(Slow day at the blog. . .no giant UFO news to report today. . .at least over at the Securities and Exchange Commission they have nothing to do but watch porn all day. . .while the rest of us have to at least pretend to be creative. . .not sure I can offer much today. . .getting sleepy. . .so tired. . .oh, PLEASE, no more nightmares of appearing on Dancing With the Stars wearing giant clown shoes. . .here it comes. . .drifting off. . .a dream. . .a nightmare on Robert's street. . .let the fantasy begin. . .eyelids closing. . .no way to stop this. . .gonna be a bad one this time. . .I just know it. . .zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz. . .)
With some difficulty, being a virtual techno-boob, I nonetheless managed to get the video camera functioning. I settled into the chair and leaned back a bit, looking somewhat like a patient of Dr. Kevorkian, ready and waiting for that decisive medication moment. Looking straight into the lens, I took a breath and began speaking, hoping to get it right, like the other people who send videos to the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition show.
"Hi! I'm the Robert Barrow family! I'm Robert, and my age is. . .well. . .I'm not THAT old, but as you can see, I'm an adult." Not bad, I thought, not a bad start at all. "Look, I know that a lot of people you help are beloved and respected for contributions made to their communities or families. Well, I'm not that person. I used to help people, but I've become old and miserable, and, frankly, today's one of those days when I wish I could annihilate every human on the face of the earth!" I tried to cry for the camera, but tears escaped me.
"So, anyway, I was thinking, my house isn't looking that great and, since I am kind to animals, I decided to send you this video and ask if maybe you would come and knock my house down and give me something nice. Here, let me show you some scenes of the house. . ."
I panned the camera around and then returned it to my direction. "Well, that's about it. I think you can see that I deserve your attention. I wish I could be more positive about life in general, but when things suck, things suck. I wish I had 500 nuclear bombs right now -- uh, but even you probably can't bring anything like that along, I don't suppose? Well, thank you for watching and have a nice day." For dramatic effect, I held up a drawing I made of a smiley face, and then turned the camera off.
Early the next morning, I mailed off my video to Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, anxious to get a response as soon as possible. The rest of the week, I made plans, just in case they chose my video. Why wouldn't they? Who could be more deserving?
I was amazed.. A week after I mailed the video, somewhere around 6:00 in the morning, I awoke with a start as a familiar voice outside shouted through a megaphone, 'GOOOOOD MORNING, BARROW FAMILY!! ROBERT. . .ROBERT. . . JUST ROBERT. . .!"
In my haste to get dressed and run outside, still experiencing the blur of just awakening, I only put on socks and undies -- on the wrong body parts -- and threw open the door. "I CAN'T BELIEVE IT, IT'S. . ." And then I noticed my dressing errors. "OOPS," I shouted, "HOLD ON!" I hurried back inside and attired myself properly.
Thrusting the door open, I rushed outside and gave everybody a hug, starting with Ty and then all the others in his crew, and because I can never remember their names I simply called each Jack, even the woman. After hugs and smiles, Ty spoke: "Robert, your video impressed us very much, and here to help us today is a special guest, a popular recording artist. . ."
"Oh, this is incredible, Ty," I said, "don't tell me. . .it's that Justin Beeper, or Beaver or something, right? Or The Jones Brothers?"
"Heck no, Robert! Everybody. . ." Ty said, motioning to the open bus door behind us, "give a big welcome to Tiny Tim!"
We all stared and stared at the bus, but nobody exited. "Um, isn't -- didn't Tiny Tim die years and years ago?" I inquired.
After a few moments of silence, one of the Jacks replied, "Looks like he's not coming, then."
Well, that was a disappointment. But there was more. From a rear exit stepped a dozen members from the National Academy of Sciences. "Robert," one of them began, "we've heard about your basement and we're here to see for ourselves if it's true."
"Oh -- you mean the. . ."
"Yes," he said, nodding. He then escorted his colleagues into my house, leaving me with Ty and the Jacks.
Ty spoke: "Robert, while we're working on your house, you're going on vacation to a very special place that starts with the letter D!"
"Wow, you mean -- you mean I'm going to Disney World, Ty? Disneyland? Or Denver? Vegas?"
"Robert," he scolded, "there's no D in Vegas."
"Oh, right, so where then?"
"Robert, you're going to beautiful. . .Detroit!"
"Yes, we're sending you on a Detroit vacation for two days!"
"Two days in Det. . .?"
"Hurry!" Ty ordered. "See that cab over there? Get in and you'll be on your way!"
"Wait," I protested. "Where's the limo?"
"Just get into the cab," he said, shaking his head impatiently. We'll see you soon. Have a nice time!"
"In a minute. First I have to check on the science people." I walked quickly toward the house and joined the folks in the basement.
"Mr. Barrow," asked a scientist, "do all of these jars contain. . ."
"Yes," I quickly responded, "sheep rectums." Sighs of wonderment and curiosity erupted from the group.
"Why sheep rectums?"
"Don't you people ever visit Earthfiles dot com?"
"And where did you find these?" demanded another scientist.
I had to think quickly, hoping to avoid a repeat of the drastic actions I took last time somebody asked me that question. "They're from. . .from. . .garage sales."
"Yes. . .and. . .and the ones in the corner came from. . .a. . .a church bake sale."
"Fascinating!" offered another voice. "These are ideal for intensive scientific scrutiny."
"Would you. . .um. . .like to take them all with you?" I hesitantly suggested.
The group gasped in astonishment. "Are you serious? You're willing to part with all of these jars of sheep rectums?" asked yet another scientist.
"Why not?" I asked. "I can always get more." A few eyebrows were raised. "You know, at garage sales."
Apparently content with my response, the team nodded in unison, stuffed jars into their travel bags and departed. Quickly, I packed a bag and took the waiting taxi to the airport. Ty and the Jacks had left a laptop computer in the back for me.
Plenty of sunlight remained as my plane descended into marvelous Detroit. A waiting taxi shuttled me off to a seedy hotel whose name I didn't know, and during all the time spent in its confines I never left my room. Meals were ordered from room service and I kept the door locked. I learned right away not to open the door every time I heard a knock because sometimes the visitors were giant hungry roaches.
The morning after arrival, I communicated with Ty and the Jacks back at home via the laptop. As the morning progressed, I could see on the screen a bulldozer being unloaded from a flatbed, and within an hour it was razing my house. "What do you think?" asked Ty.
"Super, I replied, I can't wait to see what your team will do!"
"Well," he said, "you'll be coming back tomorrow, so the suspense will be brief. Enjoy Detroit!"
Oh my, I thought, how in the world can they build my new house by the next day? Must be they've elicited the help of hundreds of people. About this time, I felt glad that I didn't get any nukes because numerous helpers would be required to construct that house.
My watch read about 4:15 p.m. when I arrived back in town the next day, later than I hoped, but the delay was inevitable because of weather problems and turkey buzzards flying into the engines. Extreme Makeover: Home Edition had a cab waiting at the airport (where, oh where, was the limousine that one logically anticipates?), and after a ride encumbered somewhat by rush hour traffic, I was back at the house. Peculiarly, the cab driver had pulled off to the roadside soon before our arrival and placed a blindfold over my eyes and, loosely, a paper bag over my head. And he tied my hands behind my back.
I heard the cab door nearest me open, and somebody took my hand and guided me out. They led me on a short walk and then we stopped. "Welcome back, Robert!" shouted an approaching voice. It was Ty. "Are you ready to see it?" he asked.
"I am! I can hardly wait!" I replied.
"Great! Go ahead and remove the blindfold."
"I will -- but can somebody untie me first, please?"
The uncomfortable bonds were loosened. I lifted the paper bag and untied the snug blindfold and, as I expected, the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition bus blocked my view of the new house. I glanced around the yard, finding it strange that no members of the construction crew were present so I could suddenly burst into tears and thank them as the program's cameras rolled. That's okay, I thought to myself, I'll just have to place more emphasis after the move-that-bus part where I scream, throw my hands to my face and shout, "OH MY GOD" a few dozen times as I jump up and down, hugging Ty and the Jacks with gratitude.
"Say the words!" Ty continued. "MOVE THAT BUS! MOVE THAT BUS!"
"Move it!" I yelled. "Move the damned bus!"
Slowly, the mammoth vehicle eased forward, heightening my anticipation and enthusiasm with each rotation of its tires. Suddenly, the site of my old house came into view, but, to my amazement and disappointment, there was no new structure, only a pile of rubble which had apparently been my original house.
"Wha. . .what's going on?!" I demanded.
"Here, this is for you, Robert," said Ty, handing me a nicely gift-wrapped package as he and the Jacks all boarded the bus. I stood there, dumbfounded, almost experiencing sleep paralysis, nearly unable to speak whilst adrift in my personal outrage as Ty continued, standing on the bus and apparently ready to close the door and leave. "I guess there's only one thing left to say -- welcome home, Barrow family, welcome home!"
"But. . .but. . .where's my new house, you freaks?" I managed to shout, as the camera crew recorded the scene from an open window on the bus.
"New house? What new house?" Ty asked.
"Ty -- Jacks -- I asked you to knock my house down and build me something nice to replace it," I angrily protested.
"Oh noooooooo you didn't," he cheerily replied. "In your video you clearly asked -- your own words -- that we come and knock down your house and give you something nice."
"There's something nice in the package. Go ahead, open it." Suddenly, I heard uproarious laughter erupting somewhere in the bus. With that, Ty retreated into the background, the door closed and everybody was gone in a flash.
Silently, I stood near the rubble of my former home as darkness began to fall, and I felt a few sprinkles in the air. Enraged almost like a madman, I ripped open the small green gift-wrapped box, hoping to find a pile of cash, perhaps many thousands of dollars intended for home construction. But I was wrong, dead wrong. It was a fruitcake. Yes, it was something nice, but it was still a fruitcake and nothing more.
Sprinkles slowly expanded into a steady rain as I stood there in the darkness, now illuminated only by the dim glow of a streetlight, and I casually took note of the situation. My house was a pile of debris, I was getting soaked, all I had to eat was a fruitcake and, maybe worst of all, my jars of sheep rectums were gone forever -- and I had lied to the National Academy of Sciences representatives regarding future procurement. The streets of America weren't exactly paved with sheep rectums, no matter how many strange lights appear in the sky during isolated incidents.
As for Extreme Makeover: Home Edition, well, you can bet that I'll never send them another video as long as I live. Couldn't they have left a bathroom standing? This is gonna be a really bad night. . .
("Wake up, wake up Robert," said the voice. "You're dreaming again." I rubbed my eyes and slowly opened them, grateful to escape the horrors of my mind's frightening images. But was I truly awake? Terror was hardly a stranger, for my eyes had become focused upon a female lizard-human from the ABC-TV series, V, who threatened me with a future nightmare where I would be forced to play a teenager on Vampire Diaries. "You're perfect, Robert," she advised, "none of those people playing teenagers on the CW network is under 45." Bad taste I can understand, but this? Oh, the horror, the horror, bad dreams, clueless scripts. . .and the sheep rectums are gone. . .)