The Last Word

Issue #494

December 2015

How a cool person roadtripped and missed it
I’m misappointed, dammit!
I embarked (arf arf!) on a minor roadtrip to North Carolina in early November—and absolutely nothing
happened on this trip. Actually, some guy did scowl at our car as we pulled into a restaurant in South Hill,
Virginia, after the man almost
caused an accident—but other
than that, nothing.
I expected to see lots of
pee on restroom floors like I
usually see on roadtrips. I
expected to see more than a few
celebrity look-alikes. I expected to
go into a bathroom at a gas station
and discover that someone had
released a perfectly formed turd
that ran the entire circumference
of the toilet seat. But nope,
nothing that hilarious happened.
All in all, a fine trip! But
it would have been better if stuff
like that had occurred.

Typewriters are cool
Who the hell buys typewriters anymore? Not I!
They apparently still make typewriters—even manual typewriters. But people aren’t buying manual or
electric typewriters, because they’re obsolete. The last typewriter I acquired was when I was in college 23 years
ago. That’s the one I used for early issues of this zine. I remember grape jam getting stuck between the keys and
having to clean it. I used typewriters when I worked at the local library for years thereafter, because their
computer was from about 1976 and didn’t have the capability to print out file cards or store the card catalog.
Bishop Brossart High School had a problem with typewriters. People famously threw their bubble gum
down inside them. Because
Bro$$art was the state
champion at wasting things,
the school threw away
perfectly good typewriters.
You’d find them in the
dumpster with the deer head
bookends they threw out.
I vaguely remember
that for some reason we
briefly had a typewriter on
the desk in my bedroom
when I was about 4 years old.
I don’t know why a children’s
bedroom (which I shared
with my brother) had a
typewriter. It wasn’t a toy. It
was an honest-to-goodness
big people typewriter. It was
manual, but it was brand new.

My parents were working-class people, yet they spent their hard-earned dough on—of all things—a typewriter for
the kids’ bedroom? Why??? Our whole house was only the size of a walk-in closet and we could barely afford
doctor visits—yet we purchased a typewriter we didn’t need? I actually feel guilty to this very day for not saying
something that would have somehow prevented this frivolous expense.
Why in the Wide, Wide World Of Sports would I have even wanted a typewriter when I was only 4? I was
barely even old enough to know how to read! I certainly didn’t say, “Mom, could you buy me a typewriter?” Rest
assured, buying a typewriter wasn’t my idea. But the guilt still eats me up. For most people, life is a series of
events, but for me, it’s a series of projects. We project people are touchy about squandering money.
This typewriter might have been a better investment than it was, except it never got used. I’m notorious
for hoarding, but I don’t think there’s a single surviving document created by this typewriter. What would a 4year-old possibly use it for? And this device lasted probably a few weeks. I mean that literally. One of the few
times anyone got near it, they discovered the I key was broken. That was the end of that typewriter. Nobody could
fix it, so we had no choice but to throw it away. A brand new typewriter, gone. Gone into thin air.
In the olden days, it used to be much harder to correct typing mistakes—so usually we didn’t. I remember
a brief era when I used to borrow my mom’s typewriter to type up angry letters to TV stations for preempting my
favorite shows and to Atari for producing a computer that kept crashing. In one of these letters, I tried typing the
word September and mistakenly spelled it Septembert—because the R and T keys were right next to each other. I
left it that way because I thought a Sesame Street reference would be keen.
This typewriter also lent itself to an uproarious practical joke. This machine had a switch that let you type
in red ink. For some reason, my mom strictly forbade me from ever switching it to red. So one time when I
borrowed the typewriter, I switched it to red before I put it away. I wish I’d seen the look on her face the next time
she tried typing something and it turned out red!
Linus farted in the Peanuts strip from January 19, 1975.
Eventually, Liquid Paper became available in these parts. We had some when I worked at the library. One
day, the government-mandated warning label on a bottle of Liquid Paper prompted an aging right-wing ranter
who worked with me at the library to launch a harangue about a “big government” conspiracy running our lives.
Nobody has more issues with typewriters than the right-wing media. They don’t know a blasted thing
about these awesome beasts. During the
2004 “election” that the thug George W.
Bush stole, memos surfaced that
criticized Bush’s failure to fulfill his
National Guard duties. The Media—
whose lips are always wrapped tightly
around the Bush crime family’s genitalia
—attempted to discredit the memos by
saying that typewriters with proportional
fonts and a superscript th weren’t
invented yet in the ‘70s. That was a lie.
Some offices in the ‘70s did have
typewriters with proportional fonts and a
raised th. In fact, Bush cited other
memos from the ‘70s that had a raised th
to try to help his own case. But The
Media doubled down. Channel 5—which
angered audiences by preempting an
episode of American Dreams for a Bush
rally—even came right out and said the
memos criticizing Bush “were fake”,
even though they were real and were
most likely produced on an IBM
Executive typewriter (an office favorite).
It’s a flying shame The Media didn’t get
their facts straight before shooting their
mouths off, but that’s normal for them.
Typewriters were among civilization’s great machines. They revolutionized homes, various agencies, and
your previously miserable life!

Flatulence lecture analyzed
“It smells like a toilet in here.”
After a lengthy investigation, I am concluding that my 5 th grade teacher must have been correct that
fateful day when she declared that the classroom stank of a brimming johnnypot.
In our June ish, I explored this uproarious incident from the mid-‘80s a bit. Although I failed to detect the
aroma—let alone the associated sound that always induces laughter—the instructor lamented that somebody’s
flatulence was filling the room. “It smells like a toilet in here,” she told the class. She had no motive to fabricate
this factoid, so I assume this was a truthful statement. (It’s like when she lectured the kid about grabbing huge
armloads of cookies and dropping them everywhere after the class play, which I’m sure is true even though I
didn’t witness it.) But—after 32 years—we’re still no closer to indicting any suspects for this crime against
humanity.
Using single-stroke Gothic lettering, I’ve created a map of the classroom’s approximate seating
arrangement at that point in the year to try to identify the suspect...

This was probably pretty late in the school year, because my desk was near the teacher’s desk. In many
classes during my school years, my desk gravitated towards the teacher’s desk as the year wore on, since the
teachers wanted to keep a special eye on me for some reason. But the teacher in this class wasn’t at her desk when
she gave us the lecture about the hovering bunker blast. She was standing up, maybe 10 or 15 feet away from me
—and right next to a long row of other students. After she started her speech, she could tell I was about to burst
into laughter at what she said, and she gave me a stern look that said she meant business.
In looking for a suspect, we should probably rule out anyone who laughed at what the teacher said,
because they probably got all their giggles out right when they rooed—which would have been before the teacher
noticed. Fart smells are usually not immediately noticeable. Sometimes they take a good 30 seconds to fill a room.
But since this air biscuit could be detected by the teacher and not me, it probably had a pretty weak signal. It was
like a WCLU compared to the usual Q-102’s we’re accustomed to. So whoever cracked this silent but deadly
loominsky must have been seated very close to the instructor.
My hunch is that the culprit was whoever was seated right next to where the teacher was standing, and
that this student farted while facing to their right—perhaps to copy the classwork of the student next to them.
The next question is: Who was assigned to that seat at that time? If you were in that class back then, the
room’s seating arrangement is now probably on the blurry periphery of your memory at best. People forget things
over time. You may remember isolated details of things that happened as far back as preschool age, but probably
not the exact seating arrangement for 30 kids and the precise position of the teacher at a particular moment when

you were in 5th grade. I read that around the age of 11, you quickly forget details of much earlier events. I know
this, because I still remember bits and pieces of things that happened when I was about 3, but I know I used to
remember the surrounding details until I was about 11. How long does it take for details of events that happened
when you were 10 to fade? Can hypnosis bring these memories back?
Mayhap it was you who ripped that stinky trouser sneeze!
Once we solve this mystery, we can move on to figuring out who kept humming “Hail To The Chief” in
th
8 grade.

Bad hotel reviews go international!
I’m just a natural born travelin’ man doin’ what I think I should. But with my travel budget empty, I have
to do the next best thing: read negative hotel reviews on the Internet!
I’ve regaled you with bad reviews of motels before, and it’s a bottomless source of amusement. But it
isn’t just American inns that draw customer complaints. It’s an international phenomenon!
I’ve discovered some bad reviews for a hotel in Brussels that gets bad reviews. Some complaints about it
are frivolous. For instance, one guest complained because the TV had no remote control and the free breakfast had
“not even honey.” (He praised the hotel though because it was near sex shops. He’s a business traveler.) Another
bellyached because the hotel wouldn’t give them a free map of Belgium. But other travelers had legit complaints.
For instance, one noted that the stairway was littered with beer cans and condom wrappers. Another guest claimed
the clerk punched them and kicked them out of the hotel. Another said that total strangers barged into their room
because the clerk gave them a key, and “the bathroom smelt like sewage.” Another said the building smelled like
“stale wee.” Still another said the toilet seat will “most probably be celebrating its 50 th birthday soon.”
A hotel in Sydney was so filthy that a guest had to go out and buy a bottle of bleach to clean the
bathroom. Another visitor said their room “did include a complimentary locust or two.” A hotel in Tel-Aviv was
unpraised because the only toilet paper they had “was some wet pieces lying on the floor.” A guest at a hotel in the
Philippines found bubble gum stuck all over the headboard of their bed.
But the good ol’ U.S. and A. nation still comes through for uproariously bad inn reviews. A motel in
Kentucky was criticized because the bathroom “had dog poop on the floor.” Another said their room was full of
used Band-Aids. Another confided that all the pillows in their room “looked like someone had peed on them.”
Who needs to go on vacation when they can just sit on the Internet all weekend and lose themselves in
luxury while reading about shitty hotels?
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