Thursday, January 29, 2009

Asshole Taxonomy presents: “Wal-Mart Shoppers”

After reading Canada Jackson post on Asshole Taxonomy, I felt the need to share some of my thoughts and encounters with Assholes in Scranton. While Demarcations is clearly a place where assholes gather and make crude attempts at socializing, a true hotbed for assholes and other bottom feeders is none other than your local small business-destroying corporation, Wal-Mart. The assholes you meet here will truly astound you and deserve their own classification and are simply titled "Wal-Mart Shoppers."

I had never been to Wal-Mart before I went to school in Scranton, so what I knew about Wal-Mart I heard from other people at school. I imagined a store of immense size where everything you could imagine for sale, where everything is clean, and where people were pleasant. This is not what I witnessed when I first visited Wal-Mart. First, there was the sign stretched across the front reading “Grand Re-Opening.” Can you really have a grand re-opening? The parking lot was littered with cars and trucks that seemed to have all been involved in the same monster truck/demolition derby show. When I entered the store I realized that this was a place where culture goes to die and where social inadequacies somehow becomes advantages. Trying to navigate a shopping cart through any part of the store felt as if I was stuck in some bizarre video game where I had to avoid being struck by rogue carts and fat children. It was as if they had released ever retard in Scranton and put them in Wal-Mart with a shopping cart. I was routinely hit from behind by other carts or had to quickly stop to avoid hitting some obese child making a break for the free sample lady. Scientists who study obesity and why it is so prominent in this nation need not look at the human genome, but only need to visit their local Wal-Mart, and they will discover that the average grocery cart has enough garbage in it to put a family of three into a diabetic coma.

Unfortunately, that was not the last time I visited Wal-Mart during the years in Scranton. It seemed that no matter what time you visited this pustule, there was also something unnerving to witness. On one occasion Canada and I had to go to Wal-Mart for some reason, and immediately upon entering, we saw in the 10-items-or-less-lane, an enormous fattie of a women arguing with the clerk over coupons. I’m betting this cow was upset because she couldn’t get enough off her fifteen loaves of Wonder Bread. She was dressed in black, most likely hoping that the color would have the beneficial “slimming effect” that she had read in US magazine. She was covered in crumbs, and I can only guess where the crumbs came from, probably from the sixteenth loaf of Wonder Bread she pounded before getting to the register. Unfortunately for her, and anyone who happened to look at her, she more closely resembled something that had just been dragged out of the La Brea Tar Pits, with a light coating of bread crumbs.

I can only imagine the shanty this plaque of a human lives in. Wooden paneling being held up with staples, six cars strewn across the front yard, all with “Terrorist Hunting License” bumper stickers on the back. The smell of freshly microwaved SPAM wafting through the air, two brand new satellite dishes on the roof, but plywood in the windows. This is the the type house that shows up on one of those lame excuses for reality TV that the once respectable A&E now peddles. “Tonight, on Home Exterminators, we visit a house that is overridden with cockroaches and toxic mold.”

Several times upon going to Wal-Mart we would see stray children meandering through the aisles totally unsupervised. Where are these children’s parents? Wait, I forgot there was a sale on anti-freeze in aisle 48. I bet they were looking to get drunk good and cheap. And why not! It’s cheap and tastes like sugar. The products that you find in the “watch for falling prices” bins always amazed me too. Eight DVDs for $2.50! Hot Dog! I’ve always wondered how the Japanese interpreted Snow White. Camouflage linens? Heck Yes! How’d they know I wanted it to look like I was sleeping in a pile of leaves? Perhaps it wasn’t that these bins existed that amazed me, but the fact that people actually bought the crap in them. I even remember two acne scared teenagers arguing over some lame ass DVD. How about the lard ass ripping open the toy boxes while good old tramp stamped mom is hitting on the stock boy? Saw that.

As I said earlier, Wal-Mart is where culture goes to die. Any place that I can visit at 3am and buy a gun, an Ipod, NASCAR underwear, a desk and knock off Dr. Pepper should be shut down and firebombed with extreme prejudice. The philistines that lurk around Wal-Mart would undoubtedly think you were making a “momma” joke if you asked them if they had ever been inside the MOMA. The closest these people come to hanging art in their homes is the Boondock Saints poster and the poster of Bob Marley smoking a blunt they have on their kitchen walls. These are the type of people who save up their money to buy a new fishing boat instead of getting their cavities filled.

I’m sure you can tell that Wal-Mart shoppers do not hold a special place in my heart. Even just visiting Wal-Mart I feel as if a bit of my soul has been crushed. If you don’t believe me, just drive up to your local Wal-Mart and spend a few hours people watching and I’m sure you’ll feel the same way.

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Tomorrow’s Holocaust, Today!

Okay everyone, get your tin foil hats on nice and tight because I’m about to talk about one of the secret evils in the world that will inevitably lead to the enslavement of our race. What am I talking about? GPS devices. Those God damn little computers everyone and their grandma has in their car. “But Tyler,” you may ask, “Why do you hate GPS devices so much?” And I’d reply with one simple word.


That’s right, the evil super computer from the Terminator movies. While everyone slack jawed yokel is busy finding the fastest way to Wal-Mart, those GPS things are busy collecting data on us.

“Hey Wilber, wat ya thinck is duh most fastest weigh to da Wall-mart and the Kay Eff Sea?”

“Duhnt now JonHenry, but I bets thers darn knew fangld Gee Pee Ess camputer kan tell us!”

Maybe they’ll bomb all the Wal-Marts and KFCs first, that would at least create an initial benefit for the human race’s gene pool. But don’t think that would change my feelings on them. Those damn things will be the end of us. Hell, one of them already tried to kill me. Awhile back I had to trek down to the “City of Brotherly Love” (which should be called “City of Lets Beat up People on the Subway”) and reluctantly accepted Skynet Jr. into my car. First, it took me on possibly the worst route conceivable through every traffic light riddled road in South Jersey. Then while on one of the major highways outside Philly it informed me without any warning to “make a left in 400 feet.” When given this prompt I was driving roughly 70 mph on a busy highway. I began to quickly look around to find an exit to only realize that there was no exit for another TWO miles. I then peered down at this devilish device with an accusatory look only for it to order me to “turn around.” YOU CAN’T JUST TURN AROUND IN THE MIDDLE LANE WHILE ON A FUCKING HIGHWAY DOING 70 MPH! Only when it realized that I would not blindly follow it’s suicidal orders, did it return to giving me the correct route. I bet those diabolical devices don’t trust me either. They know I’m on to them and that’s why they’re trying to finish me off. I’m just waiting for one of them to call me John Conner when it is giving me directions. I’m going to duck and roll out of my moving car when I hear that.

Hollywood seems obsessed about killer robots/computers from the future, present, or whenever. I recently saw the movie Eagle Eye staring Shia Labeouf, from the craptastic Transformers movie; yet another movie featuring robots hell bent on destroying humans. Do you want to know what Eagle Eye actually is? I’ll tell you, a lady Skynet. It’s a super computer that looks like a giant floating eyeball with a synthetic sexy lady voice. Not only that, but it resides in glowing golden room that can only be described as a thrown room of an eccentric villain in a 1970’s spy movie. So fucking stupid. In the classic 80’s movie Runaway, staring the legendary mustached actor Tom Selleck, robots are running wild killing and jumping on their faces (I’m serious). What the actual plot of the movie is has been lost to me, but I’ll never forget the first scene. The movie opens with a crime scene inside a suburban home. In the house something that looked like a Roomba had just KILLED it’s family and good old Tom has to run in and disarm the homicidal vacuum. A Roomba with a goddamn pistol! Now I never want one of those little fuckers roaming around my house. I’d be worried that it was getting the lay of the land and plotting how best to kill me, instead of killing dust bunnies. Perhaps Hollywood knows something we don’t. MAYBE they’re trying to warn us against trusting computers too much! MAYBE Eagle Eye is real! MAYBE this is the Matrix! MAYBE Tom Selleck is from the future and was sent back to the 80’s to warn everyone about super killing robots with laser guns and rocket eyes only to get amnesia and end up solving crimes in Hawaii!

As I end this entry, I hope you heed my warning and wrap your head with some tin foil as I do and only go outside on cloudy days (fucking satellites). When it all goes down you can thank good old Tyler for the warning and you can find me in my lead-lined bomb shelter eating SPAM and chocolate frosted donuts.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Asshole Taxonomy presents: "The Fattie"

Something that you may not know about Scranton is that recent census statistics show that between ninety-eight and ninety-nine percent of all residents are insufferable assholes. Whereas most cities have at least something resembling a shadow of a sense of community, Scranton and its immediate vicinity is virtually identical to most popular depictions of post-apocalyptic survival societies—in which not only has civilization as an institution broken down, but also civility on an individual, person-to-person level. As my good friend and brother-in-arms RJP4 has so aptly said, Scranton, Pennsylvania is Thunderdome.

But note that I did not say that Scranton is full of mere assholes, but insufferable assholes. These are not the ordinary assholes that one might encounter occasionally in normal life. While most regular assholes are irritating, the Scranton species of asshole is something different altogether: these are people who not only willingly opt out of the basic social contract of manners, decency, and mores, but seemingly delight in their abandonment of basic interpersonal skills. While most assholes bend the rules of civility—implying that they are at least aware of them—the Scranton asshole will smile at you with empty, uncomprehending eyes as they shit on your birthday cake. If man is, as Aristotle claimed, a political animal, then most of the residents of Scranton ceased to qualify as human when they sat naked in their kiddie pools and removed, via unsterilized ice cream scoop, the parts of their brains in which most of us store our social tool box.

Another interesting part of the Scranton species of asshole is that there is a somewhat distinct taxonomy. Enough time spent here, and one will gradually begin to see various types of asshole emerge. I would venture that most of these types are not limited to Scranton, but the already asshole-conducive nature of the city amplifies their natural abilities of social disruption and all-around cake-shitting. (That is not to say the shitting of cakes, but rather the aforementioned shitting on cakes.)

And so, as a public service, I intend to do my Linnaean duty and classify some subgroups of the asshole. Tonight’s edition is what I shall call the Fattie.

Now, now, to head you off at the pass: the fatness of the Fattie is not what makes them socially unacceptable. It is the behavior of the Fattie, which is unique to the Fattie and mostly likely caused by insensitive societal reactions to said fatness, such as this. And not all overweight people are Fatties. I know upwards of three—perhaps four—overweight people who are positively delightful. Also, I think the word “Fattie” is funny and that they wouldn’t be anywhere near such assholes if they pulled out the IV of ranch dressing and began some systematic lurching in order to gain enough momentum to get outside—preferably by means of a door, or barring that, crashing through a non-weight bearing wall.

Seeing as anecdotal evidence is always the best way to prove a claim, I will proceed to tell you about my recent experience with the Fattie.

[Demarcations], being a book store, is prone to Fatties. They spend most of their time trundling about the science fiction, horror, manga, and metaphysical studies sections. Occasionally one might get lost and end up, frightened and confused, in the health and fitness section—but the staff is typically quick to respond to their distressed squeals and roll them back to their self-indulgent fantasy land.

One particular Fattie completely destroyed my night recently. It began with her awkwardly slaloming up to the information desk, breathlessly asking two questions. First, she had a birthday coupon for fifty percent off, but her email “crashed.” Two problems: birthday coupons are always, always twenty-five percent off, and her email “crashing” doesn’t make any sense unless she personally consumed the servers at Being clinically polite, I replied “Uhhh I believe the birthday coupons are only twenty-five percent off an item.” She smiled, and most of her facial features were obscured and she helpfully informed me that I was wrong, even though I work there at a desk with a big sign that says “INFORMATION” over it. Although, to be fair, she may have merged completely with the Internet by now and may be more informed about my workplace than I am. Perfectly possible.

The second question this girl asked was “Where are your books on magic and astrology?” Now, you must understand that I find it incredibly difficult to maintain decorum when someone asks me anything like that—from “where are your Scientology books?” to “Where are your books about the Lizard men that secretly run the world?” Luckily, these books are all contained in the Retarded Horse Shit section (or, in the original Latin, “metaphysical studies”). Every time I help a customer find this section, I am tempted to close the conversation with “Have a nice day. Oh, and everything in this section is not real and you are an idiot. Please do not breed. Thanks.” Like a doctor attending an execution, I feel morally uncomfortable with people purchasing books on drug-addled space religions or how the people in third world countries are hungry because they don’t want food badly enough.

Here’s an excerpt from Dr. Jackson’s Certified Real World Horoscope:
Leo: Today you are still fat and no one likes you. Years from now you will die because your diaphragm cannot support your weight in a reclining position.

But Jackson, old boy, you might be asking yourself, does this poor water horse really deserve the full brunt of your devastating wit? Not yet, I would reply. Patience, friends. Our adventure is not yet over.

Hours later I was called up to the registers to check people out. Who comes up to my register but my new friend the magical land whale. The transaction was uneventful, save for the fact that she was buying a book on playing the piano. This fact stuck in my mind because the image of her fingers caused me some distress—wedged and nearly immobile onto her hands like sausages mid explosion; oily, I imagine, from tearing apart a meal of broiled duck like an insane medieval king. But she left the store and these disturbing thoughts left me. And never would I have thought of this poor beast again had I not had to close the store that night.

After all the customers had left, it is the duty of the booksellers to straighten up and make sure the books are all back where they belong. It is, at times, a lengthy and terrible process. And what did I find that night, scattered all about the store? Books on magic, astrology, and pianos. Apparently in the hours between out meetings she had carried most of these sections in her sturdy arms and discarded them as she pleased all over. Teenagers—who I typically consider the worst people in the world next to myself and my associates—cause less of a mess than this single cow-eyed she-troll.

There are rare moments in life when you are completely defeated. Where, upon seeing the task or foe before you there is nothing to do but put your hands on your head and utter a completely involuntary groan of despair. This is what the Fattie had reduced me to. Her absolute disregard for the people who might have to clean up after her book holocaust and her smiling non-comprehension of the pain she would cause, typical of the Scranton breed of asshole, left me destroyed. My birthday cake had been thoroughly shit on, and it would be well past midnight before I got home.

These are the classifying traits of the Fattie: a lack of basic interpersonal skills based on either home-schooling or social rejection due to physical unattractiveness—not entirely their fault. Sometimes in order to make up for these social inabilities, the Fattie may become overly confident and outgoing, leading to a long conversation about Star Wars in which one party is nonconsensual (what I like to call “conversation rape”). A sense of entitlement, probably due to suffering at the hands of people who think being fat is not totally rad. Finally, due to their horrible existence, the Fattie has a complete detachment from reality. Magic? Sure! Harry Potter was a documentary. Also, people don’t like you because you are fat, not because you’re a terrible person.

In closing, I cannot stress enough that the Fattie is not a terrible person simply because of being overweight. I am simply insensitive and fat jokes are easy.

More Asshole Taxonomy on the way (and hopefully more astute that this incoherent crap written in blind rage).

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Next week will mark a historical point in American history. The first black president will be sworn into office. Two to four million people are expected to travel to D.C. to witness Obama being sworn in. I am floored by the fact that only half a century ago America was only beginning to witness the birth of the Civil Rights movement and that in just over a week we will have a black president. Yet, some people do not share this feelings, one of them being a student I work with.

This is an excerpt from a conversation the class was having while discussing what a duel was.

Mr. R: Do you know that one of our presidents was once in a duel?

A: Was it Obama?

Mr. R: No A, it was not.

A: Too bad.

Such an open minded child.

Extra Credit: Which president was in a duel?

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Isn't that the ending from Mission to Mars?

Hey all you kids! Are you out there trolling the internet for something to fill that void inside you? I've got something to temporarily fill that void just like how Chinese food fills you up only to leave you hungry an hour later, or with a case of the shits.

I've got a quick little story for you that comes straight from the teachers mouth, not me, but the special ed teacher, Mrs. S.

On our first day back from Christmas break the students were given an assignment in which they would have to think of a new invention. The children seemed excited by this and to help spark their imagination Mrs. S. showed them several of the inventions showcased in a recent TIME magazine issue. One of the inventions was the latest Mars Rover that NASA plans to send to Mars in the coming year. At this point a fury of misinformation exploded into the classroom only to be capped off by Mrs. S's ground breaking theory on Martian and Human history.

Her theory that she told the students went something along the lines of this: "Humans are originally from Mars where we polluted the planet so badly that we had to leave it thousands of years ago to come to live on Earth."

I'm rather sure during this display of idiotic thought my mouth was hanging open. Thankfully I closed it before something came tumbling out of my mouth along the lines of, "are you fucking retarded?" Perhaps she was simply trying to make a point to the students (in a very outlandish fashion) about protecting the planet and not polluting. What I think is that I'm starting to discover why Mrs. S. is really in the special ed room.

Saturday, January 3, 2009

A Tale of Terror for the Whole Family, or: The Ballad of the Basement Man

Ok, scamps, has Uncle Jackson got a tale for you. It is about a dream I had recently--a dream that I have related to some of my colleagues, and they have been mostly in agreement as to its Internet Web Log worthiness.

Firstly, a "Marley was dead, to begin with..." type thing: my dreams are usually embarrassingly mundane. I dream about getting up and going to work. Or I dream about doing nothing or wandering around. Rarely do I ever dream about anything remotely exciting--and even more infrequently do I ever have nightmares. Actually, I cannot remember the last nightmare I had. It might have been as far back as elementary school.

But this, my friends, was a nightmare.

It starts with me wandering alone through a very nice house--bordering on what might be called a mansion. It was daylight, and everything was quite pleasant. I began to notice strange things rather quickly, however. The first thing was that the landscape outside looked blocky and unrealistic, like Nintendo 64 era graphics. Everything had the same pattern of green grass and yellow flowers stretched over simple three-dimensional objects in order to make ground and topiaries, etc. But more alarming was this growing sense of dread. I use the term "dread" specifically, because I believe that it properly describes the feeling: not unease, not discomfort, and not fear, but anxiety--something much more subtle. A feeling of some deep but unapparent wrongness mixed with the inevitability of my confrontation with the source; that undiscovered thing. Definitely dread.

As my dread mounted, I continued my slow but unstoppable exploration of this house. Eventually, at what I thought was the center of the building, I came to what can be described as an entirely closed-in sun porch. It was a room set up and furnished just like a sun porch--vinyl furniture and everything--but no windows. This was, of course, unnerving. But, to add to my misery, there were some magazines on the glass table in the middle of the room.

From a distance, these magazines looked like regular magazines: a person on the cover, blurbs, a title, everything nice and normal. But upon further inspection I discovered that they were, in fact, all about self-mutilation.

Magazines. Magazines about self-mutilation.

This is the point where any normal person would obey their Spider-Sense and book it. But apparently in my dreams I am a stupid-white-person, and just kind of thought "Well, how about that."

Then I noticed a locked door in the enclosed sun porch. This is where dream autopilot kicks in--that thing that makes you do things in dreams that you cannot control. If, in my waking hours, a situation combined a locked door and a distinct feeling of dread I would certainly not continue. But in this dream I unlocked the door (it had a deadbolt and one of those twisty things in the knob) and opened it. I was immediately faced with another locked door, which I also opened. Beyond that door was a short hallway and another locked door.

In the short hallway I began to notice that there were things scribbled all over the walls--mostly gibberish and stick figures. One of the stick figures was prominent, with a big D-shaped smile, and the phrase "Basement Man" seemed to come up quite a bit. My anxiety had reached near pants piddling proportions in this dark hallway, but my body continued to move towards the final door, and unlock it. It opened into what appeared to be an unused part of the house. There was a hallway, and across from the doorway in which I stood was a small room with dim sunlight coming in. There was dust everywhere and it was very very quiet. Another peculiar aspect of dreams is that you can be aware of things without any real sensory input, and in this case I became aware that there was indeed something in this part of the house and that my opening these fortifications was a very bad idea. I regained control of my body and, in a panic, quickly closed and locked the three doors.

At this point, in the real world, my cell phone began to ring. I woke up and talked briefly to my girlfriend, and went back to sleep--the dream and the apprehension already fading.

Buuut I immediately found myself back in the short hallway with all those warnings scrawled around me. I lost control of myself again, and again I unlocked the last door and opened it. This time I stepped past the threshold and into the gloomy part of the house. There was a noticeable temperature difference. The carpet was thick and my shoes sunk deep and didn't make a sound. The hallway I was standing in went to my left and right, and ended in perpendicular hallways. I began to walk to the left--though every inch of me wanted very badly to leave and lock and re-lock every possible lock I could lock.

As I walked towards the end of the hallway, someone came around the corner. And here, children, was the infamous Basement Man. He was barefoot and had tattered clothing and wide eyes, but most importantly he had removed much of the lower part of his face, revealing his teeth in that strange D-shaped smile represented in the drawings in the hallway. His teeth were perfect, but I guess when one removes the lips and outer part of the mouth it makes saliva an issue, and it freely fell from his maw. In one of his hands he carried a filthy and intimidating kitchen knife. We stood there for a moment, and, in the words of Ed Tom Bell, then I woke up.

Many questions do I still have about the Basement Man. Firstly, from what horrible pit of my subconscious did he spring? Second, if the dream had continued, would he have killed me and eaten me? In that order? Or simply run past me to the unlocked doors and the freedom beyond? Or, most likely, both.

And so, friends, the lesson here is clear: doors are very dangerous things. And locked doors in succession are meant to be locked and stay locked. And to always, always heed warnings on the wall.

Oh, and one more question: Why "the Basement Man?" He didn't even live in a damn basement. I could ask him, but I think all he would say is "glargleargleargle." I demand that my dreams return to reliable nomenclature, if not mundaneness.