5-24-07 Letters 3: Clipart Counterinsurgency
eKarjala has once again been assaulted by clipart, and my only recourse is to create another self-gratifying edition of the letters section. If you want to participate in the electronic-mail craze, consider writing me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I like to pretend that your message is delivered via electronic pony, and then I imagine petting the pony and feeding it oats. Soon it's time for the pony to leave, for there is much work to be done in the Electronic Pony Express of my imagination. Only with your email contributions will Ribbons return.
Lately I've been much better at directly responding to the emails I receive, even the crazy ones, which for some reason constitute 90% of them. The only emails I don't personally respond to are the negatives ones that consist of nothing more than bilious hatred. At these I roll my eyes and say, "Oh come on. Surely there is a better way to occupy your time than sending me nasty emails, mom." Incidentally, I stole all the clipart on this page from Microsoft Office 2003, which has assembled the most extraordinary collection of insane graphics I have ever seen. Here is a typical example:
On a related note, here are a few panels from my upcoming graphic novel, "The People Who Create Clipart Are Fucking Lunatics":
I'm sorry, but Ouija Boards can neither contact the spirit world nor reveal the secrets of your subconscious--they're not like Native Americans. I know your mother would have you believe otherwise, but mothers aren't exactly reliable, especially ones that have been alive since the '40s. Parents get less reliable as they age, and by the time they get to be a certain age they become completely incapable of adhering to that rigorous system of regulations I like to call reality. For example, I recently had a conversation with my dead great-grandmother's spirit via a Ouija Board, and she claimed I was going to be involved in a fatal car accident in the spring of 2008. Yeah right, great-grandmama--like you can magically predict the future. Why don't you go mess with one of your other great-grandchildren, you old nutcase.
Everybody has an evil alternate-dimension version of themselves, and you are mine. You concoct improbable tales of "marriage" and "having children" to distract me from trying to send you back from whence you came. I will let you stay here--if you agree to a truce. Think of all the money we could save sharing a Sam's Club membership, and all the tax fraud we could commit. Then we could purchase a two-seat bicycle and ride through the park, and people would marvel at the spectacle (I'm assuming we also look identical).
If there are other Eric Karjalas out there, they're apparently too stupid to use the internet, because I haven't run across any. Let this be a warning to them. If any of you Eric Karjala morons figure out how to use a computer and find yourself at this Letters page, close your browser window, turn off your computer, and go back to your job selling candy on the subway.
Don't worry, those feelings go away once you meet me and discover that I'm actually quite rude. That may not convey very well over the internet, but sometimes in my personal life I can be downright vicious, creating puddles of tears wherever I go. I have burned so many bridges in my life that it's almost impossible for others to access the remote island that is my heart.
This separation allows me to feel distant and emotionally detached, a vantage point from which I'm free to act tough and invulnerable. I'm conscious of all this, though, and so my game plan is to benefit from it by attempting to come off as one of those assholes who actually has a lovable and emotionally-sensitive interior, if you could only got to know me. But actually, once you do get by the layer of asshole, there's only more asshole inside. Few people know, however, that once you get by this second layer of asshole, I'm actually a genuine caring soul. Then after that layer there's more asshole. Then after that layer is my true interior, which is an 1840s gold prospector.
If you have difficulty figuring out simple dot-to-dots, try to fathom the following piece of clipart:
Honestly, they don't really try to explain this. It is impossible to conceive of something more random than this. Maybe this was created with the best of intentions, but I've spent the last twenty minutes trying to assign meaning to this image. My best guess is that it's some sort of impossible-to-follow map.
Mitch Hedberg was hilarious. Here is my arbitrary list of the top five greatest Hedberg lines:
5. On a traffic light red means stop, yellow means slow down, and green means go. But on a banana it's the opposite. Green means hold on, yellow means go ahead and red means, "Where the fuck did you get that banana at?”
4. I have a cheese shredder at home. That's a positive name for a cheese shredder. They don't call it by its negative name, because nobody would buy it: "sponge-ruiner."
3. I like an escalator, man, 'cause an escalator can never break. It can only become stairs. There would never be an "Escalator Temporarily Out of Order" sign, only "Escalator Temporarily Stairs. Sorry for the Convenience."
2. I got a business card, 'cause I want to win some lunches. That's what my business card says: "Mitch Hedberg, potential lunch winner. Call me some time, maybe we'll have lunch... If I'm lucky!"
1. Everytime I go to a craft fair I see a jar of jelly beans that says "Guess how many jelly beans are in the jar, and you win a prize?" C'mon man, let me just have some. I tell you what, you guess how many I want. If you said a handful, you are right.
My heart literally goes out to you (expect a cooler to arrive in the mail shortly). Both you and your son seem very courageous--I barely have the fortitude to read about the Iraq war in the newspaper. That why the only war I'm involved with is the war on poverty, in which I'm fighting for the side of poverty.
There're a lot of people who say we shouldn't criticize a president during a time of war, but let me ask that these people to stop being assholes for a minute. Isn't apathy a greater transgression than thoughtful dissent? Or even, as in the case of my election recap, non-thoughtful dissent? It's too early to determine whether Bush is the worst president in the history of America--that will take decades of spirited debate. But it's never too early to condemn Bush's rigid ideologies for making us weaker internationally, for being catastrophic to the sciences and the environment, for retarding the progress of civil rights, and for creating an administration particularly rent by cronyism and uniquely incapable of responding to disasters. In the last seven years Bush has exceeded our wildest expectations, even those expectations stated as a joke. Even Eeyore from Winnie-the-Poo is surprised at how shitty this presidency turned out to be.
Here’s a related piece of animated clipart from Microsoft Word which depicts Bush when he was in little league:
If I recall correctly, that was a three-day obligation at a hotel consisting of didactic lectures by former alcoholics, some guy who'd lost his leg in a drunk driving accident, and other such carnival acts. It was kind of like what I imagine an AA meeting would be like, only it were three days long and nobody was there voluntarily. I was probably the youngest person in attendance, and definitely the least qualified. When I had to tell my enchanting story of driving back from Canada at age 19 with a .03 BAC, which is equivalent to less than a beer, the main lecturer, who told us she used to have a hole in her nose from snorting too much cocaine, said, "Oh. Well. You shouldn't really be here." Then I helped myself to a paper cup of coffee and enjoyed another two days of lectures.
It wasn't like they locked us inside the hotel, but if you weren't there for the lectures they would report that to the courts. I think they threatened to do random room checks at night, but the lecturers didn't seem too serious about that. In fact they mostly seemed critical of the court system and the totalitarian excesses of the police force, but maybe they were just trying to win over the alcoholics. Anyway, I personally had no desire to sneak out of the hotel--what the hell are you going to do in Midland, Michigan? Watch the highway? There is probably a higher percentage of drunks living in Midland than there were at that Driver Intervention Program.
Those sorts of court-mandated programs are kind of expensive, and I imagine there's very little overhead on their end. I don't know where all the money's going, but it sounds like an attractive business model. You start a drunk-driving program, have the courts force people into attending, round up some semi-recovered drunks to give lectures, track down some uncomfortable folding chairs, brew some shitty coffee, and then sit back and enjoy all your free money.
One night--and this is completely true--I got in an argument at Denny's with the neighboring table about how bears shouldn't be on the state flag of California, and these people reacted like I'd insulted their family. They kept saying, "No, no, haven't you been to California? There are bears there." Big deal, there are bears in every state. There are so many bears in Alaska, for example, that every time you return home you have to chase two or three bears out with your broom. Then you try to go to sleep, and what should you find in your bed? A litter of newly-born bear cubs.
Meanwhile, I'd already read Marisa's email, so I tried to tell these people at Denny's the true facts. Marisa's link states, in summation, that the California flag was the result of a mistake in which a miscommunication caused the bear to appear on the flag rather than what was originally intended--a pear. A simple, delicious pear, an object which never hurt anybody nor stolen a single picnic basket. At this they scoffed and berated me, and the tension was palpable for the duration of my late-night snack of shitty pancakes.
To this day I refuse to salute the California flag, and instead I weep. I weep for those delusional Denny's patrons, I weep for all the California universities and their misguided bear mascots, and most of all I weep for the mighty Californian pear, and for all the glory it could have enjoyed.
That's exactly the problem with Wickensworth--he just sits there, never laughing. Oh, he has his own little jokes sometimes, but they're never funny. For example, he's been making that "I shot the sheriff" reference for about a month, and it's getting old. Sometimes you can catch Max from the Conan show laughing a bit if the camera catches him unawares, but never Wickensworth. Why don't you laugh, Wickensworth? He finds absolutely nothing amusing with this website, and plus he's so peculiar that most people who visit this website for the first time are turned off when they see him. And imagine potential employers Googling my name and being led to this webpage and that ridiculous owl staring out from the top.
You don't think I can delete you, Wickensworth? I can delete you, man. Yeah, keep staring then, keep holding your quiver. You don't think I'll delete you, but I've got my finger on the trigger, man, you're living in my world. Yeah, you and you're little computer, your little suit. You think you're so untouchable, man. You and your cute little suit. Where do you even buy a suit like that? Such a funny little suit. You're so adorable, Wickensworth, it's not fair. I love you so much, Wickensworth.
Here is a piece of clipart that best expresses my conflicting feelings about Wickensworth:
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