I’ve Either Gone Mad... or Both!

Ever get the feeling that the entire universe is bullshitting you?

Let me clarify that a wee bit. Have you ever had a stretch of time where it seems that everywhere you turn, you see or read something so completely screwy and ridiculous that it feels like you’ve somehow wound up walking around in the mind of a really stoned comedy writer? With a sense of schadenfreude that’s jammed into overdrive? And borderline schizophrenia? And by “borderline,” I mean they’ve traversed the entire breadth of the schizophrenic dimension to the point where they’ve practically come out the other side into some other completely new and bizarre realm of dementia, and they’ve paused briefly at the border to take a picture, stop in at Stuckey’s, etc.

Yeah, I know. It’s a ridiculously bigheaded, narcissistic, and paranoid way of thinking. But I’m like that, so there you go. Plus — and I don’t think it’s possible for me to put too fine a point on this — the entire universe really is bullshitting me.

For instance, I was recently reading through some headlines on the ol’ Internet and came across the following:

Girl, 11, Faces DUI Charge After Chase

Uh … what?

So I read the article, found a few others (because I didn’t fucking believe the first one), and sure enough, there it was. A shit-faced little girl led police on a 100-mph chase in her parents’ Chevy Monte Carlo, ended up rolling the car, totaling it, and climbed out of the wreck barely scratched (but visibly reeling and staggering from more than just a bump on her head). Apparently she blew more than .08 on the breathalyzer, and claimed that she was on her way to pick up her sister at a concert.

Let’s pause and just allow that one to fully soak in for a moment, shall we?

My mind tried its damnedest to process this as something other than comedic fodder, believe me. But of course, it failed miserably. Yeah, yeah, I know I shouldn’t laugh uproariously at this sort of thing, but come on … what the hell else am I gonna do? Especially since this took place in Alabama. Oh, didn’t I mention that? Yeah … Alabama. So obviously I’m now stuck with this mental image of li’l 11-year-old Drunkie-Sue sitting around the double-wide with Uncle Dad and her Mom/sister, swilling mulberry squeezins out of a mason jar (with her own three little rugrats passing a be-nippled bottle of Wild Turkey back and forth while they crawl around on the floor watching the big purple singing dinosaur on the Flicker Box). Suddenly ol’ SisterMom lolls her head around and brays, "Drunkie-Sue, you gotta go pick up yer other sister at the Legends of Twang concert, ’cuz ahm so trashed ahm seein’ six of everythang. Car keys is hangin’ on the pig."

The pig, of course, is not ceramic. A Mack Sennett-style chase ensues, at the end of which the pig shuffles off, chastened, to his spot under the trailer. A victorious young Drunkie-Sue runs unsteadily to the car, keys in hand, and fishtails off down a gravel road and into the pages of Weird News history. And I, heartless sonofabitch that I am, am left to laugh my ass off at a swazzled 11-year-old rolling an automobile. It’s a damned good thing I don’t believe in Hell, ah tell yew whut.

So I pressed onward with my news headline perusal, figuring okay, if you look at a buncha headlines first thing in the morning, you’re gonna have a drunken 11-year-old Alabammy leadfoot or two in there. The law of averages practically guarantees it, right?

Okay, fine … So what’s with the restaurant employees slaughtering the friggin’ goat in the kitchen, then?

Let me back up for a second here. It seems that a group of employees at the Captain’s Galley seafood restaurant in China Grove, North Carolina (there’s your Elmer factor again), figured that it would be a good idea to close up one night and slaughter a goat right there in the restaurant’s kitchen. So that’s exactly what they did.

According to the director of the local health department, who was brought in to investigate the subsequent outbreak of E. coli that ended up killing an old lady who was apparently out for her weekly fish fingers and hush puppies, there was no evidence of any satanic ritual connected with the slaughtered goat. Well, now ain’t that a relief? Sure, a potentially deadly bacteria got served up to the buffet crowd, but at least no demons or other hellborn fiends were raised in the slaughtering of this here goat, y’all. Evidently Jethro and the Possum Clan wanted a change of cuisine from their usual pressed highway skunk in asphalt sauce, and just figured the goat would be good eatin’.

See, now I knew that my mind was starting to lose structural integrity when my initial, strongest reaction to this story was, “A goat? But it’s a seafood joint!”

That was just the sort of day it was shaping up to be, though. So I guess it really shouldn’t have surprised me all that much when I next read that a state senator from Florida — an outspokenly antigay Republican state representative, I might add — was arrested in a public restroom at a park for soliciting a male undercover police officer for oral sex. Apparently State Representative Bob “Family Values” Allen is so vehemently opposed to the gay lifestyle that he offered to give some random guy in a public toilet $20 to gobble the guy’s knob. (Yes, you read that correctly — Allen wanted to give the guy $20 and swallow his schnutz. And you thought there were no bargains left to be had in Florida!)

Now this strikes me as being somewhat akin to asking Mahatma Gandhi what he wants for his birthday and him responding, “Aw, don’t make a big fuss about it. Napalming a small farming village will do just fine. And maybe a nice card.” The thing is, though, I think we’re pretty used to hardcore antigay Republicans turning out to be closet queens by now, aren’t we? Seems like once a month or so another outspoken anti-queer crusader gets busted wearing a French maid’s outfit and funneling some random guy’s hog for him. The Allen story was funny, but it wasn’t overly bizarre.

Then Allen went and opened his big mouth, trying to deny the whole thing as merely a “Bizarro-World misunderstanding” — the problem being, of course, that he had a police officer saying that Allen had offered to give him $20 and blow him. And here’s a guy who was not only a “Family Values” Republican, but who had also recently sponsored a bill strengthening Florida’s laws against … wait for it … public sex, lewdness, and indecency! What to do, what to do? Well, in a desperate attempt to pull his fat out of the flames, Allen came up with an excuse that was, to put it kindly, just plain old full-on bugshit insane.

Asked why he had offered to perform oral sex on the arresting officer, Allen said of him, “This was a pretty stocky black guy, and there was nothing but other black guys around in the park, and, you know ...”

Uh … no, Representative Allen, I don’t quite know. Could you perhaps explain a little further without the shingles beginning to fly off of reality in bunches of three and four?

Quoth the Bobber: “I’m thinking, ’I’m about to be a statistic here.’”

Aha. Okay. So when confronted by a park full of big, scary black men (at least one of whom is a police officer, mind you), the reasonable reaction is to defuse the situation by offering to suck their cocks and give them each a Jackson? Funny how you never hear about that in self-defense classes, isn’t it? Well, I reckon that must be in the more advanced levels, like where they teach you how to rip out an opponent’s larynx with your pinkie finger and show it to him before he dies.

Somehow, though, I can’t quite see Bob Allen playing Patrick Swayze’s part in the movie Roadhouse, especially using his more fellatiatory approach to dealing with the bad guys. “It’s my way or the highway. Unless … well, hey, would you rather just have a blow job instead?”

By now I was feeling very much like I’d been sitting there taking a particularly robust morning dump whilst reading the Onion, and had strained so hard that when I opened my eyes and the flashes and sparkles had cleared from my field of vision, I had suddenly been transported straight to Onion Land itself and was standing there watching “President Bush Sending Troops to West Nile” and “Video Game Character Wondering Why Heartless God Always Chooses ’Continue’” as “Area Man Passes Joint to Complete Stranger” — for which I’m truly grateful, by the by.

In retrospect, I guess it was probably a mistake to turn to international news at this point.

Now, I think it’s high time that I admitted to something I’ve never come right out and said before: I’ve never been to Thailand. Y’know, life just gets in the way, you always think there’ll be time, and then suddenly you wake up one day with the reek of 40th birthday just beginning to waft in over the horizon at you … and you’ve never been to Thailand. This is my lot in life, and I take full responsibility for it.

Never having been to Thailand, I am nonetheless aware that there is a certain amount of police corruption over there. In fact I think it’s safe to say that “Get arrested in Thailand” is probably way down on my “To Do” list, right next to “Have a pineapple violently inserted into my rectum.” (But I repeat myself.)

Hello KittyHowever, in what is apparently a concerted effort to clean up the police department in Bangkok, Thai police chiefs have come up with a brand-new, cutting-edge punishment designed to strike fear into crooked police officers from one side of town to the other. Let’s go to the BBC for details

Police chiefs in the Thai capital, Bangkok, have come up with a new way of punishing officers who break the rules — an eye-catching Hello Kitty armband.

The armband is large, bright pink, and has a Hello Kitty motif with two hearts embroidered on it.

From today, officers who are late, park in the wrong place, or commit other minor transgressions will have to wear it for several days.

Ah, yes, the gloves are off.

The armband is designed to shame the wearer, police officials said.

“This is to help build discipline. We should not let small offences go unnoticed,” Police Colonel Pongpat Chayapan told Reuters news agency.

“Guilty officers will be made to wear the armbands in the office for a few days, with instructions not to disclose their offences. Let people guess what they have done,” he said.

See, now that’s how you clean up a corrupt police department. You force them to wear an insipid Japanese cartoon cat on their sleeve when they use the wrong parking space, and to really rub salt into the wound, you don’t even let them tell anyone what it is that they’re being punished for. Sure, that’ll whip ’em all into shape. What’s next, a “swear jar” at every precinct office? For chrissake, you’ll end up with cops committing ritual suicide all over Southeast Asia if you push them that hard. Let ’em save a little bit of face, anyway. Jesus!

I suppose, then, that if Rudy Giuliani could have stopped shopping for novelty dresses for five minutes and actually applied himself, maybe he’d have realized that rather than simply hauling New York’s homeless off to a Bayonne sausage-making plant for a brilliant-if-brief new career in knockwurst (or, for the more swarthy-skinned ones, Thuringer), he could have truly cleaned up the streets of New York by making Bernie Kerik and his band of merry men wear “Power-Puff Girls” T-shirts over their kevlar vests whenever they were late for a shift. This would have — and I think everyone in Bangkok will agree — created a “trickle-down” effect, whereby police officers would not only have stopped being late and cursing while on duty, but they’d also have stopped taking bribes and playing hit-man for mob bosses and jamming toilet plungers up suspects’ asses just for chuckles. The city would have been transformed way beyond what Rudy’s “Disney: Times Square” efforts were able to accomplish, wouldn’t you say? There would have been dancing in the streets, flags flying, bands playing, and all the lovely ladies would have had flowers in their hair — rather than cops’ dicks in their hands, because they wouldn’t have been forced to do that anymore.

So … with visions of drunken grade schoolers, goat-flavored fish sticks, city parks loaded with phalanxes of scary black men looking for fat, slow white men, and squads of weeping Asian cops with embarrassing cartoons on their sleeves (but also with rock-star parking out front) all dancing madly in my news-addled head, I went downstairs to the drug store for a bit of refreshment. Because, you see, my little headline safari in fact took place while I was at work, or as I like to call it, “Internet Time mit Paycheck Schmear.” (No, I’m not Jewish, but come on … Who doesn’t like a good ol’ bagel mit schmear?)

Minutes later, I was standing at the checkout counter with my bottle of orange Vitamin Water and my bag of cinnamon bagel chips (nicht mit schmear, unfortunately) when I happened to see a new candy display next to the cash register. As the little old lady at the head of the line tried at length to haggle with the checkout girl over the price of a two-dollar box of saltines, I took a closer look at the display. And that’s when I finally understood.

The universe was actively bullshitting me.

What I saw on that candy display was the most twisted, demented, mind-bogglingly fucked marketing campaign I can ever remember having even heard of before, and I simply refuse to believe that anything so cartoonishly unreal could be a naturally occurring phenomenon. My brain simply will not admit that data, let alone actually process it, without blowing a friggin’ mainspring.

The product being hawked was a Reese’s Peanut Butter and Banana Cup. The marketing gimmick? A display with a picture of Vegas-era fat Elvis, complete with high collar and rhinestones, and the slogan “Live Like The King.”

My colon damn near prolapsed right then and there.

All I could think of were those insane fucking sandwiches that Elvis apparently had for breakfast every morning toward the end. You know, the ones where he’d have his chef basically just hollow out a loaf of bread, fill it with peanut butter and bananas, cover it with butter, then fry it. And then Elvis would eat the whole … damned … thing.

Is it a true story? Who knows! We’re talking about a guy who managed to keel over and croak on the toilet at age 42 (due in no small part to the deleterious effects of a daily diet of gigantic friggin’ sandwiches), and yet who continues to this day to work at bait shops and Indian casinos across the country to the endless delight of his eminently sane and balanced fans. He’s a blarney-talking Irishman’s wet dream. Therefore, it was a whole loaf of bread stuffed with peanut butter and bananas. True story, whether it happened or not.

And this is now a sales pitch! For candy! I don’t know what magnificently sick bastard came up with it, or how in the name of Hell’s teeth they got it through marketing without red flags springing up like nine acres of meth-addicted prairie dogs. But somehow they managed to con the Reese’s people into advertising their peanut butter and banana cups using a dead celebrity who clogged his heart with gigantic peanut butter and banana sandwiches, and using the slogan “Live Like The King” to cap it all off.

Isn’t that kinda like if The Cheesecake Factory were to use Chris Farley’s image to sell pies in the shape of cocaine-encrusted hookers? With “Party Like Farley” as their slogan? “Mommy! Mommy! I want that one!”

So yeah, there are days when I’ve no doubt whatsoever in my mind that whoever writes the Grand Master Script for us all is specifically targeting my far-from-robust psychic defenses with a concentrated barrage of weapons-grade absurdity. That’s hardly news to anyone who’s read more than a couple of these screeds of mine, but still … it never gets any less fucking weird, no matter how many times it happens. And I swear, as the years pass, some twisted schmuck is ratcheting the throttle slowly yet inexorably forward.

And of course, now as I write this we’ve got yet another staunchly antigay Republican politician, a U.S. Senator this time, who has been busted for trying to solicit anonymous gay sex in a public restroom, and once again his excuse has my brain spinning like a god-damned pinwheel.

Evidently, there’s some sort of gay bathroom-sex Morse code of which I was up till now blissfully unaware, and the Senator in question, Larry Craig of Idaho, was tapping this code out with his foot whilst sitting in a stall in an airport restroom in Minneapolis. The man whose attention Craig was trying to attract was, naturally, an undercover police officer, who ended up arresting him. When asked why his foot brushed the foot of the man sitting in the stall next to him, Craig replied “I have a wide stance when I use the bathroom.”

Yes, because I think we all realize that to really take a good, thorough shit, you’ve got to do the splits whilst sitting on the crapper. As Jeebus is my fucking witness, I have known six-year-olds who lie far better than that while trying to get out of trouble for stealing cookies that they know their mother saw them take.

And here I sit, my brain wracked by wave after wave of déjà vu, wondering, as doth the aforementioned Video Game Character, why that heartless god above “Always Chooses ‘Continue.’”

No part of this publication may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted, in any form by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, or otherwise, without the prior written permission of the publisher.