Violent Childrens’ Games

You know what I remember most about being a kid? I remember that we were all hard. Not hard as in mean, or in cheap, but hard as in tough. And it wasn’t work or school or chores or church or sports that made us that way. Nope, we got most of our hardness on the playground, when the grownups weren’t looking. Or when they were smoking and chitchatting, and just wanting us to leave them alone, anyway.

For example: all the boys in my town played this game called “Smear the Queer” for hours every day after our school. (Yeah, I know the name was bad and you couldn’t call it that today, but that’s what we called it then, and that’s what I’m telling you about now). Anyway, we would all gather in a field — big kids, little ones, fat kids and skinny ones, some tough girls sometimes, too — and someone would just toss a ball in the air and then the game was on! Whoever ended up catching it would run and dodge and weave to escape from the others, until someone caught them, and then they got jumped on and all beat up by everyone else. Then they threw the ball up in the air and it started again. That was it. That was the game.

If we weren’t playing Smear the Queer, then we were playing “King of the Mountain,” where the only rule was to get on top of whatever pile of dirt you had handy, and stay there. No other rules than that. We were playing King of the Mountain one time, and this kid was on top and another kid hit him in the face with a stick and broke both his front teeth. He got them fixed, but they were always a different color than his other teeth. It was a reminder of how serious a game of King of the Mountain could be, and to this day, when he looks at those different color teeth, I know he thinks “That was the day I became a man!” Well, an eight-year old man, anyway.

Another fun game we liked was called “Chicken Fighting,” where two kids would square off at opposite ends of any pole or branch or monkey bar they could find at the right height and advance hand over hand until meeting in the middle. Then they would kick each other until one would let go and fall to the ground. The higher the bar or branch, the worse the cost of losing, and the harder you hung on and kicked. If you got hurt, you didn’t run crying home to tell your Mom to call a lawyer to sue the other kid’s parents, you just sucked it up it and walked it off, and you never let anybody see you cry. That was hard. We were tough.

Kids today though? They’re not tough. They just wiggle a little plastic do-jobber around in front of a television screen and eat potato chips and call that “playing.” That’s not playing! Playing involves noise, and dirt, and sweat, and sometimes blood. Playing is everything you can’t do inside, and it’s the main reason you want to be outside in the first place.

Our moms understood that point, and they had stories they wanted to watch on the television, so most days after school, we just got tossed out of the house with nothing more than a cracked old plastic football that we found at the dump, and that was all we needed to get some real exercise, with fresh air and everything. We would use our imaginations and get tougher and tougher each day by having crab apple fights with slingshots, or sword fights with sticks, or rock fights where you were supposed to aim close to rather than right at the other kids, but it didn’t always work out that way.

We used to make clay balls out of the muck down by the creek and throw those at each other, too. When they hit you, they’d flatten like a pancake on your chest or back. Hidden rocks would cut the heck out of you. We also shot bottle rockets at each other and used BB guns with a two pump limit, unless your target was “out of range,” which was a very blurry distinction. I can also recall using weeping willow branches as whips sometimes. That was a fun one!

Oh, then there was the Creek War! That was fun, too! There was this creek just outside of town, groves of trees on each side. One group of kids had one side, one group of kids had the other side, and for about two years after school, we all fought it out down there. Rocks, sticks, BB guns, boards, bricks, they were all fair game. Forts got built up on each side of the creek, and then forts got torn down on each side of the creek. Why, there were some particularly useful pieces of cement and plywood for building stuff that must have crossed that creek 100 times over the years, at least.

The Creek War petered out after sixth grade, I guess, when some of us started getting bused to middle school across the county, and some of us started doing after-school stuff like football or marching band instead. By eighth grade, though, most of us were back at the creek most nights before dinner time smoking cigarettes we’d stolen from our parents and talking about girls. We just didn’t beat up on each other as much by then, I guess.

Speaking of smoking, we were always burning things up. My first ever brush with the law was when a friend and I almost burned down our town’s general store. We used a magnifying glass to torch a pile of leaves that had blown up into a corner of the building, without making sure that our smoldering handiwork was properly extinguished before leaving the scene. That was probably the hardest whipping my father ever gave me, since our fool move could have cost us the only source of supplies there was within ten miles of town. We made sure we put our fires out after that one. But we didn’t stop lighting them.

So that’s what I can remember about the games of my childhood. It was rough. The blood covenants of the playground were built on scraped knees, busted lips, burnt fingers, and black eyes. We were able to take a BB in the chest or a stick to the mouth or a rock to the kidney, and then to get right back up and give the other guy a full dose of what-for in return.

And we grew up to make a difference in the world, by gosh, one busted lip at a time.

The Declamatation of Freedoms and Liberties and Stuff, Yo.

IN McDONALDS, July 4, 2014.

The totally awesome Declamatation of the, like, what, Fifty-ish United States of America, if you count Alaska and Hawaii, even though, you know, like, nobody really does:

When in the course of, like, stuff happening, one dude has to say “Whoa, whoa, whoa, that’s totally uncool, you pushy ass-hat” to another dude, well, you know, then the first dude has to man-up with big, clanking dude-stones to claim the proudfulness and awesomousity that both intelligent designers and even those, like, way-too-serious atheistic science dorks say a righteous dude deserves.

But then, the rules of being cool say that the pissed-off dude ought to lay his beefs out on the table before he takes his football and blows this taco stand, so, like, here’s the deal . . .

Dudes totally know that, like, all brahs are brahs, and that the Big Man Upstairs and the Earth Goddess and whoever else a dude digs totally want dudes to be able to do cool stuff, like bang cyber-chicks in Second Life, or crush the double black diamonds at Ski Liberty, or play Trivial Pursuit, happily.

And to make sure that brahs aren’t hassled, unless they’re being D-bags and deserve it, then there’s The Man, and The Man has to be able to do his thing, too, and the dudes and brahs and chicks have to be, like, okay, cool with The Man being The Man. Right on, The Man! Rock out! Whooo!

But then when The Man starts to hassle the dudes when they, like, totally don’t deserve to have their mellows harshed, then the dudes can say “Whoa, whoa, hey, The Man, back off and STFU,” and then they can blow town to find a cool new place where The Man is not such a D-bag, so that the dudes and the brahs and the chicks can totally hang and smoke and watch TV shows that make them awesomely happy, in the comfy of their own cribs.

There’s this chick we know named Prudence (she was on “Survivor,” Season Six, for, like, three weeks, remember?) who always says, like “Whoa! Don’t rock the boat, dudes!” But that’s mainly because she, like, used to be a crack-ho, yo, so she totally knows what it’s like when The Man puts you in The Can and pokes you with the mop handle and whatnot, and we totally get the fact that Prudence is awesome for having put up with that kind of B.S. without fighting back or anything, since, like, what the hell else was she supposed to do, right, yo?

But, you know, at some point, even Prudence would have to say “Hey, The Man! Back the hell outta my face, quick-like, or I’ma smack you upside the head with this here Prison Bed Post!” Because, you know, when The Man is just, totally, being too much of a D-bag, then, well, it’s cool to throw a kidney punch or a knee to the groin to show The Man that Prudence or whoever else is mad as hell, and she’s not gonna take it any more! Hells no! Back off, yo!

So, you know, that’s like, totally, what we dudes and brahs are dealing with right now, namsain? And enough is enough, yo, so we’re here to tell The Man that we’re done with him hassling us, and poking us with the mop handle, and that we want a new freakin’ deal where our, like, freedoms and liberties aren’t always being, you know, besmirched and stuff, because that is totally not cool!

And we totally, totally have an awesome complaint list for you peoples, so that you’ll all be, like, “Whoh! Brahs! How did you put up with that for so long, yo? You dudes are totally kick-ass for being so patient in the face of such utter B.S. hassling from The Man.”

A’ight, so, here’s the list of complaints, yo:

The Man totally breaks his own rules, even when they’re cool rules, like the one about letting the people with no legs or whatever have the good parking spots, except that they can’t, because The Man’s Land Rover is parked there while he’s getting a latte and a scone at Starbucks, and jacking their wifi all afternoon.

The Man is a total micromanaging tool, so that the dudes and brahs and chicks always have to check with him before we can do anything, except every time we go to his office, he’s, like, totally out to lunch until 3:00 PM, which everyone knows is totally way past the time when the taco stands at the beach close for siesta.

The Man totally ignores lots of the dudes and chicks, unless they want to play his game, but since his game is, like, something stupid like Bridge, then, you know, the dudes and chicks have to be, like, “Whoa, we don’t get all that trump stuff, so, you know, just count us out, a’ight?”

The Man has meetings when he says we can come in to see him and talk about, like, stuff, but, dudes, he totally always schedules them when “Dancing With the Stars” is on, so who can miss that, unless they’re a rich D-bag with one of those digital recorder things?

The Man also totally cancelled “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” from the Cable Box, so how are we supposed to get our daily doses of big-bootied Armenian chicks now, right? It’s not like we live in the United States of Armenia, right?

And, then, after he cancelled “Keeping Up With the Kardashians,” The Man, like, totally allowed the Cable Box to be invaded by lame shows like, you know, “The 7000 Club” or whatever it’s called, which are all about religion and stuff, sneaky like, so it’s like getting up too early when we were kids and having to watch “Davey and Goliath” until the real cartoons come on, namsain? That, like, blows!

And then, since he cancelled “Keeping Up With The Kardashians,” we like, totally, went online to Google ourselves some new big-bootied Armenian chicks, except that, like, whoa, The Man said “No way! Those big-bootied Armenian chicks will totally take away jobs from the big-bootied chicks who live here already! Nuh-uh to that, yo!”

Oh man, this totally made all of the dudes want to head down to the County Court House to give that hot Chinese clerk who works there (she totally looks like Lucy Liu, for real!) a piece of our minds (among other things, namsain?), except that when we got there, we totally found out that The Man was, like, “Sorry, brahs, I don’t feel like paying the hot Lucy Liu clerk this month, so, instead, here is the clerk who looks like Roseanne Barr, with a thicker mustache . . . talk to the lip, har har har!”

And even when we tried to talk to the clerk who looks like Roseanne, with a thicker mustache, she was not interested in our dude-like charms and wiles, because she was, like, totally in the pocket of The Man, and she wasn’t about to let anybody else butter her toast, namsain?

And did we mention that there’s not just one Roseanne, with a thicker mustache, but, like a whole George Lucas, Revenge of the Clones, Army of them, yo?

Including the two dozen of them who have been hanging out in our living room for the past month, eating our Tostitos and telling us to turn down the stereo, even when we were, like, totally rocking out to the Grateful Dead live at the Carousel Ballroom, February 14, 1968, right in the middle of “Dark Star > China Cat Sunflower > The Eleven > Turn On Your Lovelight”?

Like, whoa! That’s the best Dead show, ever!!! WTF, Roseannes With Thicker Mustaches?!?! You don’t have the right to tell us to turn that one down, yo, unless you can offer us a better alternative, and don’t even try to tell us that it’s November 17, 1973 at Pauley Pavilion, since that was a Keith and Donna show, not a freakin’ Pigpen show, yo! Damn!

Of course, we can totally understand how the Rosannes With Thicker Mustaches might get confused about that, since The Man has let a bunch of totally lame tapers and traders from, like, Japan in to sell their bootlegs online, even though they don’t understand Jerry’s Genius or Drums and Space or The Bobby Problem at all, yo.

And this is going on even when The Man is busy busting our asses for downloading The Fillmore West Dead show from March 28, 1969 from that web host in Lithuanistan, or Crovenia, or whatever little ex-Russian country that was that had all of those pirate servers.

We got called to go to trial, all of the jury people are, like, totally into, like, Beyonce and Kid Rock and freakin’ Hootie and the Blowfish. Why’d you make us take the train down to the City for that, The Man, when you totally knew the outcome in advance? You suck!

And then when it was done, we got the bill, and we were, like, wait, what?!? Now The Man wants us to pay sales tax on top of our fines for illegal downloads?!? Lame! Dog lame! Double dog lame!

Oh, and also, The Man, like totally oversteps his bounds, and not only is he breaking all his own rules like a D-bag in the real world, he’s, like, totally ruining things in the Cyberverse too, doing things like suspending our MySpace accounts, even though we didn’t put the pr0n up there, someone else did. Seriously!

He also loads up Facebook with lame-ass apps, so like, every time we log on, we’re, like, “Whoa, enough with the FarmWorld, a’ight? Damn!”

Then, on the flip side, he also is always sending us spam, with, like, the creepy stuff in it that could get us fired if we click on it at work, right?

And then he shut down the beach, closed the hot dog stand, told us we can’t jet ski in the irrigation canal and, like, totally, wrecked our summer, just because he could! Oh, yeah, that’s in the real world again, not the World Wide Webtubes. Sorry, brahs. It’s hard to keep track.

And every time we turn around, there’s like more of the Roseannes With Thicker Mustaches Clone Army turning up to hassle us, ‘cause The Man is just getting too fat and lazy from all the scones and lattes to do it himself anymore.

And when the Roseannes With Thicker Mustaches are hassling us for no reason, he just looks the other way and pretends he can’t see it, and we see him typing on his laptop and we just know that he’s telling all of the Big-Bootied Armenian chicks that we suck, even though, you know, we don’t!

Okay, so that’s a lot of B.S., right? And every time we say, like, “Yo, enough, The Man,” he just flips us the bird and kicks over our garden gnomes, even though our garden gnomes totally never did anything to him.

You know what this makes The Man? This makes The Man a Total Dick, and it means, like, he doesn’t get to be the boss of we any more. We’re mad as hell! We’re not going to take it anymore!

And if you take The Man’s side, even though he is being a Total Dick, then, well, sorry brahs and chicks, then that makes you Total Dicks, too, and we have to give you the big double-barrel middle-finger salute, too. Blam! Blam! That’s for you, yo! Because a friend of our frenemy is, uh . . . well, you know, you’re not on our side.

Okay, so here we are, hangin’ at the McDonalds, because The Man and The Roseannes With Thicker Mustaches are always at the Starbucks, and we’ve decided that, like, enough is enough, and it’s time that we get to be our own bosses of we, so we say “You’re not the boss of we, The Man! We are going to have our own credit card, and our own crib, and our own Tostitos, and our own cable service, and our own Xbox (2, though, since the 3 is lame), and our own riding lawn mower, and our own kiddie pool that we can sit in when it gets hot, and our own couch on the porch, and our own freedoms and liberties without all of your besmirchment and hasslefulness and heavy-handery!”

Right on, yo! Damn!

Oh, hey, can we borrow your pen there for a second? Ours ran out . . .

Transcript of the Third Stanley Summit, 1994

The Norris Party: We pledge to always check our opponents into the boards. We will not remove our gloves before we fight. We will refuse to enter the penalty box. We will never play for the tie.

The Smyth Party: We will be the party of fancy stick work and the Lady Byng trophy. We will pull our goalie regularly to set up zippy man-advantage attacks. We will lead the world in assists and fewest penalty minutes.

The Norris Party: We will crush you, Smyth Party, and all of your European-born, tea-sipping, Nancy-boy forwards. We will have no teeth. We will wear black and red.

The Patrick Party: Quit your mewling, Norris and Smyth parties. We will smash you all down with an onslaught of match penalties and slew foots. We will teach you all about goon hockey. We will make you our bitches.

The Norris Party: We will import Red Army Dynamo goons to crush your effete French Canadian croissant eating defensemen. We will not wear helmets. We will slash and stick check at will.

The Patrick Party: We will focus on smashing teeth, hyper-extending knees, and spearing opponents who try to dance around with their effete figure skater moves. Go back to the typing pool, girls. Let the real men play hockey.

The Norris Party: We will train all summer on frozen ponds in  the far north of Canada. We will eat walrus and seal. We will use sticks with illegal blades and tape. We will suit all goons, all the time. All of our victories will be shutouts.

The Smyth Party: Hey, where’s the Adams Party at?

The Adams Party (shouting from offstage): Over here! They said there wasn’t room for us at the podium. And they didn’t turn our microphone on!

The Patrick Party: That’s right, Adams. You have not earned the right to sit at this stage with warrior parties like us. Consider the numbers of Stanley Cup Champions by Division from 1974 to 1992, when our grand parties ruled the NHL: Patrick won seven Stanley Cups, Smyth won six Cups, Norris won five Cups, and you, Adams? You won zero! Oh, the shame! Oh, the emasculation!

The Adams Party (shouting from offstage): We are the lovable losers! The Washington Generals on Ice!

The Norris Party: We will all come from Saskatchewan. We will rule this continent the way we rule our livestock at home. We will get drunk and pee in the Stanley Cup, which we will then leave in the baggage claim area in the Calgary airport.

The Patrick Party: We will bring the foil and the pain and take the glory. We will not be opposed to limited unity with Norris with the purposeful intent of ridding the world of the imposter Smyth and Adams Parties, but after that goal is reached, it will be “sudden death” for Norris.

The Norris Party: Go to hell, Patrick! You are secretly allied with the effete Adams Party. Don’t try to get friendly with us!

The Patrick Party: We are not interested in any friendships, just strategic allegiances. We would have joined up with you to crush Smyth, but then would have crushed you immediately after, as the U.S. should have done to Russia after World War II. But no matter, now we will just plan to crush both of you at the same time. Adams does not matter.

The Norris Party: We will ally ourselves with the NFC Central Party of the NFL and sweep out of the Great Lakes to rid the world of the tea-drinking quiche eaters in their heated sky boxes who have wreaked havoc on our once great game.

The Patrick Party: We make and need no alliances to rid the pond of tea-drinking quiche eaters.

The Adams Party (shouting from offstage): Hey, we like tea! And quiche!

The Patrick Party: Adams, you sicken us.

The Norris Party: At last we agree, Patrick Party. But we will still destroy you like a box of Democratic Presidential ballots in Cleveland. You are soft, and your Stanley Cup numbers are padded. I mean, look at who won four of your Stanley Cups: the girlie Islanders with their teal and orange jerseys, looking like a bunch of Miami Dolphins on Ice! That’s nothing to be proud of!

The Patrick Party: Just as we figured, Norris exposes the source of their hostility: Jealousy! The Islanders of ’78 to ’85 were and remain the greatest team in hockey. They didn’t need tough colors on their jerseys, they showed their strength by kicking ass, scoring goals, and making and breaking every playoff record there was. We laugh at your sad envy. Ha ha ha!

The Norris Party: Feh! Trottier, Gillies, Goring, Bossy and pals were the beneficiaries of a watered down NHL, soft after expansion. What have the Isles done since then? And what the hell kind of a hockey team has a goalie named “Chico”?

The Patrick Party: Soft after expansion? Well maybe you’re on to something there, though we did still beat up a bunch of your teams then. Talk about soft. And you really have to cut our party a break, since we do have to deal with the Rangers, for Christ’s sake.

The Norris Party: The Rangers and the Penguins. Had the Mighty Ducks been around back then, they’d have put them in the Patrick Party for sure. Losers.

The Patrick Party: True. True. Thank God they abolished us real divisions before they committed that crime against our sport. Oh, for our glory days! Oh, for hockey as it is meant to be!

The Norris Party: [Body checks The Patrick Party into the boards and breaks for the blue line]. Huttah!

Reefer Madness: Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” vs. Prog Superheroes

Scene: Lord MacCormack’s posh, secret, wood-panelled reading room, where Lord MacCormack and his friends — Viscount Mond, Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien, and Stoney Osgood — smoke pipes while reading their newspapers.

Lord MacCormack: Listen to this rot from the health section, gentlemen:

LONDON (Associated Press,Wed May 4, 2005) – Youngsters who use marijuana are more likely to develop serious mental health problems, the government said Tuesday. Past medical studies have linked marijuana with a greater incidence of mental disorders such as depression or schizophrenia. But questions remain about whether people who smoke marijuana at a young age are already predisposed to mental disorders, or whether the drug caused those disorders. Government officials say recent research makes a stronger case that smoking marijuana is itself a causal agent in psychiatric symptoms, particularly schizophrenia.


It looks like “Reefer Madness” is back, sirs! Oh, sure, you can wash the Vicodin down with vodka, youngsters, but don’t smoke weed, because that stuff will drive you insane? What kind of position is that for a respectable scientist to take? Poppycock! Gah!

(Lord MacCormack flings his newspaper across the room; his manservant, Roger, arrives soon thereafter with a cart of hemp-fortified snacks for the gentlemen).

Viscount Mond: I hate to say it, MacCormack, but I think I agree with the Government officials on this one conceptually. Weed does make one hinky, there’s no denying that. The problem is, though, that Parliament is never able to offer up an appealing alternative enhancing agent to marijuana, especially when it comes time to watch Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” or listen to a Pink Floyd record. I mean, look at these tasty and stimulating hemp brownies Roger has brought us. Would they appeal as much if they were fortified with crushed up Xanax or topped with crystal meth sprinkles? I think not. So I’ll take the risk of schizophrenia so long as I can get such dank goodness on my snack cart.

Lord MacCormack: Well, personally, I think that people prone to schizophrenia are likely to smoke more marijuana, rather than a case where more marijuana makes you schizophrenic. But I suppose that I may be biased or even addled in my judgment on such matters, having watched so very many enhanced episodes of Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” since the age of twelve.

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: Interesting. I never found that Mutual of Omaha’s “Wild Kingdom” needed any hallucinogenic augmentation. Could just be a natural disposition I have. Or maybe just that watching Jim being eaten by a sloth bear was narcotic bliss enough for me!

Viscount Mond: Well, true, I do think schizophrenia is probably a stretch, really. But depression, anxiety, and weird obsessive behavior, not to mention stunted emotional growth, are definitely on the menu for a lot of people if they take up a serious dope habit. Roll that cart on over here, Roger, once Stoney finishes snuffling at it.

Stoney Osgood: Whoh, Roger, dude! That is a serious hemp mega-cookie on your cart! Edible incredible! Nom nom nom! Bring it on, Ed Meese! Show me what you got! Heh! Heh heh! Heh!

Lord MacCormack: I’m all for decriminalization of marijuana, and then regulation of it by the Government. There are few things more asinine than putting the harmless neighborhood dope-head in prison with a bunch of violent offenders. I draw the line at narcotics, though. Those need to remain illegal. As should be concealed weapons, assault rifles, and ponytails on balding, middle-aged men who spend too much time talking to college girls. And also Co-op grocery stores. Sirs, those places get my dander up!

Stoney Osgood: Dudes, you can totally get all that depression, anxiety and OCD stuff legally with alcohol. And you can get lung cancer legally with tobacco, too! Ain’t no need to break the law to make yourself sick! And ain’t no need to blame hemp for all those problems! But I gotta say, I’m totally with Lord MacCormack on those Co-op grocery stores. You like, totally, get man boobs if you shop there from all the soy in the air. Heh! Heh heh! Heh!

(Roger rolls out the cart, and the gentlemen settle into contented soporific hazes, until a klaxon sounds and red lights flash from the eye sockets of the Amur Tiger head mounted above the fireplace).

Commissioner Gordon Haskell (via the Emergency Prog Alert System): Attention Prog Superheroes! Please report immediately to the Topographic Ocean, close to the edge, but not down by the river. I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon! Try to keep the snot from running down your noses, please! That’s just disgusting!

Viscount Mond: Fire up the Tarkus!

Lord MacCormack: I’ll make sure Supper’s Ready, so we don’t get Prog Anemia later!

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: I’ll fly over in the Saucerful of Secrets!

Viscount Mond: I’ll take The Relayer!

Lord MacCormack: I’ll bring the Mellotron!

(Exeunt MacCormack, O’Brien and Mond via the secret doorway behind the stuffed Dodo in the southwest corner of the reading room)

Stoney Osgood: You know, that old idea that we can just let the Government handle our weed for us is bullshit, dudes. Man, if that old hippie pipe dream ever materialized, the weak-ass weed the Department of Toke would be dishing out would most assuredly not be of the crushing hydroponic variety that blows around here like the wind. Yo, Roger, pass me another one of those cookies, yo. I haven’t been to the emergency room in a few days. Roger? Dudes? Dudes? Where’d you go? Whoa! I’m totally talking to myself here. Heh! Heh heh! Heh!

Smeagol Osgood: Ssssss! Not trues, precious! Smeagols Osgoods is here’s with yous!!! No need to fears the governments, ssss!! Tricksy governments allows all sorts of tobaccos to be solds today, and boozes of all proofs! Smeagols Osgoods says you surely be able to get a carton of Spliffer Light 100s, and then carton of Helter Skelter Thais, just as precious can do today with smokes. Ssssss! No needs to fear the governments! Governments is heres for to helps us, Precious! Nice governments! Good governments! Yesss, precious. Now gives us the remotes. Smeagols Osgoods wants the remotes, rights now. Needs to see Mutual of Omaha “Wild Kingdom” immediately. Ssssss!

(MacCormack, O’Brien and Mond return with a splash via the Tiffany Water Slide in the northeast corner of the reading room)

Viscount Mond: Avaunt! We’re back! I stopped by the Convenience Store of the Crimson King on the way to get us all a pack of Spliffer Light 100s to share. Spark me!

Lord MacCormack: Oh, Mond, please! Spliffer Light 100s are for girls. Prog Superheroes need to smoke Starless and Bible Browns. Without filters. And, damn, this Mellotron is heavy. Next time, I get dibs on the flute.

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: I actually always wished marijuana was legal just so I could buy the weakest strain out there. The stuff they have these days is just too strong for me!

Lord MacCormack: This is what moderation is for, O’Brien. You don’t have to do three power-hitters and six bong hits every time the bag comes out, sir!

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: Oh, it’s not about the over-indulgence, MacCormack. It’s just that I’ve always preferred the gentle oblivion of Benadryl and red wine.

Lord MacCormack: For God’s sake, O’Brien. Be a man. Don’t feminize yourself like that for no reason!

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: Oh, I meant to say Benadryl and Pabst. And by Benadryl, I meant dancing naked ladies.

Lord MacCormack: Much better.

Stoney Osgood: Uh, dudes? Am I the only one seeing a little skinny green version of me chewing my finger off to get at the remote?

Smeagol Osgood: Sssssssssss, Precious!!!! Let remotes go!!!! Smeagols Osgoods must haves Mutual of Omaha “Wild Kingdoms” rights now!!! Ssssssssssss!!!!! Gnaws!!!! Joneses!!!!!

Everybody: Heh! Heh Heh! Heh!


You want to lick this one first, Jim?

Neck Size Matters

Well-Meaning Thickneck: Here’s a little tip for you up-and-coming junior high school kids: you’ll never get to be Prom King without a thick neck. It’s just the rules. Pencil neck guys get to work the lights and put the CD’s in and stuff at the prom, unseen, unheard, unappreciated, untouchable. Thicknecks, on the other hand, we get to own the place. Watch me flex this thing . . . ngggggggghhhhnnnnn . . . yeah, that’s one thick neck, alright! So you youngsters hit the gym, and in four years, it’ll be all “Bring on the Prom Queens, Yo!” I got your backs, kids. That’s because I’m so well-meaning.

Pencilneck AV Squad Guy: Well, yeah, you may be big now, Mister Well-Meaning Thickneck, but if you watch your John Hughes’ movies, you know that in the end the girls always come back to us when they realize that we are nice to them and respect them for who they are. We’re better off spending our time honing our sensitivity than we are bulking up our traps.

Guy Who Blocks The Flow: Wait a minute . . . Duckie didn’t get the girl! He did get some girls, but Molly Ringworm wanted to have the rich guy ending, right?

Molly Ringworm: That’s right.

Well-Meaning Thickneck: Of course Duckie didn’t get the girl. Duh. Would you go out with Duckie if you were a girl? A girl who had options, I mean? Dude, the thing about ending up with the friendly losers only pertains to the marginal smart grrrls that wanna talk and have feelings and stuff. I’m not talking about them. The Hot Mamasitas always stay with the Thicknecks. That’s just the rules. We will never lack for the big boobies. Some of them will even be real. Don’t make me put you in a locker and leave you there. Again.

Guy Who Esplains Thins: Duckie got the girl in the original John Hughes ending. It was Molly Ringworm who insisted on the Thickneck ending. So, therefore, John Hughes must have been a pencilneck.

Molly Ringworm: That’s right.

Well-Meaning Thickneck: Okay, now I don’t know what you’re talking about. I’m all down with being cool to nerds and stuff, but if you confuse me then I’m going to have to kick your ass just on principle so I don’t look dumb.

Pencilneck AV Squad Guy: Just do a kegstand, Mister Thickneck. That’ll clear everything up.

Well-Meaning Thickneck (Ten Years Later): Remember that touchdown I scored against West Bumbledump High our junior year? Man, that was the best ever! And then we went out and got drunk by the lake. Best day of my life. Uh, would you like fries with that, sir?

Guy Who Esplains Thins: Don’t kid yourselves, jealous losers. In reality, Well-Meaning Thickneck works in a cake job at Molly Ringworm’s dad’s company, and is earning $150,000 a year forwarding porn videos, gunning shots of Jack on his lunch break, and golfing when it’s nice out. There’s no happy ending for the Pencilneck AV Squad Guy, on the other hand.

Well-Meaning Thickneck: That’s right. Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ve got a conference call with Chairman Long Duk Dong to take. We’re splitting stock shares this quarter. Money in the bank.

Chairman Long Duk Dong: That’s what happening, hot stuff.

Pencilneck AV Squad Guy (Ten Years Later): Dude, I like totally rocked out on World of Warcraft last night! Check out the screen caps I put up on my Facebook page. Wait, hang on . . . I got a tech support call I got to take.

Molly Ringworm: Hello? Hello? I think I have a virus. In my computer I mean. Not in me. I had a shot for that. But, like, anyway, can you just fix it from India or wherever you are while I go to the Country Club with Well-Meaning Thickneck? We’re meeting Richie and Rachel Muffinstuffer for ’80s night! I’ve got the best pink dress ever! It’s Givenchy! Um, wait a minute . . . here, let me let you talk to the maid. You guys can talk about computers and feelings and stuff. Thanks, darling! Thanks!

Pencilneck AV Squad Guy (Ten Years Later): Sigh . . . she called me “darling!” I still have a chance!

The Maid: ¿Hola? Quisiera hablar con usted sobre sensaciones y computadoras, por favor. ¿Usted tiene un cuello grueso?

Psychothriller: Freud vs. Skinner

Sigmund Freud: Hello. I was just Googling for “Flexible Cheerleaders,” but I found this blog instead. It looks like you have a lot of repressed emotions swirling about in here. What a shame.

B. F. Skinner: There’s no such thing as emotions, you idiot! There are only observable behaviors. Action and reaction. Tabula Rasa. Leave emotions to the fantasists. I am a scientist, sir!

Sigmund Freud: Oh, don’t you mess with me, Skinner. I’ll kill your father and snort cocaine off your naked mother’s bottom!

B. F. Skinner: Oh yeah, Freud? Well, then, why don’t I just put you in a box for ten years, to prove that people don’t like being put in boxes? Or how would you like to only be able to urinate after you pull a lever in a specific sequence, which is as yet to be determined, and will take over four hours to learn and carry out?

Abraham Maslow: Oh, people, why can’t we just all get self-actualized?

Alfred Adler: Really, now, Skinner. You can’t fault Freud for striving for superiority in his interpersonal relationships and emotions, can you?

B. F. Skinner: Adler, when I’m done with Freud, I’m gonna beat the living crimony out of your middle child! I personally wouldn’t venture to guess what an “emotion” looks like. That kind of unscientific exploring of the black box should be left to that cigar-chomping charlatan and all his nattering neo-pals.

John Watson: I hear that, Skinner. Doesn’t anyone here know of any real psychologists — not just followers of Freud the fraud? Personally, I gave a young boy a permanent phobia of white mice. I also taught advertisers to exploit women in the interests of having them associated with products. Now that’s some science!

B. F. Skinner: What say me and my boy Stanley Milgram shock your ass for messing with me, huh, Adler and Freud? How would you and your “emotions” like that?

John Watson: I really didn’t bother wasting much of my time studying Freud and Adler’s crackpot theories. Especially since they both eventually watered everything down into P.C. versions, anyway, which meant that they were just getting old and afraid of death.

Sigmund Freud: Nonsense. I began to water down and politically correct my theories long before I was old.  But you are right about one thing: it was all because I was afraid of death.

B. F. Skinner: It appears your persona has been co-opted, Freud. You may want to talk to Sullivan.

Henry Stack Sullivan: I know nothing about myself.

College Psychology Major: Oh my Gosh! This is so cool! Oh my Gosh!

Frat Boy: Yo, dudes! Where’s the keg?

Teaching Assistant: I need a raise and health insurance!

Star Quarterback: I don’t show up in Psych class much. Who wants to take my test?

College Psychology Major: Oh my Gosh! I love this blog! Oh my Gosh!

Honors Double Psych-Communications Major: I have begun a thesis entitled “The Co-Option of Personality in Emergent Public Spheres of the Information Age: Commercial Considerations, Cognitive Conspicuousness and Coeval Conundrums.” It begins with an interview of exiled writer J. Eric Smith and a short examination of the life cycle of his Indie Moines blog. It ends with the question of whether I actually exist or not.

Honors Professor: If I don’t see some quantitative analysis in there I’m going to fail you.

Honors Double Psych-Communications Major: Alright, I’ll count the number of times the letters “J” and “I” are mentioned in any context. Using a dummy variable of zero and our new “Don’t Do It Yourself 2.0” software, I can implicitly eliminate any mention that does not specifically refer to the characters of Smith and me ourselves, but instead is a part of another actual word. Will that suffice?

Honors Professor: No! This is an honors thesis for heaven’s sake, not a bloody undergraduate twenty-pager! I want to see spreadsheet after spreadsheet, variable after variable, interaction after interaction, table after table, until not even I can understand what you’re getting at anymore! Push the envelope, kid! That’s what youth is for! You know, you actually remind me of me at your age. Play your cards right and you might end up like me: a balding, white-haired man who sleeps one hour a night and endlessly studies interactions of giant genetically-modified Norway rats.

Erik Erikson: I can’t decide whether this blog is currently in the Generativity vs. Stagnation phase, or the Integrity vs. Despair phase. I’m leaning toward Integrity vs. Despair. This blog has been willing to face its own death, and yet it seems to have a sense of fulfillment for what has been created here. Well played, Indie Moines! Well played, indeed! A round of cigars and flexible cheerleaders for all! Huttah!

Karen Horney: My name makes college psychology majors snicker.

College Psychology Major: Oh my gosh! Snicker! Oh my gosh!

Coffee Pirates vs. Cheap Scotch

WebDocs Health Report, June 22, 2007: “Coffee may contain an ingredient that protects the liver against alcoholic cirrhosis, a new study shows. The study indicates that among more than 125,000 people studied for up to 22 years, coffee drinkers were less likely to be diagnosed with alcoholic cirrhosis.”

Coffee Pirates (In Your Liver): Yarrr! Get ye back ye scurvy rotten cirrhosed liver cells! Yarrr!

Cheap Scotch (In Your Liver): Och aye, we’ll be needin’ to eat ye liver like a fookin’ haggis, yon bonny coffee pirates be damned!

Coffee Pirates (In Your Liver): Yarrr! Avast! Prepare ye to be boarded, ye cancerous cankers o’ bile and spleen! We’ll be eatin’ yer types fer lunch before yon hour is out! Yarrr!

Rene Harlin: Okay, guys, now here’s where we have a car chase scene around the gall bladder, and then some sword fighting on the duodenum. Annnnnnnnnnd . . . Action!

Coffee Pirates (In Your Liver): Vroooooom!!!! Vrooooooooommmmm!!! Skreeeeeeeee!!!! Vrooooommmmmmmmm!!!

Cheap Scotch (In Your Liver):
Clash! Clank! Clankity clash! Slash! Epee! Saberize! Snick!

Your Duodenum: Aghhhhh! I am slain!

Rene Harlin: Great! Great! That’s a wrap!

Cheap Scotch (In Your Liver): Beggin’ ye pardon, Master Harlin, but if’n ye aren’t needin’ us nae more, we’ll be on our way up to the brains for to seein’ if we can’t sponge and addle ‘em a bit.

Coffee Pirates (In Your Liver): Yarrr! Victory! Yarrr! Now, we be thinkin’ its time to go tickle ye kidneys a bit. Yarrr!

Your Kidneys: Hehe! OMFG, like, I am so totally gonna piss myself laughing and stuff! OMG! LOL!

Your Brains: Welcome! Welcome, Cheap Scotch! Welcome!

Cheap Scotch (In Your Brains): Och aye, me laddie. Here’s what ye be wantin’ to do. Get ye on yon telephonin’ machine and call that wee lassie what slapped you last week. Be sure to let yon tears flow like whiskey when ye be talkin’ tae her. Nae, ne’er ye mind that it’s three o’ clock in the marnin’!! Yon wee lassie will be rejoicin’ to hear ye voice!!

Your Brains: I lurve you’s, Cheap Stottiches. You allas gib’s me the bests advices!!! I’lla go make that call right now, yes . . . I’MA LOVES YOU, BABY!!! I’MA LIVES FOREVERS WITH MY NEWSLY HEALFY LIVERS!!! THE SCOTTICHES SAYS SOES!!! Hello? Hellos? I musta gotsten disconnected. Bring me more Scottiches!!! Dass what I needs!!! Den I calls again!!!

Your Genitals: Damn, Brains. You’re never gonna shake the rust off us, are you? Whah? Whoh! No, not that way! Noooooo!!!!! Stooooooopppppp!!!!!


Your Genitals: Ow! Careful! Ow! Stop! HEEEELP!!!

Cheap Scotch (In Your Brains): Och aye, laddies. Ye moral o’ yon story is: Do nae fook wi’ Cheap Scotch!! Cheap Scotch wins alla’ time!! Yon message are brought tae ye by Ye WebDocs Health Reports, and yon letters “C” and “S,” and by the number “80 Proof”. Ta!

School Days With Little Louie Shakes

Mom Shakes: Wake up, Louie . . . you’re going to be late . . .

Little Louie Shakes: mumble mumble Five more minutes mumble .

Mom Shakes: No, it’s 9 AM already! You’ve got to get up! Darn it, Louie, you’re going to miss the bus, and there’s no way Dad or I can drive you to school today!

Little Louie Shakes: Shut up, Mom! I hate you! Go away!

Mom Shakes: Don’t you talk to me like that, young man! Your father and I bust our butts to put food on the table and a roof over your head and this is how you treat us? Well, you’d better think again, mister. The gravy train stops today. If you can’t get yourself to school and get good grades then you can just leave now, get a low paying job and waste the rest of your life posting on dirty internet message boards. Is that what you want?

Little Louie Shakes: I hate you all! Shut up! I am staying home today and listening to Black Sabbath records.

Dad Shakes (bursting through the door and unhooking his belt): WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!?! [thrash!] [whip!] [pummel!]

Little Louie Shakes: Dad! No! I said I am getting up now to catch the bus and go to school to take math tests!! Stop!! Auuggghhh!!!

Playground Bully (later that same day): Hey dork! [shove!] Nice math books . . . in the mud! Haw haw haw!

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien (Playing the Role of Guy Who Blocks The Flow): Oh, no. Nuh uh uh. This has to stop now. This is making me re-live my childhood, and it hurts. Stop it! Stop it now! There’s no happy ending to this story . . .

Louie Shakes (in 2010): Sure there is, Mister O’Brien. I swear to God that Playground Bully is now making sub-par home fries at Weezie’s Skillet Farms in Hoboskill, way out in Bumbledump County, while I live the good life of a toothless, meth-addicted, hepatitis-riddled, homeless person in Albany. That’ll learn him for messin’ up my books in ninth grade!

Playground Bully (in 2010): Would you like fries with your hamburger and shake, Mister Shakes?

Louie Shakes (in 2010): See, Mister O’Brien? And, uh, nah brah, no fries. I’d like some rock with that instead. You gonna hook me up, or what?

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: You’re the exception then, Louie. Once you’ve been a victim of bullies and domestic violence, then you’re always a victim as I see it. That type can smell the fear and weakness on you. It brings out the worst in them . . .

Lord MacCormack: Piffle, tosh and bumbledump, will you shut the hell up, O’Brien! You sicken me with your weakness and fear! Besides, I didn’t have to go through any of that stuff. I was home schooled. In home schooling, your parents are in charge of the traumatizing.

Viscount Mond: Then you know that the only thing better than beating up dorks at school is beating up home schooled kids in their own front yards.

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: But the problem with home schooling is that you then have to be bullied in college, instead of getting it over with in junior high school.

Lord MacCormack: Not if you go to home college.

Viscount Mond: What do you mean by “getting it over with,” O’Brien? [shove!] Nice face, dooder . . . under my boot! Haw haw haw!

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: Mmmgggppphhff!! Grrffff!!! Mmmmbbbpppp!!!

Viscount Mond: Who gets bullied in college, anyway? You just show up to class and leave, don’t even have to talk to anyone. Much different than grade school.

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: I’m guessing your college didn’t have a football team, did it, Mond?

Lord MacCormack: O’Brien’s right, dorks can certainly get bullied in college. Unless they go to dork college.

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: I went to dork college. I was surrounded by dorks. Computer science programs have a way of attracting them. But it didn’t change anything. You would think that the few jocks who stumbled in would be kissing dork butts so they could get their work done, but no, they hunted me down and shoved my $230 college textbooks into the mud just as they did in junior high school. Oh, the horror! Oh, the pain!

Lord MacCormack: Those must have been scholarship jocks. They have assistants to kiss dork butts for them to get their work done, which gives them more time for the shoving of the books and the tormenting of the weak and fearful and whatnot. At least when you’ve got jocks in the classroom, you know that you’ve picked your courses wisely, and will definitely be getting a good grade there.

Edward Sir Ellington O’Brien: Wrong again. Professors have to show that they aren’t giving all A’s. So guess who gets the D’s to balance things out? Not the starting quarterback, I assure you. Nor the cheerleaders.

(Meanwhile, in a corner cubicle at the nearby public library) The Shower Drain Elves: Alright, Louie Shakes! We’ve got you surrounded! Come out peacefully or we are coming in after you. There’s a sick kid in Teaneck, New Jersey who needs a Christmas stocking and you’re not standing in our way! Chop chop!

Louie Shakes (in 2010): mumble mumble five more minutes mumble . . .

The Shower Drain Elves: No, it’s 10 AM already! You’ve got to get up! Dammit, Louie, you’re going to miss the Hoveround, and there’s no way we’re gonna be able to get this Christmas stocking to little Johnnie F in Teaneck if that happens!

Louie Shakes (in 2010): Shut up, all of you! I hate you! Go away!

The Shower Drain Elves: Don’t you talk to us like that, old man! The Parking Lot Monkeys and us bust our butts to put newspaper under your head and leftover hamburgers and milkshakes in the dumpster, and this is how you treat us? Well, you’d better think again, mister. The hamburger and milk shake train stops today! If you can’t get yourself to the parking lot behind the corner store and score the good rock, then you can just stay here in the library and waste the rest of your life posting on dirty internet message boards. Is that what you want?

Louie Shakes (in 2010): You know what I want? All I want out of life is a hamburger in a milkshake! Not a hamburger and a milkshake. Is that too much to ask? Why is The LORD so cruel to me?

The LORD (bursting through the door and unhooking his belt): WHAT DID YOU JUST SAY?!?! [thrash!] [whip!] [pummel!]

The Archangel McGabriel: Sorry, Louie, some things are beyond even The LORD’s power. Hamburgers and milkshakes must remain separate, world without end, amen. Now, would you like some fries with that?

Louie Shakes (in 2010): Nah brah, no fries. I’d like some rock with that, instead. You gonna hook me up, or what?

Ronald McChronic: I would hook you up indeed, yo, but that fat Mayor McCheese and his cronies done locked up the Hamburglar again! What’s a clown to do, Louie Shakes? What’s a clown to do?

The Shower Drain Elves (in 2010): Robble robble. Robble. Robble robble.