A cautionary tale ...
Until yesterday, I had never suffered through a particularly bad experience at the DMV, a feat that is roughly equivalent to finding oneself a thirty-five year old virgin. However, armed with horror stories about entire afternoons spent in cramped misery, I thought that I was prepared for anything. But that's like saying that an episode of "Oz" can prepare you for jail. Nothing could have ever prepared me for this ...
I show up shortly after nine to renew my expired license. The woman in front of me tells me how much longer the line was for her last time. She's pleased with this, so I decide that I'm pleased. We become best of friends.
Thirty minutes later, after winding through the snaking "Stage 1" line, I finally get my number (A024 -- it will be etched in my brain for as long as I live). So far, so good. The nice woman and I are having a grand ole' time.
I stride over to the "Stage 2" area, where a large group of people are sitting in chairs or standing in a small waiting area, staring at their numbered tickets with an intensity that is rather frightening. I begin to wonder whether I have been deceived.
I find a seat and begin waiting. I look up and notice that the numbers follow no logical pattern whatsoever. Every letter of the alphabet is being used, followed by completely sporadic numbers, as if purposely designed to keep the cattle from having any idea when they might be called. I cannot begin to imagine the rationale for this system. It seems more along the lines of an elaborate torture technique than a means of organized efficiency. I am now slightly concerned.
I decide to read. I'm holding a copy of Hunter S. Thompson's "The Rum Diary." So far I've enjoyed it immensely, but this proves to be a terrible choice for the DMV. Thompson's unique view of the world only enhances that caged animal feeling that the DMV brings out naturally. An hour or so of reading and my mind is suddenly racing with maniacally paranoid thoughts. I am no longer an outsider; I am now one of them -- a raging menace to society.
It is now over two hours into the experience and I am utterly miserable. Babies are crying, my head is pounding from not having eaten anything all day, and everyone around me has the appearance of a strung-out drug addict. When a number is called, the lucky escapee will actually outwardly celebrate as others grimace or give insincere congratulations. The numbers are still in complete chaos, meaning that none of us knows whether we are minutes or hours away from release.
Three hours later and my number gets called. I've never been more overjoyed in my life. Resisting the urge to hug the guy helping me, I quickly go through the drill. I'm handed a piece of paper and my old license and told that I have no choice but to wait again for the camera station. I begin weighing the pros and cons of the bicycle.
Thirty minutes later and my number is called again. Right as I approach the camera station, my friend from earlier stomps over and angrily asks why my number was called before hers, since she was one person in front of me in line. She gives me a murderous stare to indicate that this is somehow my fault. Apparently we are no longer friends. I am hurt.
The woman taking the picture barks some orders at me without ever making eye contact. She tells me to stand still and right as I'm about to ask her a question (and without warning), the camera flashes. As I'm about to protest, she pleasantly states, "Excellent. It will be ready in five minutes." Confused, I sit down.
Five minutes later my license is handed to me and I all but sprint to my car. Exhausted and numb, I feel as though I have aged many years in the span of a few hours. But at least I am free. As I drive off, I finally glance at my new license. What I see staring back at me causes a reaction reminiscent of the detective in "The Usual Suspects" after realizing who Keyser Soze is. It is the single worst picture of myself I've ever seen -- I look like I've been caught in mid-sneeze. I can only assume that the woman said "excellent" for completely sinister reasons. She is obviously pure evil, but I have no recourse against her. It is either be confronted with this picture every time I use my license for the next ten years, or return to Hell for a new picture. I will not go back, and deep down, I believe that she knew this, and that the picture was all part of a master plan to effectively "checkmate" me. That picture will haunt me for a decade, a blunt reminder of an experience that I will never forget.
The lesson? Never miss a deadline to renew your license online.
boalt.org (Tom B. in Saline, MI) -- So Peter Gallagher has started the Sandy Cohen fellowship to help encourage young lawyers to become public defenders ... like himself. As if this wasn't already good enough, Peter throws in his Wham! audition photo at the bottom.
yahoo.com -- North Korea's Kim Jong-il "pilots jet fighters, pens operas, produces movies and accomplished a feat unmatched in the annals of professional golf by shooting 11 holes-in-one on the first round he ever played." I have no problem with this story whatsoever. Truly a remarkable man.
oregonlive.com (Joe A. in Atlanta) -- Blazers center Ha Seung-Jin reportedly lost his mind during a fight with teammate Nedzad Sinanovic, resorting to threats of "I'll sue! I'll sue!" and chasing Sinanovic around with a six-foot wooden pole. Embarrassed by his actions, Ha then sent Sinanovic a personalized E-card as a peace offering (
slate.com -- The one group with less credibility than Kim Jong-il.
newyorker.com (Nolan G.) -- Jack Handey ponders life as a Martian hostage, which got me thinking about my all-time favorite musings from "Deep Thoughts by Jack Handey," which led to a Google search, which led to me wishing that I had used the following as my senior quote:
"It takes a big man to cry, but it takes a bigger man to laugh at that man." -- Jack Handey
seattletimes.nwsource.com -- After reading this recap of the ten best mound conversations in history, I'm now completely terrified of Pudge Rodriguez and his patented "cup check."
espn.com -- This is how you do an induction speech.
judgemikemorgan.com (Eric S.) -- Check out this North Carolina Superior Court judge's personal webpage (and absolutely make sure your computer's sound is on), then tell me you're not picturing Judge Morgan punctuating a verdict by standing up and dramatically dropping his gavel as he strides out of the courtroom.
yahoo.com (Nicolas B.) -- Apparently the mound conversation link was just a warm-up. Here's the main event.
My personal favorite story has to be that of former Twins manager Tom Kelly referencing Roger Dorn's "strike this (expletive) out" line. Phenomenal stuff.
mcsweeneys.net (Mike Z., IN) -- If only this had been written by William Shatner, I would have finally found the ultimate link (the holy Cruise/Shatner/McSweeney's triumvirate). But to be honest, I'm kind of glad it comes up short. What would I do after finding my white whale? Pack up my laptop and ride off into the sunset? It's the search that sustains me.
flowbee.com (Chris W.) -- I received this link under the heading "What the hell is Randy Johnson doing Flowbee adds for?" Curious, I checked it out and was overjoyed to see the apparent lovechild of Randy Johnson and Jeff Foxworthy. This is now my favorite picture in the world.
It's not official yet, but I'm so giddy over the announced Joe Johnson sign and trade that I can't help myself. Apparently the Hawks are getting Johnson in return for Boris Diaw and two lottery-protected draft picks. And the best part is that Phoenix apparently WANTS Diaw. As I kept saying yesterday, I feel like I'm about to get punk'd. Here are my Top 3 memories from the Boris Diaw Experience:
3. After being passed the ball, Boris screams and hands it to the guy guarding him.
2. After being passed the ball, Boris screams and chucks it into the stands.
1. That sweet dunk Boris had that one time in warm-ups.
That was a little harsh but I can't help myself, as I'm well past the point of return now. If this deal somehow falls through, I don't see any way that I can recover.
top100.ign.com (Ryan W.) -- A thoroughly compiled list of the top hundred video games of all-time. Giving me a vote would have been like the time VH1 gave Britney Spears a ballot for their hundred greatest albums countdown; all I know is the old-school NES stuff and PS2 sports games. Speaking of video games ... s64.emuunlim.com (Frank M.).
usatoday.com -- USA Today ranks the sixteen N.L. broadcasting teams. I guess familiarity breeds bias, but I don't see how the Braves crew isn't right at the top. They are the epitome of understated excellence.
thunderingwaters.com (A-Dubs in Cambridge, MA -- and yes, that's how he sent his name in). What are your plans for this Wednesday, August 3rd? Cancel them -- we're taking a road trip to Canada to see John Daly take on Niagara Falls. People will be talking about this one for ages.
sportingnews.com (Jim B. in Pittsburgh) -- Dolphins rookie linebacker Channing Crowder wrestles boars in the off-season "maybe four, five, six times a week," whereas fellow Dolphins rookie Manuel Wright openly cries after being yelled at. Here are some possible nicknames for the dynamic duo:
• Fire and Ice
• Cortese and Costanza
• The Odd Couple
• Whiskey and Water
• Tango & Cash
Actually, the only one I like is Tango & Cash, which makes absolutely no sense.