Dude and Dude: Tune In Or Else

“Du-UUUUUUUUUDE!!

Jeez, dude! What is it?”

“Omygawd, dude, it was horrible! Horrible!!

“It must have been, dude. You’re shakin’ like a leaf. What the hell happened? Did ‘World of Warcraft’ crash?”

“Worse.”

“Did you wipe out on your skateboard?”

“Worse!”

“Are you out of w …”

Worse!!

What, then?!?”

“I don’t know if I can tell you, dude! … I was sittin’ in front of the TV, flippin’ channels, duckin’ the commercials – y’know, like normal people do.”

“I’ll let the ‘normal’ go for now. Yeah?”

“Yeah, well, so a show I’m kinda watchin’ goes to a commercial and I hit the clicker. And it won’t click!

“Finally wore it out, didya, dude?”

It ain’t funny, dude! So I go click again. Nothin’. So I clickclickclickclickclickclick. Still nothin’. I’m about to get up to try to find the channel changer on the box when the screen goes blank.

“And then this big dude shows up on that screen. And I mean big. Pecs out to here. And he’s got the bald head goin’, and the three-day scruff, and the shades, and the leathers. The baddest big dude I’ve seen outside a hip-hop club. And he points the finger at me!

” ‘Yo. Dude.’

” ‘How’d you find out who I am?’

” ‘We been watchin’ you. You ain’t been watchin’ our ads.’

” ‘Um, no …’

” ‘You know that’s how we make our bread, right?’

” ‘Man does not live by bread alo …’

” ‘But that’s where we start, turkey. You watch our shows but not our ads, you ain’t payin’ for the shows. That’s stealin’. We don’t like people stealin’ from us.’

” ‘What the hell you call the cable bill, then?’

” ‘Chicken feed. Don’t even pay the cable guy.’

” ‘Fine. I’ll call the cable guy and tell him to take all this stuff away. Feed that to your chickens!’

” ‘We don’t think so, turkey. You been clickin’ for awhile now. A long while. You owe us. Big time.’

“He goes away, and the TV starts playin’ commercials. I try to change stations. Nothin’. I hit the remote’s off button. Nothin’! I pull all the plugs outa the wall! Nothin’!! And the commercials kept gettin’ louder, and louder, and louder …!!

“Wha’d you do then, dude!?!”

“I woke up.”

“You woke … That’s it, dude! No more pizza with anchovies before bed for you! I should wring your scrawny little neck!

“OK, dude, but … one question before I go?”

“What?”

“Did you pay the cable bill?”

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This post inspired by Kirsten and the George Saunders short story, “My Flamboyant Grandson”. Neither paid Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba a dime.

Reg and Syd: The News at Easter

Reg and Syd, two [ahem] satirical gentlemen of means, made their blogatorial debut in October 2009. Then, as now, they were discussing the events of the day at their waterfront club

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“Ah, Syd, the stratagem progresses well. How very gratifying.”

“I’d propose a toast, Reg, but the champagne hasn’t arrived yet. Horrible service today. You’d think it was a holiday or something.”

“Well, if our media boys continue to do their work as they have been, we won’t have to worry about that much longer. You haven’t heard a word about the Pope’s actual Easter message, have you?”

“Not one. Not a sentence that has ‘Pope’ in it that doesn’t also have ‘scandal’.”

“Perfect. With the Catholics labeled ‘perverts’ and the Protestants ‘freaks’, soon Easter will be history, and the field will be cleared for our business interests.”

“I do find it hard to figure out, Reg, just how many of these pedophile priests there really are.”

“Sydney, you know that answer as well as I do. Very few. But it’s greater than zero, which is all we require for our purposes. We tell people about the ones we know about, and let their imaginations work. And if their imaginings come up with a number that’s, um, somewhat larger than the real one, all the better for us.”

“Indeed. The bigger the problem looks, the more people will leave the church because of it.”

“Right. And churches are just about the last things in society that induce a person to think of someone other than ‘me’. Which is bad for business. When we make churches look bad, we split individuals away from them.”

“And an individual will be thinking how to do better for himself. And when he does, we sell more stuff! Which means we can pay for all the champagne we want.”

“Right now, it’s beginning to look like we can’t pay for champagne at this club. Call the maitre d’ over, will you, Syd, and get him to find our waiter. And fire him, even if he offers some cock’n’bull excuse for his laziness, like going to an Easter Sunrise Service. Hell, especially if he was wasting energy at a Sunrise Service that he should have been conserving to serve us.”

Dear Continental

To Those Concerned (aka Dead Letter Office)
Continental Airlines
Houston, Texas, USA

Folks:

I have no way of knowing whether this is the first letter you have received from a protozoon. Although it is possible to infer, from some of your seating arrangements, that you have quietly begun to target microorganisms as a consumer group – but I am getting ahead of myself. I write to relate some of the experiences my partner and I have had during (ahem) a transcontinental flight we booked with your airline.

We chose Continental for this flight after an experience I had with one of your competitors – the one that continually urges its customers to fly in a position that is both compromising and aerodynamically improbable.

With this competitor, I purchased an Economy class ticket, in the mistaken belief that Economy was Economy. I nearly shed my pseudopodia when I got to the gate and discovered that, instead of the three classes of seating to which I have grown accustomed over the years, there were now seventeen, including something called Economy Plus, all of which had some justification to board the aircraft before my mere-Economy self. And that those of us without any such justification would be jammed together in the rear of the plane, denied access to facilities elsewhere in the aircraft, and loaded in such a manner that those few with any whiff of space for their persons (the aisle seats) had not a ghost of a chance of getting space for their carry-ons in any of the overhead lockers. I half expected the air-conditioning to be turned off for our section during the flight, and for us to be served, as our only available food, rotten corned-beef-and-cabbage from a tureen. At $15 a bowlful, of course.

I was relieved to find, on the first leg of the flight we booked with you, that the passengers were divided into First and Economy classes more or less as I have come to expect. I must report, however, that the relief turned into dismay when I discovered that the entire Economy section received the same treatment as the steerage section on your competitor’s airplane.

At least that flight had entertainment, including the usual video drivel (I hope that Mr. Lebron James is paying close attention to the recent travails of his predecessor in the Demigod: Sports department, Mr. Tiger Woods) and the far more compelling spectacle of a passenger collapsing in the aisle on the way to the one, er, designated lavatory.

No entertainment was scheduled for the second leg of our flight, which was delayed due to mechanical problems, leading to a change of gate and aircraft. We were therefore surprised, if not delighted, to be treated to a show by no less than the captain of the plane, which consisted of an Abbott-and-Costello-style mock(?)-argument exchange between the captain and her ground crew. The captain wanted the plane sealed and pushed back from the gate “because she was late”, the ground crew refused for reasons, apart from “new policy”, that we could not hear, a point that should be brought up with the show’s producers.

We must report to you that, if this performance was indeed an act, it was badly executed and in poor taste. If it was not an act, we can only conclude that it resulted from Continental Airlines policies that penalize flight crews for delays over which they have neither control nor responsibility, and thereby put them at odds with the men and women on the tarmac – a violation of one of the cardinal principles of aviation: “Treat your ground crews well – they keep you in the air.”

Until we hear from you about this situation, which we deem of critical importance, we fear that we must add your company, along with the aerodynamically-improbable one, to our own personal no-fly zone, and advocate the same to our readers.

We are sure that, in these troubled economic times, your other competitors in the air, not to mention the various virtual-conferencing providers now in the marketplace, will welcome the additional business.

Sincerely yours, Your Friendly Neighborhood Amoeba