I am testing out the phone app.
You know, I got to thinking, and I made a real breakthrough: wiping my ass is something I do primarily for other people’s benefit. And lately, it’s really been cramping my style.
I want to be free, dammit.
I don’t want to be constrained by your made-up “rules.”
You like following the rules, you go ahead.
Fall in line, sheep!
Me, I’m gonna make my own rules.
No more ass-wiping for this American. No sirree.
It’s boring, and I don’t like it. And I only do it so my ass won’t stink, and it’s my ass, so I don’t really smell it anyway.
You run a business? You say you don’t want people who smell like shit inside your business, because it makes the whole place smell like shit?
My freedom to smell like shit outweighs your freedom to have a business that doesn’t smell like shit.
Do you hate freedom?
If you own a business, and you go around doing what the government tells you to do, making people leave who smell like shit because they can’t be bothered to do something as simple as wiping their own ass, well, you’re a COMMUNIST.
Wiping is tyranny!
Think about it: if somebody never came along and TOLD you to wipe your ass, you’d have never started doing it.
Do you do what EVERYONE tells you to do, all the time?
And you call yourself an American? HA.
All you are is a robot, marching along in line with all the other robots, DOING WHAT *THEY* TOLD YOU TO DO.
What’s that? You say “doctors” and “scientists” say people should wipe their asses?
Don’t you know those same doctors and scientists want to CONTROL YOUR THOUGHTS?
Today, it’s “wipe your ass.” Tomorrow, who knows?
Give em an inch, they take a mile. I mean, they SAY that wiping your ass helps you stay healthy, but think about this:
Every person you know who died, ever…
Every one of those dead people WIPED THEIR ASSES when they were alive!
And just look at em now. DEAD.
Did you ever think about that? Of course you didn’t! You’ve been brainwashed, just like all the other sheep.
But it’s not too late. You’ve seen the truth, now you’ve got to decide…
Are you going to keep blindly doing what other people tell you to do, or are you going to blaze a trail of FREEDOM and stop wiping your ass like me?
Don’t give in to their control! Join me in the anti-wiping movement.
And when you walk into a room, and everybody smells your ass, and they’re like “oh my God what’s that smell?” you tell em it’s the smell of freedom.
And remember, that smell only smells bad to them because they’ve been BRAINWASHED.
Got a song I am working on, don’t know the chords or melody yet, not sure about the title, or where the hook is, or if it’s got one, or any of that stuff, in fact maybe it’s one of those talk-singing songs, where there’s like a story being told, then there’s a chorus, doesn’t have to be 20 minutes long, no 5-part harmonies, no audience sing-alongs with feelin, nothing like that, just a quick little anecdote about this one fella sitting there minding his own business, when this other fella walks up rubbing the side of his head. Now being a congenial sort, first fella asks him, “what are you rubbing your head for?” and the other fella replies “nother fella hit me in the head with his shovel” and the first fella asks him, “well what did he do a thing like that for?” and the other fella said “he didn’t like what I said to him” and so the first fella, being a curious sort, he asks the other fella “well what did you say to him?” and the other fella said “told him he was digging his own grave.”
[dun-dun-dun dunnnn, dun, dun-dun, doonty-dun dun dun…]
and there ain’t no moral or anything to the song, except that maybe what looks like a good thing to one person might not look the same way to somebody else, and maybe every great once in a while you might find yourself looking at something that you think is good and fine, and maybe somebody else comes along and tells you they don’t like it.
And maybe they’ve got a pretty dang good reason to not like it.
Maybe people have been not liking that thing for a while now. For decades now.
And every time they said why they felt that way about it, you just tuned em out.
And maybe you didn’t even realize you were tuning em out
But tuned out they got, and mad was something else they got
And you-uuuu, didn’t ha-aaaa-ve, to hit me with your god-danged shovel
When I peeked down into the hole you were diggin
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Hey everybody there is a virus. It is very contagious. People catch it by inhaling droplets that come out of infected people’s mouths when they cough, speak, or even breathe. Which means, if everybody wears a mask, fewer people will catch the virus. We may have forgotten to mention that this virus can kill you. Did we mention it can kill you? It can kill you. Like, fast. So wear a mask, please!”
AMERICA: “[blares country music at top volume from open window of pickup truck]”
REST OF THE WORLD: “Oh wow, this is bad. And I bet older people and people with pre-existing conditions are at an even higher risk.”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “That’s correct.”
REST OF THE WORLD: “Wow. So I guess it’s, like, inconvenient? But I mean we should wear masks anyway, because people could die?”
AMERICA: “[runs stop light at intersection, flings half-empty longneck Busch Light bottle out of the window, which hits a post and shatters]”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “[covers face to protect eyes from shattered glass] What the fuck?”
AMERICA: “[slams on brakes, slides to a stop]”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Oh for the love of fuck what now?”
REST OF THE WORLD: “Shh just act like the glass didn’t hit you.”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “What are you– no! Hell no! America can’t just fling their fuckin’ Busch Light bottles all over the goddamn place–”
AMERICA: “[steps out of the pickup truck]”
REST OF THE WORLD: “oh shit oh fuck oh man oh fuck…”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Well at least he doesn’t have a gun this time.”
AMERICA: “[Reaches behind seat, retrieves shotgun]”
REST OF THE WORLD: “oh FUCK oh SHIT why does he have that shotgun? Jesus Christ…”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Don’t worry about what that lunatic does. [Puts on mask] Just put on a mask before he gets over here and starts spraying droplets of saliva everywhere.”
REST OF THE WORLD: “[Puts on mask] But don’t the masks protect others from us more than they protect us from others?”
AMERICA: “[kills engine, turns off radio]”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Yes, but some protection is better than no protection.”
AMERICA: “You say something to me? Mr. High-and-mighty World Health Organization, with your fancy doctor book learning and your leftist socialismist ideology. Can’t be trusted.”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Come again?”
AMERICA: “Oh I bet you’d like that, wouldn’t you? You socialists are all the same. [spits tobacco juice on the pavement] Buncha communists and perverts.”
REST OF THE WORLD: “That doesn’t even make any sense.”
AMERICA: “What did you say to me? I heard you over there saying something, but I couldn’t make out what it was, because you got that fuckin’ mask on, like a little fuckin’ kid at fuckin’ Halloween. [shucks shotgun]”
REST OF THE WORLD: “[glares at America]”
AMERICA: “That’s what I thought. You little piece of shit, over there talking shit, and you can’t even back up your shit.”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Now hold on just a minute–”
AMERICA: “Oh here we go! You gone tell me I gotta wear a mask, Mr. Doctor man?”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “That would certainly help the situation, America.”
AMERICA: “Well guess what, Mr. Doctor Man, where I come from, is a place called America. And we got, we got something in that country ain’t no other country got, and that’s freedom.”
REST OF THE WORLD: “(muttering) yeah ok but you also have the highest incarceration rate in the world.”
AMERICA: “[points shotgun at Rest Of The World] WHUT DID YOU SAY TO ME?”
REST OF THE WORLD: “I said, I like America, America is #1!”
AMERICA: “[lowers shotgun] Well, I guess a broken clock is right once a day. Twice a day. At midnight? But then if it was noon…”
WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “(whispering) look let’s just get the fuck out of here before he remembers he was pissed off.”
REST OF THE WORLD: “[nods]”
AMERICA: “…and we got a bunch of amendments to that constitution, and one of em says I can shoot this here gun at whoever I don’t like, and if you got a problem with that then you got a problem with freedom. And I ain’t talking bout what these self-proclaimed [coughs], these self-proclaimed Feminazis and Socialists is [coughs] tryin to ram down my [coughs] ram down my [coughs, hacks] throat, and they ain’t no more American than they is [coughs, sputters], than they is [hacks, coughs, hacks, sputters, drops shotgun, keels over]”
After reading all the complaints on social media about not being able to go to bars and having to wear masks at the grocery store, SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has finally decided to break its silence and respond to all inquiries and complaints.
Full text is as follows:
“Dear humans of the world,
I am a virus, not Ann Landers or Dear Abby. Stop sending me complaints about masks. You might as well go complain to the sun that you need to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn.
P.S. I didn’t actually write this, as I am a virus. But if you feel like pointing out that the government isn’t making anyone use sunscreen, let me remind you that sunburn is not contagious.”
Well there you have it, folks, SARS-CoV-2 has spoken, and from what it sounds like, all the complaining about masks hasn’t convinced SARS-CoV-2 to stop infecting people.
Hopefully this virus – which lacks all capacity for any sort of rational thought or decision-making, unlike the humans it infects – will make the fair, rational choice and stop infecting people.
But until this self-replicating bit of RNA that is incapable of conscious thought decides to be fair about this whole thing, I suppose we’re just going to have to make the best of it, folks.
Hi. My name is Michael Walker. I am in here quite a bit.
I have bought a total of 3 new Windows laptops here over the past 5 years or so.
As a general rule, I prefer being able to walk into a store and buy something over having to order it online.
But that’s superfluous information, I guess.
I want to say before I say anything else that I am not trying to get anybody in trouble with this little stunt, I am just filing my complaint in a place where somebody might actually read it, as opposed to filling in a box on Walmart’s website and having my complaint ignored.
Which, again, is not something I am blaming anyone at this store for. Everyone working here is awesome, it’s the impersonal structure of Walmart as a corporation that I am complaining about.
A few weeks ago, after looking at this very display model, I decided I wanted to buy an iPad Pro. I am an amateur musician and songwriter, as well as a “creative” in other media, and this device looked like something that would be fun and useful for me.
I have an iPad Pro now, 10.5 inch, 64 GB storage, just like this one, except mine’s rose gold.
I found it on Walmart.com, and before sales tax it was $478, significantly cheaper than the $649 this nearly identical one is going for.
Which by the way, did you guys get more of these in? Wasn’t this “non-working display model” supposed to be removed from display a few weeks ago, when I asked if any more of these were coming in and was told “no”?
Anyways, I can’t really complain much because I ended up saving a decent amount of cash by ordering from Walmart.com.
And I wouldn’t be complaining at all, if not for this next thing, which isn’t the fault of anyone here, or really the fault of anyone working for Walmart below the corporate/executive level.
I decided to get an Apple Pencil to use with my iPad Pro. I came here last week looking for one, but you guys don’t carry them.
So, I decided to order one from Walmart.com.
There are 2 delivery options available: have it delivered to my house, or have it delivered here for pickup.
The website told me that pickup dates were estimated, and that they may change. So if somebody working here reads this, I knew that going in.
Anyways, I decided to order my Apple Pencil on Thursday, August 8. The website said they were available for pickup at this store before I put the item in my virtual shopping cart.
When I put it in the cart on the website, the pickup day changed to Friday, August 9.
Estimated delivery to my house was Monday, August 12.
Wanting to play/work with my new Apple Pencil as soon as possible, I chose the pickup option.
I knew I would be coming here over the weekend anyway (hi, I am in here now, pulling this up on this “non-working display model” which seems to work exactly like my iPad Pro at home), so I wouldn’t have to make a special trip to come up here and pick up my Apple Pencil.
Anyways, I placed my order.
A while later, I got a message saying that pickup of my item was delayed.
You wanna know when the website told me I could pick it up?
Monday, August 12. After 6 pm.
Which was the estimated delivery date, if I’d had the Apple Pencil sent to my house. Plus a few hours, probably, plus a drive to the store to pick it up.
I looked online, and I could *attempt to* cancel the order and make a new order…
But according to the website, it might not be possible to cancel my order.
So I called the customer service line. The friendly person I talked to told me the same thing, that I could *try* to cancel the order, but it may not be possible.
I don’t want two hundred-dollar Apple Pencils.
I want one of them.
And I was misled by Walmart’s website into thinking I could have one delivered here over the weekend.
And now I have to make a special trip up here to get my Apple Pencil, on the same date it could have been delivered to my house.
I can’t help but be annoyed by that.
But here’s the really annoying part:
Nobody I can complain to – in person or online – can actually do anything about this issue.
This issue comes from Walmart’s corporate and executive structure, where policies are made and enacted for the website and for Walmart stores around the world.
This complaint will never be heard, essentially.
And to repeat, if any manager reads this, I am not complaining about you, and I am not complaining about anyone who works for this store.
I am not even complaining about the customer service rep I talked to on the phone.
I am complaining because Walmart’s pickup system is, to be frank, misleading.
I was misled into thinking I could get an Apple Pencil delivered to this store over the weekend.
And after the order was made, after Walmart changed the pickup date to something very inconvenient for me, I was not able to change my delivery options.
This is something Walmart needs to improve on. At the very least, Walmart needs to stop misleading people about when items ordered online can be picked up.
My item went from “in stock” to “sorry for the delay, we could have sent it to your house faster” in the space of an hour or two.
And there was no guaranteed way for me to change my delivery options after my order was placed.
I am not a happy camper right now.
But what can I do about it?
What can anyone in this store do about it?
What can customer service people do about it?
This problem comes from the corporate and executive level.
I will put this same webpage on this same iPad Pro when I make a special trip up here to get my Apple Pencil next week.
Because Walmart’s pickup system needs to be improved, and I want somebody to know that, even if it makes no difference.
I am pretty sure it won’t make any difference, for the record.
For any customers reading this, if you order something from Walmart.com, just have it sent to your house. Because the actual pickup dates are not going to be what the website claims before you order, and once you place your order you are pretty much stuck with it.
Thank you (whoever you are) for reading.
Leave a comment if you want; I will have to approve it, but as long as it’s a real person commenting, I will approve it.
Have an awesome day.
P.S. Adding insult to injury, I tell you what. 🙂
They don’t actually have any of these in the store, FYI.
While I do appreciate the attention, assuming this comment was written by a real person, let me reiterate:
I only allow comments from real people. I.e. people who provide some form of identification.
This comment was most likely just spam; even so, I would have loved to allow it on the page it was originally posted on… but I don’t think “Viagra” is anyone’s real name.
If it is, I apologize. However, if it is someone’s real name, someone who was actually responding to the post, the IP address is located in Germany.
In case it isn’t clear, I live in the USA.
Which means, I have never been and will most likely never be in the position to say anything to the face of this German Viagra person.
Anyways, enjoyable comment… sorry I couldn’t allow it. 🙂
One thing most people never spend much time thinking about is how the language we use shapes our reality.
I’m not gonna go into a whole “thing” about that, and I want to say first that I am not philosophically opposed to profanity or vulgarity, or fart jokes or dick jokes or anything like that (I’m quite the opposite, actually)…
But does anyone ever stop to think about how “for mature audiences” now means, basically, “this show is full of fart jokes and dick jokes”?
I mean, yeah, I get it, people don’t want their kids to pick up nasty language and start using it, and they want shows that have nasty language to be labeled, and “for mature audiences” is (I guess) as good a way as any to label shows like that…
But what effect does labeling a show full of fart jokes and dick jokes as “for mature audiences” have on adults that watch the show? Probably nothing major, but on the other hand, does it give shows labeled as “mature” a sort of authority that they wouldn’t have otherwise?
Take South Park, for example. It’s a cartoon, chock full to the brim with fart jokes, dick jokes, and all sorts of offensive humor… and somehow it’s become a running political commentary that many people take at least semi-seriously.
The “politics” of the show are not actually informed by anything other than what a couple rich white dudes from Colorado think about various items in the news, things that usually involve the concerns of non-white (or non-rich) people.
The most recent episode, in the first 6 minutes or so, mocks anyone who acknowledges that Christopher Columbus was a murderous slave trader, as well as anyone who wants to remove any monuments to the Confederacy, or for that matter rename any building or street or anything else named after a historical figure with ties to the slave trade.
The episode before that mocked white working class people being put out of work by changes in the economy. That’s been a running gag (“They took are jebs”) for a while now on the show, and yes, I laughed at it, and even used it in online conversations regarding immigration…
Please understand that I am not advocating censorship, nor am I calling for a boycott of South Park, or anything like that. I am just making observations. Last time I checked, I was still allowed to do that. 🙂
But it’s interesting to me that as Trey Parker and Matt Stone became more successful over the years (hell, decades now), South Park became more and more political, until every single episode became its own absurdist, highly skewed take on whatever those two assholes happened to see on Reddit the week before.
Did becoming successful make them more political? Or did becoming political make them more successful?
It’s probably both. But who knows?
What I do know (well, I am about 99% sure of this) is that somewhere on the internet right now (somewhere else, I mean), someone is complaining about how South Park nowadays is looking less like the funny, irreverent, absurdist dick joke-fest the show once was, and it’s looking more and more like your standard run-of-the mill red-piller alt-right self-congratulatory tribute to the status quo.
That someone is probably pointing out that South Park’s politics are poorly informed, that it skews the points of view of non-white, non-rich people beyond recognition and relegates their legitimate concerns to mere annoyances to be mocked and/or ignored…
And I would be willing to bet you one US dollar that wherever that’s happening, there’s a (probably white, probably male, probably middle-class or above) person responding to those accusations by telling that someone complaining about South Park that they “need to grow up.”
Of course that’s speculation. I’m not going to pore over South Park discussion threads to find examples. Lord knows I’ve seen plenty already. Not just about South Park, but about anything anyone anywhere has the audacity to be offended by.
Haven’t you? Sure you have:
A: “[offensive comment/joke].”
B: “Hey, that’s offensive. You shouldn’t say [offensive thing], because [detailed, well-thought out explanation].”
A: “OMG you seriously need to grow up!”
You’ve never seen conversations like that?
Really? You must be new to the internet. Welcome! 😉
Somewhere along the way, the idea came into the internet’s collective unconscious that “not being offended by anything” is equivalent to “being a grown-up.”
That fart jokes and dick jokes and other offensive things are something only “mature” adults laugh at, and that anyone who doesn’t laugh, or (gasp!) has the inclination to say “that’s not funny” is just a whiny crybaby who needs to put on his big boy britches and grow up already.
I wonder where this notion came from? 🙂
To be clear, in my opinion, fart jokes are hilarious. Dick jokes? Also hilarious. I rue the day that I don’t laugh at a well-timed burst of flatulence. I anticipate laughing at fart jokes and dick jokes for the remainder of my life, however long that turns out to be.
But is that because I am “mature”?
If so, I’ve been “mature” since I was about 3 or 4.
At any rate, thanks for reading.
Please note: this post is based only on people I have personally interacted with online, and even among that limited sampling of people, there are exceptions to the phenomenon jokingly talked about in this post. So don’t nobody get upset or nothing, I am just kidding around.
There is — believe it or not — a long-standing dispute among sci-fi fans regarding whether Star Wars or Star Trek is the better franchise.
Up until recently, I considered myself to be wholly in the “Star Wars is better” camp, even though I fully acknowledge that Star Wars (original trilogy, prequels, new movies, and all the assorted “Star Wars Universe” stuff, which I don’t know a lot about) is just as much “fantasy” as it is “sci-fi.”
I have to claim ignorance in making such an uninformed choice: up until just recently — as in like up until a month or so ago — I had never really watched much Star Trek. And I saw most of one of the movies (the Kirk and Spock movies, I don’t remember which one) a while back, and I liked it, and BBC America plays “Star Trek: The Next Generation” reruns quite often…
And even though there are certain aspects of the show that, like Star Wars, lean out of “sci-fi” territory and into “fantasy” territory, the vast majority of what I have seen of Star Trek is based much more in actual science than Star Wars.
So, in conclusion, I guess if someone were to put a blaster or a phaser or whatever to my head and demand that I declare which franchise I prefer, simply for sentimental reasons, I would still pick Star Wars.
But seeing as how that situation is not likely to ever occur, I would like to state that I now like both franchises quite a lot, and that my preference for Star Wars, to repeat, is mostly sentimental.
But one thing bugs me: there are die-hard Trekkies out there who are also pretty hardcore “anti-PC” people. I find this interesting because these people attempt to denigrate “pro-PC” people using “science.”
The greater prevalence of science (please note the lack of quotation marks) in Star Trek is also, often, why these anti-PC people prefer Star Trek.
What’s interesting to me is that in my viewing of perhaps ten or so episodes of “Star Trek: The Next Generation” — I look forward to viewing many more episodes, for the record — I have noticed something very interesting:
The crew of the Enterprise all use PC language. Nobody gives Worf shit about his being a Klingon, at least not in the episodes I have seen. There are humans of all different skin colors on the Enterprise, and nobody goes around using racial slurs.
As a matter of fact, one episode I saw recently was about how an extinct humanoid race from many thousands of years ago left a computer program or something encoded in the DNA of various worlds, and when all of the pieces were put together, a hologram of someone from that extinct race appeared and told everyone present — humans, Romulans, Klingons, maybe another race — that they all were descendants of this one race, that this one race had essentially planted them all on various planets around the galaxy, their shared DNA or pre-DNA or whatever was why they all had similar body types (head, torso, two arms, two legs, etc.), and that she (the hologram) hoped that knowing this would bring harmony to all these various races.
The Romulans and Klingons (or whoever, I don’t pretend to be hip to all the lingo) denied that this was true and said, essentially, that there was no way in heck they were going to acknowledge it. Picard expressed how unfortunate this attitude was.
Also, religious beliefs of various races on Star Trek are treated with the utmost respect. I also watched an episode (“Icarus” was in the title, I think) about this one guy — one of the people who have big ears that wrap around and connect on their foreheads — who invented a new type of shield (“metaphasic,” I think) that would allow a ship to fly into a star unharmed.
This fellow gets killed under mysterious circumstances, and Dr. Crusher wants to perform an autopsy, but Picard insists that she shouldn’t do it because the dead fellow’s family wants to perform some mystic ritual with his body before anything else happens. I think she did the autopsy anyway, but nonetheless respect for religious customs are also present in Star Trek.
There’s no catcalling on Star Trek, there’s nobody degrading women, no women get talked down to or sexually harassed…
What’s funny is that strictly going on dialogue and storylines and whatnot, Star Wars is a whole hell of a lot less “PC” than Star Trek. And seeing as how Star Wars doesn’t contain any language that would be too harsh for a five-year-old’s ear, that’s really saying something.
And in my very limited experience, it seems like most “pro-PC” people (including me) are more into Star Wars — which has jokes based on appearance, mild sexism, mockery of the Jedi religion, etc. — and most “anti-PC” people are more into Star Trek, which, at least in “The Next Generation,” is just about as “PC” as a sci-fi series could possibly be.
Correct me if I am wrong, but didn’t TNG change the original Star Trek intro thing from “…boldly go where no MAN has gone before” to “…boldly go where no ONE has gone before”?
I am not a “Trekkie,” so maybe I imagined that.
What gives, anti-PC Trekkies? How come you like PC sci-fi but not PC real life? Do you think that humanity will get to the stars faster calling each other by racial slurs, encouraging sexism and homophobia, and just generally behaving shittily toward each other?
What gives, you scruffy-looking bunch of nerf-herders?
Another big thing on Star Trek is accepting responsibility for your actions. This was mentioned to young Wesley Crusher by Number One (I can’t remember his name, he has a beard most of the time) when Crusher was put in command of a research mission.
Number One told Crusher to do what he thought was best, but to be prepared to acknowledge and accept responsibility for failure, should his judgment prove to be incorrect.
How in the name of Spock do you go from that to “nobody gets to be offended by anything I say unless I was trying to be offensive”?
Where do you get off, anti-PC Trekkies, calling people “too sensitive” if they accuse you of saying something offensive? Where do you get off, o graduates of Starfleet Academy, not only refusing to apologize to people you have offended, but also launching into personal attacks against the people you have offended?
Is that how Captain Picard would behave? Granted, I have only seen a small number of episodes, but I hardly think so.
Picard would lecture you on respect and manners, anti-PC Trekkies. Picard would embarrass you in front of everyone on the bridge, and if you continued to be insubordinate and disrespectful toward your fellow crew members, Picard would tell Data to beam your sorry ass off the Enterprise.
Although he wouldn’t say “ass” or “butt” or for that matter “sorry.” Nonetheless, you wouldn’t last very long on the Enterprise or any other such ship, were you to go around using racial slurs and sexual innuendo and harassing anyone who dared to complain about it.
So again, anti-PC Trekkies, what gives?
Imagine, if you will, four friends traveling across the countryside on an adventure. These four friends – all adults of legal age – have known each other since childhood. Like any group of friends, they have disagreements from time to time, but these disagreements usually resolve themselves of their own accord and never cause any real friction within the group.
This group consists of two men and two women. There has never been any romantic involvement between any two members of this group at any point during the group’s existence. The friendship among this mixed group of four is and always been strictly platonic, and despite what the reader or anyone else may imagine to the contrary, there has never been the slightest inkling toward anything romantic or sexual directed at any member of the group from any other member of the group.
They are, all four of them, just friends.
There is only one issue which causes this group of four genuine and lifelong friends any friction whatsoever, and while this issue may seem silly to anyone outside the group, rest assured that there are legitimate reasons this issue is so important to the members of this group. However, these reasons are so convoluted and arcane that it would require many thousands of words to accurately describe them, and even if these reasons were to be fleshed out on the page (or on the screen, or what have you) they would likely not make any sense whatsoever to anyone outside of this group of four friends.
These reasons are important to the four friends, and silly though it may seem to anyone else, the beliefs these friends have regarding this one seemingly trivial issue are so strong that any time this issue is brought up, heated arguments ensue.
As a matter of fact, this one adventure these four friends are on now is the first such adventure the four of them have undertaken together in several years. This long estrangement was due, mainly, to an unresolved argument regarding the aforementioned issue, and to repeat yet again, this issue may very well seem silly and frivolous and trivial to anyone outside the group, nonetheless within the group itself, this issue is anything but.
The issue is pizza.
Yes, it seems insane – and it very well may be – that four lifelong friends could come to blows and not talk to each other for literally years at a time over something as seemingly insignificant as pizza (what toppings to put on it, what type of crust is best, etc.), nonetheless the dispute over pizza among these four genuine, lifelong friends is an ongoing one, and one that they – all four of them – purposefully estranged themselves from each other over for several years preceding the adventure we find them on now:
Jill, Hillary, Gary, and Donald, after a long day of traveling and sightseeing and joking around and generally having a great time together, have found themselves in a small town in the middle of nowhere. The four of them, having been physically active all day and only eating a light breakfast and lunch, are all very hungry. It’s after 10 pm, and the only lights on anywhere in this small town in the middle of nowhere are in a small pizzeria on the edge of the town square.
Before the four of them go in, they have a short discussion regarding the issue that is weighing heavily on their hearts, that the good times they have been sharing on this adventure shouldn’t be ruined by their having to face the one issue they can’t agree upon – pizza – that they will simply order four personal-sized pizzas, eat them quietly without criticizing each other, then leave the pizzeria and find somewhere to sleep for the night.
The four of them – after circling the town square a few times to make sure there isn’t anywhere else open (even a convenience store) where they could grab a bite before bed – reluctantly start toward the pizzeria.
On the sidewalk outside the pizzeria, there’s a man lying on his side, moaning in what sounds like agony.
“What a bum,” Donald says.
“Really,” Gary replies. “There is nothing worse than a grown man who has no respect for himself.”
“I…I’m not a bum,” the man replies. “I…own…successful business…couple towns ov–” then the man begins violently retching upon the concrete.
Donald and Gary, disgusted, enter the pizzeria, discussing things like “personal responsibility” and “self-respect” and how “bums” like this fellow are “leeches on society” and that sort of thing.
Hillary and Jill take slightly more pity on the moaning, retching fellow. They ask him if there is anything they can do to help him, and after retching and moaning for another ten seconds or so, the man says “ambulance” and then retches some more. There is a phone on the sidewalk beside him, and the sound of an ambulance siren is just barely audible off in the distance, and Hillary and Jill assume that he has already called for help.
The man seems to be trying to tell them something, trying to warn them about something, even – he is grasping at pant legs and has a pleading tone in his voice, etc. – but before he can say anything other than “don’t” and “pep” (because of all the retching), Donald opens the door.
“Hurry up and come in here, ladies,” Donald says. “The pizza chef is about to close up for the night, and if you don’t get in here now, you don’t get to eat!”
Hillary and Jill note that the ambulance siren off in the distance seems to have gotten a little closer, and though they feel pity and concern for the moaning, retching man on the sidewalk, and though he now appears to have trouble breathing, they reason that as they are not medical professionals, there’s nothing they can do for him, and there’s apparently an ambulance on the way, and so on, and long story short Hillary and Jill go into the pizzeria and sit down at the table Donald and Gary have chosen.
The four of them are the only customers in the pizzeria, other than a young couple in the back corner who seem to have fallen asleep at their table.
The inside of the pizzeria is dimly lit, and there is an odd smell, and the atmosphere seems like less of a dimly-lit romantic Italian ristorante sort of atmosphere and like more of a dimly-lit B-movie “this is where everybody in the picture gets brutally murdered” sort of atmosphere. Everyone in the group notices this, but they all attribute it to their being tired and hungry, and none of them mentions it to anyone, and they revive the jocularity they enjoyed during the day and order something to drink.
When the waitress brings their drinks – four ice cold root beers in frosty mugs, a perfect beverage to top off a perfect day, everyone agrees – she informs them that there is only enough pizza dough left in the kitchen for the chef to make one large pizza. The waitress adds, somewhat cryptically, that “personal sized pizzas” are not allowed in this pizzeria, and to please not mention them again.
The four friends’ jocularity is suspended, and they all silently gaze down at the menus in front of them, realizing that the one issue that has bitterly divided their tightly-knit group many times over the years – the pizza issue – will have to be settled to some degree this evening.
They also – all four of them – notice something exceedingly odd printed at the bottom of each page of the menu:
“Do not order more than you can eat. Wasting food is a crime against Nature and the Supreme Being. Customers who do not finish their meals will be shot.”
The waitress says she will be back in a couple minutes to take their order, and she walks away.
“Ha. Did you guys see this disclaimer at the bottom of the menu? About customers who don’t finish their meals?” Donald asks the table. “I like a man who is confident about his product. It shows spunk, it shows panache, it shows that the owner of this place is a winner and not some loser like that bum out on the sidewalk. I’m going to remember that, that is creative marketing right there, ladies and gentleman.”
Before anyone can respond, the sound of a pump-action shotgun being shucked comes from over near the door. The four friends turn and see that a burly fellow of about 6’8” and 300 lbs is now standing in front of the door, facing the table, holding what appears to be a sawed-off 12-gauge across his chest.
Donald, Jill, and Hillary are all somewhat taken aback at this new development, and at first so is Gary, but after noticing that no one else noticed him flinching, and after noticing that the burly fellow is only standing there by the door and not actually pointing his sawed-off 12-gauge at anyone, Gary laughs and tells his three friends that they are all “pussies,” and that this one time when he was riding his ten-speed up the side of Mt. Everest with a pack of wild cheetahs chasing him, a Sherpa guide brandished a shotgun more or less exactly like that one at him, and he stopped his ten-speed, confronted the shotgun-wielding Sherpa, and even though the Sherpa – who was envious of the ten-speed which Gary had earned through hard work and a dedication to self-improvement and individuality and that sort of thing and wanted to steal it (the ten-speed) from him – actually managed to “wing” Gary, Gary tells the table, Gary was able to wrestle the shotgun away from the Sherpa and suplex this Sherpa over the side of a cliff, which by this time the pack of wild cheetahs had caught up to him, and he had to fight them all off bare-handed – he was only able to kill one with the shotgun (it was a double-barreled shotgun, and one shot had already been expended upon him) – and after a long, arduous battle there on the side of Mt. Everest with approximately seventeen wild cheetahs in which Gary eventually came out the victor, and “other than a scratch or two” (Gary proudly flopped his right leg up onto the table to show everyone a rather nasty-looking scar that he claimed still had most of a cheetah tooth broken off somewhere inside of it) he came out of the fracas unscathed. After he related the end of his tale, in which he tamed a ferocious grizzly bear merely by speaking kindly to it and then rode on the bear’s back up to the summit of Mt. Everest and then back down to the base, beating his bare chest with his fists the entire time, Gary reiterated that just because an intimidating-looking fellow of about 6’8” and 300 lbs was standing in front of the door with a shotgun here at this dimly-lit pizzeria that smelled sort of like the back room of a mortuary with menus that threatened death for anyone who didn’t finish their pizza, that was no reason for anyone to be upset, and that he wasn’t really surprised that the female half of the group was concerned about the situation (men being, to his view, the stronger, more resilient half of the species) but that the other male in the group should have the “balls” to not be afraid of a mere sawed-off 12-gauge, when he (Gary) had bravely endured not only shotguns but packs of cheetahs and grizzly bears, all while riding his ten-speed up the side of Mt. Everest.
“I’m not a pussy,” Donald began, the register of his voice a good bit lower than it had been just a few minutes ago. Before he could continue in his artificially-deepened voice, the waitress returned to the table.
“Are you guys ready to order?” the waitress asked. She seemed sort of nervous, but as everybody at the table was again preoccupied with the pizza issue, nobody paid any attention to it.
“Would it be possible to split the pizza four ways?” Jill asked. “I mean, like a quarter ham, a quarter Canadian bacon, a quarter ground beef, and a quarter pepperoni?”
It would be prudent at this point to discuss the individual pizza topping preferences of the four friends:
Donald’s favorite pizza topping is pepperoni. Hillary’s favorite pizza topping is ground beef. Gary’s favorite pizza topping is Canadian bacon, and Jill’s favorite pizza topping is ham.
The issue as to whether Canadian bacon and ham are actually the exact same thing is but one of many issues that has bitterly divided this group over the years, and the arguments presented for and against this issue would require several thousand words to transcribe. Jill and Gary – obviously – strongly disagree that Canadian bacon and ham are actually the exact same thing, and after verbally fighting tooth and nail against each other for hours over the matter, they are known to combine their vitriol and direct it against Hillary when she inevitably tries to get them both to concede that at the very least Canadian bacon and ham are quite similar. Donald finds the whole argument amusing, and tends to drop well-timed comments which alternately support both sides in order to egg on the conflict and amuse himself.
At any rate, the waitress informs them that no, this four-way splitting of the pizza will not be possible.
“The pizza chef is,” the waitress begins, “a deeply religious man.” She seems to be reciting something from memory: “His religion, is, um…his religion is single–”
The waitress’s recitation is cut short by a loud clanging sound from back in the kitchen, one which prompts the waitress to visibly flinch.
“His religion is singular, I meant to say,” she continues, “In that he is the only adherent of it. I am unworthy of such a faith, but…” she pauses, “but I espy– ”
More clanging, as if someone were hitting a stack of pizza pans with a sledgehammer, emerges from the kitchen, again causing the waitress to visibly flinch.
“…but I aspire to one day be worthy of aspiring to such a noble faith,” the waitress said.
The four friends at the table – all of whom respect the right of every individual to worship or not worship whoever or whatever they wish in whichever fashion they wish (Donald having, nonetheless, something of an aversion to anything and everything Islamic) – are nonetheless taken somewhat aback at the things the waitress is telling them about the pizza chef and his “singular” religion. The pizza chef, it seems, worships a Supreme Being who expresses Himself – the repeated use of “Him,” “His,” and “He” (the capitalization of these pronouns being easily inferred) indicating to everyone at the table that this Supreme Being envisioned by the pizza chef is, in fact, male – through the medium of pizza. And that he – the pizza chef (note that the most recent “he” is not capitalized) – is the vessel through which this Supreme Being expresses Himself.
One odd aspect of this “singular” religion, one which strikes everyone at the table as somewhat ironic, is that the “Supreme Being” worshiped by the pizza chef has given the pizza chef one unalterable commandment regarding the medium – pizza – through which the will of this “Supreme Being” is expressed: at no time, and under no circumstances, would the “Supreme Being” tolerate more than one topping on any one pizza the pizza chef makes. Therefore, according to will of the “Supreme Being,” the concept of a “supreme pizza” is an abomination.
It occurs to everyone at the table – being that all four of them have something of a talent for marketing – that the pizza chef could potentially be making quite a lot of money by using his religion as a gimmick and selling “Supreme Being Pizzas” and that sort of thing. Donald mentions this to the waitress, who responds with silence and a horrified look on her face.
There are, however, certain aspects of the pizza chef’s religion that appeal to the group: part of the reason that the pizza chef (or the Supreme Being, or whatever) allows only one topping on a pizza – and also one pizza to a table – is to promote unity among friends and family. One topping must be agreed upon, one and only one topping – it doesn’t matter which topping, but there has to be one, and “cheese” doesn’t count – before the Supreme Being would deign to commune with the group of family or friends at the table through the divine medium of freshly-baked hand-tossed Italian-style pizza created by the sole arbiter and vessel of the Supreme Being’s will, the pizza chef.
There was one other stipulation: if the group of friends or family dining at any given table at this pizzeria could not decide which of the many flavorful and delicious toppings to have on their pizza, the will of the Supreme Being dictates that the topping will default to pepperoni.
The four friends look at the long list of toppings – Jill and Gary feeling somewhat vindicated because of the fact that both “ham” and “Canadian bacon” appear on the list – and ask the waitress to please give them a minute. The waitress says that will be fine, and while she is saying “I will be back in a few minutes” she turns her back to the kitchen, scribbles something rather frantically on her notepad, tears off the top page, and nonchalantly places it on the table in front of Hillary before she walks back to the kitchen.
As Donald, Jill, and Gary discuss the pizza chef’s singular faith, Hillary picks up the slip of paper, the top left corner of which is apparently still on the notepad the slip came off of. In shaky, all-caps, Hillary is able to read this message:
DONT EAT ANY
THNG ELSE OK”
Hillary attempts to show the note to her companions – they were talking among themselves about how interesting the pizza chef’s marketing strategy was – remembering the retching man on the sidewalk who had managed to choke out “don’t” and “pep” before she and Jill left him on the sidewalk for the ambulance to pick up…
And she realizes for the first time since she came in that the ambulance she and Jill had heard in the distance had never come, that the man on the sidewalk hadn’t called it after all, like she and Jill had assumed.
Hillary looks around the dining room of the pizzeria. The young couple in the back corner who appear to have fallen asleep at their table don’t seem to have moved at all since she and her three friends came in.
Neither of the two young people – neither of them could have been over 20 years old – appear to be breathing.
As Hillary turns back around to her friends, a muffled sort of scream emanates from the kitchen area. The screaming stops after a slight clanging sound – like pizza pans falling off of a counter – and a series of dull thumps – thumps that sound like someone hitting a side of beef with a sledgehammer – travel through the strange-smelling air between the kitchen and the dining room.
The four friends sit in silence for a few seconds. “You guys,” Gary says, his voice trembling, “what was that sound? It sounded like–”
“I vas tenderizing ze beef for tomorrow’s pizzas,” says a small man in a black apron who appears more or less out of nowhere. “Ze vaitress, she has gone home for ze evening. I am ze chef here. Vy name ist Heinrich. I vas named for mein great grandfazza.”
The man is fairly short – just over five feet tall – and he has neatly combed white hair, bright blue eyes, and a pleasant smile. “Have ze fine ladies und gentlemen decided vhich topping zey vill have?”
The man’s appearance sets Jill, Gary, and Donald somewhat at ease.
“No, I’m afraid not, Heinrich,” Jill begins. “Hillary wants ground beef, I want ham, Gary wants Canadian bacon, and Donald wants pepperoni.”
“I regret to inform ze lady zat zere ist no ham available tonight,” Heinrich says. “Ve are, as zey say, fresh out.”
“What about Canadian bacon?” Gary asked, his voice again evoking what he imagines to be rugged masculinity.
Heinrich smiles, with what Hillary and Donald both interpret as knowing condescension: “Yes,” Heinrich says, “I am afraid zat ve are out of zat topping as vell. Everyzing else ist, as zey say, still in fresh supply.”
“Well, if I understand the policy here, Heinie,” Donald begins, “If we can’t decide what topping we want, you just give us pepperoni, right?”
“Zat ist correct,” Heinrich replies. “Und let me assure ze fine ladies und gentlemen zat it ist pepperoni of ze highest quality.”
“I’m sure it is, Heinie,” Donald says. “I’m sure it’s some really luxurious pepperoni, my friend. And I just want to compliment you on your business here, I really like the whole marketing approach, the whole ‘Supreme Being’ shtick, I just think it’s fantastic.”
Heinrich’s smile does not wane in the slightest, but his eyes seem to betray a slight inner hardening of his demeanor as he says, “Let me assure ze gentleman zat mein Gott ist no, as you say, shtick.”
“That’s great, Heinie, just great,” Donald replies, then turns back to his friends: “Well, guys, it sounds like pepperoni, huh?” Donald positively radiates triumph over the fact that the inability of his friends to agree on a pizza topping essentially guarantees that his choice of topping will be the one they are all forced – quite literally at gunpoint – to eat.
“Could you just give us a minute to discuss this, Heinrich?” Hillary asks.
“Of course, madame,” Heinrich replies. “I vill be back in, as zey say, two shakes of ze lamb’s tail.”
“I just think he’s fantastic,” Jill says.
“His accent is scary,” Gary offers, wiping his nose with the back of his hand.
“I bet that’s some real luxurious pepperoni,” Donald says.
“Guys, I think that pepperoni is poisoned,” Hillary says. “I think this whole restaurant is a death trap, and I think that guy Heinrich is a psychopath.”
The three of them laugh.
“Look at this note!” Hillary says, and shows them the note the waitress had given her.
“I can’t even read that,” Donald says.
“Look at that sloppy handwriting,” Jill says.
“That waitress writes like a pussy,” Gary says.
“Jill,” Hillary says, “don’t you remember the sick man on the sidewalk?”
“You mean that bum?” Donald interrupts.
“Proper penmanship is one key aspect of personal responsibility,” Gary says.
“When he wasn’t vomiting, he said ‘don’t’ and ‘pep’!” Hillary says. “Didn’t you hear that, Jill?”
“Well, I…” Jill replies.
“Probably hopped up on pep pills,” Donald says.
“People like that are pathetic,” Gary begins. “It’s like Ayn Rand always said…”
“LOOK AT THE COUPLE IN THE BACK CORNER, YOU IDIOTS! THEY’RE FLIPPING DEAD! THEY ATE THE POISON PEPPERONI AND NOW THEY’RE DEAD!” Hillary shouts.
“No need to act like a fanatic,” Gary says, his voice slightly quivering again.
“Must be that time of the month,” Donald says.
“You’re letting your emotions control you, Hillary,” Jill says.
“Are ve veady to order?” Heinrich says, again seeming to appear out of nowhere.
Out of frustration, Hillary presses the heels of her hands against her temples and puts her elbows on the table. “Anything but pepperoni,” she says.
“Ham,” Jill says.
“Canadian bacon,” Gary says.
“They’re the same FLIPPING THING!” Hillary says.
“NO THEY’RE NOT!” Jill and Gary shout in unison.
“Let me remind ze lady and ze gentleman zat ve are out of ze ham.”
Jill and Gary glare at Heinrich.
“…und ve are also out of ze Canadian bacon.”
“Yes,” Jill says, straightening up in her seat. “I know that you are out of ham, and I know that it is completely and utterly pointless and absurd for me to order ham, and that there is no eventuality whatsoever in which my ordering ham here in this pizzeria tonight will result in ham being put on the pizza that is brought to my table, because as I have been told there is no ham and therefore no possibility of ham being on my pizza, nonetheless, my conscience tells me that I should order ham anyway. I know full well that when I order ham – even if there were ham here in the pizzeria tonight, which it is a well-established fact that there isn’t any – that what I am essentially doing is ordering pepperoni – because of the rules you have here in your pizzeria, Heinrich – but these irrefutable and indisputable facts do not deter me in the slightest from doing what I feel I must do: order ham. I feel it is my duty to order ham, because I like ham, and I think ham is the best pizza topping, and even though there is no chance in hell – or for that matter heaven or Earth – that ordering ham tonight will lead to my being served ham on my pizza, and that ordering ham when I know this to be a fact is essentially an egotistical and foolish exercise in futility, I must follow my conscience and order ham anyway. I will have ham on my pizza, Heinrich, ham, I say!”
Gary stands up, clapping with vigorous aplomb. Tears are streaming down his face. “That was beautiful, Jill. I couldn’t have said it better myself. I mean, I probably could have said it better because I’m a rugged, manly man – these are rugged, manly tears streaming down my rugged, manly cheeks, by the way – and you’re just a dumb, frightened girl, but still, I agree with you a hundred percent on this. Except for me it’s Canadian bacon.”
“They’re the exact same thing,” Hillary says under her breath.
“NO THEY’RE NOT!” Jill and Gary shout in unison.
“Maybe they are, maybe they’re not. You’re being very immature, Hillary,” Donald says, then hands his menu to Heinrich. “You know what I’m having, Heinie.”
“Ze pepperoni it vill be, zen,” Heinrich says. “I hope ze ladies and gentlemen vill enjoy.”
“We’re all going to die here,” Hillary says.
“Stop being so emotional,” Jill says.
“Don’t be a pussy,” Gary says.
Hillary glares at Gary, who seems to shrink in his seat a little.
After a few minutes – fewer than one would think it would take to bake a pizza; Heinrich had apparently anticipated the outcome of the squabble over toppings ahead of time, and had done so correctly – the pizza is brought out, and Donald, Jill, and Gary eat heartily.
Hillary does not.
“Real good pepperoni, Hill, real luxurious,” Donald says several times.
After about ten minutes, Donald, Jill, and Gary begin to feel ill. They look at each other, noticing a greenish bluish sort of tinge in their faces. They look at Hillary, and notice that she does not have this sickly color in her face, although she does appear rather pale.
After about twenty minutes, the three of them fall over, moaning, clutching their stomachs in pain, retching violently all over the floor.
Hillary remains still, her elbows on the table, the heels of her hands pressed against her temples.
She hears footsteps behind her.
“Ze lady ist not eating her pizza,” Heinrich says, a playful sort of malevolence in his voice.
“You killed my friends,” Hillary says.
“Ja,” Heinrich replies. “Und now I vill kill you as vell. Come, Werner. Ze lady needs, as zey say, motivation.”
Werner shucks his shotgun.