Doogie Howser has just revealed the answer to life's biggest question on the stage of a rented hotel ballroom. The hotel is not a four star spread by any means, but it has one of those charming names like The Sunshine Inn or Moose Lodge to make you feel safe and cozy when you rest your head at night on a pillow that has been washed just enough to make the numerous semen stains imperceptible to the naked eye. A quick glance into the cramped ballroom from my post outside the door confirms that there are around twenty chairs lined across the pea green shag carpet for the audience. None of them are occupied. None have been for the past month in countless dumps almost identical to this one across the country. The man is so passionate about his cause that he pushes on regardless, confident that the ritual of presenting The Answer is enough in itself, even to an empty room. It's entirely mad yet somehow noble and infectious, and after all this time on the road with him I can't help but be swept up by it. Doogie catches my eye and storms toward the door, protectively holding the charts and graphs used in his presentation against his chest.
"Just what the hell do you think you're doing?," he asks. "You're supposed to be guarding the door, not peeking! I trusted you!"
"I've been guarding the door for a month now. A month. When am I going to get to hear The Answer for myself?"
"Ah, yourself. I see. Can't you understand that this isn't about you? This is bigger than you or I or that lady I saw on Montel who's so overweight she can't stand up or get through her doorway so they had to remove her roof and use a crane just to take her to play mini golf. The Answer doesn't need you. The Answer only needs a dollar for the vending machine down the hall with the brownies."
I give him a dollar and he returns twenty minutes later with bits of brownie in his hair, wearing a different pair of shoes which seem much too big to be his own.
"The brownie was sufficiently moist and delicious. You have passed the trial. Tonight we return to our room and you learn The Answer."
Finally. It's hard to believe that only a month ago I was in the comfort of my own home when his phone call stirred me from my sleep. He was out of breath and frantic at the time, and I assumed it was a prank call. Wasn't Doogie just a character portrayed by Neil Patrick Harris, and why would he call me of all people?
"I waived all possible future royalties stemming from reruns of Doogie Howser MD and in exchange they allowed me keep the name. I am calling you because I engineered a very advanced robot which can open up a phonebook and pick a random phone number faster than a human could possibly hope to. It picked you. You are obviously the Chosen One, you are destined to help me spread The Answer."
"That's some kooky mumbo-jumbo right there."
"No, that's science. Robots is science. Believing anything that deviates from what science has proven is mumbo-jumbo, Mr. Farrell. I have discovered the answer to mankind's greatest question. You are to meet me at the Cadillac Motel in forty five minutes. Do you have ramen noodles in your home?"
"Yes. Yes, I do but I don't see-"
"Very good. Whatever you do, Mr. Farrell, do NOT bring them with you."
In the following days I would come to know the man's peculiar lifestyle and his dark science, which had produced the Phone Number Picker along with other inventions of questionable use. There was the Battery Drainer. The Electric Sponge. The Gravity Tester, a device that dropped an egg from a height of six feet every hour. All of these were composed of Lego blocks, sticks, and wads of newspaper, and some coughed from time to time. Doogie kept odd hours and had unpredictable mood swings, for that is the way of geniuses. He would put his copy of The Adventures Of Milo And Otis on a loop for days on end and watch it without moving a muscle or seeming to breathe. These depressing bouts typically ended with him bounding from his chair in a flash, purchasing a forty pound brick of marijuana and throwing it off an overpass onto unsuspecting traffic below. In these moments he was his happiest; I could tell by the cheerful face that had been gaunt and deathly mere hours ago, and by his raging hard-on. One night he confided in me that he went into these comatose states when there was a scientific problem he could not resolve, and the wild celebrations marked the moment his mind unlocked the mystery at hand.
I reflect on this all as we make our way back to the room and take a seat amongst his inventions. To my left is the Etch-A-Sketch where he records all of his findings, the bottom glued to a gyroscopic mechanism that keeps it from being turned on its side and erasing years of work. Could he have used that very device to record The Answer months ago in another motel room just like this? Had he gone comatose for days on end as I had witnessed myself so many times? The thought sends chills down my spine, and the Perpetually Frozen Pillow I find myself resting against doesn't help matters. Before I can move it, Doogie launches directly into his speech. He has never actually spoken it aloud in front of other people before, and he starts nervously. But in time he finds his stride and delivers it with true zeal and conviction. It changes my life, and it may very well change yours.
"Since man first emerged from the tar pits with a crude cell phone in hand, one question has burned in his mind. Through all of the progress we've made in countless areas to improve our lives, a gaping hole has remained within ourselves due to our inability to answer that question. What good is a longer and more convenient life if it only gives you more time to realize how empty that hole is?"
A few moments pass, and I clear my throat nervously. "Oh, I'm sorry. I didn't realize I was supposed to reply to that."
"You weren't, it was a dramatic pause. The question we are all seeking an answer to is, of course: Who's cooler, Indiana Jones or Han Solo? I have found the answer to this using science and methods. I even thought about it while driving a car that had a computer chip in it. My findings are irrefutable. Let's compare the two. Indiana never goes anywhere without his trusty hat. Han never goes anywhere without his trusty space gun that shoots SPACE LASERS. Space. Lasers. Advantage: Han Solo. Indiana's motivations are research and knowledge. Han's motivations are money and getting into the pants of princesses. Advantage: Han Solo. Indiana Jones was played by Harrison Ford, while Han Solo was played by Harrison fucking Ford. Advantage: Han Solo. I rest my case."
The first phase of The Olive Garden's cyber rollout will introduce their Neverending Pneumatic Pasta Tube. This works on the same principal as bank drive-thru deposit tubes, but with unfrozen linguini and spaghetti.
Do you remember the crazy clothes and hair of the 1990s? Do you remember Crystal Pepsi and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles? Do you remember where you hid the box your mother gave you?
It's still okay to like Ben Stiller, guys.
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