Wednesday, September 06, 2006

COLUMN: Car Window

In the hard-living, acidic, thankless world of semi-professional humor writing, sometimes the only things that keep us going are the fans.

Take this week for instance. Column ideas have been few and far between lately, and I was fully prepped for an ill-advised hardcore night of Starbucks Doubleshots and sensory deprivation -- anything in order to muster my way through this ugly writer's block and fill my Notepad screen with something passable.

I was dangerously close to having no column topic this week. That all changed thanks to one of my fans. Yes, a good samaritan stepped up to bat and figured out the perfect way to break my writer's block:

Throw a huge chunk of concrete through the back window of my car.

Now, why didn't I think of that? Suddenly I've got a perfect column! And it's all thanks to one thoughtful mysterious stranger who hurled a piece of pavement and turned it into comedy gold! GEE, IF ONLY I COULD FIGURE OUT WHO PERFORMED THIS GOOD DEED SO THAT I MIGHT THANK THEM IN PERSON. Or perhaps simply thank their car. With a lead pipe I like to call my "thanking stick."

I approached my car from the front, so I didn't see the seismic hole in the back window until I sat down in the driver's seat and slammed the driver's door shut. That was the moment when the entire back window exploded and rained glass all over my car. Somewhere Connor MacLeod was saying, "There can BE only one" -- it was definitely my own personal end-of-"Highlander" moment.

Interestingly, my first reaction was to presume that someone was shooting at me. Why this was my first thought will probably be one of those unanswered questions that'll finally rear its ugly head when I give up and start seeing a shrink. All I know is that I probably looked really silly when I (a) slammed my door and my window exploded, and (b) responded to it by quickly DUCKING and cowering in fear.

Happily, once I managed enough courage to get out of the car, I found the weapon du jour in my back seat: a hunk of concrete from a pothole in the parking lot. Obviously, some random yahoo decided that it would be a great deal of fun to chuck it at random car windows -- and apparantly I won the victim lottery.

My first phone call was to the police, and to their credit, one of Rock Island's finest was there within minutes. The officer took one look at where the concrete landed and then looked at the impact point on what was left of my window and was able to estimate the position of the evil-doer and the trajectory of the rock.

All of which is kinda neat-o, but frankly, I wanted justice. I wanted CSI: Rock Island to come dust for prints. I wanted the rock bagged up and taken in for evidence. Instead, the officer asked me, "So, do you have any enemies?"

ENEMIES? ME? Wow, that would be cool. I've always wanted an arch-nemesis. It sure would liven up those boring nights at home, having to ward off evil at every turn. That MUST be better than my nightly reruns of "Frasier," right? Alas, I could come up with no suspects.

I took some grief over those global warming columns I wrote a few weeks ago, but vandalism isn't usually the environmentalist style. I ripped on those Isabel Bloom statues a while ago, but those people don't throw concrete; they turn it into ART. That's when it hit me. Maybe it was perpetrated by the one person who's been the victim of ridicule in my column for years. The one person with enough money and manpower to pull off such an elaborate crime. My true arch-nemesis:

TOM CRUISE. Think about it - my column reaches over 100,000 households every week. Odds are good that one of you is a Scientologist. You tipped off Tom. He's had little to do now that his movies flopped and Paramount canned him, so he hatched a nefarious, complex plot to spare no expenses to, well, put a rock through my window.

But the cops weren't buying it. Instead, they gave me a report number and told me to call my insurance company. Owning a Volkswagen, I was terrified that my replacement window would need to be hand-blown by a guy named Jorg in a war-torn bunker in Dusseldorf, but surprisingly, the fine folks at Moline Glass had one in stock, and my car was good as new within hours.

So -- well played, Cruise. You committed the dirty deed and escaped scott free. You win this fight... but the battle wages on. I have now installed a new security system in my car that -- upon shattering a window -- yells, honks, flashes, and shoots poison darts in a 360 degree radius. At least pretend that it does, 'cause that was a pretty lame thing to do, even if it DID give me something to write about this week.


Wendy said...

It's just not a good year for your car, is it? Maybe you should invest in a portable garage to keep it safe. Just make sure it's fireproof. ;P

Anonymous said...

(It's me, Becky. I couldn't be arsed to sign in and I forgot my pw anyway...)

Poor car! Lol..although the whole "handblown by a guy named Jorg.." did nearly make me piss myself laughing at 3am.