Kill it with lasers.I believe in God, because only an intelligent and infinitely cruel being could have subjected me to five and a half hours at the nearest Best Buy. Before I get into all that, let me roll things back and give you a bit of info that is completely irrelevant to this epic saga of woe. I live in the midst of a Puerto Rican drug cartel. I'm not the kind of person who jumps whenever they see one of those weird non-white people around. In fact I live in the middle of a Puerto Rican neighborhood in Chicago so pretty much every person I encounter is going to be Latino. Overall I rate the neighborhood with pretty high marks. There seems to be a fair amount of guns going off but most of the time they're at least a couple blocks away. Plus I really enjoy the guys who lay under the trees in front of my apartment with 12 packs of beer and laugh until they pass out. I don't know what the hell they're laughing about all the time but I know I really want to find out.
One aspect of my neighborhood that I noticed several months ago but quickly forgot about was the "mad whistler". There was this guy who would whistle at all hours, day and night, with this extremely piercing and brief burst of whistling. A few days ago I realized that the mad whistler was the lookout for some friendly neighborhood drug dealers. His 5 AM, noon, or midnight hoots coincided almost exactly with the passing of a Chicago police car. Last night the mad whistler was sick, or perhaps jailed on some offence hopefully not related to his virtuoso whistling. A replacement whistler had taken his spot as lookout and he lacked the incredible volume and, dare I say, panache of the original whistler. Strangely, despite the fact that he is engaging in aiding criminal activity in my immediate vicinity, I actually kind of miss the mad whistler and hope that whatever has kept his chirping off the corner last night will see him safe and sound back soon.
Mad whistler aside - and I mean really aside - I had one of the shittiest days of my life this Wednesday past. That isn't to say that it was even close to approaching the "worst" days of my life, those are wholly different and reserved for soul crushing events of total despair and outrage. No, Wednesday was shitty, one of those fucking days just about every person has from time to time where just want to smash the planet in their exasperated hands. It started with a simple enough trip to the Laundromat. Oh, how I love the Laundromat and its many splendors, but I had other missions to complete so I figured stupidly; "hey Zack, throw your clothes in the dryer and then you can skate on over to the grocery store and Best Buy". I replied to myself by agreeing with myself to this course of action.
It was 11:00 AM when I pulled into the parking lot, unaware of the problems lurking beneath the expansive parking and racks of DVDs like some abyssal behemoth prowling as a silent shadow just above the ocean floor. Frozen food was all I had to get at the grocery store so naturally I exerted my geek prerogative to visit Best Buy first. Impulse buys abounded, but I like to treat myself from time to time, perhaps more than I should. Okay, a lot more than I should, but that's not really the point of the story. A quick trip over to the local hippy grocery store "Whole Foods" for some frozen breasts of a vegetable beast somewhat analogous to chicken and I was on my way once again.
Look it's kids having fun with broken cars. At least they are learning to suffer early.I inserted my key into the ignition of my car and turned. It was a routine procedure by the standards of most people over the age of 16 but for some mysterious reason my key refused to complete the rotation that would bring my car's engine to life. This was the work of a hateful god, holding my key back from creating a sort of spiritual linkage between steering column and spark plug. "No big deal," I thought naively. I removed the key from the ignition and tried again. Nothing. No amount of desperate turning of the steering wheel or toggling of electrical components on the dash would break through the immovable barrier holding my key just inches from the finish line.
I tried more than a few more times, probably something closer to fifty, and each time I turned the key with increasing irritation and violence. I'm not that smart when it comes to things that do things, like cars, pulleys, and inclined planes. Mechanical science frightens and confuses me. Well shit, no big deal, I've had car problems before plenty of times, I'll just get a tow truck over to the lot and take it to a mechanic. Then I remembered that I had a "Triple A" card in my wallet and so began my unknowing journey into the hands of a villainous cabal of traitors and wretches.
AAA Corporate Mission Statement - "We promise to somehow complicate the process of having your vehicle towed to a mechanic by displaying only the utmost in customer care incompetence. As our valued customer we will not stop until you are contemplating suicide, and even then we probably won't stop."
Whenever you call us we will connect you with a completely random and anonymous customer service representative who will instruct you to do something that requires hanging up the phone and calling back. We will of course then need to have you explain your dilemma to an entirely new representative when you call back.
We will make suggestions and take action based on some sort of dream-like conversation that we are having with someone other than you.
We do not have access to any sort of computers or even flashing lights. We work from our call center in absolute darkness because we are child-killing vampires.
Hey buddy, how about you stand by your vehicle for three hours? Sound good? Fabulous!
You remember those three times you called earlier over the span of two hours? NEITHER DO WE.
Same to you, fuckers.I walked to the nearest pay phone and dialed the Brotherhood of Darkness that is Triple A. I had never dealt with them before and I pray that I never have to deal with them again. Problem one arose during my first conversation. I didn't know the address I was at. It's a Best Buy, right next to a grocery store, can't do any cross checking on that non-existent computer you're not logging this call into? Fine, I'll take the blame for that one.
I called back and gave them the address, after of course explaining my entire problem once again, and they promised to immediately dispatch a locksmith. I was doubtful that a locksmith would be able to fix the problem, but what do I know? I'm just a mixed-up caveman writer who is confused by all this technology. So I paced behind my car smoking cigarettes for forty five minutes while the locksmith took his time in getting there. When he showed up before I had even finished telling him about my problem he said "I can't fix it" and then offered to squirt WD-40 into my lock. Super! Glad Triple A brought you up to speed on the nature of my reason for having you come out.
When he fled the scene I hurried back to the pay phone and placed another cold call in to Triple A. This is about the time I started to get pissed off at them. My conversation went a little something like this:
Triple A Bitch: Thank you for calling AAA, how may I be of service?
Me: Yeah, I just called about an hour ago and you sent out a-
Triple A Bitch: Sir, could you explain your problem to me?
Me: (explains the problem)
Triple A Bitch: So what do you expect us to do about it?
At this point I wanted to reach through the phone and ram my fist so hard into this bitch's head that it traveled back in time and nailed seven other generations of her family in the skull. Being an easy going and non-confrontational guy I just calmly told her what I wanted them to do.
Me: I need a tow truck to tow my car to a mechanic.
Triple A Bitch: What mechanic would you like us to tow your vehicle to?
Me: Well shit if I knew that I would have levitated my car through the sheer force of my hatred for you to the mechanic of my choice. Don't you cocksuckers have any "AAA Mechanics?"
Triple A Bitch: No, we don't sir. Our computers are made out of mud and hope and all we can do is shape them into snakes by rolling them out on tables.
New figures just in!It was about this moment that I realized they were just flat out lying to me. Even I know that mechanics and locksmiths and useless wheelbarrows full of rancid potatoes that are in any way affiliated with AAA have those big dumb AAA stickers on them. I bid adieu to the lying cuntsock and placed a call to the only mechanic-related people I know in Chicago; the locksmith who couldn't do anything the first time. The guy who had shot WD40 into my lock had assured me that if I brought my car into their shop they "might be able to fix it". For all I knew the maze of pipes that is my engine had become jammed with miniature horses that had escaped from Dr. Tinytron's Magical Stable. All I had to go on was a locksmith's word, so I made the call and a confused man on the line said it would be okay to have my car towed to their store.
Super! Now we're getting places. Almost back to my original plan of towing my car to a mechanic and it has only taken ninety minutes. I called Triple A back once again, explained the entirety of the situation once again while politely leaving out the parts where every fiber of my body ached to murder the whole company, and asked for a tow truck to take me to the locksmith. I explained that allowances might need to be made for my car which could not be shifted whatsoever thanks to the whole key not working situation.
The friendly and understanding Triple A representative explained that he would have a tow truck come out immediately and that he would even "red flag" the request so that the towing company would expedite their arrival. In case you don't know, in Triple A lingo "red flag" means "take as long as possible because we love shitting all over this person".
An hour ticked by as I waited for the tow truck and I could feel my skin crisping under the sun. There really wasn't anywhere for me to go, including my car which was about a thousand degrees inside it and I couldn't even roll the goddamn windows down. I could sit like a tool with my door open but people were constantly leaving the parking spaces next to mine so it was roughly as horrid as pacing. After another half hour or so I figured that Triple A must have fucked up and they might not be coming. After another half hour I was down to about two cigarettes and starting to get really pissed off. Then, as the next half hour ticked by I entered some sort of Zen like state of acceptance. No tow truck was coming, I would probably need to get a cab back to my apartment to actually look up a tow truck company in the yellow pages, my clothes would be stolen out of the dryer by some homeless guy, and none of it would come with the AAA discount reach around.
Having committed myself to failure I resolved to prevent myself from collapsing with heat stroke and ran into Best Buy and pick up a couple of bottles of water. I figured that after slamming those back I would have sufficiently regained my strength to flee the scene and abandon my car to valkyries who would cart it off to the Valhalla of an impound lot. Halfway through the second bottle of water the tow truck driver arrived on the scene. He was friendly and in a hurry, but he paused to beat my steering column with a big fiberglass stick in a totally non-technical effort to unclog the magical miniature horses from inside my engine. His efforts failed and my car was lashed to the back of his vehicle. I rode with him in the cab of the tow truck and along the way politely queried him on what exactly, the fuck, took him so long.
He handed me a log sheet that showed his dispatch had received the call from Triple A roughly forty minutes earlier. Red Flag indeed.
Why DIDN'T they put her in charge?This may come as something of a surprise to you, but my arrival at the locksmith was totally unexpected and not particularly welcomed. After grudgingly moving a vehicle from the back lot - where they had told me to drop off my car - I ventured inside the store to take care of business. I was shortly thereafter introduced to a man that I will hereby identify as "Johnny Cocksucker". Johnny looked a little bit like Bill Paxton if Bill had been drug face-first through gravel as a kid and had managed to pack on about thirty pounds of flab. He fluctuated wildly between being fairly friendly and then screaming obscenities at how the "fucking cocksucker [I had talked to on the phone] took down the shittiest goddamn information imaginable". If it were literally possible to conjure a storm by swearing Johnny would be some sort of Agrarian Curse Shaman. His almost random screaming diatribes were directed at no one in particular while the other employees ducked their head and looked at me sheepishly as if to say "oh that's just good old Johnny Cocksucker".
Dear Johnny Cocksucker,
I am writing to inform you that your manners were quite the talk of the town. I was so impressed by your level-headed handling of my arrival that I would like to now tender to you the souls of my first three children and one hundred certificates each redeemable for a sassy back massage. Just please do not conjure any storms.
Fuck him. Fuck that. It took me about three instances of his screaming before something inside me snapped. There was a display of those rubber glow-in-the-dark key holders sitting on the counter next to me. Around the time he began cursing the ancestry of the fictitious employee who had apparently funneled lava up his ass earlier I grabbed the display of key holders and, in one cathartic moment of distilled rage, I hurled it across the back of the store and into one of several walls lined with nothing but blank keys. Dozens of them clattered to the floor and everyone turned to stare at me in shock and, I would like to think, a little bit of awe. I just showed Johnny Cocksucker how a real man throws a temper tantrum.
Of course this would have been a foolish thing to do. Likely I would have been forcibly ejected from the store by Shaman Bill Paxton and several flabby foul-mouthed Colonial Marines. With my car stranded behind their building Johnny Cocksucker would have no doubt gobbled it up by unhinging his jaw and flown back to his nest to regurgitate it one jammed starter component at a time down the gullets of his clamoring children. Instead I stood there silently, waiting for him to finish his latest outburst and swing into action like only a loud-mouthed idiot at a locksmith can.
Thursday I picked up my car from the locksmith. It cost me two hundred dollars to repair, one hundred and fifty of which was covered by my Triple A "Premium Plus Red Flag Fuck You" membership. I've got a blister this size of a donut hole on my index finger from my key, but I've also got a couple of spare keys and a functioning car, plus my clean laundry was recovered from the dryer. At least this story has a happy ending. The moral of this cautionary tale is to never rely on Triple A to accomplish anything that you couldn't accomplish yourself. It might cost you more money to do it yourself, but trust me, do it yourself.
GET OUT OF MY PHRIDAY!
Hello my fellow fops, it's Josh "Maynard G. Crebs" Boruff here with a sizzling new summer edition of the Photoshop Phriday. Our enslaved workforce, the brilliant minds of the SA Forums, have created a fantastic collection of images centered around the theme of "You Don't Belong Here!" What does a theme with such a confrontational mantra mean anyway? Well, it means that all the pictures in this Phriday have something wrong with them. Either somebody or something is in the wrong place, and you know what that means: Fark isn't funny. Oops, I meant hilarity ensues!
Hello, please see the attached document for laughs.
Do you wish to know what computers will be doing in the year to come? With a sigh I shall exert the minimal effort it takes to reveal all. Feel free to print out these predictions and share them with your friends via fax.
Old mixed signals feeling a little stale? Try some new ones!
day 2: still working on the car
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.