Archive for May, 2011


code name: human garbage

Like most people, I was pretty disappointed to learn that hell existed, and even more disappointed to learn that I had been sentenced to eternal torment there. Yeah, God, sorry I lost my job and had to pay for my kids’ school clothes by selling fake “pregnant teenager’s underwear” in Ziploc bags on ebay. Anyway, it was terrible down there. They’d torture us all day, then horribly, we magically awoke every morning with our bodies made whole again (save for the fact that we were always so weak from hunger). Which was weird, because it’s not like we were getting restful sleep, either. We’re talking about a place where they would keep you awake with paper cuts for days until you could recite word-for-word the “P.P.S.” section of the breakup letter from your eighth grade girlfriend that you kept until you went to college. They could fact check that shit too, because Satan made Pol Pot and John Holmes drag over the comprehensive human memory database that God left sitting on His curb the morning after Judgment Day. Also, apparently God is so rich that He can afford to just dump a perfectly good glowing crystal cube into the street? Jesus, that guy.

Trust me, getting impaled onto a stalagmite every morning is every bit as awful as you would imagine. And while it was something of a surprise to discover that the only aquatic body in hell was not a lake of fire as had been extensively reported, but a river of blood, we were still left without many thirst-slaking options, save for the occasional demon urine, served only from the tap, if you get what I’m saying (on a side note, it never got old to see newbies take a demon up on its offer, only to discover that demon urine is like 80% ammonia, and has very little hydratic value).

Finally, we got fed up. Not only were all the sandwiches ferociously guarded by the hellbeasts for whom the term “hellbeasts” was practically invented, but the whispers about several high-profile misfires by management grew impossible to ignore. Now, I don’t want to judge the guy, and I’m sure a lot of this can be attributed to the stress of running the day-to-day operations of hell, but Satan was really kind of difficult to approach as his policies grew increasingly out of touch, and he responded to our modest request of more than one cable service provider with overwhelming brutality. Bad move, though, trying to crush a citizenry known for its willingness to disobey the rules to get what they want, especially one which contains in its numbers tons of convicted felons and every member of a motorcycle gang that has ever lived. We outlasted the devil and his minions in a long, bloody war that only ended because a team of Wall Street bankers chronically mismanaged Satan’s financial assets, leaving him unable to afford the expensive diamond tips for his pitchfork that kept us trembling in fear for all those millenia. And that’s where the real work of rebuilding hell began. Not gonna even make a stupid lazy montage joke here; you get it.

Sure, it’s not perfect. For example, three hundred years later, we still haven’t completely gotten the brimstone smell out of our clothes. And for a place is literally crawling with huge pervos and slutbags, there’s really not much sex down here. I mean, hardly anyone’s dicks still work anymore after having had them ripped off, then sewn on again the next morning, only to be ripped off again that afternoon, day after day after day ad fucking nauseam. Hell’s not heaven, not by any stretch of the imagination. For one thing, it’s still pretty ugly; one problem of everyone living in what is essentially a really complex series of caves is that a lot of decorating options are eliminated right off as a possibility. Plus, there are a lot of jerks down here, you know? And that’s sort of the point: unlike those saps in heaven whose existences have been free of trouble for so long they’ve forgotten what they’re singing about, we appreciate what we’ve got. You have not experienced the full range of emotions available to humans until you have laughed, cried, and vomited live hornets simultaneously like we all did at one time or another, and having suffered together has bonded us despite our many differences. We’re packed like sardines down here nowadays, piling onto subways every morning to go to work, we can hear our neighbors doing the dishes on the other side of a shared wall, strangers at diners who don’t know how to mind their own business butt into our conversations about the playoffs. Every day’s a huge pain in the ass because we’re all just trying to get by, maybe set aside enough to quit paying our landlord’s mortgage and buy a place one day; but if you’re not struggling, are you even existing?


hell is where da partii at

I assume you’ve all read the secret paperwork informing you that you have been selected for consideration to be our department’s next generation of undercover jumpstreet cops. Before we begin, I should say that this assignment is not for everyone, and that not all of you will make it. Those who choose to accept this serious responsibility will find the work thankless and at times, humiliating. Those who decline will find work in other areas of law enforcement, where street ruffians will likely make fun of you for having a baby face. Of course, you all learned in the academy that the best way to handle that problem is to give those punks a “taze-te” of their own medicine, if you get my drift. Oh, and don’t use that line, either; that’s mine.

Under your seat, you will find a packet containing instructions for how to blend in, as well as a few accessories to help you pass as a teenage ne’er-do-well in today’s world. I urge you to all please trim all ear and nose hair to acceptable levels before putting in the piercings that come with your disguises. Now, your first day of class, you’re going to want to set a tone early. Let the other kids know that you’re a bad mamma jamma who’s looking to ruffle a few feathers. A lot of new kids get called to the front of the class to introduce themselves, and one quick way to make an impression is to use bad language. Remember, you don’t want to disrespect the teachers and principals we’re partnering with, so if you’re gonna use the word “fuck”, make sure you stop just shy of fully pronouncing the “k”. Ramble incoherently about your troubled home life, which is ruled over by your domineering “old man” and the myriad ways he is always ” hassling” you. And another thing, you don’t want to give away your age by appearing too smart, especially in history class. Just lean back at your desk and buuild your credibility with the hoodlums in the back of the classroom when you sneer, “who the fuc is Walter Mondale?”

Once you’ve established your place in the pecking order, then you’ll be ready to infiltrate the dangerous gang and drug culture that permeates every high school in this country. Spend your lunch period in the boys’ bathroom, and when the delinquents barge in to slick back their hair and sneak drags off cigarettes pilfered from their stepdads, pull a vial of chalk dust out of your fanny pack and ask them if they know where the real party is. Important: if any of them asks you if you’re a cop, tell them no, so you don’t blow your cover. Then put on the headphones of your department-provided Walkman and say,”later, losers.” That will accomplish two things. First, by employing the sophisticated mind game known as reverse psychology, you’ll send the signal that you’re an alpha male who’s not to be crossed. The other objective is that the Walkman is actually a super sensitive microphone with which you can eavesdrop on those young philistines’ conversations. But be careful, because the powerful range of the microphone has been known to occasionally make its user insane from being able to hear the deafening sounds of people’s hair growing.

All right, ladies and gentlemen, get out there and do what we hired you for. Each of you was chosen not just for your adult acne, but for your finely tuned mind; not only for your sparse moustache, but for the nose for crime located directly above it. Oh, before I forget: if the opportunity arises, another way to build rapport with the wrong crowd is to get Saturday detention, then tell one of the school’s jocks not to call you a wasteoid, and that yes, that you are gonna blaze up in here (don’t actually blaze up in there, though, as that would mean incriminating yourself, and would probably constitute entrapment or something, especially if you somehow got the jock, geek, princess, and basketcase to partake with you). Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’ll be spending the rest of the week inside this booth made of three-inch-thick bulletproof glass, seeing as how I’ve got three days till retirement.


honey, would it kill you to hail satan once in a while?

Welcome to the latest in our company’s monthly leadership seminars, Advanced Conflict Mediation techniques. Today, we’re going to equip you with the tools you need to take that conflict, pull a pillowcase over its head, and bludgeon it to death with the nearest fire extinguisher.

As a supervisor, you should always adhere to and serve a clearly outlined, dark, nefarious agenda. A workplace full of united co-workers could easily stage a bloody coup against you, so it is critical to play one side against the other at all times. Many workplace conflicts stem from disputes over community property, such as radios or the break room refrigerator. When people are compelled to share space, it’s only natural that a little friction could occur. Use this to your advantage by arriving early to steal office supplies from your workers’ desks, then cackle with delight as aspersion automatically falls upon your office’s few ethnic minorities.  Remember, a good supervisor is equal parts farsighted leader, trusted confidant, and manipulative puppet master.

If you are ever forced to confront a problem head-on, dazzle your subordinates with some middle management communication techniques, like turning any noun into a verb. By verbing them, you’ll already have the upper hand! Also, don’t paint yourself into a corner by making commitments of any kind: always talk in circles to diffuse responsibility to multiple mid-level employees, so that you’re never left holding the bag if things go wrong. When all else fails, just roll your eyes and give a “we’re trying to build a file on her” nod in the direction of that lady who you’re starting to suspect only wears shoes to work to conceal the track marks between her toes.

At the root of every workplace disagreement is a solution that can be reached when everyone compromises a little. For example, over the years I have paid hundreds of dollars in overdue fines at my local library, which entitles me to stop by every morning to bathe at the sink in their sparkling public restrooms after a night of restful sleep in my car. And in conclusion, if that troubled loner who keeps dumping heavy black garbage bags in the office dumpster after hours ever begins physically assaulting a vending machine, it may be wise to let the two settle their differences without managerial interference. By keeping to himself and never bothering anyone all these years, clearly he’s earned a little goodwill, am I right?


all she left me to remember her by was a cloud of dust in her approximate shape

Oddly specific things that your surname says about you:

Wangstrom: Mighty warrior. You share qualities with many of history’s greatest leaders, the most valuable of which being total insulation from accountability. (Gaelic)

Von Frohlminghamn: Wise one. Your prescience will likely be displayed again in your latest bold endeavor, buying 5000 shares of seventies bush because it’s poised for a monster comeback. (Latvian)

Porrbee: Pure of heart. Your trustworthy reputation means that those you come into contact with never question your motives, and you graciously extend them the same courtesy. Which is why your neighbor knew he could count on you when he needed to use your yard to store a huge pile of lumber he’s hiding a piece of wood from the true cross in. (Fond du Lacese)

Klai’iven: Craggy cliff face over a river of molten lava. You would rather commit suicide on the battlefield than dishonor your ancestors by being captured by your enemy. (Klingon)

Tamponian: Beautiful child. Your good looks allow you to easily attract lovers who will tolerate your many weird sexual idiosyncrasies. PS- Nobody thinks you’re accidentally leaving your socks on every time. (Maori)

Dlahlvik: Man of strength. Man, the only thing strong about you is the smell! ZING! (Peloponnesian)

May 2011
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