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Thursday, October 1, 2009

Go Ahead, Young Man

In the years prior to capturing my worldwide fame, I sometimes found it necessary to seek employment in menial positions as a means to fund the research for my breakthrough biographical survey of Tumzu, the father of tabloid journalism, who lived in ancient Mesopotamia and revealed a homosexual relationship between the politician Gilgamesh and his "friend" Enkidu. My research even uncovered allegations of the pairs' involvement in the murder of the Bull of Heaven, although this claim remains unsubstantiated. As I conducted my research, before the book went on to become an international sensation catapulting me above all the literary giants throughout history, I became aware that there was much I did not know about other cultures, and this innate ability to understand my own failings, as miniscule as they may be, led me to seek part-time employment teaching ESL at the local community resource center.

Perhaps my greatest personal attribute, aside from my graciousness and humility, is my inherent desire to assist and enrich my fellow man, regardless how pathetic and unworthy he may be, and the most wonderful way to fulfill that desire is through sharing my vast wisdom and wealth of knowledge. Before I had even taught my first class, my heart was filled with a sense of pride and accomplishment.

When I walked into the office of the director of the center, a Mr. Parker, I was beginning to compose a mental narrative, describing the scene to my subconscious to be related to my later self when the time would inevitably come to record my autobiography.

"I parted the doors of the office like a messiah," I thought, entering the office, "come to share the joy of my word with the ignorant masses."

Mr. Parker sat behind his desk, fat and balding, wearing a bowtie and shirtsleeves. He resembled a mess I had once left on my table at Denny's. As he should, he stood when I entered.

"Mr. King," he said, extending his hand, "I'm glad you made it. I was afraid you had changed your mind. The students are all waiting in your classroom."

"He was a much smaller man than I," I thought, "and most likely had never known a woman's touch."

"Excuse me?" Mr. Parker said.

"Oh, um, nothing," I said, realizing I had been speaking aloud the entire time, "Please, call me sir."

"I'm sorry?" he said, "Did you ask me to call you sir?"

"Just a matter of propriety," I said, "no one uses my name."

"You do realize that I'm the boss," he went on, "you're not my boss."

"But you call a priest father," I reasoned, "even though he's not related. Please, show me to my classroom."

Obviously astounded by my simple logic, Parker led me down a dreary hallway to the classroom. Through a window in the door I was able to get my first glimpse at the students I would soon be sharing my genius with. I was immediately appalled.

"Look at that!" I snarled through gritted teeth, "They're all asleep at their desks!"

Horrified, Parker looked into the room, then back at me.

"What are you talking about?" he asked, "They look awake to me."

"Then why are their eyes closed?" I shouted.

Parker looked momentarily confused.

"They're Korean," he finally said.

"Forgive me," I said, "I don't watch much television. And never Star Trek."

Parker opened his mouth, but before he could speak I opened the door. The students all turned at once as I entered, Parker close behind me. It was now clear that the students had been awake the entire time. I turned to Parker and whispered.

"Is the lighting too bright in here?" He mumbled something incoherent so I decided to just begin the lesson. I took the student roll from Parker's hands. He seemed to have become suddenly ill.

"What the hell is this?" I whispered again to Parker. The list of names was non-sensical.

"Don't you have a spell-check?" I asked. It was becoming obvious to me that I was working for an incredibly incompetent organization. I decided then to simply wing it.

"Attention class," I announced, "Due to an administrative error, I was not provided with an accurate student roster. Therefore, I would like each of you to stand, state your name, and tell the class a little about yourselves."

I gestured to a young man on the front row to rise and waited for him to introduce himself, but he simply stood and looked around at the rest of the students, seemingly confused. I turned to look at Parker, wondering what was wrong, but he had turned ashen.

"Go ahead, young man," I said to the student, "we're all waiting." The student seemed frightened, then began speaking gibberish. I turned again to Parker.

"What the hell is this?" I demanded, "You didn't tell me I'd be teaching a bunch of near-sighted retards."

"The class is ESL!" Parker said, "English as a second language!"

"Perhaps these people should learn a first language before trying a second," I said, "Obviously I'm overqualified for this position."

Leaving Parker with the class, I departed the resource center, unable to fathom the dire straits in which this country's education system now found itself. And in that moment my life's purpose became clear. I would finish my research, I would publish my first masterpiece, I would nail a bunch of hot chicks, and I would spend my life in pursuit of the truth, of enlightenment, of additional wisdom, and I would use all my knowledge and power to open the minds of the long-neglected students of the world.

Monday, January 5, 2009

I'm Yoda

I have a dream...actually, I had a dream; it was horrible and terrifying. I was being chased through a darkened forest by a demon army of skeletal chihuahua and toy poodles, their empty eye-sockets spitting forth fiery tears, their mouths filled with tiny razor-sharp teeth agape and bellowing satanicly agonizing yips and growls. On the backs of the horde was carried a dark and imposing figure, her eyes flashing wildly, her maniacal laugh echoing through the trees, and her powerful arms drawing a leather whip across the backs of her hell-hounds. It was Oprah. I ran blindly into the darkness, my lungs burning hot, turning my head to see her gaining, her weave waving beyond her like serpents in the night. Suddenly I stumbled. Horrified, I curled into a ball and awaited death's sweet embrace.

"Sir!" It was K-Ro. "Wake up sir, you're having a bad dream." Ah, the relief at hearing the voice, seeing the face, and smelling the jalapeno tinged breath of my friend, and personal assistant. I had fallen asleep in front of my computer.

"You have cheese on your chin," I told him.

"I was eating nachos," K-Ro said, "You're wearing lip-stick."

"I was writing," I explained.

I had been toiling for the past week, trying to find the words to properly convey my latest piece. I was certain it was to be the greatest story ever written. But the creative process was maddening, the memories of the events still too clear. It was like trying to describe having sex with Rosie O'Donnell before she has even left the bed. The wounds were still too fresh.

"It's time for a break," K-Ro said, "Don't you know what tonight is?"

"Is Knight Rider on?" I asked.

"No, silly," he said, "It's New Year's Eve!"

The joy! The one day I look forward to above all others, and it could not have come at a better time. It would be just the respite I needed.

"Are the others coming?" I asked giddily.

"Of course." K-Ro replied.

It has become a tradition of sorts for a select few close friends and I to come together on the eve of each new year. We spend the evening engaging in polite conversation, boast of our accomplishments for the year and toast our continued successes. We also play Trivial Pursuit. When K-Ro informed me that my friends had arrived my mood had lightened considerably.

I entered the den to greet my guests and found them sitting comfortably enjoying their drinks and each others' company.

"Do we have a new butler?" I asked K-Ro.

"No sir," he said, "I invited President-Elect Obama to join us this year."

"Of course," I said, momentarily confused. "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. President-Elect."

"Call me Barack," he said.

"Of course," I said, "And have you met our other guests, Tom Cruise, George W. Bush, and Bill Clinton?"

"Yes, it is a pleasure to be here," he said.

Following our exchange of pleasantries, the five of us sat down and talked of the trials we each had faced during the previous year, of our successes and failures, and of our goals as we looked toward the coming year. We drank copious amounts of brandy, and as the hours passed the conversation turned to more personal topics.

"Tell me about Scientology," Bill said to Tom.

"Oh man, it's really cool," Tom said, "It's like Star Wars, in a way."

"Which Star Wars guy are you?" George asked, excited.

"I'm Obi Wan," he said, "but not the old one, the young one."

"Who am I?" Bill asked.

"Um, probably Han Solo," he said, then turning to Barack, "You're Lando."

"Uh, yes," said Barack, uncomfortably, "Does anyone have any thoughts on the problems with Mumbai?"

"I'm Yoda," I said.

"Is Mumbai the boy from The Jungle Book?" Tom asked.

"No, but they are both Indian," said Barack.

"Me and Jeb used to play Cowboys and Indians," George said, "I was always the Indian."

"Not that kind of Indian," Barack said.

"Yeah," Bill said, "not American Indian, Chinese-Indian."

"He would dress up in his boots and hat and I'd get drunk," George said.

The conversation went on well into the night, and as the clock approached midnight, I could feel the weight of the trials I had endured throughout the year give way to a certain hopefulness, and I knew that I was ready to face my task and begin work anew on the story that I was destined to write.

"Who wants to play Trivial Pursuit?" I asked.

"How about a drinking game?" George answered.


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