Thursday, December 29, 2011

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Return of... How To's Day

How to Obtain a Restraining Order Without Hurting Your Stalker's Feelings

Okay, it was cute at first. The roses showing up on your desk at work. The daily letters professing undying devotion. The phrase "I am always watching" scrolled across your mirror in lipstick accompanied by a montage of photographs of you asleep in your bed.

All innocent fun, but enough is enough. The next car bomb you find, attached to your ignition after a date with another man, might actually be functional. It's finally time to obtain a restraining order.

But herein lies the dilemma. On the one hand you know that your life is in very real danger. The obsessive and destructive attentions of someone who is so obviously mentally unstable and quite probably psychopathic make legal intervention practically unavoidable. But on the other hand, you know that a restraining order will just crush your stalker emotionally.

So how can you protect both your own life, and the feelings of he who is threatening it? Below are three possible methods. Some adaptation may be required, based on your individual stalker's temperament and your state's laws, so be prepared for a bit of improvisation.

Method 1: Make it Look Like and Accident

This is the simplest method, but it can be a bit transparent. When considering this option, judge your stalker's intelligence. If it is decidedly lacking, this is the method for you.

First, you'll need to arrange a document swap at your local courthouse. To do this, text - DO NOT CALL - a casual friend. Stalkers usually have bugs in your home, so all of your planning should be done via text message. Also, stalkers tend to keep an eye on the close friends of their victims, so a casual friend is best to contact for help.

Ask your casual friend to go to the courthouse and obtain an application for a restraining order. Tell her to take the application to the marriage license line and place it at the bottom of the stack of blank marriage license applications.

Next, call a close friend (Yes, a CLOSE friend. You want this conversation overheard.), and explain to her that you are tired of fighting your heart. Tell her you've decided to marry your stalker. She will likely freak out and start screaming at you, but you mustn't break character.

Now, put on your best love-struck face and drive to the courthouse. If your stalker is at all worthy of the title, he will be following. Once at the courthouse, march directly to the marriage license line and, as subtly as you can, retrieve the restraining order application from the bottom of the pile of marriage license applications. Fill in the application as fast as you can without leaving the counter, and hand it to the waiting clerk.

The clerk will probably look at the form and want to tell you that you're in the wrong line. You must stop his objection before he has a chance to say anything. Just hold up your hand, looking as desperate as you can and say, "Please. This has to happen today!" (Your stalker will be over the moon at this.) The clerk will infer that you are in immediate danger and rush the form to the appropriate office.

Finally, find a chair in the waiting area and take a seat. Your stalker, amazed that he has finally won you, will emerge after a short time and sit by your side. Just make googly eyes at him until the officers arrive to escort him away from your immediate proximity. When they do, act as surprised as he, and look back confusedly at the marriage license line.

Keep in mind that this method depends upon your stalker never returning to the courthouse to compare the marriage application with the restraining order application. There are marked differences between the two, and he may suspect a ruse if he juxtaposes them. Again, only opt for this method if your stalker is really stupid.

Method 2: Make Him Think it Was His Idea

This method is ideal for the stalker who has demonstrated self-destructive behavior while attempting to prove his devotion. For example, if he has ever walked through a pile of broken glass in order to write your name in blood with his bare feet in the snow-covered park adjacent to your apartment building, this method is probably your best bet.

First, you'll need a diary. If you already have one, great! If not, get one and make daily entries for a couple of weeks before proceeding to the next step. Nothing is more enticing to a stalker than a diary. Make sure you leave your diary in a place your stalker will be sure to find it, such as your night stand or underwear drawer.

Next, enroll in a law class at your local college. In order to really sell this, you'll need to start confiding in your friends that it has been a long-time dream of yours to pursue a career in law.

In your diary, start mentioning your new class. Note how fascinated you are with the intricacies of the law, and how excited you are that you are finally "doing it". Explain that your life, up to now, has been but a sorry attempt to fit into the expectations of others. That you are finally becoming the "you" you always knew you were but were afraid be.

Then, after several weeks in the class, muster as much heart-broken angst as you can, and make the following diary entry (in your own words):

Dear Diary, I fear all is lost. The knowledge I have gained these past weeks in my law class has been as water to dehydrated flesh. I have drunk it in with the zeal of one left for days in the driest of deserts, but now I find there was a pebble in my canteen. A stone which catches in my throat and prohibits the remaining water from reaching my needful stomach.

My professor introduced the concept of restraining orders today, and ,though he spoke in length about the principles governing them, my feeble mind could not grasp his words. I listened, confused, to his entire lecture. Afterward, I explained my lack of understanding to my study group. They too spent much time trying to explain to me the concept. Still, nothing clicked. They insisted that restraining orders are quite simple things, but to me they may as well be ancient and undecipherable glyphs carved in the tombs of kings.

If only there were some way for me to gain actual, real-world experience with restraining orders. To participate in the process from beginning to end. Then, I think I might finally grasp the principles governing the things. But alas, no. I have no reason to file one. No enemies. No persons from whom I wish always to be separated by a minimum of 600 yards.

And so I must awake from the dream that has been these past few weeks. I pray that it fades with the years as the fanciful dreams of night do with the dawn. That I may forget the hope and joy I have so naively, and unworthily held for this brief while.

After making this entry, lay down on your bed face down and cry into your pillow until you fall asleep. If you can't make yourself cry, laugh. It's hard to tell the difference when your face is in a pillow.

When you awake, the message scrolled in lipstick on your mirror will most assuredly be an offer from your stalker to have you file a restraining order against him. Call him immediately and protest vehemently. To solidify his resolve, you should make him insist at least three times before reluctantly accepting his selfless offer.

Method 3: The Reversal

If your stalker is neither stupid nor self-destructive, you may be forced to use The Reversal. This method is a bit tricky, and involves breaking some federal laws but, like the crane kick from The Karate Kid, when executed correctly, there is no defense against it.

See, an interesting thing about restraining orders is that they work both ways. If you obtain a restraining order against your stalker, it not only prohibits him from coming near you, but also you from going near him. So, regardless of who filed it, you both need to keep away from each other.

To start The Reversal, you'll need to become a master of trans-gender disguise. This may sound daunting, but don't worry, there's plenty of reference material out there. Whenever you're out with friends and it's your turn to pick a movie, choose Tootsie, or Yentl, or Big Mamma's House, or Boys Don't Cry, or Mrs. Doubtfire, or Just One of the Guys or... well, there are a lot of choices.

Once you have the technique down, you'll need to disguise yourself as your stalker. You'll obviously need to do this in a place that is not under surveillance by your stalker. Try to lose him in a busy mall, and then slip into a utility closet.

Now you'll need some legal documents that identify you as your stalker. You may be tempted to try to steal your stalker's wallet, but don't. Too risky. Instead, visit your local counterfeit artist and commission a set of legal documents. The cost is usually around $300 for a full set, but you may be able to get a discount if you ask only for a driver's license. If you don't know who your local counterfeit artist is, go downtown and ask for a guy named Slick. If you find somebody named Slick, he will almost assuredly either be a counterfeiter himself, or know where to find one.

With identification in hand, visit your courthouse and file a restraining order against yourself (your actual self) in the name of your stalker. Cite all sorts of disturbing behavior, but nothing strictly illegal - you don't want to get yourself arrested.

After completing the restraining order, find a discreet place in the courthouse to change back into your normal clothes, then call the police. In your best man voice say, "Hi, I just got a restraining order against my psycho ex-girlfriend and I think she's on her way over here. I'm afraid she's going to do something crazy." Then, hop in your car and head to your stalker's house.

The police should be waiting for you outside his home. Try to go in anyway. When they forcibly remove you from the premises, scream as loud as you can, "WHAT!! YOU GOT A RESTRAINING ORDER AGAINST ME??!! I'M GOING TO BOIL YOUR HAMSTER!!!"

He'll be left confused, and unable to approach you, but his feelings will not be hurt. Also, a surprising number of stalkers are schizophrenic, so he may just blame himself.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Jack and Jill - A Halloween Tale

Jill's father was a bastard. Jack sat, perched in the ancient elm tree, and seethed as he watched the leathery old coot shaking a gnarled fist threateningly at Jill as he berated her. Even from this distance, Jack could see Jill's face. She shot a worried glance towards the tree. Likely she knew that Jack was watching her father's outburst and was inwardly preparing her excuses for the man. She was irrationally defensive of his tyrannical behavior.

Of late, Jack spent a lot of time in this tree. Its thick foliage kept him hidden from onlookers beneath, but from this vantage, aloft in its branches, Jack was easily able to survey the surrounding area. The tree was situated on the far side of the prairie, East of Jill's farmhouse. It grew at the base of Water Hill, which was thusly named for the well which sat atop it.

That well was somewhat of a legend in these parts. Every decent farmer knew that the best place to dig a well was at the lowest point available. Yet, here in Colby County, the best well within a 12 mile radius was audaciously situated at the apex of the tallest hill in said area. Old Hank said it wasn't a well at all, but a spring that someone had made to look like a well with a stone facade. But Old Hank also picked the fleas out of his beard and ate them.

Jill was now making her way across the prairie towards the hill, holding a large pale made of faded wooden slats bound together by two copper bands. Her jackass of a father consumed nearly as much water as he did whiskey, which is why Jack had been spending so many of his afternoons in this tree. At least two, sometimes three or four times a day, the old man sent Jill to fetch water from the well. Since her father's opinion of Jack was nearly as dour as Jack's was of her father, visiting Jill at her home was out of the question. So it was only these brief water errands each day that afforded Jack the opportunity to steal a few moments with the girl he ached to be with always.

"Jack... are you up there?" Jill was nearing the tree and squinting into the shaded branches.

"Why do you put up with that man?" Jack asked as he bent himself in half over a branch and somersaulted out of the tree. "Let's run away together and leave him to fetch his own water."

She rolled her eyes, but was smiling at the sight of him. "You know I can't do that. He's my father."

"No father could treat his own daughter the way that man treats you." Jack fell in beside Jill and took the large pale from her. "I think he might actually be an ogre who kidnapped you at birth."

"Stop that." She said, slapping his shoulder playfully. "You've only seen his bad side." Then more seriously, "I've told you. He wasn't this way before mother died."

"Look, " Jack said, "you loved her too, but her death didn't turn you into the worst version of yourself. You need to stop making excuses for him."

"Jack, you don't understand... he needs me."

"Tell you what, " Jack said with a grin, "we'll race up to the top of the hill. If I get there first, we drop this pale in the well and run away together right now. If you beat me, I'll never say another bad word about him."

"Wouldn't be fair." She replied, "Even holding that pail, you're faster than me, and you know it."

"All right, I'll give you a ten second head start." Jack doubted that Jill would ever actually do something so irresponsible and spontaneous as to leave everything and set out to start a new life, but he was unable to bat down the spark of hope that had suddenly ignited itself somewhere in the back of his throat.

Jill was running up the hill. Fast. Jack was so shocked he almost forgot to start counting. "One Mississippi..." he said out loud to keep himself honest. She was nearly half way up the hill when Jack finished his tenth Mississippi, and he started to run.

He ran harder than he had ever run before. He ran as if his life depended on it, and he realized that, in a very real way, it did. He thought of the bruises on Jill's arms, and he ran faster. He thought of being chased at gunpoint off of Jill's porch, and he ran faster. He thought of a nine year old girl, forced to go alone to her own mother's funeral while her father lay unconscious in a saloon, and he ran faster.

When Jack's foot found the sink hole, the world slowed. A large rock on the ground in front of him came towards his face and he instinctively twisted. The thing crashed into the back of his head with a sickening crunch and Jack landed roughly on his back. The blue sky above him blinked off and on a few times before returning as a dull grey. Jack tried to focus his eyes. Everything around him looked backward. Like those backward film panels that came out of Mr. Goodfellow's camera before he developed them into photographs. Irrationally, Jack wondered if Mr. Goodfellow was there, taking a picture. But no, he would have smelled the smoke from the flash powder.

As if through water, he could hear a muffled screaming sound. He turned his head enough to see a frantic Jill running fuzzily down the hill toward him. She lost her footing as she neared and tumbled to a stop by his side.

"Oh no Jack, " Jill sobbed, "are you hurt badly?" Her face paled when she saw the blood pooling at his shoulder. Gingerly, she turned his head and probed at his wound with her fingers. She gasped as her fingers sunk easily into flesh where bone should have resisted her.

"It's my crown." Jack said hoarsely, "I think it's shattered."

"I'll... I'll get help."

Jack managed to grab her wrist weakly. "Don't go. It's too late." He tried to focus his eyes on her. He knew he was dying and wanted to burn the clear image of her face into his mind forever. "Jill, I'll never stop loving you."

Jack stopped loving Jill. He stood above her as she sobbed helplessly over his lifeless body. He felt... weird. He remembered loving Jill only seconds earlier, but couldn't recall exactly how. Perhaps, he thought, love really did exist in the heart. He no longer had a heart.

He wondered idly if Jill's father would be happy about all this and, as he thought it, he burned. Had he blood, it would have boiled. Wherever hate lived, he realized, it wasn't in the heart.

Jack turned and began floating towards Jill's home. He knew he no longer had love. Perhaps he would never have peace, or joy. But he would have pleasure. Haunting Jill's father.

Monday, October 17, 2011

An Attitude of Platitude

In the song, "The Fly" by U2, there's a lyric that my forthcoming thoughts exemplify. "Every artist is a cannibal, every poet is a thief. All kill their inspiration and sing about their grief."

I'm about to start an incohesive rant about trivial things using the most vitriolic and verbose prose that I can muster. I do this knowing full well that it is easier to criticize than to create. That is, in fact, the point. I'm trying to follow the age-old, "If you don't have anything nice to say, lambast an innocent bystander" rule.

I'll start with the most callous of my criticisms. It relates to a quip I saw recently on a bumper sticker that read, "Don't Drive Faster than Your Guardian Angel Can Fly!"

Ok, so how fast is that exactly? I'm no expert on guardian angels, but I'm pretty sure any one of them could outpace my Corolla on a straightaway. Not that he'd need to. What kind of a guardian angel would watch me get into the driver's seat of my car and not realize I might be planning on going somewhere? Maybe the bumper sticker should say, "Don't Start Driving Until Your Guardian Angel Has Had a Chance to Grab Shotgun!"

I don't know, maybe there really is some sort of transdimensional barrier that keeps guardian angels from entering vehicles, and maybe they do have a maximum flying velocity that happens to correspond with a reasonable highway speed. But if that's the case, a more helpful message would be, "Just FYI, If You Ever Get in a Plane, You're Screwed."

Maybe you're sitting a little uncomfortably in your chair right now, wondering how I've come to this dark and cynical place in my life. I don't know, but while I'm here, I may as well move on to cookies.

Suppose you're at a carnival. You see a brightly colored tent beneath a painted wooden sign which reads, "Madame Mystique's Fortune Telling $5". You realize that you would indeed like your fortune told, so you enter the tent. After handing over your hard-earned money to the Gypsy-esque Madame Mystique, she gazes into her smoke-filled crystal ball for several tense minutes and then gravely pronounces, "You have an infectious smile."

"Uhh...Thank you." you say, "So, what does my future hold?".

"Another reading will be five dollars." she replies.

You grind your teeth and wonder if punching Madame Mystique square in the nose would be worth the resultant curse upon your progeny. You decide it wouldn't, so instead leave in a huff and ultimately take your anger out on a well-intentioned bumper sticker you see while driving home.

The fortune cookie at the end of a Chinese dinner is more than just dessert. It represents hope, dreams and destiny. By definition it should be a glimmer of light cast into the unseen darkness of the future. How infuriating is it then to break into one of these little hope-holders only to find a generic statement about your positive attitude? For the love of all that is decent and good in this world, they're not called compliment cookies!

Rrrgh. Now I've gotten myself so worked up about fortune cookies that I can't think of anything else to rant about.

Oh yeah! Greasy politicians that never make good on their campaign promises. I mean, how hard is it to... you know what, never mind. I'm sure they're doing their best.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

2 of 6. Sucka!

My previous blog post was in January. It is now September. Standard blog protocol dictates this post begin with a self-abasing statement about being a crappy blogger and a commitment to be better in the future.

Well, I just can't do that. For one thing, I'm not a crappy blogger. I'm a freaking brilliant blogger. If my adoring fans have to wait 8 months between installments, so be it. The posts will just be that much sweeter for the anticipation. Two years passed between the 6th and 7th Harry Potter books, yet J.K. Rowling did not begin the The Deathly Hallows with, "Whoa, I guess it's been a while. Sorry I'm such a flake."

As for my future blogging performance, I actually will make a commitment. Looking at my blog archive, I noticed a pattern. In 2008 I had nine posts, eight in 2009, and seven in 2010. There's a pattern there that needs to be preserved. This will be my second post of 2011. I hereby commit to deliver no more or less than four additional posts before 2012 bringing the 2011 count to six.

"But wait!" you say, "Aren't you running the risk of posting just for the sake of posting? Won't focusing on the numbers deprive the posts their personality?"

To this I say phooey. If a newlywed man and woman decide they want three children in their family, is not each one of those three children a number? Does arbitrarily specifying a final count somehow steal the personalities from the individual children within that count? Of course not. The motivation behind the creation of a child is irrelevant. Once here, each child becomes his own entity. Speaking for himself. Brightening or darkening the world by simply being who he is. Thus it is with my blog posts.

So here we are, six paragraphs into this post and my only subjects have been me, my blog, my blogging abilities, and this post itself. Rap fans will appreciate the convention.

Talk smack if you like, but my future is bright. I'll be blogging past the end of days and into the night.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Secret Healing Powers of the Smiley Emoticon

WARNING!!! If you like feeling sick, do not read this article. If you enjoy being overweight, do not read this article. If you constantly have so much energy that you want to burst into song for the sheer joy of it, well, then you've probably already read this article.

Folks, the executives in the medical industry have invested tens of trillions of dollars to keep hidden the secret I'm about to reveal. Why? Because they hate you! It's not even about the money. They are just sadistic, power-hungry vampires that feed on your sickness and rejoice in your misery. Plus they worship Satan.

What if I were to tell you, that by doing one simple thing, you could soon be rid of literally all that ails you? What If I were to tell you that, in just 15 seconds per day, you could not only become the healthiest version of yourself, but you might actually gain super powers?

Already, I can sense your skepticism. You're thinking to yourself, "Sure, another fad diet - or vitamin - or South American berry used for centuries by Incan witch doctors to cure shortness".

Believe me, I understand your hesitance. How could there be one single all-encompassing cure for everything from acne to decapitation - a proverbial "fountain of youth" that has eluded every person on this planet for millennia? I mean, what are the odds right?

I had those same thoughts and feelings, until I learned that this cure is actually based in science!

See, the human body is made up of hundreds upon hundreds of tiny particles called atoms. When we get sick, or grow old, or lose a limb, the atoms that make up our body become configured differently than when we were healthy, young, and fully-intact. If, say, you were to use an electron microscope to compare the arrangement of atoms in the body of Olympic athlete Michael Phelps with those found in the mortal remains of King Tutankhamen, you would find marked differences.

So now you're thinking, "OK, my atoms are all screwed up, but what can I do about it?"

Well, first off, you won't find the answer in some high-priced drug developed by the pharmaceutical industry to pad the pockets of it's CEOs. No, taking pills won't fix your atoms. The only way to get your atoms to reorganize in a beneficial way is by staring at a smiley emoticon for 15 seconds each day.

How does it work? It's simple. Like the atoms in your body, the characters on a keyboard are building blocks. A right parenthesis symbol by itself is fairly meaningless, as is an unaffiliated colon. However, put the two together correctly and you have a simple and pure representation of happiness.

When you stare at a correctly constructed smiley emoticon, your brain recognizes the benefits of properly configured base components and begins to search out and rearrange incorrectly organized atoms in your own body.

But don't take my word for it. In just moments you can begin to experience the benefits of this revolutionary cure for yourself. Simply stare at the emoticon below for 15 seconds and then, based on your results, read the corresponding explanation of what has happened within your body.


Now, how do you feel?

I feel better already!Great! This is to be expected. Your brain has begun the process of correctly configuring your atoms.

I feel worse!
Great! This is to be expected. Your atoms have been misaligned for so long that dust has gathered on them and they must go through a cleansing process before they can be arranged properly. This cleansing causes your symptoms to worsen, but rest assured knowing you will soon be healthier than ever.

I feel exactly the same!
Great! This is to be expected. The fact that your symptoms have remained consistent proves that you were about to take a turn for the worse. Had you not taken the first steps of atom correction now... well, let's just say it's a good thing you did.

I don't feel better, worse, or the same!
Double great! Your atoms have become so perfectly aligned that you are now able to perceive a condition within yourself that can only exist on an alternate plane of reality.