Unsent letter to McDonald's.

To Whom It May Concern:

I work an evening shift in a building close to your establishment. My lunch break is roughly between 6:30 and 7:30 PM, and I am often too lazy to get out of my car in the pursuit of food. This leaves with me with the option of either your restaurant or the Wendy's restaurant down the road. I am a firm believer in voting with my dollars, and I have previously decided not to vote for Wendy's anymore after not receiving what I had ordered. Fast food is not rocket science, and a competent manager should be able to find a workforce capable of such simple tasks as exchanging money in return for French fries. I regret to inform you that I will not be voting for your restaurant anymore, either. This saddens me, as it means I'll have to either get out of my car to acquire food during my lunch time, or I shall have to prepare it in advance. On the up side, I doubt anyone would argue that this is the healthier and tastier option for me. I believe it is in your interest to know why I shall no longer vote for your establishment with my money. Perhaps you can take action to remedy the problems with your restaurant so that others will not make the same choice that I have.

This evening, I went through the drive through at your restaurant. I originally intended to order a coffee, fries, and two apple pies, but on my way through I decided to get a chicken McNugget meal plus the apple pies. I ordered what I wanted, specifically requesting hot
mustard sauce, as I have noticed the sauce (and ketchup, for that matter) is never offered verbally anymore when I place an order. When I was handed the bag with my food in it, I asked for some ketchup for my fries, which was given to me. Upon leaving and opening my bag to consume my food, I discovered that not only had I not been given my fries, I had not been given my hot mustard sauce, either. I tried eating a chicken McNugget without the sauce, but I'm afraid they were rendered completely inedible (to my palette) by this omission. Essentially, I had been charged $5.41 for a medium coffee and two apple pies. This is simply unacceptable. If I'm eating at McDonald's, I don't expect the food to taste good, but I think it's reasonable to expect that I get what I have paid for.

Furthermore, your apparent policy of not giving out napkins unless specifically requested is ridiculous. I know you're trying to save money, but do you honestly believe people don't need napkins to go with a visibly greasy bag of food?

I want you to know that I don't normally complain about poor service, but I am hungry and angry right now, and I blame you. Perhaps you could do something to remedy your service situation in order to retain other customers.




"The guy who eats from the trash."

Where I work, there is a coffee stand near the vending machines. They sell a variety of caffeinated beverages, as well as stuff like bagels, cookies, soups, and sandwiches. I might think it was kind of awesome if I didn't work a late shift. When I'm at work, they're not open. I still have access to some of the food, though, and I get an incredible discount. At the end of their day, around the time I'm arriving at work, they throw much of the food in the trash. It's clean, it's wrapped, and I have no problem eating free food out of the garbage.

I have a dilemma, though: I don't want to be "the guy who eats from the trash." I used to pull bagels and such out more frequently, but I pretty much stopped when I got caught taking a cookie. Luckily, the dudes who saw me were a couple of construction guys, there for one night, and not anybody I work with. I hadn't taken anything out of the trash in a while, but since I still don't have access to my money, thanks to the bastards who robbed me, I went looking for a free sandwich today. There weren't any sandwiches, but there were some bagels, wrapped up in clear plastic wrap. I took one, and it was the freshest bagel I've eaten in a long time, much better than the ones my girlfriend buys in a bag at the grocery store.

I should have access to my money within a couple of days, but now that I've eaten that bagel, I have an appetite for more free food. I feel like it's something I'm going to start doing more frequently, because hey, free food. There's just something extra tasty about something for nothing. I'm just worried that now it's only a matter of time until I'm "the guy who eats from the trash."


Super Mario Bros. 3, all night long.

During the summer between fourth and fifth grade, I spent some time at my grandpa's house with my cousins. My Nintendo was there, I had Super Mario Brothers 3, and my cousins and I spent as much time as we could playing it. Our time was usually severely limited by my mom's insistence that we didn't spend too much time playing. She used to "hide" it in the cupboard where the cups and mugs were kept when we weren't supposed to be playing it. My oldest cousin, Dino, used to regale us with tales of spending entire nights, from dusk til dawn, playing Nintendo.

"Yeah, me and Ryan waited until everyone was asleep, and then we played Contra until the sun came up! It was awesome!"

One day we formulated a plan for us to experience such a night of pure bliss as he had described. We would wait until 2:00 AM, when the adults were soundly asleep, and we would silently move to the living room, where we would spend the entire night playing Super Mario Brothers 3.

When nightfall came, we went to bed, but we didn't sleep. We laid in our sleeping bags, awake and waiting for the right moment.

"Is it time yet?" I asked.

"No, we still have two hours and forty minutes. We have to wait until they're definitely asleep," my cousin said. He was the one with the clock, and the one with the plan. We trusted him, because he had done this before. I tried to lay there silently, every so often asking him if it was time.

And then, after much waiting, it was finally time.

The house was silent, and we slipped out of our sleeping bags and tiptoed into the living room, gleeful that we were about to spend the rest of the night gripping a plastic brick, mashing buttons, and making 8-bit pixels move across the screen. The ultimate goal was to defeat the evil Bowser, but the experience of the mission was more important than the final objective; Nintendo had to be played all night long.

The kitchen, and it's cupboard where the prize was held, was directly connected to the living room. We snuck to the cupboard and swung it open. Our hearts sank as we gazed upon shelves of mugs and cups, the Nintendo Entertainment System conspicuously missing. Somebody must have gotten wind of our plan.

Dejected, we went back to bed and fell asleep almost immediately.


Abortion kits.

About four or five years ago, I went grocery shopping with the girl I was living with at the time. We bought a lot of food, and when we walked back out to the car with it, we realized there wasn't enough room. She was working at a dry cleaners, and had taken a couple of boxes full of wire coat hangers that they apparently no longer needed. In retrospect, it's entirely possible that she had stolen them, because that was the kind of shady person she was, and she did actually end up getting fired for stealing from the register. Either way, the only way we were going to get the groceries to fit in the car was by ditching the boxes.

"Do you have a marker?" I asked. I had a plan.

"No," she said, "Why?"

"I need to write on these boxes."

"I have some lipstick," she said, pulling a tube out of her purse.

I took the tube of lipstick and scrawled ABORTION KITS on the boxes. We dropped them in the parking lot, loaded the groceries into the car, and left.

I'm a pretty pro-choice guy, but I thought writing ABORTION KITS on two boxes of wire coat hangers was hilarious, because it could be offensive to absolutely anyone.


Cable is Mexican for the F-word.

When I moved from the coast to the middle of the country when I was 10, I had to learn to adjust my way of speaking to match the local dialect. Slang that I had previously used frequently served only to confuse and bewilder my classmates, who also referred to soda as 'pop', as if they were all thirsty for a tall, refreshing glass of their dad.

When somebody did something particularly spiteful or mean, I would say, "That's cold blooded," but I always said that particular phrase with an accent that I had picked up from my cousins, who I had learned it from. To my new friends, it sounded as if I was saying "That's cah-blay." To this day, when I try to say the phrase like I used to, I can't really understand how they got cah-blay out of cold-blooded. If anything, it sounded like cole-bluht.

Since my entire fourth grade class consisted of compulsive liars, and since they couldn't understand what I was saying, one of my classmates took it upon himself to not only define it, but to inform the teacher about it as well.

"Paul keeps saying cah-blay," he said, loudly enough so that I could hear him, "and it's Mexican for the F-word."

The teacher knew he was completely full of shit, and made stuff up constantly, and I didn't get in any trouble, even though I kept saying it.


No, we broke up.

Josephine was my first official girlfriend. I met her on my bus in second grade. I was eight, and she was twelve.

"Oh, there's my boyfriend!" she said one day, pointing at a car driving behind the bus. I looked and it was an old dude, but I was 8, so everybody was an old dude to me.

"What's his name?" I asked.

"Jimmy. He's sooooooo cute," she swooned.

"I'm cuter than that," I said.

She turned and looked at me for a second.

"Yeah, you are."

I was just trying to be a smartass, so when she agreed with me I was too shocked to respond.

"Do you want to be my new boyfriend?" she asked.


"Do you think I have boobs?" she asked, grabbing the bottom of her shirt and pulling it down, stretching it against her torso. My eyes bulged, even though she had basically nothing to show.

"Yeah," I said.

For about a week after that, she sat with me on the bus. We'd hold hands, and she'd occasionally kiss my shoulder or my hand. I'd serenade her by rapping the lyrics to D.J. Jazzy Jeff and The Fresh Prince's classic hit, Parents Just Don't Understand, which I knew in it's entirety.

One day, I got on the bus and sat in the back, where we always sat. She got on a couple minutes later and sat in the front of the bus, with another guy. I kept peeking over the seat, wondering when she was going to come sit with me. Then I heard her talking to the bus driver.

"He's your boyfriend now?" he asked.

"Yeah," she said.

"I thought you were hooked up with Paul?"

"No," she said, "We broke up."

I don't think I ever spoke to her again.


Paul Jacobson tries to rip me off.

When I was 20, I did a short lived zine called undumb. It was filled mostly with the kind of stuff I write on this blog, except with more punk rock, and drawings to go with most of the stories. I only did two issues, the second of which made the MAXIMUMROCKNROLL top ten, which I thought was completely awesome even if my favorite songwriter ever didn't think so highly of the rag. Honestly, I never picked it up regularly, and I'm sure I would have been just as happy if I was mentioned on the third page of any magazine available at any decent bookstore.

I was lazy, so when I printed my zine, instead of just copying it myself, I'd drop it off at one of the closest office stores, which was still about half an hour away since I lived in the middle of nowhere. The first issue I dropped off and picked up with no problem, even though they didn't collate it like they were supposed to. The second issue I dropped off with no problem, but when I tried to pick it up, the asshole manager figured he could run a scam on me and steal some extra pocket money for himself.

I had been playing music with my friend Radical Ryan and a drummer who I had just met that day. When we got tired of playing, they came along with me to go pick up my zine.

When we went to the counter, the middle aged guy behind it ignored us for a minute before asking, "Can I help you?" I already had a feeling from his condescending tone and the looks he was giving us that he was going to be a douche. Radical Ryan was a pretty straight-laced looking dude, the drummer was wearing a shirt with the sleeves cut off that said something about punk rock, and I was wearing the usual glue in the hair, rounding out my ensemble with punk band logo patches safety-pinned to my clothes. The guy behind the counter wore a button-up shirt with a collar and a tie underneath his work-issue vest. His name tag said PAUL JACOBSON - MANAGER - COPY DEPARTMENT.

"Yeah, I need to pick up some copies," I said.

"I see. What company is it for?" he asked with a smirk, as if I could only be a jobless hooligan not working for anybody. I was, but there was no reason for him to be a dick about it. I had dropped them off under my name, but the originals had been in a folder with a software company logo on it. I told him they were for that company.

Paul Jacobson looked under the counter and found my copies. He brought out a calculator and did some math, and then told me my total. It was fifteen dollars higher than it had been the last time, and fifteen dollars higher than the total they gave me when I had dropped the new issue off.

"That's not right," I said, and told him how much it should be.

"Hmm...Let me see..." he said, punching in the numbers again, "No, no, I was right."

"That's not the price I paid last time for the exact number of copies, and that's not the price I was given when I dropped these off."

"So, you won't be taking the copies, then?"

"No, I will be taking them, but I'm taking them at the correct price."

"I can't let you take them for less than the price I gave you. That's store policy," he told me. He punched the numbers into the calculator again, shook his head, and gave me the high price.

"That's not right at all," I said.

"Well, here, you take the calculator and try it. I have other things to do."

He turned his back on us, and I typed the numbers. Sure enough, the price I came up with $15 less than the one he gave me. On a whim, I calculated what it would have cost me if I had the zine printed on bigger paper. It was the price Paul Jacobson gave me.

"This guy is trying to rip me off," I said.

"Yeah," Radical Ryan said, "He's busted."

Paul Jacobson ignored us for a few minutes and then finally came back to where we were standing.

"Did you figure it out?" he asked.

"Yeah," I said, "You've been trying to add it up as if I were using legal size, I'm using letter size paper."

"Oh," he said, barely trying to look surprised, "My mistake."

Even if Paul Jacobson wasn't a total condescending asshole to us the entire time, I'd still have an incredibly hard time buying the notion that the manager of the copy department would have made such a ridiculous mistake. He assumed that I was some dumb kid who wouldn't be able to know what he was up to, and he probably assumed I was going to pay in cash and that he would be able to pocket the money.


Hey, taco. Taaacooooooooo. Hey. Hey. Taacoooo.

Halfway through fourth grade, our class got a new kid. He was much bigger than myself, probably older, and had a mullet. His name was Mark, and on the rare occassion when he would actually show up to school, he would put his head down on his desk and sleep for most of the day. A few times he entertained the class by having crazy freak-out tantrums, throwing books and yelling, and teachers would have to sit on his back and restrain him. Every time he did that, we would all scoot backwards in our desks away from the action as we watched the chaos unfold. Once they got him restrained, another teacher would usually escort the rest of us to the library while they dealt with him.

Mark sat behind me when he came to school, and he gave me my first taste of good old fashioned Midwestern racism. He was also the first guy to demonstrate to me how racist people are idiots who can't tell one group of darkies from the next.

"Hey," he'd whisper. "Hey. Hey. Taaaaacooooo. Hey, taco. Taco! Taaaaaacccccoooooo!"

Sometimes this would go on all day long. Once, he even called me "refried beans," but it probably proved too difficult to say because he only said it once.

It was so bizarre to me, I didn't even realize he was trying to make fun of me, and I never responded. I guess if I had known, I could have told him I was half Filipino, but it probably just would have confused him. I'm sure he wouldn't have known to call me Lumpia instead of Taco.


Gerard stinks, pass it on.

During the summer between first and second grade, my parents had me enrolled in a daily summer program to get me out of the house. I had no friends there, and would eventually get kicked out when they took us to a second-rate amusement park where I spat at the llamas out of boredom.

Every morning, all the kids enrolled in the program would meet in a big gymnasium somewhere, and then would split off into different assigned groups to go do whatever it was we were doing that day. Each group had a couple of adults to make sure that we behaved and didn't wander off and die. One of our adults was a guy named Gerard.

One day, our group was on the city bus heading somewhere, and I saw the kids sitting across from me whispering to each other. One kid would whisper to whoever was sitting next to him, and then that person would whisper to whoever was sitting on their opposite side. I secretly wished that I had some friends, so that I would have somebody with whom to exchange secrets. As I was thinking about that, the kid next to me leaned over and whispered something in my ear.

"Gerard stinks, pass it on."

I laughed a little, but didn't yet understand the concept of passing it on, and didn't have anything against Gerard. The kid waited a minute and whispered it again. I failed to pass it on, so he waited another minute and whispered it once more. I suddenly understood the "pass it on" part, and I turned to the kid next to me and whispered.

"Gerard stinks, pass it on."

I must have whispered it loudly, because an old, grubby-looking guy with a beard who was riding the bus heard me.

"That's not nice," he said.


Going ape shit.

When I was really little, my family took a trip to the zoo. I'm pretty sure my cousins were there, and my sister, who is two years younger than myself, was still in a stroller.

As we walked around, we saw these guys ahead of us who kept running back and forth in front of one of the exhibits. They seemed like adults to me, but in retrospect they were probably teenagers. When we got closer, right in front of the exhibit where they were, I saw them making funny faces at the animals, which turned out to be chimpanzees. They ran away again, right as the chimps began throwing poop. We didn't know there was about to be ape shit thrown, so my sister's stroller got poop on it.


I ain't writing nothing.

Eighth grade was probably one of my most obnoxious years, likely in large part due to the fact that I had just transferred to a new school and immediately made friends with a bunch of real assholes. I used to get in trouble for stupid stuff all the time, like having a lighter in class for no reason (I didn't smoke), throwing bendy rubber action figures off of a balcony, vandalism, and just being a general disruption in class. The only time during the day when I wasn't an annoying little cretin was in English class. My teacher was a mean, angry old woman who seemed to despise kids, and everybody was terrified of her, including myself.

Mrs. Nancy absolutely hated me, and would consistently write that I was a disruption in class on every single report card. It was total bullshit, because I was scared of her and never made a sound in class. Her class was the only class that I would do all my homework in, because she had a policy of giving detention to everybody who missed an assignment, but I would still always end up with a D in her class. She graded my papers like a spiteful child, and gave me a D on absolutely everything I wrote, despite the fact that teachers before her and teachers after her had told me that I wrote well. She would mark points off for incredibly stupid things, like a person using a contraction in dialogue, or using "too many words." During peer-review sessions, some of my classmates work would strike me as semi-illiterate, but they didn't do nearly as badly as I did. She once even gave me an F on a final draft because she claimed I had written it in some sort of magical uneraseable blue pencil instead of a pen, even though it was completely obvious that it was written in ink.

One time we were reading a play in class, and she had us taking turns standing up and reading parts in front of the class. I had just finished reading a line when she interrupted the performance.

"How absolutely rude!" she said, scowling. She was looking directly at me. Another student later told me that I looked completely baffled, and I was, because I knew I hadn't done anything rude. She accused me of rolling my eyes, and sent me out into the hallway to copy pages from the dictionary for the rest of the class.

One of my asshole friends and I had a study hall directly before her class. We regularly caused disruptions in there and would have to be held after class, usually only for a minute or two of the five minute passing-period between class. On one occasion, we were held longer than five minutes for an extended lecture on being a decent human being, and then our teacher walked us to Mrs. Nancy's class so that we wouldn't need a hall pass or get marked as tardy, which was another thing Mrs. Nancy would have given us detention for.

When she brought us to class, everybody was taking a quiz, which had to be taken in pencil. I asked Mrs. Nancy if I could sharpen my pencil, because the one I had was brand new and thus couldn't be used.

"Absolutely not!" she hissed.

So I just sat there and didn't take my quiz.

"OK, you can sharpen your pencil," she said a few minutes later. "Actually, go out in the hall."

I went out into the hall, and she came out and told me I would have to write "I will remember to always be prepared for class" one hundred times and give them to her before school started the next day. She then let me go sharpen my pencil and take my quiz.

Having done nothing wrong to begin with, I didn't write the sentences. During study hall the next day, the secretary in the office announced over the intercom that I had to go the Mrs. Nancy's class.

"Do you have my sentences?" she asked when I got to her class.

"No," I said.

"Well, stand in front of the class and write them. Now."

"I ain't writing nothing," I said, angry and deliberately trying to inflame her grammar nerve. The class in session burst into laughter, which sent her flying into a rage.

"You think that's funny? You're all staying a minute after class!" she yelled. She looked me up and down with a disgusted look on her face. "You just stand there, then."

She walked to the back of the class where her desk was, and I sat down on the floor.

"I said stand!" she yelled.

"No, I think I'd rather sit," I said. The class laughed again.

"OK, that's two minutes after class! Paul, come with me!" she said, walking out into the hall. I followed her, and she got very close to my face.

"I don't know what you think you're doing. Are you trying to impress your friends?"

"No, I just didn't do anything wrong, so I'm not going to write those sentences."

"I have never seen such a display of insubordination!"

She brought me back into class, where I sat back down on the floor, and went to her desk and filled out a disciplinary referral. When she was finished, she gave it to me and sent me to the office.

When I got to the office, I gave them the referral, and then waited until the vice principal was ready to talk to me. When he called me into his office, I explained to him exactly what had happened and why I had behaved like that in her class. I was pretty confident I was going to get detention or Saturday school, which I was used to at the time. Instead, he told me to write the sentences, not so much as punishment for my original non-crime, but as punishment for making everyone laugh at the mean old lady.

By the end of high school, she was the head librarian instead of a teacher, but she continued to be a hateful old lady.


Fear of dogs.

When I was little and still lived in a big city, my family would spend occasional weekends four hours away, in the middle of nowhere. There were seemingly endless forests full of trails to explore, bugs to catch, and some decent kids to hang out with. The place was a paradise where I could ride around on my bike all day with my friends, and ride we did. In our travels, however, there was one place that we avoided. It was a house that contained something so horrifying that we didn't dare get too close. We would ride our bikes ten minutes out of the way to circumvent it, or, if we were in a really extreme hurry, we would race past it at top speed on our bikes, never looking back. The people who owned the house supposedly had a pet, the likes of which I had never seen, though I had heard the tales. According to legend, the golden retriever that lived there once almost ripped some guy's brother's leg off.

One time I was riding my kick scooter alone on a dirt trail through a forest. I stopped to pee on some bushes, and when I finished and turned around to get back on my scooter, I felt my stomach drop below my knees.

Standing next to the scooter was a dog.

I had never seen a golden retriever, so I didn't know if it was the monster dog, but I was generally scared enough of dogs by this point that I was shaking with fear. Knowing I had little chance of escaping on my scooter, I tried to remain calm and walk with the scooter between myself and the dog, using it as some kind of entirely useless shield. The dog followed me out of the forest, panting silently and glancing at me. By the time I got back to the street, I had figured out that the tail-wagging may not have been an act of aggression, and I decided to risk riding the scooter again. The dog didn't chase me, and as I rode away I felt incredibly relieved to have not been mauled.

Another time I was riding around with one of my friends, and we decided to explore a trail we had never taken before. It turned out to be a horrible mistake.

Shortly after embarking along the dirt path, a dog barked at us from one of the houses that the trail ran behind. We stopped for a moment, wondering if we should turn around. We decided to risk it and keep going.

A few minutes later, we were being barked at again. We kept riding, and soon more dogs were barking at us. It seemed like every house had a barking dog behind it. They were mostly fenced in behind chain-link fence, but they could obviously see us, and that was terrifying enough. What if they got loose? We stopped our bikes and feebly tried hiding behind them, but the dogs kept barking.

"Should we keep going or go back?" my friend asked, tears coming down his face.

"I don't know," I sobbed, "There are dogs both ways!"

We decided to keep moving forward, walking our bikes and trying to duck low to the ground, which slowed us down immensely and did absolutely nothing to curb the noise of the ferocious house pets. We were both scared out of our minds and crying, almost positive we were going to be eaten alive.

"I have to pee," I said.

"We have to get out of here!"

"I know," I cried, "but I really have to go!"

I tried to remain in my crouched position while I peed on a tree, my friend begging me in a panic to hurry up so we could continue our escape. Sometimes you really just have to go. I finished and we kept moving.

Eventually, we got to the street, hopped on our bikes, and rode away as fast as our legs would let us. We never took that trail again.

My fear of dogs subsided as I grew older, until I was about 20. I was at a friend's house, and another friend showed up with a pit bull. I was sitting on the floor, and the dog walked over and began sniffing me.

"Wow," my friend with the dog said, "He likes you. He doesn't like anybody."

The moment he was done saying that, the dog started growling at me, inches from my face. My friend pulled him away and took him into another room. I was a little shaken, as I had heard that if a pit bull bites you, they almost have to kill it to get it to let go. I stayed in the room where I was.

When I finally left the room, the dog saw me and ran at me. It jumped up and bit my arm. It bit softly enough that it may have been playing, but my friend ran over and pulled the dog off of me, yelling at it. I was going to hang out for a while, but I decided to leave instead.

Shortly after that, I went to a girl's house with one of my friends to pick up a drum set. Her family raised rottweilers, and they barked at us ferociously from their outdoor kennels as we walked to her door. I was shaken enough by the recent pit bull incident that I was a little freaked out by the big, loud dogs. When we went into her bedroom, she had another rottweiler standing on her bed, it's head level with mine for easy access to my jugular vein. She tried to convince me that she was a friendly dog and that I should pet her, but I just wanted to get the drums and get the fuck out of there as quickly as possible.

When I first met my girlfriend, her family had a pit bull that was so dangerous and mean that it had to be chained up all the time. It would bark and growl like a maniac at everybody who didn't live there, and would even come to her window to terrorize me when I was in her bedroom. That certainly didn't help improve my opinion of the breed.

To this day, rottweilers and pit bulls both freak me out to the point of looking like a complete wuss. If I see somebody walking one of these dogs, I walk the other way.


Go play on the freeway.

When I was about 8 years old, I took a horse riding class for city kids at the park. The class met every day for a couple weeks, and it was all kids roughly my age. There was one other boy, and the rest of the class consisted of girls. There was one red-haired girl who I instantly had a crush on, probably because she looked just like the girl from The Goonies.

Having always been a shy kid, I didn't talk to anybody for the first few days. I wanted to make friends with the other boy, because he was a dude and didn't seem to have any friends either. I wanted to talk to the red-haired girl, too, but I was too scared. A few days into the class, though, she came up to me with a group of her friends.

"Hey, kid," she said.

"Hi," I said.

"Is your name Bart?" she asked me.

"No," I said, "Paul." The fact that she called me Bart was noteworthy, because this was a couple years before The Simpsons was even on TV.


"Yeah," I said.

"Go play on the freeway," she told me.

"Yeah, go jump in a lake!" said another girl.

I remember thinking that the red-haired girl's comment was sort of clever in a mean way, but that the other girl's comment was just stupid in a mean way. I also remember thinking something along the lines of fuck this class, and fuck these bitches! I wandered off on my own for the rest of the day, and when my mom picked me up they told her that I had disappeared and that they couldn't find me. I didn't tell them why I had walked off, but they warned me not to do it again.

The dude and I became good friends for the duration of the class, because the girls were horrible bitches to him, too.


Kids stealing bikes.

Between fourth and fifth grade, I lived near a single mother with three filthy children. My siblings and I were somewhat afraid of the mother, because she could often be heard screaming obscenities at the top of her lungs early in the morning. I'll never forget riding my bike past their house one morning and hearing her scream, "I spent all fucking morning making that fucking oatmeal and you're going to fucking eat it!" like a completely crazy person. Her public persona was much more subdued, and she never screamed at any of us, and we often would hang out with her dirty, sticky children.

Early one morning we were sitting in the living room of our house, and heard somebody in the back yard. We pulled the curtain open and saw one of the dirty kids riding away on one of our bikes. We went outside and found that they had taken all three of our bikes, as well as our little kick scooter. We walked over to their house, where they had all of our bikes in their back yard. We assumed it to be a juvenile prank, but in retrospect, I wonder if they were thieves and were going to sell them. Their family were no strangers to being shady as hell, and once when their dad came to pick the kids up in his semi-truck, he ran over our mailbox. We didn't know who did it, but one of the kids later told me who it was.

I was also a bike thief during this period.

I only stole one bike, and I didn't actually intend to keep it for more than a few hours. I couldn't really bring it home without my parents wondering where the hell it came from.

There was another kid who lived near me, and we had decided to trade my kick scooter for his bike. Like so many bad business transactions that kids make, the deal fell through, and I decided I would just take his bike for a while. I planned on bringing it back to him later, but I had only had it for about an hour when the kid came back with his dad in his pickup truck. I didn't say anything, and neither did they, I just walked the bike to the truck, where they loaded it in and drove away.


"My bike is gone."

When I got home the other night, I noticed my girlfriend's bike parked in front of the garage, in plain view at the end of the driveway. I thought to myself, that seems like kind of a bad idea considering the two random weirdos in front of our house the other day . I figured she knew what she was doing, though, so I didn't bother moving it.

I guess I probably should have.

When I left for work the next day, I noticed the bike was gone, but I assumed she had moved it. Later in the evening, though, she sent me a message.

My bike is gone.

I suggested she partake in a Big Adventure, but she wasn't too interested in that. It sucks, if she's unwilling to go on a zany, cross-country adventure to find it, her only other real option is to get a new bike. You live, you learn, I guess. What unnerves me is the idea of somebody walking along the side of our house to reach the bike. I have to wonder if they saw the bike from the sidewalk, or if they spotted it while creeping around the house, looking for other shit to steal.

Early on in high school, our bus driver came up with some excuse not to pick up my sister and I at our house, instead picking us up where our road met another, busier road. It was about a quarter of a mile from our house to the bus stop, so we opted to ride bikes there, and hide them in a line of trees while we were at school.

On one particular day, my sister rode her bike and parked it in the trees, and for some reason (a flat tire, perhaps?) I walked. When we were approaching our bus stop, I saw a guy riding away on what appeared to be my sister's bike.

"Hey, that guy stole your bike," I said as we got off the bus.

"Shut up, no, he didn't," my sister said, completely incredulous.

When we reached the trees where the bike was supposed to be hidden, she realized I was right.

"My bike is gone!"

"Yeah, that's what I told you," I said flatly while she burst into tears.

We walked home and told our parents, who made us take a futile trip to the gas station on the corner to ask if they saw a guy ride by on a bike.

"No, sorry, we haven't seen any bikes."

Bike thieves are douche bags.


Fight the power!

When I was in 7th grade, controversy erupted at a nearby school. Some girls were being harassed by racist students who labeled them as "wiggers" because they wore baggy pants and braided their hair, and school officials were siding with the racists and saying that they weren't allowed to braid their hair. The ordeal made the news, and the girls even went on Montel to talk about what had happened. My math teacher, whose daughter went to the school in question, weighed in on the issue, seemingly siding with the racists.

"They went on TV and said they burnt a cross! That cross was on paper!" she ranted.

Years later, a neighbor would tell me that she was good friends with one of the "wigger" girls, and had witnessed things like a guy punching her in the face at school with no repercussions. At the time, however, all of my knowledge of what was going on came through the media and third-hand gossip. Regardless, it seemed clear to me that no matter what the circumstances were, even if the girls were awful bitches, there was no excuse for what was happening to them. I was entirely on their side. I signed a completely useless petition to "allow hair braiding in school," but I wanted to do something else to show my solidarity for the oppressed rural white girls. I let a couple of girls braid my hair. It was a sloppy job, but I was proud to stick it to The Man in such a manner, and chicks seemed to dig it.

On the day I braided my hair, I was sitting in computer class staring at the screen when I felt a tap on my shoulder. It was the computer teacher, a heavy set man whose glasses were sunk deep into his face and who always gave off a strong odor of rancid sweat.

"Have you been to the office yet?"

"No," I said, "Why?"

"You know why. Go to the office."

I got up and began walking out of class. When I got near the door, I turned around and raised my fist in the air.

"Fight the power!" I said, half-shouting.

"Hey!" called the teacher, but I had already turned and walked out the door. He chased me into the hallway and confronted me.

"What did you say?" he asked.

"Fight the power."

"Do your parents teach you stuff like that?"

"No," I said.

He shook his head and told me again to go to the office. On the way there, I passed the principal, who gave me a funny look and kept walking.

"Mr. Buxton told me to come to the office," I said to the desk lady when I got to the office.


"Because of my hair," I told her.

"Oh, have a seat."

I sat and waited for a while, and then the principal came in. He called me into his private office.

"What did you say when you were leaving Mr. Buxton's class?" he asked me.

"Fight the power."

"Well, that's the problem," he said, "If you hadn't have said that, I would let you keep your braids, but since you said that, you have to take them out."

I didn't believe him at the time, and I still don't. He wouldn't have let me keep the braids regardless of the circumstances, but my call to arms had provided him with a convenient excuse.

I took my braids out and went back to class.

I ended up going to that school the next year, and staying there until I graduated. During my stay, I got to experience the rampant racism first hand. I got called every racial slur imaginable, except for the applicable ones. I thought it was because the racists didn't want to make fun of my white half by calling me a honkey, and flip is too obscure of a term, but they called my Mexican friend a "sand nigger," so it was probably for another reason: racists are idiots. I also learned that the loud racists, the in-your-face "White power!" shouting kind, are also just complete assholes in general.


Blogs I'd like to see.

I'm a big fan of the NEXT BLOG button. I sometimes spend hours clicking it, looking for gold. I mostly only find garbage, but occasionally I get the good stuff. The cool thing about blogs is anybody in the world can make one, but the bad thing about blogs is anybody in the world can make one. There are such a ridiculous amount of possibilities, so I always have to wonder why I see the same stuff over and over. I gave it some thought, and I realized there are a few blogs I'd like to see, but I never do.

Maybe somebody can start a blog where they copy and paste a paragraph from an online news article, and then have a link to the same article. Maybe they can do this every day, for every news story. That would be awesome. That way, I wouldn't have to go directly to a news site, I could just check the blog, and then click on the links to the news.

Something similar could be done with YouTube videos. It could be exactly like a playlist on YouTube, except it could be a blog, so I wouldn't be limited to having one video per window. That would rock my socks so hard, because only idiots watch just one video at a time.

Or maybe somebody could start a political blog. I seriously have no idea why I never see these. I'm not easily swayed, but if there's one guy I can trust when it comes to the politics, it's some anonymous dude on the internet. Preferably one who swears. Politics + swearing = a great read. I know political people use the internet, too, so I'm sure a blog like this is bound to appear at some point.

I don't use MySpace, so it'd be nice if occasionally I could click NEXT BLOG and experience the world of illiterate attention whoredom through a blog with nothing to offer other than photos, surveys like "What kind of potato chip am I?", and informative essays like, "OMG jimmy iz sooo hott LOL BBQ!!!1!!!11" Maybe somebody can make some templates for these kids, so they can have really snazzy looking layouts completely devoid of content. Oh, oh, and password protection! That would be awesome if I clicked NEXT BLOG and since I didn't know the password I got sent to some other, non-blog site. It would make me feel like I was in a spy movie or something. It's a great idea, too, because it's important to make sure that no random people on the internet are able to read the survey you filled out listing your favorite soft drinks and hat size.

I've never been a religious guy, but maybe I would change my mind if I stumbled upon a blog that was nothing but entry after entry of thanks and praise to our Lord, the almighty Creator of everything. Maybe some damnation, too. If some person on the internet told me I was going to go to hell, I just might change my ways. Quotes from a holy book are good, too, because then I'll know it's definitely all got to be true.

Maybe somebody should start a blog that doesn't really have anything but a blurb about some random thing, and then links to places where you can buy said random thing. I bet if roughly half the blogs on the internet were like this, everybody who had one would be making a shit load of money. I know for a fact that every time I'm looking for a product to buy, I Google it, ignore the links at the top leading me to the product, and instead look for a blog entry that will lead me to those same sites. I've also been looking for a credit card lately, so it would be really nice if a blog would be kind enough to offer me one.

I know I've said some harsh things about celebrity news in the past, but maybe if it was in blog form I'd be interested. Sadly, I've never seen such a blog.

People should put porn on blogs, too. I mean, I can't get it absolutely anywhere else on the internet. It would be really good if it came up while I was clicking NEXT BLOG while at work.

Lastly, I think somebody should come up with an awesome little banner to stick in the corner that renders the NEXT BLOG button completely useless. Maybe it could say something like END DEATH or I SUPPORT CHILDREN, and then it would totally make a huge difference in the world.