What does the world cost? Oh well, then we'll just take a small coke.


Tuesday, May 01, 2007

Desperate Student, Episode 9: Political Activist

Sitting in one's home feeling sorry for oneself is actually surprisingly entertaining. Soon after my return from a fateful tour of New York and Surrounding Environs, I found myself in my still-sparkling home staring at the wall mourning my perpetual and inescapable bad luck.

While I had been gone, my roomie had taken on five new room mates to help lower the cost of rent. The house was designed for two. Two people slept in each of the two tiny bedrooms, two people took the couch, and my blankies and pillow were moved to the bathtub. By the time I returned, it was too late to protest.

I decided it was time to move out and find another place. Unfortunately, that meant money. Money meant another act of suicidal desperation. After several hours of mournful introspection, I rose and borrowed my roomie's new laptop while he wasn't looking.

Monster.Com > Jobs For People Who Can't Fog A Mirror > No Bingo.

For the first time ever, Monster had no jobs available for cold bodies. This was bad. This was very, very bad. I would have to get creative. I leaned back in the chair, deep in thought, and suddenly found myself navigating the corridors of FCN. Tim's comment about speech writing got me thinking. Why not start a career in politics? No manual labor, job skills, training, or moral principles were required. I seemed cut out for it in a big way.

An image flashed across my memory from my days roaming the streets as a drug dealer (this was before FCN's reformation). I had seen a sign with the smiling face of my favorite politician over the words: "Get Involved 2008". That was my ticket.

I coerced one of the new roomies, a thick red-bearded frat boy named Ivan, to give me a lift. The office was part of a complex rented mostly by medicinal specialists like orthodontists and witch doctors. I knocked on a door covered with patriotic stickers and slogans.

"Come on in," Someone shouted. I opened the door. The main room had no furniture. The floors were covered with poorly organized stacks of paper, which were being sifted by a young blonde with hair tied in such a way that she looked very much like a cow. The walls were covered with posters and pictures.

"Hey," I said hesitantly. "Is this Nancy Pelosi's office? I saw her picture on the ..."

"No," The girl said. "Sorry. This is Hillary Clinton's office."

"Oh." I was dejected, but not quite ready to give up. "What's the difference?"

"Makeup, mostly," Said the girl. "Why? Do you want to help out?"

"Does it pay?"

"It's mostly volunteer work, but if you do really well, you could work your way up the ladder and start making a lot of money."

That sounded risky to me, but I was desperate, so I agreed. "Tell me what to do."

The girl, whose name was Ricky (I didn't understand it, either) gave me a stapler and pointed at a huge stack of papers in the corner. "Four sheets each," She said.

I started stapling with abandon. The work was easy and boring. Ricky moved about the room sorting papers with no apparent rhyme or reason. After about two hours, something in my wrist cracked and I cried out in pain.

"Ow!"

"What?"

"I think I broke something."

"Do you mind if I play some music?"

"That's fine."

She started playing Shania Twain's I Feel Like A Woman on repeat. Another hour passed.

"Hey, Ricky?"

"What?"

"Do you listen to anything else?"

"No, why?"

"No special reason."

"This is the Hillary Clinton for President Theme Song. If you don't like it, go work for Obasaka." She said the last word with utter contempt.

"Why? What do they listen to?"

"I Feel Like A Disenfranchised Discriminated Cinderella Story Inspiring Young Idealist Guy From Kenya."

"Sounds catchy."

She glared and got back to her sorting, this time humming along with the music. Another hour.

"Ow!"

"What?"

"Look at my hand! It's flapping up and down!"

"Yeah, so?"

"So I can't stop it!"

"Wierd." She turned up the music. I knew I wasn't going to quit now. I had a bright political future ahead of me. I could just see people humming to the catching tune of I Feel Like A Desperate Student:

I'm staying late tonight
I have papers to write
I'm getting worried about my grade
Jealous of my room mates
Because they all have dates
Been a week since I was paid

Never successful
Life is so stressful
Pearls before the swine
When I was six I had some good luck
But now it feels bad all the time

The worst thing about being a student
Is when you get caught doing things that you shouldn't!

O-wuh-uh-uh! Go totally crazy! Incurably lazy!
Long nights, lost fights!
O-wuh-uh-uh! Minimum wage, yeah! Stapling pages!
O-wuh-uh-uh! I don't have a fever, but I never get near her!
Don't clean my shirt, can't smell the dirt!
O-wuh-uh-uh! Wish I were rich, yeah! Don't like how I feel:
Dude! I feel like a Desperate Student.

My wrist is gonna break
It's starting to shake
Now I'm stapling to save the furry
Not much romance
Don't know how to dance
But that's the least of my worries

The worst thing about being a student
Is when you're desperate nothing seems to be imprudent!

O-wuh-uh-uh! Go totally crazy! Life's getting hazy!
I guessed, flunked test!
O-wuh-uh-uh! Terrible jobs, yeah! Living like a slob!
O-wuh-uh-uh! Never in action! No job satisfaction!
Don't comb my hair, life is unfair!
O-wuh-uh-uh! Wish I were rich, yeah! Don't like how I feel:
Dude! I feel like a Desperate Student.

The worst thing about being a student
Is when you wake and know today will be a torment!

O-wuh-uh-uh! Go totally crazy! Can't handle a lady!
Bad jests, worst dressed!
O-wuh-uh-uh! I need some moola! To buy Coca-Cola!
O-wuh-uh-uh! I'm breaking my arm! I cause social harm!
I sit in the back, developing plaque!
O-wuh-uh-uh! Wish I were rich, yeah! Don't like how I feel:
Dude! I feel like a Desperate Student.

I know. It's catchy. Come on, baby. It kept me company as I harnessed the uncontrollable flapping up-and-down motion to continue stapling pages for yet another hour. By then, hunger was beginning to take control.

"Ricky, do you ever take breaks or anything?"

"Sure."

"When?"

"All the time. I left for lunch earlier but you didn't notice."

"Can I go for lunch now?"

"Sure."

"Can I scalp some lunch money?"

"This is campaign money you're asking for. Do you really want to take the risk that the Alaskan Caribou will be overrun by filthy capitalist dogs?"

I was perfectly ready to take that risk if it meant a free lunch, but I had the sense not to say so. Instead, I went outside and hailed a taxi. The plan was to "hitch a ride," that is, have him take me to In N Out Burger and then make a break for it without paying. Fortunately, since I wasn't explicitly depriving him of any material possessions, this act doesn't technically qualify as stealing. Note that the previous sentence is completely untrue.

When I reached for the door of the taxi, my wildly flapping right hand threw the door back much further than I'd hoped. I'm not totally clear on the physics, but I was thrown over the taxi and into the street beyond. It was at this unfortunate moment that a greyhound bus, which was innocently sweeping through town, swerved wildly to avoid me, turned sideways, and smashed through the glass front of a fancy fashion store run by a manager who swore he would kill me if I ran his name on FCN.

The bus windows were open, and when it tipped, a very cute 2-year-old dressed in some adorable frilly pink stuff fell out the window and into my bewildered lap. That's the situation I was in when the reporters showed up. They managed to take some great pictures of the sobbing mother retrieving her baby and thanking me profusely. I objected half-heartedly until an *BC News reporter shoved a microphone in my face.

"Tell me, did you really just jump in front of that bus to save that baby?"

"What can I say?"

"Would you call yourself a hero?"

"Well, I didn't really do anything that special. It was more of an accident."

"That's very modest of you. What's your name?"

"You can call me Desperate Student." I extended my hand to shake, but the wrist clenched and I fell to the ground, my face contorted in agony.

"He's hurt!" Someone shouted, and then an ambulance came and a hospital doctor checked me out and told me the damage was permanent. I hate it when that happens.

Within hours, my face was up and around all over the place - on TV, newspapers, and yes, even the internet. People were inspired by my sacrificial act and thought something should be done to improve my miserable lot in life. "Nice people shouldn't have to work for a living," Said one commentator. I couldn't agree more.

That evening, as I sat at home by the stove nursing a hot mug of green tea and occasionally screaming in agony over the pain in my wrist, I got a phone call. Burke, one of the new roomies, picked it up.

"Yo. Burke. Uhuh. Yeah, he's here." He handed me the phone. "For you."

I reached for the phone with my right hand and pain shot up my arm. I reached to rub the strained joint with my left hand and poured scalding hot green tea into my lap. With tears in my eyes, I took the phone.

"He ... hi?"

"Desperate Student, this is Mayor Chavez. Are you sitting down?"

"Uncontrollably," I answered.

"Um .... good. I have bad news and good news. The bad news is that the city dog catcher perished in the bus crash. The good news is that I've appointed you to fill that role until the next election can be held. Will you take it?"

"What does the job entail?"

"Well, you ..."

"I'm kidding, I'm kidding! Of course I'll take the job. When do we start?"

"Come to my office tomorrow at nine and I'll integrate you into the administration. In the mean time, get a good night's rest."

"Thanks, mayor."

"No. Thank you."

Chavez hung up. I was about to give the phone back to Burke when it rang again in my hand. I answered.

"Hello, City Dog Catcher's office."

"I think I have the wrong number. Sorry ..."

I recognized the voice. "Wait!"

"Yes?"

"Suzy?"

"Hey ... yeah, it's me."

I quivered with happiness but tried to maintain a manly distance with my ex. "What's up, Suzy?"

"I think I misjudged you. I mean, I saw what you did on Al-Jazeera TV this evening, and you ... well ... I don't think I gave you credit for your inner reservoirs of ..."

Then the line went dead. My thumb moved to call her back when an irritating woman's voice played into my ear.

"We're sorry, but calling people costs money, which you haven't paid us for the last four months. Now your line has been disconnected, and our lawyers are taking action against you. Thank you, and have a good day. Not!"

I hung up the phone and went to the bathroom to wring the tea out of my pants. Then I climbed into the bathtub and slowly closed my eyes. It had been a long day, but, for the first time in weeks, I was actually looking forward to tomorrow.

6 comments:

Tim said...

Maybe I should have qualified my recommendation to include only prose.
Still, I’m honored that it was even noticed by such a famous hero. Keep up the good work.

She who must not be named... said...

Brilliant! Yet another honorable edition to the desperate student episodes.. *grins
I’d like to see this on TV!

She who forgot her name at the moment said...

Yeah! On TV. That would be great. I would actually watch this...

Team Cheese said...

That song you re-worded has a catchy tune. Now you have it stuck in my head. Thanks a lot.

Ryan said...

i hate when that happens

Smurph said...

I would totally watch that!