Thomas Galvin
Purveyor of Fine Pulp Fiction

Triquetra
The best way to predict the future is to create it. -Peter Drucker

Something shocking happened in Steubenville recently. Two young men were convicted, actually convicted, of rape. They can’t play football anymore! They might not graduate on time! What will happen to their college careers? Or their career careers? And then they got jail sentences! Why, it’s almost as if it isn’t safe to be a rapist anymore!

But worry not, young sexual assailants! I’m here to help! I know that being convicted of rape can have devastating consequences for any young man, and even the allegations of rape can haunt a man for the rest of his life. What’s a virile young stud to do?

Get your notebooks, kids, because this plan is detailed, and maybe even a little hard to follow. But if you’re diligent, if you take my advice to heart, you can save yourself from the fate of the Steubenville rapists. Ready?

A Virtually Flawless Plan to Stop a Rape Conviction from Ruining Your Life:

  1. Don’t rape anyone

A bold plan, I know, but it’s almost 100% guaranteed to save you from being labeled a rapist for the rest of your life. “But,” you ask, because you’re an asshole, “what about those bitches who run around screaming ‘rape rape rape’ every time some guy uses some roofies to loosen her up a little bit?”

Ah, therein lies the secret to my plan. You see, somewhere around two percent of rape accusations are false. That means 98 times out of 100, if someone says you raped them, you actually did! So by simply not raping anyone, you instantly have a 98% chance of protecting yourself from the devastating consequences of a rape conviction! Amazing!

“But,” you ask, because you’re still an asshole, “just what is rape? It’s not like ‘no’ means ‘no’. Some bitches just need convincing!” Ah, a common misconception (among shitheads)! But it turns out that 97% of grammarians agree, the word “no” does actually indicate lack of consent!

“So you’re saying,” you posit, because you’re still a shit weasel, “that I have to get her drunk before I fuck her?” No! In a stunning blow to rapists everywhere, courts have found that the inability to consent is the same thing as lack of consent! Not giving her the chance to say “no” just isn’t good enough!

“But,” you interject, because your soul is as putrid as your genitalia, “how am I supposed to get my rocks off if I have to get a girl’s permission before I stick it in her?”

Well, good sir, try this: go fuck yourself, instead.

Dear parents of the world: the fact that you forgot to wrap it up doesn’t mean I should be subjected to your mistakes. Please control your children. Or euthanize them. Something.

Tonight I got to witness a toddler “help” his “mommy” “shop”. This involved said toddler grabbing anything his stubby little arms could reach, yanking it off the shelf, running with it for about ten stubby little steps, throwing it on the floor, and screaming in delight. You could literally follow their trail through the store.

The kid was like a destructive little Hansel, except in stead of Grettle he was traveling with a thirty year old woman who should have known better, and instead of bread crumbs, he was leaving a trail of fruit, cereal, cookies, juice boxes, and paper towels. Oh, and eggs. The eggs were special.

The mother apparently tired of her charge running wild through the store, so she sternly commanded him to stay by her side. Predictably, this was about as effective as telling the Pope to stop hiding child molesters, and the little terror trundled off again. “Fine,” the mother said, “then you’re staying here. I hope someone steals you.” And hand to god, that’s a direct quote, no exaggeration on my part. Then she turned down an aisle, hiding from her little spawn.

The problem with this is that the child obviously doesn’t speak English. His vocabulary is limited to a series of grunts and a few vowel sounds, so Mommy’s warning fell on deaf ears. And her disappearing act? This was interpreted as an epic game of hide and seek. The boy let out another enraptured shriek, threw a few hundred dollars of product on the floor, and ran off in search of Missing Mommy.

It took him about fifteen seconds to find her. It turns out that “run fast then turn right” is a pretty basic instinct.

Looks like you lose this round, Mommy. But don’t worry, you aren’t alone in your defeat. We all share in your pain.

Sweet mother of god, we share in your pain.

In the past week, I’ve stumbled on two completely different web sites that use Javascript to block right-clicking. My immediate recation:

  • Wow. Welcome back to 1990.
  • Relax, skippy. Your precious HTML codes aren’t so special that I’m going to try to steal them. And neither is that picture of Your Little Pony.
  • The person who wrote this web site is an idiot.

They’re idiots both because they think someone is going to steal their content, and because they think their little scripts would stop us if we wanted to. Let’s see if I can come up with five ways to beat them, off the top of my head:

  1. File > Save As
  2. Click image > Drag to desktop
  3. NoScript
  4. AdBock
  5. Right clicking and hitting Escape a whole lot until the timing works out in my favor.

Gosh. Looks like I win.

And the part that pisses me off most is that, ninety-nine times out of a hundred, if I’m right-clicking a page, it’s because I’m using a gesture to close the tab, not to steal your precious HTMLs. So your script accomplished nothing more than subjecting me to your ass-hatted animated GIF background and looping MIDI for an extra quarter of a second. Thanks for that.

My neighbors got a dog.

Now, I’m a cat guy. Cat’s are sneaky and quiet and just a little bit evil, and every once in a while you catch them looking at you like they’re weighing the fact that you bring them food with the fact that they hate you and want to eat your soul, and they’re not sure whether or not they should smother you in your sleep. So they’re a lot like me, is what I’m saying. Anyway, I’m a cat guy, but I don’t exactly have anything against dogs.

Except when you take your dog out at five in the bleeding morning, right under my bedroom window. And, of course, my neighbor isn’t all bleary-eyed and wanting to crawl back in bed and die. No, he’s a morning person. “Who’s a good dog? You’re a good dog! That’s right! Yes you is! Yes you is!” He’s like the Tony Robins of the dog world. Awaken the Canus Maximus within you. And then there’s this jangling, which I guess is him scratching the thing and rattling the collar.

He leaves the dog tied up on the side of his house, on a thirty foot rope. Our houses are about fifteen feet apart. My lawn is not littered with dog crap, and I woke up this morning to find that he had begun excavating the foundation of my house. I think he was trying to get into my basement.

I don’t like talking to people, so I’m not looking forward to having to ask my neighbor, “hey, asshat, could you please keep your dog from relieving itself on, and then digging a crater in, my yard? Oh, and could you shut the goddamn hell up until the sun has finished rising?” So instead of talking to him, I think I’m just going to buy some rat poison.

Of course, after I’ve killed him, I’m still going to have to figure out what to do with the dog.

Richard Blumenthal.

For those of you who (wisely) don’t keep up on national politics, Richard Blumenthal is a dick. Specifically, he’s the Democratic nominee for a Connecticut US Senate seat. He’s suffering some controversy as of late, due to some slight misstatements he’s made to the press.

Oh, no, wait, he said he fought in Vietnam, when in fact he didn’t.

Now, I don’t have the best memory in the world. Sometimes I forget where I put my keys. Every once in a while I’ll get up and go into the kitchen, and totally forget why I went in there. But I’m pretty sure I’d remember fighting in a goddamn war.

Seriously, how in the nine fires can you make a mistake like that? “Yeah, man, The Nam was hell. My whole platoon got taken out by a bunch of VCs, and I was held as a prisoner of war. Left to rot in a pit filled with my own filth, tortured. Then, when I got back home, this small town sheriff gave me grief, triggered a flashback. I blew up the whole damn town, man. Oh, wait, that was Rambo Ha ha, my bad! Vote for me!”

The best part is that he apparently figured no one would bother to check. Which I guess sort of makes sense. When you tell a lie that big, a lot of people are just going to accept it. I mean, you wouldn’t think people would be crazy enough to lie about being in Vietnam, would you?

Also, everyone that’s covering this story? Stop calling what Blumenthal said a “mistake” or a “misstatement.” It’s a lie. He’s a liar, who told a lie.

Which makes him perfectly qualified to be a politician, actually.

The BP Oil Spill.

These asshats have basically destroyed the Gulf. At the same time, they’re making enough profits in one week to pay for the cleanup. They are, of course, trying to legally limit their liability. Because god forbid that a corporation be held responsible for something in America.

Their efforts to stop the spill have so far amounted to “drop a cup on it,” and “stick a straw in it.” Now they’re talking about filling the hole with golf balls. Bloody hell.

Sarah Palin, of course, says that Obama is in BP’s pocket, and that’s why he hasn’t taken action. Yes, professional oil exec fellator Sarah Palin said that. “Drill Baby Drill” chanter Sarah Palin said that.

Sarah, do us all a favor: stay out of business you don’t understand, and focus on what you’re good at, like preventing teenage pregnancy.

Welcome to a very special Health Care Reform edition of Things That Make Me Angry! I know TTMMA have been few and far between, but the vote that took place last night has pushed me over the edge, and it’s time to resurrect the internet’s favorite venom-filled diatribe by a guy named Thomas.

In November, I voted for Barack Obama, the first time I had ever cast a vote for a Democratic candidate. I was taken in by his promises of “hope” and “change,” and his optimistic, “yes we can” attitude. But now… now I’m wondering, did I make a mistake?

Health Care Reform was to be the crown jewel in Obama’s, um, crown. But what we got last night just doesn’t measure up to what I was promised. For instance:

32 Million More Insured Americans
I am shocked – shocked – by the number of people who will now have access to affordable, life-saving medical care. Have you ever been to a doctor, Mr. President? Not one of those fancy-smancy Naval doctors you see now, but a real, civilian doctor? Apparently not, because if you had, you would know how long you have to wait to actually get an appointment. And now you’re telling me I may have to wait even longer while a poor person – a poor person, for god’s sake! – receives attention that could save their life? I am aghast. What about my needs? What about my elective procedures? What about my minor pains, Mr. President?

Public Funding for Abortion
Where is it, Mr. President? I was promised a veritable river of fetuses, streaming toward your black throne. (Note to readers: you do know about the President’s black throne, right? It’s the one carved from obsidian and charred human bones. We tried to talk him out of it, but he said something about “so it was written, and so must it be,” and then stated doodling “666” on his notebook.) But I was appalled to learn that not only does this bill not provide for public funding of abortion, but you actually intend to sign an executive order prohibiting the use of federal funds to pay for an abortion. Won’t you think of the children, Mr. President? The delicious, delicious children?

Socialism
It’s a well-known secret that you’re both a Communist and a Fascist, Mr. President, and we, your supporters, were hopeful that Health Care Reform would finally start America down the path to a glorious Red dawn. But what is this I see? Insurance will still be provided by publicly traded companies? Health care will still be offered by private corporations? Where’s the government takeover? What happened to socializing one-third of the US economy? This was our golden moment, Mr. President, our greatest opportunity yet to drive a stake through the heart of capitalism, but did you seize the moment? Sadly, no.

Budget Deficits
One of our key goals, of course, is the bankrupting of America, and Health Care Reform was a key component of this plan. I was positively giddy at the thought of trillion-dollar wastes of money that didn’t involve sending soldiers into a desert. But the non-partisan Congressional Budget Office now estimates that your bill will save $138 billion over the next ten years, and $1.2 trillion in the decade after that. Billions, even trillions of dollars in savings, Mr. President? How could you? It’s almost as if you were trying to undo the damage done to our economy over the past decade.

Death Panels
I could let all of this slide, if you’d just come through on this one point. I was promised by one of today’s greatest political minds that you would be establishing government boards that would decide whether or not someone was a productive enough member of society to be allowed to live, and I was obviously thrilled with the thought of one day sitting on such an august committee. I know lots of people who are wasting our precious oxygen, and I nearly leapt for joy when I was told that we could start weeding these folks out. Grandma is shovel-ready, Mr. President, and so is the guy who keeps microwaving fish in the office kitchen! But now I find that you’re actually expanding medical coverage to people to whom it would have previously been denied. What is this bait-and-switch, Mr. President? We were promised rationed care and death panels, but we received nearly the exact opposite. This is worse than the Christmas when I got a Go-Bot instead of a Transformer. Thank you for opening old wounds, Mr. President. Thank you very much.

A week or so ago, someone asked me if I had ever seen Jersey Shore.

“No,” I said.

“You would hate those people. Hate them.”

Wow, was he ever not wrong.

I was flipping through the channels after the football game today – and as an aside, thanks, Fox, for not playing the Pittsburg game – and landed on an episode of the above-mentioned train wreck. Now, I have a little rule about not watching MTV (motto: “we don’t play music, but we’ll never change out name”), but curiosity got the better of me. It couldn’t be that bad, could it?

Yes, it could. Dear sweet Vishnu, it was that bad. In literally less than thirty seconds, I already wanted to murder the entire cast.

Let’s start with Mike, who refers to himself as “The Situation.” Yes, he really calls himself that. No, I don’t know why. His friend and wingman is “DJ” Pauly, who owns his own tanning bed, and has replaced his hair with some sort of plastic mold. Their entire mission in life is to have sex with women of poor judgement. The thing is, they’re bad at it. Comically bad at it. Oh, they get the women home, and impress them with their “phat crib,” but pretty soon the women realize that they are very close to breeding with a pair of forty-five year old teenagers with orange skin, their self-preservation instincts kick in, and the “bros” are left telling each other how the girls weren’t good enough for them, anyway. And I can’t prove it, but I’m pretty sure they cuddle with each other after the cameras stop rolling.

The best incident? When “The Situation” was about to score, and his victim’s girlfriend walks into the room and says “you don’t want to do this.” “You’re right,” says the other girl, and off they go.

Then there’s Ronnie, who I call “Shirtless,” because that seems to be his single emotional response. Ronnie’s happy? Off comes the shirt. Ronnie’s angry? Off comes the shirt. Ronnie’s sad? Off comes the shirt. Ronnie’s feeling thoughtful? Haha, just kidding, Ronnie’s never had a thoughtful moment in his life.

The women are no better. Angelina, who calls herself “Jolie” because she’s an idiot, is devastated when her boyfriend breaks up with her for sleeping with another guy, and gets kicked out of the house for refusing to work at the t-shirt shop. No, I have no idea why she worked at a t-shirt shop, nor do I particularly care. Her parting witticism was “I don’t wanna work! And I don’t have to do anything I don’t want!” Sweetheart, none of us want to work. That’s why it’s called work, you tangerine colored nimrod.

No, wait, Sweetheart is a different girl. She is, apparently, the “sweetest bitch you’ll ever meet.” I spent a considerable portion of the episode fantasizing creative ways in which she could die.

And then there’s “Snooki.” Her name alone… I mean, God, these people are actually allowed to walk around, unsupervised. She is quite possibly the most obnoxious human being alive, and I’m including Glen Beck in that estimation. But then this happens:

Snooki gets blasted

Now, I can’t justify hitting a woman, no matter how… she is, but that GIF is just hypnotizing. And the best part is that the guy didn’t even knock her out. He knocked her down, but she was still awake. And crying. But awake.

The puncher, according to the New York Post, is a guy named Brad Ferro. He is, to no one’s surprise, a high school gym teacher. His employer says that he’s been moved to a “teacher reassignment center.” So I guess NYC high schools are a lot like the Catholic church.

Toward the end of the episode, the “bros” tried to light their propane grill. With charcoal. Ominious music started playing, and I literally leaned forward and started whispering “Please blow up. Please blow up. Please blow up.” Sadly, they did not blow up, even though they did manage to light the entire grill on fire.

This entire thing makes me weep for humanity. It was like watching the mating dance of a pack of retarded baboons, except retarded baboons would actually be kind of cute, with their stumbling around and slipping on banana peels and flinging feces. These people are just annoying. The boys are all juice heads, the girls are all plastic, and the lot of them have consumed enough hair product and tanning lotion to put another hole in the ozone layer. So I hope you’re happy, Jersey Shore, when those polar bears are drowning in the melting arctic.

Snooki gets blasted

Really, it’s just mesmerizing, isn’t it?

Welcome to a very special Christmas edition of Things That Make Me Angry! Why do I hate the holidays so? Let me count the ways:

Let’s start with the weather. Dear God, there is no reason for it to be this cold. When you walk outside, it’s like Frosty the Snow Ninja karate chops you in the lungs. Seriously, all that talk about Hell being a lake of fire? Propaganda. I’m convinced that the Land of Perdition is freezing, all of the time.

But that’s more of a “Winter in New York” thing. What’s specifically wrong with Christmas? How about the fact that it now starts in bleeding October? Hey, guys? Remember Thanksgiving? The day when we thank God for sending the Indians to teach us how to survive the unreasonably harsh winter? It happens in between Halloween and Christmas, a period of time some of us like to refer to as “November.” STOP SKIPPING TURKEY DAY.

Then there’s the Christmas carols. All. The Damn. Time. It never stops. Every radio station. Every store. Most of my friends. You’re dreaming of a white Christmas, really? I’m dreaming of wrapping a cord of Jingle Bells around your neck.

As my regular readers know, I’m no great fan of stores in general, but Christmas has the magical ability to bring out the absolute worst in humanity. For example, Zhu Zhu Pets, which as far as I can tell are made from a sock stuffed with a motor. These things sell for twenty dollars. Except someone realized they were going to be the “hot item of 2009,” bought all of them, and started reselling them on e-bay. For a hundred dollars. There is a special circle of frozen hell reserved for these people.

And WalMart has devolved into a mix between a zombie invasion and a war zone. Half the people are stumbling around, glassy-eyed and dead-souled, and the rest are apparently willing to commit acts of unspeakable violence in order to pick up the new Super Mario Brothers game.

And what exactly are you supposed to buy someone you see three or four times a year? How are you supposed to find a meaningful, touching gift for someone that’s basically a perfect stranger? Fortunately, my extended family decided long ago to stop pretending we like each other.

And finally, there’s the “War on Christmas.” I don’t even know where to start with this one. No, wait, I do. How about the fact that no one is waging a war on Christmas. Really. A Charlie Brown Christmas will still be on the air, even if Obama preempts one of the five thousand annual showings. And no, Obama is not trying to move Christmas to January. People actually believe this. And they’re allowed to vote. National Holiday Committee. Sweet mother of mercy.

You want to restore the “true meaning of the season?” Do you even know what Saturnalia is? Because that’s the original meaning of the season. We stole Christmas first. Us. Christians. Stole it right out from underneath the pagans. But you don’t hear anyone demanding we put the Saturn back in Saturnalia, do you?

And here’s a fun fact: in Greece, they celebrated the Solstice by tearing a man to pieces, and feeding his remains to a gang of women. Makes “pin the nose on the Rudolph” seem kind of lame, doesn’t it?

Apparently, a conversation very similar to the following took place at the Rome, NY Department of Public Works:

“So, it really won’t be a problem if we tear up the most heavily used road in the city, making it virtually impossible for anyone to get anywhere for the next month, right?”

“Nah, let’s go ahead and do that.”

So that’s fun. I mean, the one thing I miss about DC is being able to travel three blocks in a mere twenty or thirty minutes.

And then, again, there’s Dunkin’ Doughnuts. I know, I know, find a different store, or at least burn the place to the ground so that you have a new story to tell, but this is my blog, and I have to vent, so just bear with me, will you? Thanks.

One, I am still constantly amazed that this place can be out of coffee, or bagels. I mean, I know they aren’t in the name of the place America runs on Dunkin’… if you people run out of product, America is going to collapse! Why do you hate America, Dunkin’? I bet Dunkin’ even votes Democrat.

And then there’s the customers. I know the choice between “glazed” and “cream filled” is an important one, but I really don’t think you need to stand there for five minutes, squinting at the stock and casting chicken bones, trying to decide. Pick one. Pick both. It’ll be okay. I promise.

There was a pair of cop cars parked outside of Dunkin’ this morning, with the engines running. I almost didn’t go inside, because I figured this probably meant something bad was happening, but in the end I decided to try my luck. Turns out, the cops were just enjoying their breakfast, and had left the engines running because, well, why not? It’s not like they’re paying for the gas.

All of this happened before eight AM. I’m sure the rest of the day is going to be amazing.

So. Let’s talk about some definitions.

First, “Self Checkout.” You seem to have the “checkout” part down; the fact that you have a basket full of items, for which you would like to trade an agreed-upon amount of money, in a process called a “sale,” seems reasonably clear. But the “self” part, that, I’m afraid, seems to elude you.

Which is unfortunate, because the “self” part of “self checkout” is the operative part of the phrase. Without the “self,” it just becomes “checkout,” the thing that you could have done at any of the other fifteen registers, none of which I was waiting impatiently to use.

When you need someone else to work the checkout for you, it stops being “self” checkout. When you need an entire team of people to look up UPC codes and weigh things and help you figure out the admittedly complex process of “take item out of cart, scan item, place item in bag,” it stops being “self” checkout. When you need someone to talk you down from a ledge because “that thing” started “yelling at you,” it stops being “self” checkout.

Now, I know that this can all be confusing. I mean, we’ve only had barcode-scanning technology for two or three decades at this point, and I can see how you might have missed out on some of the details, and relish the opportunity to learn about this new and exciting development in the retail experience. The rest of us, however, would like to pay for our items and go away, and you’re interfering with that process.

Next, “Express Lane.” Again, the first word is the key to understanding this phrase. All of the places where you see people lining up to pay for their items qualify as “lanes,” but the word “express” implies a certain sense of urgency, a desire to proceed with some manner of speed.

So you can, hopefully, understand out distress when you ask the girl checking you out to remove a single banana from the bunch, hoping to get it to weigh exactly one pound. Really, I would have just given you the twenty five cents, if it was that important to you. And I’m sure you can see how the “express” nature of our beloved lane was muted when you decided to pay with three kinds of WIC vouchers, a fistful of food stamps, a sock full of quarters, and a wad of some strange foreign currency. And, no, they cannot accept your Price Chopper card as a valid form of ID. Yes, I know that they issued it, but they are sadly not a government agency. And no, you can’t talk to the manger. Frankly, I’m amazed you’re able to tie your shoes. Wait, those are Velcro? Well, now don’t I look silly?

Finally, “Overcompensating.” This is directed at you, the good sir driving the Camero with a racing stripe and a Hollywood muffler. While “burning rubber” in the super market parking lot may have increased your reproductive odds when you were in high school, you are now in your mid- to late- thirties, and apparently still involved in the fast food industry. I understand that this is distressing, and that your impotent rage must be nigh uncontainable, but really, no one is impressed. Not even when you beat that station wagon off the line.

I got my oil changed before driving to New York City last week, because… well, it seemed like a good idea. I happened to look over the invoice, and noticed a line that said “Power Steering Fluid: Full.” I nodded to myself, happy that I would, indeed, be able to steer. Powerfully.

Yesterday, my car started making a squealing noise. “That’s odd,” I said to myself, “that sounds like my power steering fluid is low.”

This morning, I woke up to find my power steering fluid gone. This leaves me with one of two possible conclusions: someone broke into my garage a few nights ago, and siphoned out some of my power steering fluid, and then came back last night to finish the job, or, the process that the oil… changer… guys… used to check my car involved ripping the bloody hose off, noting the discharge of precious, viscous fluid, and checking the box that indicated power steering fluid had, indeed, been present when the oil change commenced.

This was a Jiffy-Lube type place, too, so it wasn’t like they were trying to scam me into buying a new hose or anything.

On the bright side, I have strong arms and a nearby Wal-Mart, and was able to resolve this problem with $3.17 worth of power steering fluid and stop-leak, as opposed to a $317 tow-and-bugger courtesy of Triple A and my mechanic. Also, since I am absolutely clueless when it comes to what happens beneath the hood of my car – I assume it involves tiny little ponies, and a guy dressed in old Western clothes driving them on – I’m kind of impressed that I recognized the “hey, someone siphoned out my power steering fluid” noise.

Also, I really wish I had a good synonym for “power steering fluid,” because I’m really sick of writing that particular phrase.

When I was in Middle School, I wrote a paper for my English class and used a pair of dashes (en dashes, if there is such a thing in handwriting, because I draw them tiny) to offset a parenthetical thought in one of my sentences. My English teacher circled them, and noted that “these are dashes, used to offset a parenthetical thought.” And I was just like… yeah, that’s why I did that, thanks for noticing.

I’m sorry. I have no idea what made me think of that. If it makes you feel better, these people have spent way more time thinking about this topic than I have.

Oh, and I always use a hyphen when I’m typing. I’ll actually go back and change it if it gets auto-corrected. I hate “smart quotes,” too.

Anyway…

I bought so much protein poweder this month that my bank flagged it as a fraudulent transaction. That kind of makes me proud. Somewhere, someone looked at my billing statement and said to themselves, “there is no way that a single human being can need this much protein. My kidneys hurt just thinking about it.” and pressed the “OMG FRAUD” button on his computer.

When that happens, the payment still goes through – so I still get my delicious, delicious whey casein blend – but I also get a call from the Fraud Busters Department, who I always picture as wearing a t-shirt with a logo on it, like the Neighborhood Watch.

Anyway, I don’t answer my phone if I don’t have the number in my phone book – or even if I do, usually, since I hate talking on the phone – so I let the FBD go voicemail. A few minutes later, I listened to, well…

“Hello Mr. Thomas, this is Steve.” I made that out quite distinctly. I also took note of the fact that “Steve” was lying to me, because people named “Steve” talk in charming Boston accents, and not like a resident of the United States of Dell’s Outsourced Customer Service.

He then proceeded to tell me about the suspected protein-based skullduggery, and then asked me to call him back, with an “Issue Tracking Code,” to confirm my purchase was legitimate, or let lose the dogs of fraudulent charging war, as appropriate.

At least, that’s what I assume he said. What I heard was “HELLOMRTHOMASHOWAREYOUDOINGTODAY WENOTICEDSOMESUSPICIOUSACTIVIYONYOURACCOUNT <deep breath> ANDWEWOULDLIKEYOUTOCALLUSBACKAT NUMBERSNUMBERNUMBERS <quick breath> WITHCONFIRMATIONCODE NUMBERSNUMBERNUMBERS VICTOR CHARLIE SEVEN,” in the thickest Indian accent this side of Pakistan, and I swear to God that he actually said “Victor Charlie Seven” at the end of it. I just don’t know.

So I finally was able to figure out what number they wanted me to call, after listening to the message thirty or forty times. A helpful woman named “Lisa,” who is totally from America, thank you very much, asked me for my Issue Tracking Code. And since I’m pretty much the biggest jerk in the world, I said “sure; it’s AUUUUUUUUURRRAGH MUMBLE VOWELSOUND VICTOR CHARLIE SEVEN.”

“I see, sir, “she said. “May I have your social security number, please?”