Saturday, December 29, 2012

Terribly Festive

So. Christmas music. It sure is bad nowadays, huh? Not anything like the good old classics you remember from when you were young. Those kids these days just don't know how to write a good Christmas song, do they? I find that a lot of what people choose to gripe about over the holidays is the mass amount of terrible Christmas songs that seem to find their way onto the radio this time of year. I personally have never really been able to see why this is, because, in my family, awful Christmas songs make up one of our most beloved traditions. See, I come from a family of musicians, which I feel has given me an appreciation for what distinguishes a good song from a bad song. Of course, I also grew up in a family of smart-alecks, which gave me an appreciation for why terrible songs are hilarious. When the Christmas season rolls around, we keep the radio on as often as we can, and when one of these songs comes on we all delight in singing along as awkwardly and off key as possible. It's reached the point where I start feeling giddy whenever something like, say Justin Bieber's enchanting little tune "Under the Mistletoe"comes on the radio. I can't help but get excited and sing terribly along with it. So I'm here now, as this current holiday season comes to a close, to share with you a few of the songs that are particularly special to me and my family.

Keep in mind that the definition of what makes a 'bad' Christmas song is very specific here. Most of us agree that those novelty Christmas songs that are trying to be funny are generally nothing but annoying, but that's not the sort of bad that I'm talking about here. What I mean are the songs that don't know they're bad. The songs that, for whatever reason, think they are so very touching or influential or inspirational and just fall very short of their mark. These are the songs that I love. So, without further ado, here are the terrible Christmas songs that are very near and dear to my heart. 

The first two on my list are the two I find the most tame, despite bringing out varying degrees of hate in the more cynical folk. I don't want to be too mean about them, as they are songs that a lot of very nice, intelligent people genuinely like. I'm sure a lot of these songs fall under that description. I like a lot of things  unironically that are generally considered 'bad', so I'm not in the business of making people feel bad about what they enjoy. That said... "The Christmas Shoes"...
This song is a tale of a man who isn't really feeling the Christmas spirit as he is out doing some last minute shopping until he encounters a young boy out trying to buy a pair of shoes for his dying mother and learns the true meaning of Christmas. That's the general idea. Earlier this evening as I was working on this post, my father referred to this song as 'emotional blackmail'. And really, that's what it is. You can't not be  moved to tears by the plight of this poverty stricken young boy and his terminally ill mother unless you are the most terrible heartless person in the world. Why, even the Grinch himself would have an extra four or five sizes added on to his tiny heart by the heartfelt sincerity of the boy's plea. And that's why I think so many people hate it so much. Because it makes them feel uncomfortable about not liking it in the first place. And that is exactly why I love it. This song is basically threatening that if you roll your eyes at its sappiness, then you will be outcast from society for hating all that is good and not understanding the meaning of Christmas. This is enough to send the people who don't like it and don't know they're being blackmailed into a frothing rage, sending them on tyrades about why they hate this song and generally stirring discontent for anyone who dares not to be moved by it. That is just pure evil genius, and I respect that. "The Christmas Shoes", you are as diabolical as you are fun to sing, and I tip my hat to you. 

The second is less... smart, I think, on the whole. It is not crafty enough to be manipulative, and is, perhaps, all around more innocent than "The Christmas Shoes" but far more deeply sincere as well. The song I am referring to is "Mary, Did You Know" or, as I like to call it, the stupid question song. 
I am all for keeping the real meaning of the holiday present in the music that plays on the radio during the season, but this song seems to flounder a bit, particularly due to the fact that yes, Mary DID know all these things. That's what the angel told her when he said she was going to have this baby. So as sincere and well meaning as it is, it's still a dumb question, which makes it a fun song to mercilessly mock like the excellent individual I am. Not to mention that my sister does a delightful off-key and 'heartfelt' rendition of it, complete with an awkward shimmy jerk dance that is really quite stirring. 

As I said, those ones are pretty tame. It's hard, at least for me, to find any offense in sentimental little numbers meant for small town Christians. The songs that I find truly special during the Christmas season are the ones that cater to the wider mainstream. The holiday love songs; the white guilt ballads; the songs that work so hard share the very vague message of 'Christmas is neat'; these are where the real meaty goodness of bad Christmas music lies.

Here's a song that tries too hard. I've never really even been sure what it's trying too hard to do, but it is.
A song that seems to think that growing up means asking for more vague, unattainable things for Christmas, like peace on Earth and for everybody to hug and stuff. I think my favorite part of this is that the singer seems to be asking Santa for all of these things. Lady, Santa ain't know how to make any peace on Earth in his toy shop. Leave the guy alone and ask for normal things like an iPod. Quit your contemplative introspection and go out and rally for peace or hug a hobo or something yourself. Santa's a busy man. On the list of songs that are my favorite to overdramatize off key, I think this one might be the top...

Now, everybody knows that Christmas is all about spiting last year's lover by flaunting around this year's, but I think this song takes it to the next level.
Video aside (though it should not be ignored because it is one of the most hilariously overdramatic and spiteful things ever) this is the ultimate song about re-gifting. Though there are a few bewildering logistics... Like... if she gave HIS heart away to somebody else, then how did he get it back the next year to give it to somebody else? I am so full of questions here. Anyway, I really have no idea how the rest of the song besides the chorus goes, despite having listened to it several times today, because it kind of tunes itself out. I don't even have to do any work for it to fade into the background. But the chorus always comes back in with its powerfully petty message and makes this song something truly special.

But among all of these, there is no song that spews self-righteousness vaguely disguised as Christmas cheer quite like this.
My favorite part is when it zooms in on Sting looking like he doesn't want to be there during the "bitter sting of tears" line....
Written from the perspective of a bunch of rich white people who have absolutely no idea what Africa is like,  "Feed The World" makes up the centerpiece of any great banquet of terrible Christmas music. Just in case you were enjoying your white suburban Christmas a little too much, Band Aid is here, straight from the 80's, to remind you that you should be feeling guilty about the things you have because people in Africa are suffering. I mean, they don't even have any giant rivers there or anything! One can only hope that, in addition to this song, all of these artists donated a significant portion of their millions to humanitarian aid, or else this song's premise falls completely flat instead of just mostly flat. And let me tell you, I just about screamed with delight when I discovered that there was a great big sparkly Glee version of this song as well, because that means the completely clueless sentiment expressed in it is still alive and well today in mainstream pop. Because sometimes we really all do need to be reminded that yes, there really are people that stupid. Also, for a real treat, come over to my parent's house some time and watch my dad jerk to this like an awkward white 80's kid. 

So there's my list. I'm sure there are more out there, and I'm always on the lookout. For instance, my sister maintains that there is a song that exists somewhere that contains the lyrics "We shared a Christmas hug..." However, searches for this gem have turned up little, and so I am convinced that is is a mere urban legend. Kind of like bigfoot except for with worse writing.

Anyway, I know that Christmas is now over as are most of the holiday songs on the radio, but I want you all, next year, to try and find something different in all the awful things playing over the holidays. Don't grump and groan because the music has completely missed the spirit of the season or is just plain terrible. Think of it a different way. Because if we believe hard enough, bad Christmas music can give us all a very important gift. The gift of laughter.

And as I said before, if you happen to like any of the songs on it, please don't feel attacked. This is all just opinion. After all, I  like several of the Barbie movies. 

Saturday, December 1, 2012

The Worst Feeling

I experienced something terrible the other day.

Nobody over the age of eighteen ever really wants there to be any evidence laying around that they were once in their early teens, but, unless they kept an embarrassing diary or had a binder full of pictures of Orlando Bloom or something, it's not likely that anything is really going to turn up to haunt them when they're an adult. Now, I loosely fit under the category of what can technically be called an 'artist', which means that I spent a lot of my early teens drawing. I can't ever really bring myself to get rid of old drawings because they represent a part of my growth process. Of course, this means that I have a whooole lot of regrettable and embarrassing things from that time period that have not been destroyed. This is cringe-inducing sometimes, yes, but I can usually just accept that these things exist but can assure myself that they will never be seen and move on.

And then there was my experience from the other day... It went a little something like this:

Now, there is a slight chance that I'm still safe and that they ended up in a box in my parents currently inaccessible basement, but I quite honestly have no idea. The uncertainty is agonizing.

So I'm going to be in hiding for a while. Just to be safe. 

No, I'm not overreacting. 

Sunday, November 11, 2012

Why I Hate RENT

I don't hate a lot of things. No, really. I don't hate Justin Bieber, even with many a claim that he is somehow singlehandedly destroying pop music. I don't hate the Star Wars prequels even though they apparently suck. Heck, I don't even hate Twilight, for as much as I rag on it; it's dumb and has some awful morals, but I certainly don't hate it. That said, I have a deep, burning hatred for the musical RENT. 

RENT is a rock opera -- based Puccini's opera, La Boheme -- that came out on Broadway in the mid 90's. The best I can explain it in only a few words is that it is about a group of vile, obnoxious proto-hipsters who spend outstanding amounts of time and energy trying to shock and defy 'the man'. The man in question being anyone who wants them to make a concerted effort to pay their rent and contribute to society. But no, they are 'Bohemians' and they need not bow to the whims of society, oh no. They are much too busy being troubled artists and getting into petty arguments at their best friend's funerals to comply with such outrageous standards. To get a better idea, here's a song of them telling us exactly that. I dearly wish I had the video to go along with it, but I couldn't find it, but I promise you it's a whole lot more eye-rolling when you can see it. If you're offended by swears, crude references, or annoying, entitled twenty-somethings, be warned. It's mostly the latter:

So that is RENT in a nutshell. And I hate it. You have to listen to the words because I'll admit the song is super catchy and I actually like it, but when I stop to listen to the words I immediately get back to rolling my eyes. It must be known that this attitude is kept up by most of the characters throughout the course of the show, and they are rewarded for it. Meanwhile, the only two characters I don't hate because they're not awful people, get to suffer. I call shenanigans. 

If you've ever had a conversation with me about something that is wrong with society and today's youth culture, you will almost always hear me utter the phrase "And that's why I hate RENT" because that's what RENT is for me. A representation of everyone who has ever made me groan with exasperation at how smart and edgy they think they are. 

My cousin and I were discussing yesterday the clock we bought at the thrift store. It has cats on it. Upon purchase, we found that it required three batteries. One to power the clock, and two to work the intensely annoying meowing sound that goes off once an hour. Of this, my cousin said "Well, I guess it takes more energy to be annoying than to be useful." I thought that was very fitting to this situation. There is so very much energy put forth by the cast of RENT into being so very very annoying "edgy", with the intent of making a bunch of old white people gasp in shock and clutch their pearls. That's all. That is what 'defying the mainstream' is, as far as I can gather. What they are actually accomplishing -- according to my parents who are part of the demographic that RENT is trying to horrify -- is something akin to the auditioners on American Idol who think they are really good at singing. If you've ever watched the show, you know how convinced these people are that their voices are going to impress everyone and have this big impact, when really we're all just incredibly embarrassed for them and hope they will stop and go home soon so we can just continue with our lives as normal.

Now I don't hate 'Bohemians'. I may see them as obsolete, considering there is no need for a Bohemian revolution in a world where unconventionally expressing yourself and following your dreams of being an artist, writer, musician, etc. is no longer scandalous or unorthodox. You are free to do your thing and congratulate yourself on your uniqueness as much as you want. It is when you start whining about how society should owe you something for your abject refusal to contribute to it that I immediately stop caring about what you have to say. And that is how I got to complain about RENT during the entirety of the Occupy Wall Street movement. There are better ways to combat inequality. Actually doing work instead of protesting, for instance. And I am not bashing on people who can't get jobs. I am bashing on people who wont. Like most of the cast of RENT.

Everybody wants to be unique. We were all fourteen once, and understand what it is to want to make people pay attention to us. However, most people stop begging for attention by telling everybody how edgy and anti-establishment they are after they stop being fourteen. For an example, I am going to pick on the "Scene" trend plaguing our high schools cause it's a thing I'm actually aware of and because there is at least one youth who is very dear to my heart who I would like to save from a lot of future embarrassment. A "Scene" kid is somebody who looks like this:

They spend their days pleading for attention on Facebook and Twitter, acting like they are smarter than everyone, taking pictures of themselves, and pretending to be shocking and quirky. Nobody outside of the Scene circle has ever thought they were cool, and most of them grow out of it before they can humiliate themselves in college. The rough adult equivalent of that trend is this:

A greatly toned down look but one that still screams "I never grew up, please pay attention to me." But while attention seeking teenagers can get away with not having jobs or paying rent and spending all day listening to music or snapping pictures of their hands forming hearts because they still live with their parents, adults who don't live at home do not get this luxury because they are adults. 

Look. I get it. I am a writer and sometimes I even pretend to be an artist too. My entire blog is basically an elaborate front for people to notice me and think I'm cool. I would love nothing more than to just get to sit around all day and write and not have to worry about paying bills or anything just because it's what I love to do, but I can't because real life does not work that way. Until I can find a way to reliably make a living from blogging, I have to have a job. Now, I am one of the lucky ones who has a job that I like, but I've worked ones I hated too. I've had to wake up at 3 AM to work every day and I've worked two jobs at once to save up tuition and I really don't need to hear about how much you suffer because you don't feel like picking up a shift at McDonalds cause it interferes with your free spirits, cast of RENT. If you don't pay your rent, your landlord has to and they've got bills of their own to pay. Get a job. You freaking hippies. 

I could rant about this forever but in interest of anybody actually caring, I'm doing my best to keep it somewhat short. To wrap up, I will make a list of things that, however abstractly, make me complain about how much I hate RENT. Please note that this is still a work in progress. After all, I still have yet to find out the names of those young hooligans who wont stay off my lawn, and don't even get me started on that Lady Gaga character... But here it is: 

Occupy anything
The Kia Soul
Anybody who un-ironically refers to the business world as 'the establishment'. 

And don't get all up on me because "RENT is about AIDS and how it affects the lives of so many and...." No. RENT is about annoying people, some of whom happen to have AIDS. Tell a story about people with AIDS who aren't insufferable and then we'll talk.

Saturday, October 27, 2012

More Words That Suck

Some of my readers may recall the post I wrote a while back about words that I hate in which I thought way too hard about unimportant things (which, all things considered, describes my entire blog.)

At the time that I made the list, the words I used were, for the most part, entirely devoid of context and were just awful on their own. However, I have since learned that context can make a word just as awful as the word itself being genuinely gross. It is for that reason that I feel as though I need to add two more entries to the list of Words that Suck. Here they are:

1. Lush: Adjective

(of vegetation) growing luxuriantly : lush greenery and cultivated fields. See note at profuse .
opulent and luxurious : a hall of gleaming marble, as lush as a Byzantine church.
(of color or music) very rich and providing great sensory pleasure

This is a word that I never particularly liked, but I also never thought particularly awful. That is before Twilight's fourth installment, Breaking Dawn, hit the shelves. I have not read the book entirely myself, but I have had the pleasure of reading the particularly horrific gory scene in which the heroine is giving birth to the demon child of her vampire husband. It is told from the perspective of the jealous best friend/spurned lover/werewolf as he watches the vampire try to spare her life after her vampire C-section by turning her into a vampire as well. And it contains this gem:

"It was like he was kissing her, brushing his lips at her throat, at her wrists, into the crease at the inside of her arm. But I could hear the lush tearing of her skin as his teeth bit through, again and again, forcing venom into her system at as many points as possible..."

Upon reading this I was overcome with a powerful urge to crawl out of my skin. Lush tearing? Eww. Gross. This scene was graphic enough as it was, what with the heroine "vomiting fountains of blood" and her spine snapping. I did not need to be able to hear the exact sound that teeth sinking into skin makes, thank you very much. I will put off my growing need for a year long shower for now and proceed to the second word. 

2. Cloying: Adjective
disgust[ing] or sicken[ing] with an excess of sweetness, richness, or sentiment

I came upon this word in the lesser known title Dragon Age: The Stolen Throne. The particular instance in which this word is used for great evil is during a scene where the young Prince Maric is in the woods wrestling with one of the soldiers who had just murdered his mother, the queen, in front of him and is trying to secure the same fate for Maric. Managing to get the upper hand, Maric, frightened, desperate, and angry, begins hitting the man's head repeatedly against the root of a tree. That is where we get this special little something:

"Tears welled up in his eyes, and he choked on his words: "She was your queen and you killed her!" He slammed the head again, still harder. This time the man stopped fighting back. A cloying, meaty smell assaulted his nostrils. His hands were covered in thick, fresh blood that was not his own..."

So um... ew? This wasn't even a word I knew existed until I read it here, and then it immediately made me want to die. Is it even possible to think of a less pleasant way to invoke the smell of this man's brain juice oozing out all over a tree root? I had to put the book down for a while before the heebie jeebies calmed down. 

So there is my extended list, in which I learn that context can murder a word. And now I am going to go scrub my skin with bleach for a while in hopes of being clean again. I will leave you with a couple more words that I feel deserve an honorable mention on the list as well: 


Put them together in different combinations for extra horror that's fun for the whole family!

Saturday, October 20, 2012

The Chefs

Ever since I reached the age of independence several years ago, I have shared a lot of meals. Most of these meals were from boxes. And over the course of that time, I have found that single people, particularly the college sort, revel in the idea that they are some cooking guru when it comes to making boxed foods. 

So it goes like this: I will be standing beside the stove, leaning on the fridge and waiting for water to boil. Cardboard box in hand, I stand ready to pour the mac and cheese noodles within into the water as soon as it hits boiling point. As I raise the box to pour, whichever individual (be they visitor oroommate) that I happen to be sharing with steps up from behind.
"Oh, let me do it! I make the best mac and cheese." They say with confident assurance

I blink at them incredulously and say "It's in a box..." 

"No, really, trust me. Everybody says so," they insist, proud and sincere. I shrug and hand over the box to them where they step forward and proceed to make this odd show of preparing the boxed macaroni. They sweep around the kitchen like they're being filmed for a cooking show, grabbing spoons to stir and artfully draining the water off to prep the pasta for its sauce. Finally it comes down to the moment of truth. I watch from the counter where I've been leaning this whole time to see what sorcery they might be working there. They stir the butter in, waiting the exact amount of time for optimum melting before adding the cheese powder, which they mix slowly and carefully. Then they add the milk. This must be where the magic happens, because, there's always an overly fancy flourish of the milk jug and a few more quick stirs, and then it is declared to be done. 

I continue to stare at them as I take my bowl of entirely normal tasting mac and cheese and begin to eat as they watch, smiling happily and ask "See? Isn't that the best?"

This has happened more than once. And each time it is exactly the same as a normal recipe with the one exception being the roommate who enhanced her mac and cheese with sliced hot dogs and what I think might have been copious amounts of cayenne pepper (looking at you, Heather.)

I think this happens because the norm for any group of single adults is inability to cook (or lack of motivation, which evens out to about the same thing,) so everybody is clamoring to distinguish themselves as the one friend who can cook. While it's usually not true for the interceptors of boxed meals (except maybe in the case of Heather, who, apart from the mac and cheese, kept me from starving for a good two months,) it is important for those who truly believe their mac and cheese is somehow better than everybody else's. 

I am often tempted to shoot those people down when they look at me so earnestly and ask if their boxed mac and cheese isn't the best thing I've ever tasted. I could be sarcastic. I'm good at that. I could look at them and say "Wow, Chef Boyardee! You certainly are the best adder of milk and cheese powder to noodles that I ever did see!" I could say that, but I don't. This person is single and as of yet unsure of what they want to be in life. They are lost and desperate for attention, just like me. This is all they have. And so instead I just look up at them and smile and say. 


Thursday, October 11, 2012

The Angriest Bird

So, readers. Let's talk about Angry Birds.

Angry Birds is a wildly popular touch screen game involving the launching of disgruntled looking birds at towers to destroy the mustachioed pigs within. It makes more money just by releasing an update than most people could even dream of winning in the lottery. 

I have never really been much of one for playing Angry Birds, which I think legally means that I still have a life in at least a couple states. My nephews, however, would never ever stop playing Angry Birds if we didn't pry the iPod out of their hands to make them go eat and sleep. This is where most of my knowledge of them comes from. I have become intimately familiar with each of the birds as I have had their details regaled to me and been made to recreate them in crayon many many times. In general, as one who is entertained by fat cartoon birds with no limbs I am a fan of the designs of the birds and their varying levels of anger. However, over the course of my Angry Bird-ucation, one bird has stuck out to me for all the wrong reasons.

Let's talk for a moment about how supremely creepy the blue bird is.

Look at him... He's just... staring...

He clearly hasn't slept -- or blinked, for that matter -- in years and years, if ever. Why is he staring? Nobody knows. Maybe he's seen some stuff. They don't tell us. He's just staring. And where on earth are his eyebrows?

Just imagine for a second waking up in the middle of the night to see this guy staring through your window. Except since this is the bird that multiplies into more birds when launched, it would more likely be a whole bunch of them. Just... think about that for a minute. 

We're getting all up on some Hitchcock nonsense now.

Sweet dreams 

Saturday, September 8, 2012

The Flat, The Raccoon, The Cop, and The Soul

It is time now, I think, for me to regale you all with a story that has been a long time in coming. It is an epic tale that took place last summer when my family undertook the long long drive to Nebraska for my brother and his wife's graduation from smart guy medical school. It is a tale of drama, intrigue, suspense, and stupid dumb preppy rental cars that I hate. THIS is the story of the flat, the raccoon, the cop, and the Soul. 

It was some time in late May, as I recall and, in a roundabout way, the whole experience was entirely my fault. You see, if I hadn't come along, my parents would have just flown to Omaha, and the entire fiasco would never have happened. However, my thirteen year old niece who inexplicably thinks I'm cool swore upon her life that she would throw an apocalyptic teenage temper tantrum if I was not allowed to tag along with my parents to come visit, and so we packed up our trusty Toyota Camry and set off on our adventure across the plains.

The drive was uneventful for most of the day. The midwest is flat. There are cows. A lot of them.

With the mountains far behind us, I began to worry that we were in danger of being sucked out into the emptiness to float back and forth across the plains in an eternal vacuum of pointlessness, however, most of the trip passed without drama. At least until about 6 PM that evening. 

The first indicator that this was not going to be a normal trip was when a man in a car with a very large dog pulled level with us and started shouting incomprehensibly and gesticulating wildly at us. We hadn't cut him off or anything, and we weren't doing anything illegal, so we were not really sure as to why this man was so very angry with us. He looked absolutely livid, and my mild mannered little family could do nothing but shrink in terror and confusion until he passed. 

Finally we discovered, as we stopped off for gas in West Podunkington that the man had probably been trying to inform us that our tire was almost completely flat. Good to know he was angrily looking out for us. Kind of like a... cursing redneck guardian angel.

The stop lasted longer than expected, because I swear to you, there was only one functional air pump in the entire town and until we found it, we drove around in the dead center of nowhere feeling hopelessly lost. I do distinctly remember the one thing of interest in that entire town was a sign outside a diner that said "Buy any drink and get a free straw." Of course, Dad would not stop, and so I did not get a straw.

Admittedly I am very easily swayed to the influence of lighted signs.

By the time we got back out on the road, it was dark, and we were determined to reach our destination without any more delays. That did not appear to be in the cards for us, however, because that was just about when the real excitement started...

Barreling down the highway at about 85 miles an hour, the car gave a sudden, violent swerve as Dad attempted to avoid the biggest raccoon in the known universe as it chose that moment to traipse out in front of us. Didn't swerve fast enough though, and we hit the raccoon head on with a gigantic THUNK, sending it flying back into the brush at the side of the road, and jerking us all out of our sense of calm security. Everything was alright though, for the moment. We were rattled, but the caremained in control and we continued along our way for about ten minutes more. 

It was at that point when the engine started making some really funny noises, getting louder and jumpier until Dad noticed that the temperature dial on the dashboard going crazy as the engine overheated. He turned off the highway where the car promptly died, leaving us stranded on the side of the road. 

It was a few minutes until a shirtless man pulled up alongside of us to help. He hopped out of his truck and swore at our engine for a good ten minutes before declaring that the raccoon had cracked ouradiator completely. It was around that time that it became readily apparent that we were not going to reach our destination that night. It was also around that time when the police officer pulled off the side of the road to help. 

Now I was already giggling about the whole situation. Over the years I've had extensive training in finding everything hilarious, especially stupid carelated situations, so the fact that the raccoon had busted ouradiator was incredibly funny to me. My parents didn't seem to quite see the humor in it all, though and I tried to help them out as best I could.

Eventually, after making a few calls, the police officer offered to drive Mom and I down the hill to check into a hotel while Dad waited for the tow guy. Now, a police car has only two available seats for people who are not being arrested, which meant that, with Mom in the front seat, I got to ride in the back where the criminals go. I was explosively excited; this evening just kept right on getting better. The officer seemed to think I might be a bit odd for being so excited about riding in the back, but I'm sure that if Mom had explained to him that me getting to ride there was the rough equivalent of allowing a five year old boy to do the same, I'm sure he'd have understood. 

We ended that evening with me being far more cheerful than anybody really should be in the situation. I was in a great mood the rest of the week, really. We went through a couple different rental cars, none of which were too bad, until the time to go home arrived. Our Camry having been pronounced dead a few days before, we opted to rent a car for the long drive home. The car that we rented was a Kia Soul. I am not going to rant about the Soul again, but it suffices to say that it was dumb

In the end, it was one of those experiences that you look back on and laugh. And in my case it was one that you laugh during as well. But one element of it has continued to be a source of curiosity for me: The raccoon. How did that raccoon manage to crack ouradiator? My parents and I went through many an option of how the raccoon might have managed to damage our car as much as we damaged the raccoon, but the only conclusion we could reach was that the 'coon wasn't damaged at all by the impact, and that instead it stood up from the scene of the crash immediately afteand flew away to go do whatever it is immortal raccoons do

The lesson to be taken from this is that raccoons are jerks. 

At any rate, I am thoroughly convinced that the raccoon is still very much alive and is lumbering around in the trees on that same Nebraska highway waiting to force more unwitting drivers into Kia Souls. There is no possible way it could just be a normal raccoon. It's far more likely that it is a yet unknown American legend, which will soon be terrorizing a highway near you.

Be wary, travelers.