Sunday, April 23, 2006

So I had an opportunity to witness history in the making this past Wednesday...

... and I felt it was only fair to share this non-existent honor with my loyal constituency.

Now, when I mention the phrase "history in the making," only one name should instantly pop into your head. That's right ...

Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle!

If you haven't figured it out yet, I'm being monstrously facetious here. Gov. Jim Doyle means so astonishingly little to me that I don't even know for sure if his first name is Jim. Not only am I too lazy to take the five seconds to scan the intraweb and confirm his Christian moniker, but I also do not care. I very strenuously do not care.

NOTE: I espouse some opinions in the following section that might be construed as political/ideological beliefs. If you prefer to ignore this kind of nonsense and get to the heart of my actual entry -- and no one will blame you in the slightest -- kindly scroll down to the section following the row of asterisks.

For those of you lucky enough not to reside in the justifiably underrated Badger State, Jim Doyle is our requisite chubby, balding, bland, easily forgettable gubernatorial representative. He was voted into office several years ago by a teachers' union so lazy that they make yours truly look like an Amish workaholic. You see, our teachers were/are upset over what they consider to be their too-low-to-live-like-upper-middle-class-citizens salary status, unlike every other American teacher in the history of this nation. Being the ignoramus that I am, I always assumed that teachers chose to become educators for the opportunity to share the gift of knowledge with the pint-size representatives of the next generation. On the contrary, I am reminded time and time again that people become teachers solely on account of the paycheck.

Which, apparently, will forever be too small.

How interesting. I think it is cruel that this world refuses to inform potential teachers of the relatively unimpressive wages they stand to make upon their release into the real world. If only television, movies, magazines, newspapers, books, the internet, and every other form of easily-accessible public communication could somehow let them know -- on a continuous basis -- that the field of education is a not entirely financially lucrative one. But alas, year after year, hundreds of these poor, hopeful, idealistic young educators enter the playing field with aspirations of attaining limitless monetary glory. Instead, they must settle for standard wages doing what they were trained (and presumably wanted) to do, supplemented by three measly months off every year. And a Winter Break. And a Spring Break. And various holidays of secular and religious import. And closing for snow days (yes, these even occur in your warmer states, such as Georgia. Hell, they occur there even more frequently then in Wisconsin! How can you not love this crazy country?). And "in-school teacher meetings," which one imagines are very ominous, very pointless, or both.

Okay, so I'm coming down pretty brutally against the undisputed Queens of Whining, the teachers' union, but really. You originally chose to become a teacher because you truly believed in the power, purpose, and importance of education, or because you were too incompetent to cut it as a professional musician/athlete/actor/novelist/scientist/businessperson/pundit/ geometric consultant. And then, suddenly, the unimpressive salary becomes your lifelong obsession and bitching point. If you were so interested in making gobs of money, why not explore the fields of, say, finance? Or business? Or anything, anything else?

CLUELESS TEACHER: But I want to get paid millions of dollars annually doing what I love to do!

Yeah, well, if I could make a yearly income in excess of $1.8 billion for a job as Jessica Biel's vibrating chair/bedspread, I think I'd be handing in my fishtank-cleaning club membership card first thing Monday morning. But you know what? People don't get paid to do what they love to do (unless you went to Harvard and your overrated prick friends and alumni can place you in any "career" you'd like). That's one of the countless reasons why this planet sucks mounds of turkey shittles. So accept the perfectly normal wages that you knew you were going to get, dry your eyes, get back to work, and shut the fuck up already.

Where was I? Oh, yes. The teachers of Wisconsin elected Doyle after ousting Republican walking turd, Scott McCallum (spelling? Who gives a shit. I don't imagine even he gives a shit). For the record, McCallum had this governor thing tied up in a pretty little bow and handed to him on a silver platter by Tommy Thompson, one of the most popular rulers of the upper Midwest region for the past umpteen years. And ole personality-free McCallum went and chucked it all by pissing off the surprisingly effective teachers' union (who I only wish would devote as much of their boundless energy to the actual job of teaching as they do to bemoaning their pay status). And so we got Doyle. Who promptly went about gutting the education program, forcing one of my college friends out of her teaching job.

This is called cruel irony, and it is much funnier in works of fiction than in real life.

In actuality, I don't mind Doyle any more than I minded McCallum or Thompson. I am not one of those viciously narrow-minded, ignorant ideologues found on both sides of the political aisle who believes that "things were so much better when my party's candidate was in power." In fact, as an embittered independent, my preferred candidate will never be in power, so things will always suck for me. And you. You just won't admit it.


So there I am at work, half-heartedly washing my hands -- er, I mean, strenuously sterilizing my hands in accordance with biological safety guidelines, when my good (still single) buddy Grubs informs me that the staff of the W.A.T.E.R. institute (seriously. That's what it's called. I love it. I really do) will be renaming the famous EPA boat, the Neeskay, later that day. As it turns out, she was completely wrong, as women are wont to be. In point of fact, the oddly-named but uber-cool-looking Neeskay will keep its stupid name. What was, in fact, "going down" was the naming of an entirely new seafaring vessel, destined to traverse the Wisconsin waterways in an effort to, uh, I think, er, mumblemumblemumble.

Look, I don't know, all right? Hell, I didn't know until earlier this week that the notorious Neeskay was a vessel operated by the Environmental Protection Agency. If I had known that, I would have scuttled it months ago. Those fuckers at the DNR are anal-retentive dickheads. Tell me where to put my gravel? Fuck you!

(Those last couple of comments should make no sense to anyone outside of my immediate family. And even with them it'll be touch-and-go.)

Now then, the illustrious name chosen for the boat scheduled for, uh, naming? Why, the Gaylord Nelson, of course.

You see, when you die in the state of Wisconsin, and if you were, in life, considered something of a "big cheese" -- *hold for polite laughter* -- it is considered customary to name an extremely ugly little red-and-green boat after you. If your name just happens to include the word "gay" somewhere in it, this is considered an especially fortuitous added bonus.

The Gaylord Nelson. It's not even worth the time it would take to call that name gay.

Anyway, we were "invited" to attend this premiere gala event by means of a plain sheet of paper located well below eye level on one of the side doors allowing entry to the building ... and the exact location of the ceremony wasn't even printed on it. Still, when noon rolled around, Grubs reliably bitched at me until I was forced to accompany her on a complete tour of the premises in search of Doyle -- or Doylie, as I have suddenly decided to call him -- and company.

We found him about fifteen minutes later under a tent located at the very edge of Lake Michigan, mere feet away from a well-protected nesting pair of Canada geese (Editor's Note: Canada geese are so rare in Wisconsin that every effort is made to ensure their safety. I'm kidding, of course. These nasty fucking oversized pigeons are everywhere. Also, be sure to refer to this species incorrectly as "Canadian" geese in the presence of touchy ornithologists when at all possible. This really ruffles their feathers). It was a beautiful day out, though you wouldn't tell it by the grim, humorless expressions on the face of Doylie's security detail. Homely assholes in suits too nice for the fellas wearing them, these jokers eyed Grubs and me with all the suspicious scrutiny expected of a pair of young, clean-cut Americans wearing pale blue scrubs with absolutely no means of concealing effective weaponry of any conceivable kind. You'd think their attention would have been drawn instead to the harbor on the opposite side of the bay, a dockyard consisting of dilapidated, interchangeable warehouses seemingly designed for the express purpose of concealing a starry-eyed, Jodie Foster-enamored nutjob with a high-powered hunting rifle.

Of course, it would have to be explained to said potential assassin just who in the hell Jim Doyle was, and at that point one would be confronted by nothing more than a slightly quizzical stare, so the whole thing would be an exercise in futility. My point is, nobody cares enough about Wisconsin to bother eliminating its useless governor, so stop eyeballing me, meathead.

After being impatiently waved over to join the obsequious throng by one of Doylie's aides, Grubs and I stood dutifully outside the tent to "hear" the remainder of Tia (?) Nelson's speech about what an honor it was to have a miniature, Christmas-colored tugboat named after her dead activist/senator/Wisconsinite father. My apologies to any Gaylord fans out there for my seeming lack of respect for the deceased. It's simply that I never heard about the guy until he died. This startles and distresses me a bit, seeing as how he was considered quite the influential public figure in political and environmental matters in his day. Oh, well. I'll always have that wee ship as a constant reminder of my disrespectful ignorance. If only the name didn't make me snigger like a sixth-grader every time I heard it.

After Ms. (Helpful T.C.I. Tip: "Ms." is the only acceptable form of address to apply to any woman of leftward leanings) Nelson's astonishingly quiet speech -- after all, I've never met a subdued environmental activist -- a large woman presented her with a gift of a matted, framed photograph of her father's namesake vessel. She then handed it to Ms. Nelson in an elaborately wrapped gift box.

Note to potential giftgivers: If you're going to just announce the gift you plan on bestowing on someone in front of all and sundry, don't bother wrapping the damn thing. Also, don't give matted pictures of crappy-looking boats as gifts.

This same woman then introduced us to the man of the hour -- well, the living man of the hour -- Governor Jimbo Doylie! Huzzah! After housting his heavy frame awkwardly from his chair, Doylie treated his wide-eyed listeners to a rousing speech about nothing I can clearly remember. It ended with an ass-kissing, grandstanding bit where he signed into "law" the donation of several acres or so as use for natural preservation purposes. Hopefully the birdlovers of Wisconsin can see to it that at least a portion of this land is put aside to help rebuild our waning Canada goose population. At last count, only 55 billion such waterfowl remained to befoul the pristine lawns of our fine state.

Not-remotely-well-known Channel 12 reporter Kai Reed was spotted by Grubs lurking about the outskirts of the ceremony, not writing anything down and nowhere near any cameraman that I could see. Maybe it was her day off and she just wanted to spend it at some smelly lakeside, I don't know. In any case, she was tramping about the grounds in stiletto heels and a red leather trenchcoat. You know, I always find it intriguing that our local reporters and anchorwomen find it necessary to deck themselves out like supermodels when they are all so completely and hopelessly unattractive.

Except for Toya Washington, also of Channel 12. That chick is smoking. Keep up the fine journalistic work, you Nubian goddess.

I forgot to mention the grand unveiling of the new boat's name, which consisted of removing a large piece of white paper from the bow of the ship and the blowing of foghorns up and down the harbor to herald the presence of the new kid on the block. It is my very strong opinion that this naming ceremony was held for the express purpose of allowing the Neeskay and friends to blow their damn horns for five straight minutes. An impressive experience. If absolutely everything impresses you, that is.

After all this grandeur, Grubs and I got bored -- moreso -- and wandered back inside. We could have gone to a luncheon hosted inside the building, but the thought of watching Doylie scarf down plates of cocktail wieners sounded slightly less appealing than euthanizing scores of innocent baby zebrafish (don't ask. I do what I do and I go home, all right?). Grubs, however, who has no friends and considers Sheboygan a hotbed of excitement, wouldn't stop babbling about her brush with history for the remainder of my shift.

Just kidding. She was actually babbling about something else entirely. I think. I wasn't really listening.

In closing, I'd still rather have a Canada goose on my lawn than a member of the teachers' union.

DID YOU HAVE ANY FUCKING IDEA?: Wisconsin's nickname is The Badger State in tribute to our once-booming mining industry. You see, visitors from nearby states would often mistake our filthy, phlegmatic miners, emerging as they would from various large holes in the ground, for the indigenous musteline carnivore, the badger. The badger is a repulsive, stupid, smelly, viciously small-minded, unrepetantly obnoxious creature with few, if any, positive characteristics.

The people of Wisconsin, in their collective wisdom, decided that this would be the perfect beast to adopt as a mascot for our homely state.

And they honestly wonder why people mock us without mercy.

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Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank you for sharing your thoughts on this issue. I agree with 99.99999% of them. This just furthers my theory on how much people suck.

Say Hi to the zebra fish for me. (the ones you haven't killed yet anyway)

Sgt Mellors

11:24 AM  
Blogger The Fourth Earl of Excelor said...

Damn that is a handsome picture on your profile.

11:34 AM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

Your picture is nice, too, Earl, but I think it's upside down.

Sgt. Mellors, your unabashed agreement with everything I post is quickly putting you in the lead in the race for the meaningless title of T.C.I.'s Favorite Cynickite of the Moment.

1:44 PM  
Blogger hucklebuck said...

You mean people outside of Wisconsin actually mock us? I've never actually ventured outside of this state's parameters, so this news surprises me greatly and I am greatly surprised, and stupid.

2:17 PM  
Blogger Chuckles O'Plenty said...

That's okay. I knew this already and I still live here, so that makes me extra mega-stupid.

2:19 PM  

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