, but Chip and Alex were almost as socially awkward as I was. Oh, and dirty Jews to boot, so the Bible-y guys and various squad leaders and troop chiefs (or whatever they had, I can’t fuckin’ remember) were more than happy to ignore them, too. The three of us often found ourselves left to our own devices on camping trips, squatting in the leaves discussing the latest episode of Dr. Who while everyone else was running around tying knots and praying and learning CPR and being wholesome.

Well, mostly wholesome. The older scouts occasionally made a stab at bad-kid-ism, but their frame of reference was just too white-bread and they could never pull it off. One trip, I think to the Big-Ass Scout and Webelo Good-Timey Jubilee, saw our troop meet up in the woods with a rival bunch of squares for a planned gang rumble, but everyone just ended up comparing merit badges and reciting the Pledge of Allegiance or selling each other Grit or whatever and shit never threw down. I had a D battery in a sock that I was fixin’ to use to conk somebody on the head, so you can imagine my disappointment.

That same trip I came ‘round a tent near the edges of our site and spooked three or four of the older scouts. Turns out they were all jumpy because they were smoking — get this — dried pine needles in a rolled-up piece of brown paper grocery sack and didn’t want to get busted. They told me I was too young and naïve to cop some of their fine pine-needle buzz and I kind of laughed, because despite my young age I had already smoked several cigarettes made from marijuana at that point. Informing them of this just reinforced my dirtbag rep.

Hey, when you’re a kid, how often are you supposed to get scoliosis tests? Because I just remembered — the head troopie guy was also my middle school P.E. coach, and he administered a damn scoliosis test every other week. Everybody dreaded it — you had to march into his office and close the door, and he’d be sitting there wearing mirrored aviator sunglasses, smiling a tight little smile. Nobody would speak — you knew the drill. Take off your shirt and bend over toward him and he’d kind of feel and press around on your spine and ribs, looking for abnormalities and no doubt enjoying his massive boner. As best as I can remember he never stuck anything up my butt or anything, but those tests were still pretty traumatic, and I wasn’t exactly jumping at the chance to share my tent with the guy on camping trips, you know?

Oh! Man! One Webelo camping trip traumatized me even worse than those scoliosis tests. It was pretty much the second scariest experience of my life, an incident involving a kid named Carsten Vala. Remember the first scariest thing in my life, the time when I was just a little kid and went to go make a pee-pee in the big-boy toilet for the first time and I got up on my tippy-toes and rested my ding-dong on the rim of the seat to make a tinkle and the lid fell and clamped down on my lil’ nubbin like a giant clam on an old-timey diver’s leg? And I stood there screaming in horror until Dad came running to pry me loose? Well, the Carsten Vala episode was just like that, except without nubbin, thankfully.

Hmmm... No, actually, come to think of it, it really wasn’t like the toilet-clamp at all. And, to be totally honest, I don’t know for sure if it was, like, even officially the second scariest thing or not. I haven’t been in the habit of ranking that sort of thing and the more I think about it now the more it seems the scoliosis tests might actually come in at number two. Frankly, though, I kind of don’t give a shit.

But it was scary.

We were camping and doing the traditional thing where you tell scary stories around the fire, and it all seems like good squirmy fun until you hump your ass back to that dark fuckin’ isolated tent and have to lie there for nine hours quivering every time a nearby squirrel bumps into a goddamn acorn, because somehow the removal of that warm fiery glow makes the existence of the Moss Man suddenly seem all too possible and — what the fuck was that?! Shhhh! Shhhhhh!! What the fuck was that rustling sound?!

...And, shit, Carsten? You think a kid named Carsten Vala is going to protect you from the fuckin’ Moss Man? Carsten was Danish or some shit and wore those terrible little Umbro shorts all the time. What the fuck is he going to do? You can’t whoop the Moss Man’s ass in Umbros. You can’t whoop anybody’s ass in Umbros. The best you could hope for with Carsten is that he’d whip out a soccer ball and challenge the Moss Man to a scrimmage. And maybe you could book on out of there while the Moss Man dined on his flesh.

Oh, the Moss Man, yeah. Supposedly he was a crazy murderer that got all bit by dogs and cut up by barbed wire escaping from a local prison. As the story goes, he was on the run through the swamps around the clock for a solid week before finally shaking Smokey and the dogs off his trail and collapsing into a big wad of Spanish moss, where he slept for like four days. When he woke up, he found the moss had taken root and grown into the deep cuts and gashes all over his face and body, and this turned him extra double crazy, and ever since he roamed the Florida woods all hideous and mossy, just killing the fuck out of everybody in a most grisly fashion and — wait, wait, shhh! Did you just hear something?! Oh, fuck this. That better not be no goddamn Moss Man rustling around out there. Shit.

Laugh all you want, sure. We’ll see how hard you laugh the next time you’re out in the dark-ass woods all surrounded by spooky moss and you hear kind of a murder-y noise in the bushes.

Anyway, the older scouts filled us full of campfire dread and then expelled us from warmth and communal protection, sending us on a Bataan Death March through acres of moss back to our tents where we were to cower away the night. I was sharing a tent with Carsten on this trip, and while this was certainly preferable to bunking down with Coach Fondles it didn’t exactly settle my nerves in regards to fighting off forest haints. But we made it there OK and mumbled a few consoling words to each other as got in our sleeping bags and hunkered down, hoping for a few minutes of shuteye before daybreak. Surprisingly, I managed to supress thoughts of the Moss Man and drift off fairly quickly.

At some point, though, I was woken up by a noise. A rustle.

I was in the thick of dreamland and struggling to swim back to consciousness when I heard the noise again. Totally disoriented, I just kind of lay there. Where was I? Why was I all cold and unhappy? And why is that sound significant?

Then I heard it again. And close. And it hit me: Moss Man.

The thought jolted me awake. I lay there in the darkness, still as I could be, still woozy but with all senses on overdrive. And the rustling sounded again, loud.

This time, though, it was accompanied by a frantic, wordless moaning.

Whoah.

The initial shock lasted less than a second, quickly giving way to a handful of dueling lightspeed rationalizations. Raccoon? No, raccoons don’t moan. Wounded raccoon? No, no, too small.

Then it happened again. It was loud. And close. And it was accompanied again by that terrible, desperate moaning.

Cougar, maybe? Cougars don’t moan, unless... Cougar in heat? Bear? Dare I even consider it, like for real? ...Moss Man?

Ah, no — it suddenly hit me. It was probably some of those douchebag older scouts.

When they bothered to notice me at all it was usually to try and pull typical lightweight hazing shit that only fooled their fellow Baptists — sending kids out to go get left-handed steak knives or 30 feet of shoreline, rounding up dupes for a snipe hunt, that kind of thing. Lame. That kind of shit never worked on me, probably because I once read, like, an Encyclopedia Brown book from 1912 or something that wised me up, and I knew they were resentful that I never fell for any of their antics. The noise was probably just them thinking they were going to Moss Man me into some kind of candy-ass frenzy. Well, fuck them. I had survived the fearsome Tribunal of Separatist Lesbos, had I not? I’d show them!

Suddenly the rustling turned into a bona-fide thrashing. And this time it didn’t stop. And that moan started up again, and I realized just how close it was — it wasn’t in the bushes! It was right up against the side of the tent! I could feel it bumping against my leg!

I turned wholly candy-ass and started kicking and squealing. The moan transformed into a terrifying, bestial grunt: NNNGH! NNNGH! NNNNNNNNNGGGGGHHH!! Holy shit, it was loud, and right outside!

No! Wait! It was there — it was in the tent with me! AAAAAGH! I could see something spazzing around on the other side of the tent — it had Carsten! It was... Eating him alive! Or... or... Humping his face! Or something!

Frantic, I grabbed my flashlight. The terrible noise and commotion reached a crescendo, becoming unbearable. Every nerve in my body threatened to shatter as I clicked on the light, fully prepared to come face to face with what I expected to be endless horror, rivers of gore that moments ago were my fellow Webelo Carsten... I could only hope my death would be swift, that the Moss Man’s infernal powers met their limit at the edge of the physical world and I would escape his hellish grasp as my soul escaped the constraints of my earthly body...

The light came on. I trembled. I saw Carsten’s eyes, shining in the beam, but starting to dim as he succumbed to... to... the grasp of... a big wad of nylon? What the hell?

Turns out Carsten’s complicated dental headgear had snagged on his sleeping bag. He rolled over five or six times after sacking out, pulling the bag tight around his shoulders and head. His arms were pinned and he seriously couldn’t breathe.

I got him out of there before he died and we went back to sleep.

...Oh, wait! Shit! Just now I remembered the worst thing!

There, was this movie, right, Dressed to Kill, directed by Brian DePalma. And my mom got together with a pack of lesbians and went to go protest this movie, because it was supposedly misogynistic and promoted violence against women and stuff, though your guess is as good as mine how they figured that out, because I’m pretty sure none of them had actually seen it.

Anyway, Mom knew TV reporters and shit were going to be there, so she made me dress up in my ramshackle Webelo costume and join the protest. I was forced under pain of endless grounding to wave a placard and march around in a circle in front of the movie theater, because Mom thought it leant their stupid thing credibility to have a Boy Scout out there chanting “Hey hey! Ho ho! Bad ol’ movie has got to go!” or whatever with all the commies and killjoys and hateful rug munchers.

So I did. I muttered their dumb rhymes and marched around and carried my sign, and the people waiting in line stared at me like I was a giant douche, and Mom of course made a giant fuss over everything. She got some news dude to come over and interview me, and they had a TV camera and a light on me and asked me why I was out there. “Violence against women is bad,” I mumbled. And it is. I believed it.

In the back of my mind, though, the Moss Man was stabbing them all, the lesbians and the movie people and the TV guys and everyone else, just stabbing and stabbing them over and over and over again. With his penis.

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