Jimmy Urine at the concert last night -
- Jimmy: Alright, so since we aren't really a professional band, we've never gotten a real encore. I think tonight's the night, so we're gonna go walk about 5 feet over there, JUST out of your sight, and you're gonna all scream your fucking faces off and we'll play a kick-ass song. Okay?
- Crowd: UNINTELLIGIBLE SCREAMING
- (Band leaves, crowd freaks the fuck out)
- Jimmy: Seriously, guys, what the fuck are you doing? I'm pretty sure you're supposed to be screaming MSI, I think that's how encores work
- Crowd: M-S-I, M-S-I, M-S-I...
- Jimmy: No wait wait, now chant CSI
- Crowd: C-S-I, C-S-I, C-S-I...
- Jimmy: Wait, I like the show Castle better. Everybody yell that.
- Crowd: CASTLE! CASTLE! CASTLE!...
- Jimmy: Actually, I kinda like Antiques Roadshow
- Crowd: ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW, ANTIQUES ROADSHOW...
- Jimmy: Alright, alright that's fucking enough, you all fucking suck. Instead, how about we go Straight to Video?
Remember how I was going to the Antiques Roadshow?
Remember how excited I was? I even wrote a hilarious blog post about it and everybody on the internet laughed and laughed. “Go, Mike!” I heard them all saying in my head. It was like I had friends. I even drank a beer with these encouraging voices. I could see us all talking together in my mind’s eye, just like people do on tv.
I may have even quoted Jim Morrison, saying, “I love the friends I have gathered together on this thin raft.” But instead of constructing pyramids in honor of our escaping, reality set in and it was just me, as usual. Just me and my cat and my beer and the barren, howling loneliness that echoes plaintively across the emptiness that is my heart.
Where was I? Oh, yes: the Antiques Roadshow. So I go and stand in line in the air conditioning, which was amazing because it was so damn hot outside. I kept muttering “I am a desert people,” causing the Average Americans all around to stare at me with furled and fearful brows.
I was holding my Mark Twain book, dated 1879. It had the original purchase receipt between the pages, dated 1881. I had found it at a yard sale and bought it for a buck. I thought it was really cool.
So I stood in line and stood in line and stood in line. Somebody came by selling lemonade and I bought some and drank it, delighting in the tang and the sweetness and the chill.
After about two hours, I finally made it to The Books & Manuscripts Line. Never in my life have I inched ahead so much. It was, like, a fucking record or something. The lemonade was bracing, and by the time I’d gotten there, I was no longer muttering “I am a desert people,” but “The end is nigh” because it was. Blessedly.
The appraisers sat at long tables with laptops, telling everyone that their stuff was junk. A guy would come up with a rusted thing and say, “I found this in the basement. I think it’s a can. A very ancient can.”
“Nope,” the appraiser would tell him. “It’s a worthless piece of crap. In fact, you owe ME for wasting my time. Now get away from me before I start screaming and never stop.”
The appraisers were harried, bored, overwhelmed, sad, and pathetic. “Just because I know all about old toys (which is kind of tragic in itself), I have to sit here on this plastic chair and look at garbage for 84 hours. And I even have to piss.”
Me, I was certain I was different. My old book was old, plus in excellent condition, plus written by a guy people consider a good writer. “Oh, yeah, Mark Twain,” people say. “A great American author. I just loved him in The Waltons.”
And the receipt. Let’s not forget about the receipt. I was surprised they even had receipts in 1881. More importantly, why? Why did they have receipts in 1881? How far back did receipts go? At what point did people feel that ink and paper were necessary in small transactions? Perhaps I was in possession of the very first receipt ever.
I was certain that when I laid my 1879 Mark Twain book down on the felt table, the appraiser would have an immediate toe-curling, hip-bucking orgasm right there in the plastic chair before me. As a straight male, I can tell you I was hoping to get a female appraiser. Big time.
But, alas, I got a dude. A lame dude in a lame suit with a bored look on his face. “This is a Mark Twain book printed in 1879,” he said. “It isn’t worth anything. Please go away now.”
“But, look!” I said. “There’s a receipt!” I flipped through the pages quickly, listening to him sighing and groaning. I peaked at him peripherally and saw that he was even rolling his eyes.
“Yeah, that’s real neat,” he said without looking at it. “Next!”
So I slouched away, thinking “What a miserable place.”
Driving home, I wondered about the appraisers who worked with Antiques Roadshow. The poor bastards were in some sort of purgatory, I was sure, forced to experience a never-ending, horribly inefficient yard sale for all eternity.
They all looked so depressed, so, so depressed. I wondered about the suicide rate among them. It had to be sky high. Several of them looked like they were about to kill themselves right there and then.
I was sure I could dig up stats on this suicide rate on the internet, so I stomped on the gas and sped up, thankful to be suddenly distracted by something new. It meant that, for the next little while anyway, my life would have a point.