The State Of My       Fat Ass       
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until he mentioned the county and the sheriff's name. I'm afraid you're gonna have to serve the time, one of his moles sadly informed him. The sheriff had a reputation.

What the fuck?!

During one of these crazed calls somebody mentioned that the county is reimbursed $113 per prisoner, per night, and that is why they're so adamant that everyone serve their time. He decided he'd make one last effort to get out of his newly-minted nightmare, called back the sheriff and offered to write him a check for $226.

"Son, you're marching on mighty thin ice," he said, then proceeded to lecture him on the seriousness of attempting to bribe a law officer. He made it clear that he didn't much care for the man from Ohio, and wouldn't hesitate to make things much worse for him.

So, the following weekend he had his brother drive him deep into West Virginia, and turned himself over to the Wayne County authorities, and two fabulous days in an orange jumpsuit amongst gasoline-huffing hillbilly criminals.

Immediately they made him an orderly, and he got to deliver meals to killers, and tried his best not to allow his shaking hands to splash gravy on men who may have recently set their mothers on fire. He never slept and shared a cell with a man who needed to fight somebody. He said that the only person there who was even mildly friendly to him, including the guards, was a double murderer. He was a very pleasant fellow, he reported.

Can you imagine anything worse? I've been pulled over many times for various expiration issues; before Toney whipped me into shape I wasn't too good with small details like paperwork and the paying of fees and the like.

One morning in Atlanta I was ticketed for the perfect trifecta, like the poor bastard above, and I thought the cop was going to remove his revolver and shoot me in the chest. He was absolutely livid. He seemed to take everything personally, like I'd just honked his wife's breasts, and threatened to impound my car and take my sorry ass to the Jefferson Street Jail (wherever that is). He kept calling me "boy." "Step out of the car, boy." "What the fuck's wrong with you, boy?" "Boy, if there weren't so many people around, I'd kick your ugly ass." My body was emitting a full smorgasbord of liquids.

So, it could've been me. I could've been the one passing out meals in jail, like a stewardess on Bludgeon Airlines. I've walked the halls of the Jefferson Street Jail in my nightmares, and I make damn sure my paperwork is constantly in order. 

I've been scared straight.

-- I wonder if I could talk that Wayne County sheriff into paying this ball-baby bitch a visit? Jeez. Far be it for me to criticize a fellow sarcastic prick, but at least try to be funny about it. Banjoes? Moonshine? Come on dude, you're phoning it in; that's Love Boat humor. Also, have you ever heard of Salman Rushdie? You guys might want to think about becoming roommates. You're screwing with the wrong group of people. Did you notice all those blue and gold WV stickers on all the cars while you were there? There's a very good chance an Appalachian jihad has already been called on your ass.

-- Every time I write one of these updates I let Toney read it before I upload it, mostly out of a sense of superstition; it's just the way it's always been done. Generally she walks out of the bunker, shrugs her shoulders, and says, "It's pretty good." That's usually the level of criticism and advice I receive from her. But a couple of weeks ago she voiced some concern about a paragraph I wrote about the Great White fire tragedy. She suggested I cut it, and I did. Since it feels like enough time has now passed, and since The Onion is making fun of it, here's the offending paragraph:

The tiny Michael O'Donoghue inside my head sees the band members hanging out in a bar late last month saying, "Well, we stole all of Ian Hunter's best songs and that didn't work out too well, what say we burn up a bunch of our fans?" How much you wanna bet their CD catalog is flying off the shelves right now? I also see Kip Winger sitting in a Motel 6 outside Knoxville, or somewhere terrible, mumbling to himself, "Brilliant. Simply brilliant..."

I don't think it's all that bad, but I guess it would've been in bad taste to publish it while the bodies were still smoldering, huh?

-- Long-time readers of this site know that I absolutely hate the way it looks. I did it myself (obviously) several years ago, when I knew even less than I do now. I've toyed with paying a professional to re-design it, but I'm concerned it'll end up looking like the website of a regional medical center in the suburbs of Lincoln, Nebraska or something. I don't want it to be dull and ordinary and corporate, and all that bad stuff. Plus, I don't really want to part with four hundred bucks to get it done. That money could be better spent on Lay's cheddar chips, Tasty Kakes, and cases of Yuengling lager. So I'm thinking about trying to do it myself. My ineptitude will guard against the bad bad slickness, and it will cost nothing. Here's what I have so far. Any ideas or suggestions? I'm at your mercy. I'm nothing more than a fat man in Scranton with a box full of tools I don't know how to use -- I'm like a dairy cow with a table saw here. Help me out, people.

-- I just realized yesterday that I've never had any visitors from the Axis of Evil. What gives? Maybe if I do this: WHOLESALE PLUTONIUM. There, that should do it.

-- I've thrown in the towel on the New Jersey radio personalities who used my comedy material to further their careers. I've officially moved on. They gambled on my short attention span, and hit the jackpot. Screw it.

-- After Rocky sent me his list of insane asylum Reasons for Admission, I did a little research on the hospital and found this shiny ball of fucked-upness. Extremely strange. I need to see this in person, and will. I have it penciled in for early June.

-- Mark your calendars for this momentous event. If I had friends I'd get them all together, buy some beers, and take in the show. Sometime I pretend I have friends, and I have a lot of fun.

-- Ski had friends.

-- Finally, can you tell the difference between porn stars and dictators? How about meat and accidents? I can't either.

I'll see ya on Monday, so to speak. I've got to tell you about my trip to the eye doctor, and how they basically told me I'd better start shopping for a trainable dog now. 

Have a great weekend, folks.

March 3, 2003

A few more things:

-- I need a little help. Remember the radio station in New Jersey I told you about that used the Wal-Mart Game as the basis for several hours of on-air fun and frivolity a couple of weeks ago? Well, I need some help in convincing them to let loose with a tape or a transcript of the show. Any ideas on how I might do that? Are there any legal buzzwords or insider insinuations I might drop? They've been almost completely unresponsive to me and have reportedly even been a bit hostile towards a member of my extended network of liars, spies, and backstabbers. I'm not a big fan of that sort of thing.

I've sent several emails to the station, including a couple to the program director, but have only received a dismissive one-sentence reply, telling me they don't make tapes available to the public. After that heartfelt response, they've now taken to simply ignoring me. I also called there a couple of times but have apparently been put on the same list as the middle-aged woman who shares an apartment with twenty-seven cats, collects Strawberry Shortcake paraphernalia, and devotes a big chunk of her life to ripping various radio stations a new one by phone.

I'm also hearing freaky rumors that the entire staff has been warned not to talk to anyone about "the Wal-Mart show." All inquiries are supposed to go straight to the top. And when I went to the station's online forum to ask if any of the listeners might have a tape, I saw that it had been abruptly taken down -- the whole forum! What in the pan-fried hell is going on here?

I'm not out to make trouble for these people, I just want to hear what they had to say about something I wrote. Is that so outlandishly wild? Is that a reason to treat me like a man wearing a suit of turds?

Maybe it doesn't have a thing to do with me and they're just afraid of Wal-Mart and their Big-Assed Arkansas Law Posse? Maybe that's all it is? They're certainly acting like they're trying to pretend it never happened. I don't know, and don't really care, I just want a frickin' tape.

Please don't screw around with them, and bombard them with email or anything like that; this is not The O'Reilly Factor. Advice is all I'm soliciting here. I don't want them to shut down the station and tear down the building -- they seem a bit overly paranoid. I just want to crack open a Yuengling and enjoy the show.

Goddamn.

-- Today is 03-03-03. You know what that means, right? This is the day the numbers say will be the culmination of a slow ascension of Mars into the residence of Espn, and dragons will lie down with unicorns. The number three, of course, means "oversized red hat" and the consistently spaced zeroes indicate that it's a good day to stay inside and eat relish and vegetable-based jellies. Obviously we're in a very brittle place and caution is advised. No reason to get nutty with it, but you may want to consider wearing a seven-buttoned shirt today and at least eight ounces of silver. The eyelash of a Negro boy-child in your left shoe might not be a bad idea either. Be careful out there!

-- Toney and I went back to PetSmart yesterday and saw something that disturbed me greatly. It was in a fish tank, with water, but I've never seen any kind of fish like it in my life. It looked like a parrot, or some other type of exotic bird, submerged in water. Is that possible? I'm almost certain it had feathers and a beak, but it was inside a twenty-gallon aquarium. I was going to say it was swimming inside the aquarium, but that's not exactly true. It was big and weighty and was just kinda suspended in there. I'd never seen feathers and claws on a fish before, and it made me uneasy. Do you think the PetSmart people, under pressure to keep providing new and unusual pets, are creating bizarre animal mutations at their home laboratory? I haven't felt like this since I saw The Amazing Rooster Boy at a traveling circus when I was twelve.

-- On Saturday we took advantage of yet another gray, overcast northeastern Pennsylvania day and did some more used-car browsing. Soon, I promise, I'm gonna get off the pot and buy something already. I'm slowly transforming into my grandparents on my mother's side. Everything they ever bought in their lives, above the price of thirty dollars or so, was agonized over until everyone around them were daydreaming about suicide. But it's not something you can just jump into, know what I'm sayin'? You can't be foolish just to avoid being a bore. I think Chris Farley said that.

Anyway, we went to a big car lot near our house, and had the quintessential Scranton experience. Sometimes, in this town, I feel like we're on Candid Camera and Allen Funt is going to run out from behind a partition at any minute, and give us a big hug.

We were poking around the lot, checking out their extensive collection of used Blazers, expecting to see a salesman come sprinting out of the building, smiling and thrusting his right hand at us. But even after we began lingering around a particular vehicle, nobody came to help us. The prices aren't posted and I actually wanted to see a salesman. We stood there and waited, then waited some more. And the place wasn't exactly teeming with customers; it appeared we were the only people there.

I told Toney I refused to go into the building. They'd come to us, by God, or we'd leave. After about five minutes though, we abandoned the Kay Doctrine and made our way inside. It was a nice-looking Blazer with low miles, we could take a stand on something later. Screw it.

There was a guy in there, kicked back behind a desk, watching TV and drinking coffee from a white Styrofoam cup, warm and toasty inside his little deserted showroom. Was it possible he hadn't noticed us hanging out for the past fifteen minutes? I mean, what the hell?

I asked him for the price of that maroon '99 Blazer they had out there, and he answered with one of the more amazing statements I've heard to date. "The prices are listed in the newspaper," he said. It's like something out of Monty Python. I told him I didn't have a newspaper handy and since we were there and everything, could he just tell us the price?

"Oh, you don't want that one," he said, "it's too expensive."

The fuck?

He proceeded to explain that it would be much smarter to buy a 2001 or 2002 model; we'd get more bang for the buck, he said. He went on to tell us why this would be so, but it just turned into a haystack of words that could not be scaled or comprehended. Finally I asked him, just for shits and giggles, if I could get the price on the '99 Blazer anyway, and the man actually rolled his eyes and walked off in a huff.

Every other place I've lived in my life car salesmen will practically throw themselves on the hood of your car if you so much as slow down while driving past their lot. But this place is not like every other place I've lived in my life. They sincerely couldn't give two shits whether you buy a car or wax your dolphin.

Where's that partition?

-- Speaking of getting off the pot, is this so-called war with Iraq ever going to happen? Sweet Maria. I'm so sick of hearing about it I actually watched the John Ritter Biography last night to try to escape. Nearly every TV show, radio program, and newspaper article is devoted to the subject. It's making me crazy; we're way past the point of saturation. I may personally board a plane and bitch-slap the next person on TV I hear utter the phrase, "America's rush to war." Rush, my ass. It feels like we've been talking about this shit since ninth grade.

I saw a bunch of college students in Baghdad on the news the other day ranting and raving about America. I might not have it exactly right, but one guy said something along the lines of, "Did it ever occur to you people that we might prefer to live under a brutal murderous dictator with a black black soul? Stay out of our affairs!" Hey, at least he was sticking up for his country.  You wouldn't find much of that on American college campuses.

I can't take it anymore.

-- In addition to the John Ritter documentary, we also watched two episodes of Trading Spaces Saturday night. Where else do you get the chance to see sleep-deprived people snapping at each other to "just shut up and sew?" And on what other TV show are you likely to see a flamboyantly gay Asian man drop to his knees, point to the ceiling and shriek, "Oh God, the crown molding. Look at the fantastic crown molding!" It simply doesn't get any better than Trading Spaces. And check this out: Amy Wynn, the tight-shirted power-tool wielding carpenter turned sex symbol, will be making a personal appearance at a Scranton mall in about two weeks. Oh, I am so there.

-- I came across this on Friday and it got me to thinking that maybe I should take this site in a whole different direction? What do you think? Some ideas are so pure and ingenious, they just leave you in a state of awe.

-- Finally, here are a couple of things you're gonna enjoy...

Chris from Boone has agreed to document his years spent working at a Bob Evans restaurant in West Virginia for us. I've heard a few of his stories and they're simply excellent. The first installment of his mini-series of debauchery is here.

And Rocky from the Insane Asylum came across some documents at his job that he thought I might appreciate, and was absolutely correct. Do yourself a favor and check out the Reasons for Admission.  They're even better than the Incident Report.

And that is all for today. I'm officially burned out. See ya later.

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