My track record for holiday updates is not stellar. I pissed of the Germans during Oktoberfest, angered the Muslims in the middle of Ramadan, and irked the Martians on the fifth day of Space Kwanzaa. You'd think that after the whole Easter fiasco, when I supposedly "alienated about a billion people worldwide," according to one mathematically-inclined reader, whoever's in charge of scheduling holidays would have had the common sense to not let holidays fall on Sundays anymore, but here we are. Once again, I have the privilege of addressing the billions upon billions of people who apparently read Something Awful on the day of a worldwide celebration. For today is the day when we all pause from our busy lives, with our cellular phones and our internet browsers and our multi-faceted stock portfolios, and take a moment, if not the entire day, to appreciate that special someone in all of our hearts. It is the day when we finally give proper respect and thanks to that person who gave us so very much. It is the day when we offer our humble thanks to the person without whom we would not be here at all. Today is Lowtax's birthday.
The Yellow Yell captured Lowtax's childhood just as it happened, weird 80's background and all.
Yes, Rich "Lowtax" Kyanka, beloved founder, president, C.E.O., chairman, webmaster, and jedi master of Something Awful was born a twenty-seven years ago today, and the world has been a funnier, gassier place ever since. It's incredible to think of everything that Lowtax has done that short time. Take a look at just a few of his many accomplishments:
Started a humor website
Amazing! Lowtax has touched so many lives with his wit, his incisive social commentary, and most frequently his sweaty, meat-filled hands. I know that I will never forget the first time that I met him. That conversation burned itself into my memory. Even now, I can hear his words as clearly as I could when they were spoken, which is to say, not clearly at all, as it was an online conversation.
Lowtax: "Your writing doesn't suck. Have a job."
Greasy4U: "That's what you think! Sucker! Uh, I mean, okay."
As we have all discovered since then, the joke was on him. The point is, he was willing to give me the chance that I needed to start myself on the path to a noble goal. And because of his generosity, I was able to achieve that goal - raising Something Awful readership to about a billion people, then promptly alienating them. There's so much that I could say about Lowtax, but most of it just be repetition of what so many people have said in the past. In fact, the whole "wishing Lowtax a happy birthday" idea has been done to death. To save time and space, I think I'll just quote from the Something Awful front page article from May 11, 2002, written by Rich himself.
That's right all you women and feminine men out there, today's my 26th birthday!
Hahaha! Oddly worded, self-serving, and no longer quite relevant - that's our Lowtax! Happy birthday boss, and remember, you can't spell "Greasnin" without "raise!" That is to say, you can't spell "Greasnin" without the letters that comprise the word "raise," but arranged in a different order and with some other letters thrown in the middle.
Oh Google image search, you're just the place to find various soothing, motherly images...
We've got another two-for-one holiday extravaganza today! Not only is it Lowtax's birthday, but the unexplained hyperlinks that keep mysteriously appearing on my desktop urging me to buy flowers tell me that it is also Mother's Day. You know, some people think that Mother's Day was created by corporations in order to convince the unsuspecting public to buy Hallmark greeting cards, Hershey's chocolate, and De Beers jewelry for their mothers (who are brought to you by Sony). That may very well be true. I can't say for sure, and if you think I'm going to do enough research to unearth the actual origins of a holiday that everyone likes in the first place just so I can increase my integrity on some website, you're nuttier than a delicious, mouthwatering Baby Ruth bar. Mmm, Baby Ruth! That's nutty, baby!
Personally, I don't care if Mother's Day is a creation of the card companies. After all, Valentine's Day may be an elaborate sham, but it still reminds me year after year that I am so very lonely. Likewise, even if Mother's Day started out as a corporate ploy, it has nevertheless become an invaluable time for us all to express our gratitude and admiration for those brave women we call "Mom." After all, the mothers of the world have all accomplished a very difficult task. Granted, I have neither a baby nor a vagina of my own to use as a basis for this statement, but I can say with ninety percent certainty that most babies are a good deal larger than most vaginas. For that reason alone, mothers fully deserve their own day.
A mother's job does not end after birth, though. Well, except in the cases of those teenage whore mothers who toss their babies in the dumpster at their prom. In those cases, their job is more or less over after birth, yes. For most mothers, however, the real work is just beginning. The task of raising a child is not an easy one, and the mother typically bears the majority of the work. There are numerous psychological and biological studies, many of which I could cite from various books on the subject, other of which I just made up, that prove that even in families where the mother is not around and the father actually cares for the new baby, the child still forms a closer attachment to the mother. So screw you, fathers, you jerks. This is the mothers' show. The relationship of a mother to her child is a sacred bond.
This is my first year away at college, and subsequently the first year that I've been unable to see my mother on Mother's Day (or her birthday, which is just a few days away). Since I can't actually be there for the festivities this year, I'd like to use this opportunity to share some of my favorite memories of my mother. You have to admit, basically using my article as one big Mother's Day card is pretty freaking sweet. It almost makes up for not sending an actual card, right? Right?
Years ago, my parents faced the difficult decision as to what to name me. This pressing matter became very important when they started getting tired of calling me "Kid Number Two" sometime in my seventh year of life. They put together a long list of options. Unfortunately, "Greg" was already taken by my brother, so that knocked off the first fifty or so names on the list. All that was left was Nathaniel. My parents thought "Nathaniel Platt" had a nice ring to it. But it was my mother who came to the realization that while "Nathaniel Platt" might be respectable, "Nat Platt" would get me beaten up. She suggested that they name me Ben instead, so that people don't think my parents hate me. Because of her quick thinking, I am now proud to stand before you not as Nat Platt, but as Benjamin Jackass Platt. You know, come to think of it, I don't know if it was actually my mother who caught that one. To tell the truth, it sounds more like something my father might do. Oh well, it's still a nice story. I guess.Gah!
My mother has always been very focused and involved in my schooling. She works for the public school system back home and served as president of the high school P.T.O. for years. She is also one of the leading advocates for gifted and talented education in the area. As the parent of two children who identify as gifted (my brother is an amazing artist, I can control fire), she has always felt that it was her duty as a concerned parent to make sure that her sons got the best education possible. If I may be sappy for a moment, I have to say that I am incredibly proud of everything she has accomplished. She has fought seemingly insurmountable odds to affect change on the local and state level and has rolled with every punch along the way. With all the emphasis that she put on scholastic matters, she never really stressed sports or other forms of regular physical exercise.
With all of that in mind, I'll never forget the day that I told my mother I wanted to take karate lessons. I expected her to brush me off by saying she'd look into it or simply demanding to know how it would improve my studies. Instead, she gave me a stern look and said, and I quote, "Karate is for pussies." From that moment on, she made it her goal to teach me the ancient art of ninjitsu. Now, I knew that my mother used to be a girl scout, that she got her Master's in child psychology, and that she used to work for Ford back when they weren't evil, but I have to say that I was somewhat surprised to learn that she was one of an order of silent assassins that had existed for centuries. When I asked her about this, her only reply was, "I did have a life before I had kids, you know." Every day when I got home from school we'd train. It wasn't for any particular goal, just some basic killing skills. While she taught me the correct way to coat a throwing star in neurotoxins, I encouraged her to be more open about her ninja ways. Things got a little out of hand when she flipped my principal over his desk, pressed a ceremonial tanto to his throat, and told him she'd send him to his ancestors if he didn't write me a letter of recommendation. But then, college applications are an emotional time for everyone involved.Make it stop!
Former World Champion of ping pong and Guinness world record holder for consecutive jump ropes jumped, a man who goes by the name of "Krazy" Tyrone, once complimented my mother on her bathing suit. It was kind of cool. Not in the "oh man, no one will ever believe this" sort of way, but definitely in the "hey, this is pretty neat, I suppose" kind of way. I don't really know if it was worth sharing, and I'm actually sort of regretting it right now, but my backspace key is broken, so whatever I type is staying in the article. With that in mind, monkey.
When I was held captive in Dr. Destructo's secret underground lair and he was planning to drain my brain power in order to increase his own mental capacity, thus becoming a superhuman intellect capable of masterminding unstoppable, foolproof schemes and ultimately paving the way for his domination of the world, I was positive that the situation was hopeless. I thought for sure that he was going to suck all the smartitude out of my brain, leaving me as nothing but a stupid, drooling, rambling moron who would probably end up working for some website. Luckily, once activated, the Brain-O-Tron took exactly five minutes to warm up to operational capacity. Dr. Destructo ordered his henchmen to turn on the machine, as he was already strapped into the other end of it. I could hear the Brain-O-Tron's electric whir and hum and feel the increasing suction around my general brain region. At least, in this version of the story it was my general brain region.
As the countdown began, I quietly whispered a goodbye to my brain, and remembered some of the good times we'd had. With just one minute remaining, the entire compound started to shake. One of the walls burst open, and a gigantic mole-shaped vehicle, complete with two huge clawed front legs for digging and burrowing, emerged into the room. The mole-machine's mouth flipped open and a crack team of heavily armed covert operatives - led by my mother - leapt out, guns blazing. At least, I'm pretty sure it was my mother. It was sort of tough to tell with her face hidden by the infrared goggles like that. While her team held off Dr. Destructo's shock troops, my mother fought her way to the Brain-O-Tron control console. Unfortunately, she needed a code to work the controls, and her spies had failed to gather that particular piece of information. With the final seconds ticking away and Dr. Destructo cackling like a madman who also enjoys a good cackle, my mother raised her tactical assault rifle, and with an aim perfected by years of ninja training, she shot off the locks of my restraints without harming me in the least. I lunged out of the Brain-O-Tron's grasp just before a freshly killed henchman toppled into my place. My mother saved my life and Dr. Destructo got a big ol' dose of dead brainwaves!What? A marmot? Why did that even come up?
We escaped together, a little shaken, but without sustaining any major injuries. My mother gave me the mole-mobile for my sixteenth birthday. As for Dr. Destructo, I heard something about how sucking the brains of a dead man turned him into some sort of flesh-eating super-zombie bent on eradicating all traces of mankind. Hey, everyone's got to have their hobby.
It would be impossible to say exactly how much of an influence my mother has had on my development as an adult without getting into a debate over nature versus nurture, environmental factors, and all that other jazz that developmental researchers like to prattle on about. At least, I assume that's what developmental researchers like to prattle on about. I've never actually met a developmental researcher, or if I have, I didn't pick up on any prattling. The point is, without my mother, I wouldn't be the well-named, brain-having ninja that I am today. So thank, Mom, and happy Mother's Day to all you mothers out there. I apologize for using this site as a forum to get in my parents' good graces before I go home for the summer, but you have to admit, using my article as one big Mother's Day card is pretty freaking sweet. It almost makes up for not sending an actual card, right? Right?
Are you concerned that you may be a character trapped in a Tom Waits song? Be smart and learn the warning signs before it's too late. Also, it's too late. It has always been too late.
I'm haunted by a recurring vision of a skeleton flipping me off. To avoid seeing this terrifying image in bumper sticker form, I pay someone with a blank bumper to drive in front of me at all times.
The Something Awful front page news tackles anything both off and on the Internet. Mostly "on" though, as we're all incredible nerds.