I’m Going To Puke My Pants.

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OFFICIAL PLACE – 3713 out of about 13,500

That right there is a goal achieved! I’m happy, I’m proud of myself and I’m limping around the house like a loser. (I forgot the camera, so there’s no pictures right now, but maybe some will pop up later.) If you want to double-check my work and look at some of the other results, check out the official page.

I got there 90 minutes early, plenty of time to get the Missus (along with my Mother & Grandmother) settled at Camp Randall. I took a shuttle bus to the starting line, and milled around and stretched for about an hour. (I spent most of this time in the State Captiol, because it was about 40 degrees this morning, and I was freezing.)

I eventually ran into Suzie, (the co-worker who had talked me into this mess), and we decided to start together at around the 8-minute pace starting line. She’s a distance runner, and I knew there was no way I was keeping up with her, but I wanted to see how long I could pace with her anyways. Deep down I wasn’t competing with anyone but myself, I just wanted to finish in under an hour. The gun went off, and we were on our way.

I held pace with Suzie for about 2 miles before I left her behind. I didn’t do it on purpose, it just happened. I was feeling pretty good for the first couple miles, as the course was relatively flat and comfortable. I was breathing fine, and my legs were working well. I had no idea that I could run 2.5 miles without feeling any problems at all. Then the course started screwing with me.

A huge, uphill climb put a lot of people out of commission, and I probably passed 500 people on it, but at around mile 3 I started to suck wind through my mouth and feel a bit tired. The competitive person in me made it impossible to stop though, and I just held pace with people for a few seconds before eventually passing them. My legs started to get weak, though, and I started to get dizzy and winded. The distance between mile 3 and 4 was horrifying, and I started to stumble around like a drunk for a bit before I calmed myself down and got back on track. The distance between those 2 markers seemed endless.

In this time, Suzie managed to catch back up to me with 1 mile to go. Looking at the clock, I realized that I was at around 36 minutes, and I knew I was going to reach my goal. Suzie slipped by me in the last mile, eventually beating me by about a minute. Coming around the corner and into Camp Randall was amazing, and I couldn’t believe that I could run 5 miles without stopping to walk or die. Let me make this very clear to you, I DON’T RUN. I haven’t ran anything longer than a mile since High School. Only in the last several weeks have I gone out for a mile or so every few days. There’s a good chance that I will not do this again, but I’ll make that decision once my legs feel better.

I could talk about this longer, but I think you get the picture. Many thanks to those who gave me good advice, those who laughed at me and said I was a loon, and a very special thanks to my I-Pod Shuffle, which got me through the last 3 miles. Here was the random “3-Mile Mix”, in case you were wondering:

Kick De’ Bucket – Liberator
Pete Jackson Is Getting Married – Less Than Jake
Lifestyle of Rebellion – Against All Authority
Horror Business – The Misfits
Symptom Finger – The Faint
Daft Punk Is Playing At My House – LCD Soundsystem
Float On – Modest Mouse

So, there you go. I’ve done it. It’s done. What do you think?

Oh, by the way, here’s that cartoon I promised. It was made for me by Andrea, the around-5 year old daughter of Suzie. (Suzie does payroll, so that person is saying, “Where’s my check?”)

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Never underestimate the sheer brilliance of subtlety. It’s way funnier than a big, overblown-

I just crapped my pants.

You’re Creepy.

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I wore my emo-rimmed glasses to work yesterday. I sometimes do that when I’m trying to look studious and hip (instead of the usual, unshaven and disoriented). I know what you’re thinking. “What work activity could possibly cause you to get up early to shave and wear sexy glasses?” The answer is pretty simple.

Take your daughter to work day.

I am a simple man. I have simple needs and desires, hopes and fears. As one of the youngest individuals at my office, I have no problem catching the eyes of lonely widows and women in loveless relationships. I’m used to attracting that sort of attention. As I grow older, however, I find myself more and more out of touch with what the young people find “cool”. My solemn vow to never lose touch with teenage trends has faded into a sea of Sweet Corn Festivals and talk radio. I have no idea what these kids are doing, and take your daughter to work day was my last chance to infiltrate the complex system of the teenage female brain.

I learned something that I forgot I learned when I was a teenager. I’m not really missing out.

You want to know what teenage girls are doing? They’re buying CD’s by bands they hear on the radio. They’re picking out dresses for a prom that’s 5 years away. They stress over their weight, but still make fun of fat people. They’re hitching rides to the mall from older guys with cars. (By the way, teenage girls that date older guys are NOT cool. They’re just going out with a guy who can’t find a girl his own age, because they all know better.) Basically, they’re doing what they’ve always been doing, mystery solved.

We don’t need Oprah and Good Morning America warning us of their sexual exploits and designer drugs. The thing about the jelly bracelets and weekend orgies? The television promising you that your daughter is a whore and a liar? Not as prevalent as you might think. Trust your kids. If they want to tell you something, they will. If you’re overly suspicious and yell before you think, they’ll get pregnant on your bed. Simple as that.

I used to think teenage girls were a mystery, wrapped in an enigma, wrapped in Dr. Pepper lip gloss, sporting ultra-low cut pants. In honesty, young women are pretty easy to figure out. If they like you, they’ll find every possible way to cross your path 20 times a day. If they don’t like you, they’ll still pass you 20 times a day, but they’ll talk loudly about how you creep them out. Either way, you’ll get the picture.

Girls are still territorial and mean to other girls, that’s just never going to change. Guys will get into a fistfight and emerge as best friends. Women will methodically lie and do everything they can to get their way, but they’ll do it to you with a big, friendly smile on their faces. It’s amazing, and should be an Olympic event. This isn’t true of all women, of course. For every awful girl, there’s a wonderful person who truly loves and respects everyone. This makes her an easy target for every bottom-feeding jackass on the planet. There’s no way to win in High School, so pick a personality and run with it. You’ll probably end up crying either way.

I should have you know that I did most of my research in secret. These women didn’t know that I was evaluating them when I was pretending to work. Every now and then I would emerge with a question, just to see their response. Example:

(A young lady is playing Minesweeper on her Mother’s computer. She looks up to find me standing there, looking dashing and sweaty.)

ME: “Hello, young lady!”
YL: “Um…hello? Are you looking for my Mom?”
ME: “No, I’m looking for you. Can I ask you a question?”
YL: “Um…well, I guess.”
ME: “Capital! What do you think of Snoop Doggy Dogg?”
YL: “Um…don’t you mean Snoop Dogg?”
ME: “Excuse me?”
YL: “Snoop Dogg.”
ME: “Precisely. What do you think of him?”
YL: “Um…he’s alright, I guess.”
ME: “Fascinating.”

(I continue to stand there, scribbling away on my clipboard.)

YL: “I’m…gunna go get a candy bar.”
ME: “Shall I join you?”
YL: “You shan’t.”

I’m telling you, nothing has changed. I ended up having the most fun with Andrea, the 5-year-old daughter of our payroll manager. She was hilarious, and I made her a personalized name tag because I knew she’d like it. She didn’t want to leave, but I promised her that I’d see her again, and I let her keep the name tag. In tune, she made me the funniest cartoon I’ve ever seen. (I’ll post it next time.)

Here’s 5 important things before I go:

1. I’m finally running that 5-mile race tomorrow. I’ll give you a full review this weekend.

2. If you press the numbers 1-2-3-8 and 4 on your telephone, it sounds like the new McDonalds jingle. I’m lovin’ it! I figured that out at work, and it blew my mind.

3. I met a really nice guy named Andrew on Tuesday. He’s an old-school Mediocre At Best fan, and he managed to track me down. I hooked him up with some MAB-robilia, including a one-of-a-kind live CD. He has beautiful hair, and it was nice to meet him. (If we sound really nice and friendly, maybe he’ll post on here.)

4. My book review is in the new issue of Core Weekly. Check it ‘oot.

5. This month is on pace to be the biggest-ever here at the CDP. I’ve had over TWO THOUSAND visits in April, which is very close to the record set in December of 2004. Thank you very much. I want to take you all behind the shed and beat the crap out of you as a sign of my appreciation.

I have to go and massage my thighs now. I’ve got a long day tomorrow.

Our Girls Were Looking So Good.

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You said, “My life is like a bad movie.”
I said, “That’s true of all of us.”
You said, “I’ve got to wake up so damn early.”
I said, “Maybe the Director’s turned on us.”

Today marked my final day as acting receptionist at work. For the last six weeks I’ve put my mounds of paperwork on hold to cover for the normal receptionist, on a six week leave after giving birth to a young child (quite young, only six weeks from what I’ve been told). I can now finally get back to whatever the hell it is that I do at the office. I honestly cannot remember what I used to do, for the thousands of phone calls and hundreds of walk-ins have turned my short-term memory into Nestle’s Quik.

This afternoon, a young woman no older than me came in. We exchanged witty-yet-intelligent banter with each other while she waited to talk to someone else. She looked at me a little crooked and said, “Do you watch The Office?” (I assumed that she meant the new American version and not the British version that’s never on when I’m available. I mean, 10:40pm-11:10pm? What the hell is with the English not adapting to a more sensible scheduling grid?)

“Yes, I do.” I said, as she stared uncomfortably long into my chin.

“This place really reminds me of that show!” She shot back, beaming an infectious smile that made me fire one back without even wanting to. She was right, though. Our office looks almost exactly like the set from the new mid-season TV series (that’s almost certain to be cancelled after winning an Emmy). I wanted to explain to her that although I wished my job was more like a mockumentary, it was usually more painful and depressing. It seems ironic that I find joy in watching a show were people pretend to do my job.

Instead, I lied and told her that my job did remind me of “The Office” as well, and politely went back to my work. Five seconds later, I looked up to find her still staring at me. She was almost certainly waiting for me to do something wacky and unexpected, like the actors on the show.

So I punched her in the neck and told her to get the hell out. She didn’t laugh, but I think she understood why it was funny, which is sometimes better than laughing.

Tomorrow I have not four, not six, but THREE articles in the newest issue of Core Weekly. They now owe me $6.00, which I will put towards an oil change. I also need to get out in the miserable weather and do some final preparing for the big race on Saturday. We’ll talk again tomorrow or Friday, whichever comes first.

So long, Constantine. Nobody likes a phony.

She Is Your Marrow, And Your Ride Home.

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So, several years ago, me and Aaron had the distinct pleasure of meeting Weezer in Milwaukee. They were touring in support of the Green Album, and were nice enough to take a picture with us.


Make Believe comes out on May 10, you can listen to clips of 2 new songs <a href="http://www.bestbuy.com/site/olspage.jsp?type=category&id=pcmcat59400050008&dcmp=rdr0000024
here. I’ve got running to do, we’ll talk again tomorrow.

Cooler By The Lake.

A busy week is finally over. I have no current writing assignments, the house is spotless and I have no bills to pay. I basically have nothing to do over the next 9 days but get focused and prepared for the big 5-mile run next Saturday. (Yup, I’m really going through with it.)

Don’t look so surprised, jackass. I finish what I start. In the last couple weeks, I’ve been increasing my outdoor running routine to at least 2 miles every few days. Sure, it’s still not even half of what I need to do, but I’m getting there. It’s going to rain all weekend, but I’ll try to get outside as much as possible, working up my endurance and fending off pneumonia. I officially registered yesterday, so I’ll be out 20 bucks if I decide to bail out at the last minute. I’ll still be out 20 bucks even if I do run the race, but it’s that illusion of accomplishing your goals that keep me from eating a shotgun on a daily basis. (I was just kidding, no interventions please.)

So far, I’ve been averaging about a 7 minute mile time, well within my goal of finishing in under an hour. This pace will certainly get worse as the race goes on, but I’m still confident that I’ll at least be competitive with the goal I’ve set. In addition to my “1 hour” goal, I also have a few others come race day. They are:

1. Finish ahead of everyone over 800 lbs., or anyone who has lost over 800 lbs..
2. Do not be on the front page of the Capital Times on a stretcher.
3. No vomiting or expelling of any bodily fluids in public. (This is actually a good goal for everyday life, now that I think of it.)
4. No vomiting on someone over 800 lbs. on the front page of the Capital Times.

So, there you go. I’ll keep you posted as my training reaches zero hour.

Today marks a somber occasion, because the infamous “eyeball” post is moving from the main page to the archives. It was the most popular CDP post ever, generating well over 100 hits in a single day. I have many sequels planned, such as “internal organs” and “what’s in your refrigerator?” They are destined for failure.

By the way, keep sending those cartoon ideas to communistdance@yahoo.com!

I’ve put Benjamin’s script back up in the sidebar. I can’t remember why it was taken down. It’s been consistently in the top 25 on Helium Exchange for over a year now. It’s like the “Dark Side of the Moon” of unpublished screenplays. My screenplay is also doing well, in that it hasn’t been deleted.

Right now, the Missus is watching a movie on the Lifetime channel. Personally, any movie where Tori Spelling gets the crap beat out of her is good watching by me. In fact, there should be an entire network devoted to movies in which Tori Spelling gets the crap beat out of her. It will be called “The Lifetime Network”.

It’s 10pm on a friday, and I’m off to bed. But first, I present to you the only known photograph of the SUGAR PUFF DADDY to exist:

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What a brilliant marketing ploy. Making fun of America, hip-hop culture and one of our most popular moguls in one fell swoop. (Notice the posse surrounding him.) I will not rest until I’m holding onto a copy of that commercial and munching a bowl of Sugar Puffs.

Double Nerd Score.

I’m about to share with you the story of the greatest cereal mascot I’ve ever seen.

But first, some business.

Just because Boycott Unity is gone and done with, that doesn’t mean I’m through making cartoons. I wanted to experiment with something here, but I need your help. Here’s the 3-step process:

Step 1: You send a quote, funny saying, word, thought, feeling, picture or statement to communistdance@yahoo.com. Really, send me anything. The more original, the better.

Step 2: I make a cartoon around what you send me, whatever that may be.

Step 3: Enjoyment.

This allows me to continue to make cartoons, all while challenging myself and interacting with my rabid fan base. We’ll do a few of them in the next few days, and see where it takes us. And by the way, I am NOT ripping off Exploding Dog, even though I obviously am.

Moving on, let’s talk about cereal. I have not one, but TWO cereal stories for you!

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I love cereal. In the words of Jerry Seinfeld, “I love the idea of eating and drinking at the same time with one hand without looking”. Even more so, I love commercials. I actually purchased a DVD filled with hundreds of commercials from the early age of television. Marketing and advertising for cereal is nothing short of an orgy of bright colors, happy children and wonderful plastic figurines. They exist to make you smile, and they have always worked on me. True, the kids on those commercials always sucked out loud, but the mascots are what kept you coming back.

Story #1: When I was about 5 years old in 1986, there was a short-lived cereal called “Circus-O’s”. How short-lived was it? Well, a Google search only produced 2 hits, neither of which worked for a damn.

So there I was in 1986, laying on my Grandmother’s couch in her living room, sicker than hell with a 100-degree fever. I had been sleeping on and off for 2 days, and my vomit pail was never more than an arms length away. I was incoherent, quite unsure what was a dream and what was reality. I look across the room to the black-and-white television they had, and on pops a commercial for Circus-O’s.

Circus-O’s were basically Lucky Charms with animal marshmallow shapes. There were lions, tigers, giraffes, elephants and the like. The commercial was animated, with all the animals performing under the big top while the theme song played. This particular marketing campaign was to introduce their new secret marshmallow shape. “What will the new animal be?”, provoked the TV set. The commercial ended abruptly, as if they had cut into it with a special news report. A large, ominous question mark burst onto the screen, and the commercial was over as quickly as it had begun.

For 15 years, I swore that I had dreamed up that entire commercial. To this day, I have found no information stating if that commercial even existed. The whole thing sort of terrified me, considering the mental state I was in, and the fact that I can remember it so vividly is scary enough as is. It’s a sad state of affairs when I get freaked out looking up cereal information late at night. If anyone else remembers Circus-O’s, or that commercial for that matter, let me know so I can solve a 18 year mystery. Certain things provoke certain reactions from me, and this commercial brought pure, unadulterated terror for some reason.

Story #2: When I was in high school, I was fortunate enough to go on a trip to England. I had a great time visiting Abbey Road, Big Ben, Stonehenge and the like. I have a lot of once-in-a-lifetime stories to share with people (such as getting a gun pulled on me and my friends, and getting kicked out of Harrod’s), but one thing sticks out in my head more prominently than anything.

Some days I would choose to stay in my hotel room and watch television instead of sightseeing. For most of the day I would lurk around the empty hotel, order glass after glass of Diet Coke from the downstairs bar, and just watch cricket or a weird-ass game show on the telly.

Everyone knows that the commercials in England are funnier than anything we have here in the states. One such cereal commercial introduced me to the single greatest mascot in history. Move over, Tony the Tiger & Count Chocula, I present to you:

The Honey Monster!
(These are the biggest pictures I could find. This is kind of a rare thing, from what I can tell.)

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The Honey Monster was the mascot for “Sugar Puffs”, a Quaker brand cereal in the U.K.. It was the single coolest thing I had ever seen. In these commercials, the Honey Monster would sing as he went through his daily routine. He wasn’t a scary monster at all. In fact, he was quite helpful when it came to helping old people across the street and difficult breakfast decisions. He was everyone’s friend, guys wanted to be his buddy, girls wanted to be his gal.

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As is, the Honey Monster solidified itself as the pinnacle by which all other breakfast cereal mascots would be measured. But then, he went ahead and completely outdid himself.

Through a marketing campaign of sheer genius, the Honey Monster morphed into…

The “Sugar Puff Daddy“!

Oh, how I wish I had pictures of this. Just imagine the Honey Monster with gold chains, a Kangol hat and a track suit, cruising around in a limo with his posse of humans. In these particular commercials, Sugar Puff Daddy would rap about how amazing his life is, and how great Sugar Puffs were. During the musical numbers, he would emerge from his limo to play a game of street ball with a group of kids, exchanging slo-mo high-fives and lifting kids up so they could slam-dunk the basketball. Instead of running away in terror, the children looked up to this gentle rapping giant, promising to buy his cereal.

I hope that I’m conveying this to you well enough, because it really was the coolest thing I had ever seen. I wish I could come to your house and project my thoughts onto a projector so you could see this commercial (just the cereal thoughts, mind you). If you have a few hours to kill (as I sometimes do), look into Sugar Puffs for yourself.

Well, this post has all the structure and coherency of a fever dream. It was worth it though, just to tell you about the Sugar Puff Daddy. Send me your cartoon snippets! Until then, I have album reviews to work on. I have to turn the fan on now, it’s sweltering up here.

A Dozen Bad Stories.

(Each topic is in bold. Wash hands when finished.)

Writing Job: Book review will be published next week. Working on two album reviews due next Friday. Resume for full-time job handed in on Friday. Possible interview with Cake(!) this weekend. More info on that as it happens.

Real Job: Receptionist returns at end of month. I can then get back to whatever the hell it is that I do.

5 Mile Run: Ran 1.5 miles yesterday. In pain. Never going to make it, but trying anyways. Officially registering this weekend. IPod works like a charm. Drinking plenty of fluids.

Health: Spent Tuesday in hospital. Blinding pain in abdomen. Feared appendicitis. Blood was drawn, white cells were counted, nothing was found. Sent home. Recovering nicely.

Hair: Hasn’t been cut since sometime last year. Reaching granola-esque lengths.

Marriage: Fan-tastic! Neither of us has wielded a knife in days.

Cash Flow: Splurged and bought 12 CD’s in last 2.5 months, most of which are quite good. Broke and hungry.

Weez: Moving on, I heard the new Weezer single, “Beverly Hills” for the 20th time tonight, and I don’t actually think it’s that bad of a song. Quite frankly, they could’ve sang about clubbing a Harp Seal and I’d still buy “Make Believe” when it comes out on May 10. In one of the first lines of the song, Rivers says “My automobile is a piece of crap.” Now, I know that’s not true, but it makes me laugh out loud every time I hear him say it. I think it partly reminds me of High School, where I would publicly berate my giant car in front of all the fly honeys that would climb into the back of it after class (“Fly honeys” refering to my future wife & her friends). My automobile was a piece of crap, but it’s the coolest thing I’ve ever owned.

Pain: As I said up top, I had to spend Tuesday in the Doctor’s office, due to serious problems with my abdomen. Things are better now, but when it hit I swore I was having some sort of intestinal heart attack. I drove myself to the Doctor while doubled over, and when they sent me home they didn’t know what was wrong with me. In the end, there was nothing wrong with my appendix, but I need to keep a close eye on it. Therefore, every 9 seconds I glance down at my lower right side, which is the approximate location of the ‘dix. No jokes, please.

Essay: In my last post, I showed you a sample essay I wrote specifically for the folks at Isthmus. I still want you to comment on it there. If you think it sucks and I need to quit this writing fantasy, say so. If you like my quick wit and self-depreciation, I love you. I honestly love you.

Save Me: A few days ago at work, we were having a big board meeting to discuss if a Pharmacist could get into trouble for refusing to fill a birth-control perscription, citing ethical and religious reasons. This always manages to bring out all sorts of people, most of which want to talk to me. This older man came up to me clutching a Bible, asking me if I had any jumper cables. Apparently, he left his lights on, and his battery was dead. As I was making some calls to get someone to help him, we had this brief exchange of banter:

Old guy with Bible: “You go to church, young man?”
Me (lying): “Every now and again.”
OGWB: “Do you want to see what the good Lord has done for me?”
Me: “Well…I’m kind of working right now.”

In my head, I was thinking to myself, “Well, He already killed your car battery, so maybe you shouldn’t press your luck with the Big Man.” Instead, I smiled and stood my ground. Getting preached to is one thing, getting preached to at work is quite another. He pulled out a pamphlet, and thrust it upon me.

OGWB: “Why don’t you take a look at this, I-“
Me: “I’m working right now, maybe I’ll read it over lunch, okay?”

This did the trick, and he left me alone. I hope someone jumped his car for him. It reminded me very much of a situation that occured in Upper Michigan a few years ago. I don’t know what it is about me that looks like I need to be saved, but the next person that tells me I need direction is going to be gutted with a broken whiskey bottle. I live a life that’s more sin-free than just about everyone I know, which is crazy because I knew the Pope.

“Sak”-Punk: Hey, check out what me & the kids were doing 4 years ago this weekend!

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You’re A Woman, I’m A Machine.

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(The following essay is 100% true, and I’m banking on it to get me a writing job. Critique away in the comments section!)

“Time Sharing Is Sharing Time” – By: Ryan Z.

I couldn’t believe my ears.

The loud man on the other end of my phone was trying to explain it all to me nice and slowly. Apparently, while waiting for a veggie sub at Cousin’s last week, my wife had dropped her name into a drawing to win four round-trip tickets to almost anywhere on the continent. Today was our lucky day, and I was skeptical.

You see, today is never my lucky day. It just doesn’t work that way. My name (or my wife’s name for that matter), doesn’t get chosen from a rotating plexi-glass drum for any reason whatsoever. Not for money, not for a vehicle, not even for a car wash. My streak of mediocrity and sheer immunity to good luck was something that my wife knew about long before she married me, and it was beyond me why she even exerted the energy to fill out the contest card. Nonetheless, the loud man assured me that her name had been drawn and the tickets were ours to pick up.

“Oh, just one more thing,” the loud man said, as I braced myself for the impact. “All you have to do to claim your tickets is sit through a 90-minute presentation on the benefits of timeshare ownership. Sound good to you?”

It most certainly did not sound good to me, but it wasn’t my decision to make. I put my wife on the phone, and six days later we were on our way to the Fairfield Resort in the Wisconsin Dells.

The game plan was simple, and we rehearsed it for the entire drive there. We were going to smile and nod, politely refuse, collect our tickets and get the hell out of there. The official letter clearly stated that there was no obligation to buy, and if we just stood out ground, we’d be the proud new owners of nothing but four free tickets to Honolulu.

The trick to “winning” these contests has nothing to do with folding your entry card asymmetrically, so it has a better chance of being snagged. The big thing is that insignificant box that impolitely asks you what your annual income is. The higher the digits, the more phone calls you’ll receive. They don’t want to pitch timeshares to people who can’t afford them, so make sure you check the highest box every time. Sure, they’ll run a credit check just to keep you honest (and ask you about fifteen times), but sometimes it’s just funny to screw with them a little bit.

We arrived there a little early, made a solemn vow not to sign anything, and entered the building with our checkbooks and credit cards safely back in the glove compartment.

The second we opened the doors, we were hit with an atmosphere of psychological warfare the likes of which I had never seen. The XM Satellite radio station was cranked to a specific station that played nothing but “Celebration” by Kool & the Gang, and the room was so cold I couldn’t help but dance. I glanced at my watch to see if the 90 minutes were over yet, as young businessmen laughed loudly and high-fived in front of a huge dry-erase board full of sales figures. I was already more than happy to give up the free tickets just to go home.

“Bill” was the salesman handpicked just for us (the single black woman in front of us got the only black salesman in the building, the elderly couple got the elderly one, and we got the youngest). Bill had massive, Kip Winger-esque teeth that probably made the “ting” sound when he smiled, had it not been for the loud disco music drowning it out. His breath was minty-fresh, his handshake was firm and he knew exactly where we were coming from.

“I know exactly where you’re coming from!” Bill yelled from across the table. Why wouldn’t he? We had been friends for 15 seconds now, and he made me feel right at home. “Coffee?!” he screamed, as I kindly declined. For the next 45 minutes, we talked about absolutely nothing. Bill used this time to establish some sort of bond by asking us questions that were none of his business. He would later use the answers to these questions to try to snare us into writing him a $30,000 check.

To his credit, Bill certainly knew what he was doing. When he realized that I wasn’t budging, he began to ignore me and talk solely to my wife. I would chime in with a good reason as to why a timeshare wasn’t for us, and he would cut me off in mid-sentence and ask her how she felt about it. When she became aloof and indecisive, he pounced on her, pummeling her with loaded questions and double talk. He would berate her until I was inches from taking a swing at him, then he would turn his focus back to me, allowing her to catch her breath and leaving me disoriented for the next round of interrogation. He was putting up a good fight, and I respected him for not going easy on us young newlyweds.

After the first question-and-answer round, we were whisked away to a screening room to view a short movie about the timeshares in question. The movie was nothing more than paid testimonies from people who could obviously afford something as useless as a timeshare. They hit you with every demographic, ethnicity and excuse in the book. In one testimony, a single mother sat on a couch with her 3 young children. “The world isn’t secure anymore,” she said as she held her kids tightly to her. “I just like to have something in my life that’s secure.” If that wasn’t jaw-droppingly awful enough, the last one did me in for sure. An elderly couple was talking about how they were going to include the timeshare in their will, as to “pass on a legacy to their children”. Sandwiched in between these bleary-eyed confessionals was stock footage of couples enjoying the good life together (walking on the beach, snowmobiling, siding a house), most of which I had remembered seeing used in a commercial for personal lubricant some years ago. The video concluded and I wanted to vomit, but there was plenty more to see on the tour.

It should be noted that at no time during this sales pitch did we ever give Bill the slightest inclination that we were going to buy anything from him. There was many times where I thought he was going to throw in the towel, especially all those instances when I said “We have no intention to purchase anything here today.” Bill just smiled, swayed to KC & the Sunshine Band, and took us to the next leg of the tour.

Finally, 155 minutes after we arrived, we got down to business. He laid everything out on the table for us, and played his trump card. He showed us a cartoon image of a small, crowded hotel room, complete with unhappy, crowded people. Next to that there was a cartoon image of a large, sprawling timeshare, complete with happy, sprawling people. He showed us the prices in comparison, and tapped his pen impatiently onto the cartoons, making it clear how insane he thought we were for turning down such a money-saving opportunity. As we had discussed in the car, we politely told him that we liked the crowded hotel room better.

Bill had finally run out of replies. There was no way he could argue against something so completely ludicrous. He looked up at us like we had sprouted extra arms and legs, and watched his commission evaporate. Ever the professional, he told us that we had “decided to file our future under the word ‘someday’”. He composed himself and shook our hands, crumpling the paper and throwing it over his shoulder in a huff he had used on hundreds of others.

Five minutes later we were clutching our free plane tickets.

On the way back home, we couldn’t help but feel a little bad for people like Bill. Even though he would just move on to the next group of suckers and forget our names, we felt a bit guilty for making him work for two hours to no avail. Come to think of it, timeshare ownership certainly is a money-saving opportunity. Maybe we were too closed-minded to see the true value in what he was selling. Maybe we’ll go back there someday and listen with a more open ear.

Forget it, I’m going to Hawaii.

(We’re headed up to Green Bay on Friday night. We’ll talk again on Saturday.)

A Killer Game Of Crisco Twister.

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I’m currently working on putting together a resume and some writing samples for a pretty high-profile position in the area. I have to get said goods in the mail by Thursday, so I’ve been busy writing, re-writing and re-re-writing things. I’ll keep you posted on the progress of that, but for now, I have a bunch of non-CDP writing to work on. Apart from this position, I have a deadline for another album review to write for my current position, neither of which are actually my full-time job…yet.

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I was thinking about offering some sample posts from right here at the CDP in my resume, but I need your help. If you have some time to kill, I’d appreciate it if you would comb through the archives, and see if there’s anything you think is decent enough to include in a writing resume. Let me know in the comments section, and thank you in advance.

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I’ll be back before the end of the week with the usual. I shot 1 over par at Shipwreck Lagoon on Sunday. I don’t own a miniature green jacket, but I deserve one.