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6:51 a.m. - 2004-09-30


So I get this writing assignment about a week ago.

"Go write a story on the new Flashlight Store."

Uhhhhh ... hold the phone, Porky.

The Flashlight Store?!?

No disrespect to those at The Flashlight Store ... but you sell flashlights. I'm not really sure what kind of angle I can get out of a Flashlight Store.

"Nestled amongst the new buildings surrounding the towering Walmart Supercenter lies one store that's well prepared for those moments in life when you just can't find your way around a darkened area ... the ominous ... FLASHLIGHT STORE!!

Once inside, consumers will be overwhelmed by the colorful plastic in shades from throughout the spectrum of color. Want a red flashlight? You've come to the right place. Blue? You're in luck. But what about ... green? Your prayers have been answered, Gringo. The Flashlight Store has green flashlights."

So yesterday I stop by The Flashlight Store for my interview with the manager.

Now, you'd think that the manager of a Flashlight Store would kinda be all "Can someone please help me pinpoint the exact moment in time in which my life turned into complete and utter shit?" ... wouldn't you?

Nuh uh.

This guy had an attitude that Paris Hilton would deem "snippy".

The first question I asked him came from left field.

"What's the square footage of the store?" I asked.

(Honestly ... I had nothing prepared and thought that this might be pertinent to the story. Because once you let the cat out of the bag that the place sells flashlights, you need to start tossing out figures like square footage.)

Wanna know what the guy said?

"I'd rather not discuss that."

Wait a second, Captain Dork. I asked "What's the square footage" ... not "Can you tell me about that kid you killed in '98?"


So now, I shift into investigative reporter-mode. Not that it was necessary, but I was on a quest for the square footage of this pimple on the ass of entrepreneurship.

"3,000 square feet?" I ask.

"I'm not at liberty to say."

This dumbass had watched one too many "60 Minutes" episodes. It was time to take him down a peg.

"It's not important anyway," I sniffed, which let him know that he was a fucking idiot for keeping it so secretive.

He was more than willing to talk about the history of the Flashlight Store and its illustrious founder who determined that there was a need for a store that sold nothing but flashlights so that consumers had a go-to place for when their world inexplicably turned dark.

He took me on a tour of the store.

Let me tell you something ... it's tough to get excited about flashlights.

As we rounded the aisle to the penlights, I tried my hardest to let out a little gasp to make me seem interested in these tiny beacons of light that can clip to your keychain.

I'm pretty sure I just sounded bored out of my skull.

After the tour, and I'm still not sure how it happened, but the manager decided he could trust me and started spewing all this insane psychobabble about his political views.

Like I was going to report that he was a neo-liberal fascist (which he asked me specifically NOT to include in the story. Don't fret, Sloopy, I'm pretty sure that dropping the bomb that you're practically a communist would get edited out of the story before it was printed.)

He then wanted to engage me in a political debate.

I'm all "Dude ... I'm just here for the flashlights, not to listen to the virtues of Ralph Nader."

The phone rang while he was talking and I could tell he wanted to just let it ring and keep babbling rather than take care of business because he was convinced he had an active audience in myself.

He finally went to pick up the phone and I made the "I've got to go" hand sign, shook his hand silently and got the hell out of there.

Flashlight freak.

Can I just have a moment of silence for my dear friend in Diaryland, Anenigma?

Annie dropped me an email yesterday to let me know that she was closing up shop on her diary.

She was the first person I ever read in Diaryland and was the first person to contact me once I started writing.

This was back when there were maybe 10 people using Diaryland. Back in the stone age before Y2K.

I know that there's quite a few people who are gonna miss this gal. I've successfully begged her to continue writing about a year ago when she was ready to quit. And when she came back, I almost felt guilty because I felt as if she was only writing to please me.

And if that's the case, I sincerely want to thank her. She's always been at the top of my favorite diarist list and while I'm holding out hope that she changes her mind someday and comes back, I'm not going to press her to do it immediately.

I'll give her a week before I start bitching at her to come back.

I don't know about you (because my mind-reading skills just ain't what they used to be) but I love that new show "Lost".

If you haven't seen it ... 48 people get stranded on a deserted island in the middle of nowhere after a plane crash.

While it may sound like a large scale "Gilligan's Island", it's about 1,142,351 times better.

Because these people have .... seeeecrets.

And because there's some kind of unseen monster in the jungle on the island that keeps making some strange noises and knocking over tall trees and eating people's faces.

If you haven't seen it yet, ABC is re-running both of the episodes this Saturday night starting at 8/7 central.

Get your creep on and watch this shit.

Finally, a photo.

I call this "Young Clark Kent Getting Caught Changing Into His Alter Ego"

Or "Young Clark Kent Suffers An Identity Crisis".

Whichever you prefer.

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