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These are the Peeps in Your Hood

"You run the Fonz out of town and there'll be another one just like him. And another one. And another one."

We're running out of ideas for people. The idea of reincarnation has always been attractive to me. But if we're counting souls on a one-per basis, I find it an unfortunate mathematical impossibility. Operating on the theory that energy can be divided and spread around into several meat machines opens up intriguing options. However, most forward-thinking estheticians lean toward the concurrent life view. Doppelgangers are merely alternate selves existing simultaneously, ensuring that as you're looking for a suitable office napping place, your counterpart is picking up the slack in Nova Scotia and laying that slack right back down. In what we're calling "The Cat Lady Phenomenon," the following cast of characters occurs spontaneously in the rubber plantations of Mzuzu, Malawi with the same frequency as the Amish community of Germantown, PA. But more often than not, they are a recurring reason why They Hate America.

Stick Lady:
Don't be fooled by this self-styled power-walker's primitive choice of weaponry. That sawed-off broom handle isn't there to ward off canines, she thinks she's in Death Relay 2000. Stick Lady is mildly mentally deficient, and majorly OCD. She moves with the awkward gracefulness of a giraffe with an external bladder. Her grim reaper swing, humorless determination and maniacal pace make it imperative that two Stick Ladies never cross paths. Picture a brutal North-Going Zax beat-down.

Station Wagon Clutter Gramps:
Usually an LTD, can also be a Reliant or rarely, a Century. Festooned with window stickers of roadside attractions in irrelevant states. Pops hasn't washed the car since these souvenirs were installed, but if he did he'd still have to contend with the cloudy film on the inside of the windows. The same substance has taken over his bifocals, whose prescription ran out last decade. Amid vintage Whataburger wrappers and piles of now-defunct periodicals, a claustrophobic cockpit has been carved out big enough for a frail, Dickies-clad curmudgeon. The bobble-head Chihuahua certifies that dog is his co-pilot.

Textbook Dufflebag Dork:
Greasy head down and leading with the dominant shoulder, Dufflebag Dork barrels through High School hallways all across this proud nation. His textbooks are on his person at all times, not for ease of access, but for avoidance of his bullying lockermates. The added weight keeps him from being thrown into the schoolhouse sarcophagus. None can pry the canvas carry-all from his grasp, thanks to Geek grip exercises performed after school. (And between classes.) By law, Duff is required to wear a parka at all times. No evidence exists of an actual shirt underneath. Duffelbag may also contain automatic weapons.

Are We Having Fun Yet Robot:
This person has the slimmest grasp of appropriate catch-phrase usage, and barely missed being the Keep On Truckin' or I'm With Stupid Guy Or Gal. Every chance encounter, they wield their lame pseudo-greeting like a ham fashioned into an axe, causing co-workers to throw each other in the path of the automaton and duck into the polyethylene-scented stairwell. If you're lucky, they are an office temp. If you're are unlucky, they are the boss's nephew with non-specified duties and plenty of time to hover around the breakroom. To keep from disemboweling this person with a KFC spork, preempt them with the Are You Working Hard, Or Hardly Working gambit. This will temporarily short-circuit their transistors, but once recharged they will mount a sneak attack on your cubicle and require an emergency evisceration.

Hey Doll:
The original cougar was a saber-tooth in cheetah print with one or more cigarettes dangling from her painted, parched lips. The archetype Hey Doll was a loose Mount Piloteer who vamped on Barney Fife, who for once was justified in his neurosis. This resistible vixen beckons men from 18 to 80 (younger when found at bowling alleys) to provide her with libations in exchange for intimated unwanted favors. Her song is nothing like the Greek Siren's, and everything like a tornado siren. This aging courtesan isn't just wrinkled, she's topographical. Like a Christmas tree, you have to turn the scraggly side to the wall. The woodwork is always smooth thanks to her voice. When she's bare, she's grisly. She puts the barf in barfly.

The One-Upsman:
This is not the braggart variety, but the guy who's been befouled by more misery and malady than MacBeth performed on the Titanic by the Kennedy Family Players. So what if you've lost a leg, he had the same leg removed twice. Once from an exploding can of whipped cream he was trying to open with his field knife during the first Gulf War. He's not really sure if the Ready Whip shrapnel got him, or the simultaneous RPG strike. The second time a kid shot a paperclip from a moving schoolbus, rupturing a previously undiagnosed cyst in his knee. The subsequent burst of pus and putrefied rust from a cast-iron screw severed several arteries including one belonging to a distant cousin in San Pedro. One-Upsman once died from Hypochondria and no-one could convince him otherwise. If you ever come up with something too verifiable to beat, (such as decapitation disease,) One-up will inform you that it is nothing compared to what happened to the only guy unluckier than he, his mythical cousin in San Pedro.

-Ewan Wadharmi

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