I think I've made it abundantly clear over the years that I'm nothing if not a charitable guy. There's nothing I like better than rolling up my sleeves, lacing up my boots, pulling up my pants, and pitching in to help out whatever community I happen to be in at the time. I do this without wanting any thanks or expecting anything in return. It's all completely voluntary and in no way even remotely connected to any sort of altercation with any law enforcement organization. That being said, I certainly don't think that the law enforcement organization is disappointed by the fact that I have so graciously chosen to use so much of my time to help out the community lately. In fact, I'd imagine that if I chose to do something else with that time, the law enforcement organization would be pretty bummed. And then they'd express their bummitude by beating me unconscious with nightsticks. But even so, believe me when I say that my charity stems from genuine goodwill and definitely not from a court order.
There is absolutely nothing I can write under this picture that doesn't make me a horrible person. Not a thing.
With that in mind, I recently spent a solid twelve hours of my very own Friday working for the Special Olympics. The Special Olympics differ from the crappy old Regular Olympics in a number of fundamental ways. This first is obviously that the Special Olympics is for mentally challenged athletes of all ages whereas the Regular Olympics is for socially awkward athletes of fourteen years and older. The Special Olympics have branches all over the country, if not the world, which hold events several times a year, unlike the Regular Olympics, which are so disorganized that they can only manage to have half their games at once, and even then it's only every two years. The Special Olympics are a charitable, nonprofit organization, unlike the Regular Olympics, which are controlled by a secret society of pagans who wish to build money through exorbitant ticket prices, advertising, and shitty merchandise like awful, awful video games so that they can build a solid gold temple to Zeus, king of the gods. Also, the Special Olympics practically beg for a slew of horrible, horrible jokes that pretty much damn everyone within a ten mile radius to a fiery eternity in the pits of Hell, whereas the Regular Olympics will next be held in Athens.
I spent my day helping to prepare for a Special Olympics event to be held in Connecticut this weekend. It was grueling physical labor - lots of loading and unloading trucks and the like - but throughout it all, I was kept motivated by the knowledge that I'd be helping the mentally retarded community. There's nothing quite like seeing the tremendous smiles on the faces of all the athletes who participate in this sort of competition to warm your heart with the unshakable certainty that they have absolutely no idea what they're smiling at. The first part of the day was spent at the Special Olympics branch office which is staffed by a wonderful crew of professionals and volunteers alike, all of whom have a fantastic go-getter attitude and the uncanny ability to fold hundreds of pamphlets featuring pictures of a couple dozen sweaty mentally retarded athletes mobbing U2 frontman Bono without breaking into a fit of hysterical giggling (an ability that I lack, I should mention). I helped load up a couple of trucks with various boxes containing equipment for the event. Now, one other key difference between the Regular Olympics and the Special Olympics is that whereas the Regular Olympics have three awards - bronze, silver, and gold - the Special Olympics have six. As best as I can figure, they are bronze, bronzish, silver, silver.5, gold, and really, really gold. All of the medals for the intermediary awards look exactly like medals for the normal three awards, but the special athletes have yet to notice this, and nobody is about to tell them. Of course, if you've got six awards to hand out, you need six platforms for the recipients to stand on. The platforms came in the form of huge wooden boxes nested within one another. Each box had a decent amount of weight to it, but nested together, they took three men just to get onto a hand cart. These boxes were freaking vicious. They were the first things we moved, because somehow trying to move gigantic, bulky objects heavy enough to shatter bone first thing in the morning when the entire crew was barely awake enough to walk a straight line seemed like a good idea. Naturally, the result was a string of box-related injuries that threatened to end the whole endeavor right there. For years to come, I will have nightmares about gigantic green boxes tumbling at me, causing me to wake up in a cold sweat and be unable to focus on anything for the rest of the day. I'll lose any job I try to keep as a result of my listlessness, and my subsequent irritation and frustration will make me a bitter and resentful person, which will drive away all of my friends and potential romantic matches, but that's okay, because due to my hard work, a retard will be able to stand up and proudly slur through a speech impediment thick enough to choke a horse that he's bronzish in the long jump.
Same thing here. If I make a joke, I'm awful. But believe, it's tempting.
As the morning wore on and the sun warmed the Earth to a nice, comfortable boil, we packed more and more stuff into the trucks. We were moving as quickly as we could, as the trucks had to head out to the event site by a quickly approaching deadline if they were going to be unloaded early enough for the setup to be completed in time. Considering that each truck had to be loaded with a few of those nested award platform dealies, as well as a few dozen boxes of medals, signs, sporting goods, nonperishable food products, and various other piles of crap, that was no small task. There was also the matter of the displays. There were these huge displays, at least eight feet tall if they were an inch, that had to be stuffed into the trucks. They couldn't stand on their own, so each one had to be accompanied by bundles of various lengths of PVC pipe. Being on a timeline and all, we were carrying the PVC pipes along the shortest route possible from their original location to the trucks, and that meant cutting across the parking lot. Now, it has been said that in any given area, the number of good, decent, and amicable people must be directly proportional to the number of complete assholes in a ratio of no less that 1:4. Actually, that probably has never been said, at least in such specific terms, but it should be. In the event that there just aren't enough people around to fulfill that ratio, one person may just be four times as much of a complete asshole. In this case, since we were helping an office full of nice people, it was inevitable that we would run into a terrifying, multiheaded gorgon of an asshole sooner or later. Sure enough, disaster struck when we were carrying the PVC pipes. One of us came within six inches of a car in the parking lot, prompting a shrill, grating female voice to come from a second story window demanding that we stop walking through the parking lot, the place where the trucks were parked, if we wanted to get to the trucks. The mysterious voice informed us that we could use the sidewalk if we simply had to get to our precious trucks, but we were under no circumstances permitted to get anywhere close to the cars near our travel path because we might somehow reduce them to a pile of shrapnel and headlights. Mind you, the PVC pipes we were carrying were of the sort that if they actually came into contact with a car, they would break into a thousand pieces long before they ever scratched the car's paint.
Why do I keep posting these pictures? It's just making me look like an asshole.
The sidewalk that the woman was referring to was actually a path along the building that was about three and a half feet lower than the parking lot, on the other side of a cement wall. We could have used that path to move our heavy boxes and equipment, but with our small crew, there was no way to do so without adding at least an additional sixty seconds onto the move time of each armload of stuff. Mind you, we had not actually touched any of the cars in the parking lot. In fact, we had been moving boxes along the same route all morning, before two of the cars currently parked nearest to the trucks even got there. Why people decided that parking right next to huge trucks being loaded by guys carrying huge boxes and pipes was a good idea baffles me, but those two people moved their cars shortly after, presumably when they realized that it would make our lives a whole shitload easier. I have to imagine the one car left anywhere near our path belonged to the woman screeching at us from the window. Now, I wouldn't have minded if the woman had at least said "please" or apologized for the inconvenience. But that didn't happen. The results of her screeching were significantly better than you'd expect from a tired crew of sweaty guys moving heavy shit who know that they've still got another eight hours of work ahead of them, in that we didn't casually lob a box of bronzish medals through her windshield. But we kept to our course, mostly because we were on a tight schedule, but also partially because fuck her. In this time, we still never touched her car, or any other vehicle besides our own trucks. We did, however, make a slew of unpleasant comments about the woman and the various things we would like to do to her precious car. Not wanting to start trouble, though, we all took extra care to avoid her car, since we didn't really want to deal with her. Sadly, this was not enough to please her.
The woman came charging downstairs to berate us for our unruly behavior and our reckless endangerment of her sedan. Despite the fact that I was the youngest, smallest, and weakest member of our crew, and was thus responsible for carrying the smallest amount of heavy crap by her car, she chose to come right up to me and start a debate. She screamed at me for a minute or so about how she had asked nicely for us to take the sidewalk and how we were all being "just horrible" for daring to violate the invisible safety bubble that apparently extended thirty feet in all directions around her car. When I was able to get a word in edgewise, I apologized for causing her any distress and politely suggested that if she moved her car back all of three feet, there would be no conceivable way for us to hit it, and thus the problem would be solved for everyone. She responded by screaming at me some more, telling me that I had my head up my ass (which careful forensic study later showed that I did not), and then lecturing me on how we needed to position the trucks if we wanted to satisfy her. Rather than moving her car a few feet backwards, she wanted us to move a huge trailer truck around the entire building to park it next to another truck. If this had occurred in another time and place, I would have pointed out several facts of the situation that she may have overlooked, such as the fact that she was being a real cunt. Unfortunately, though, despite the fact that I was performing this community service entirely voluntarily, if I had cursed her out I would have been entirely voluntarily violating the terms of my service, which would have prompted my boss to entirely voluntarily send me to an entirely voluntary jail. So instead I calmly explained that moving the truck the way she wanted would block off the exit to the parking lot and prevent one of the trucks from leaving, which it needed to do about half an hour earlier.
I've decided to switch to safer ground by instead posting pictures of a young boy and the annoying woman, featured at left.
I was stunned. Here we were, a small team of guys doing the work that was meant for twice as many people, trying to work on a tight deadline to help out a charitable organization. We were putting in a twelve hour day for absolutely zero pay, and we never once complained. You'd think this woman would find it unwise to get us pissed off. Or at least, a "please" or "thank you" might have been in order. The woman evidently did not see things that way. She demanded to speak to the person in charge of our "stupid" organization, which was something of a disappointment to me. Since she had singled me out for her raving bitchery, I figured she thought I was the lead guy, despite my obviously taking orders from other people. One of my coworkers said that he was in charge, which he wasn't but hell if I was going to say anything. I could tell this wasn't about to go anywhere, though, since he looked like he was already fighting to restrain his laughter. Sadly, before that could really get anywhere, one of the people who actually were in charge came over to see what all the rhubarb was about. The woman then explained the situation by making up a shitstorm of blatant lies. She came up with enough bullshit about us leaning boxes on her car and sitting on her hood to convince me that she was either delusional or a colossal bitch. I called her on each and every lie, which only pissed her off more. She was about forty, and somehow she didn't like being lectured on honesty by a twenty year old guy doing court-ordered voluntary community service while she was trying to badmouth that same twenty year old guy to another forty year old guy. She flew into another frenzy of explaining where we should move our trucks to prevent her from having to move her car a few feet to avoid damage that never happened. As she shrieked her carefully mapped plan to everyone in earshot, I burst out laughing at her frequent use of the phrase "butt to butt." I think she thought she was getting through to us rough-and-tumble trucking types by using the filthiest language she could manage, and I complemented her on the effort. I was asked to wait outside.
In the end, the woman went back upstairs to do whatever thoroughly useless thing she had been doing in the first place. My guess is she probably sat crouched at her window, ready to call the national guard if we violated her car's airspace again. We loaded the trucks the same way we had been all along, and lo and behold, her car never sustained a scratch. Naturally, though, I spent the rest of the day of menial work occupying my mind with ways to exact subtle revenge on the woman. Once it became clear that I could no longer damage her vehicle, as we had left the area and driven to the site of the event, I thought about sabotaging the Special Olympics as best I could. The trouble is, it's actually surprisingly difficult to sabotage the Special Olympics. All of the events have to be accessible to the special athletes, so you don't encounter a lot of complex machines with parts that can be rigged to break at critical moments. It's a lot of long jumping and shotputs. Have you ever tried to sabotage a shotput? It's not easy. Really anything you do to it can only make it a better shotput. After much planning and strategizing, I eventually decided to leave well enough alone. I didn't want to ruin the Special Olympics for everyone. After all, there's nothing sadder than a bunch of sad retards, and nothing more frightening than a bunch of sad retards in excellent physical condition with shotputs.
After a long day of work and dealing with idiots, I returned home covered in grime, aching and exhausted. I was in a generally foul mood, which was odd, because usually providing the mentally handicapped with big green boxes to stand on so they can get their awards and have their picture taken before mobbing Bono makes me feel like a new man. However, the fact that I hadn't gotten my petty revenge gnawed away at me. As I go into my final week of the community service that I'm doing completely out of the goodness of my heart and not at all because it's keeping me from getting passed around a prison courtyard like a cheap doobie that big burly men are also having sex with, the thought echoes through my mind: will I see this woman again? Will I give her another conniption by getting within spitting range of her beautiful car? Will she again be forced to stoop to my level by using profanity like "butt to butt?" Only time will tell, but even if we never meet again, I want her to know that she'll always be special to me.
The Weekend Web: You Can't Have Just One!
Hello friends, Zachary "Speculum Jones" Gutierrez here with another sack of crap to give away. This week we've got insane fans who are obsessed with some stupid child actress who plays a dumb wizard in a dumb movie about dumb shit, a few exciting rap battles, and part two of our AIM Girl coverage. It's a cornucopia of horrible nightmares!
There it is and here is the link.
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.