It's not about the house.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

Beware the Wrath of Unknown Gods

Since I seem to have started a tradition here of thanking a commentor before launching into Would-You-Rather-Wednesday, I’d like to take the opportunity here to recognize Kim (a.k.a. pcklsoup). Welcome, Kim!

Kim commented for what I believe was the first time yesterday, and I’m thanking her here because what she said gave me the opportunity to tell the best off-the-cuff joke I’ve managed to come up with all year – maybe the best of my entire life!

In her comment, Kim said she googled Townville (see the post below for more on Townville) and that Tang is made in a place with that name. That’s not this Townville, of course, because this Townville is really called Weymouth – I just started calling it Townville for anonymity’s sake, back when I still cared about that sort of thing. Sometimes I still call it that just for yuks. Because it’s funny! Townville. Heh. But anyway, speaking of Tang…


On the 4th of July, we had the family over for a cookout. Somehow the subject of Tang came up and I mentioned that Johnny, for some reason, is particularly enamored of the stuff. We even have a glass pitcher with the logo on it and everything. It has iced tea in it at this particular moment, but look:


When I said how much Johnny loves the stuff, my mom chimed in. “Oh,” she said. “Well, I’ll have to remember that next time you come, because I always have a box of it in the cupboard!” Or an envelope, or a tin, or whatever Tang comes in these days. (Hey, I said Johnny liked it, I never said I actually buy it for him. Ain’t I a bitch?)

“You do?” I said. See, Mom can’t eat sugar. She’s not diabetic or anything, just more like a hyperactive toddler: if she eats so much as a half a muffin, she gets really hyper and runs around and around and around until she gets sick and falls down. She deems it worth it for occasional things like wedding cakes and apple pie, but I couldn’t see her risking it for a cloying, fruity-flavored, powdered drink. “Why?”

“I use it to clean my dishwasher!” Turns out this is a household hint she’d read somewhere. “If you put Tang in the dispenser instead of soap and then run it, it cleans out the whole inside and all the pipes. Works great!”

And then I said, “Really? Sheesh…

“No wonder they broke the toilet on the space station!”

Ba dump bump! Thank you very much, ladies and germs! I’ll be here all week! Don’t forget to tip your waittresses!


So now that that's over with, it's time to make with the Would-You-Rather. Let’s not forget that the game is really called Zobmondo, and you can buy it here, and if you’re going to play you have to choose one or the other, you can’t say “neither” or make up a third option.

Ready? Gather ’round!

This week’s category is Ethics/Intellect (my favorite!), and the question is…

Would you rather pry out the jewels from tenth century artifacts you found while hiking, then sell them for a quick 10 million dollars – OR – do your duty as a citizen and give the treasures to the state for preservation?

Before I answer, and before anyone decides to go all Elgin Marble on my ass, I gather from the question that you are going to pry the jewels loose (let's just say you're a hopeless kleptomaniac who took to the hills to try to control his tendencies, and just happened upon this big Red Flag), the only question is what you're choosing to do with them next. Let’s also not forget that this is hypothetical. Unlike the story I’m about to tell…

When Johnny and I were traveling through Europe – the trip we should never have taken, but on which we fell in really, truly love – we got in a HUGE fight on the Greek island of Paros. I don’t even remember what the disagreement was about, but it resulted in me marching off all by myself to see the butterfly forest that was supposedly just over that hill.

Or that one.

Or (fuck) that one?

Man, were my feet tired.

I never did catch those g-d butterflies, but I did walk through a little whitewashed town, I did see an old guy herding goats, and I did happen upon what I gathered to be an ancient praying-place. Not a full-fledged temple, exactly, but a little sort of hut with an altar and some writing on the walls. And, on the floor, there were all these little shards of old red clay…

I was going to show you a picture to give you an idea, but I can’t seem to put my hands on it right now. The piece, I mean. The piece I picked up and pocketed and trotted down the mountain with to show to Johnny. He was not impressed. He said I shouldn’t’ve did it. So obviously I marched up the next day and i put it back. Or, well, at least I later dropped it on the floor of the Acropolis. Sent it anonymously to Paros when we got back to the states? Threw it over the wall of the Greek embassy? Gave it to the guy who makes my pizza?

Well, it’s just a little shard. It doesn’t even look like anything. For all I know, it was made the year before by Dmitri McHellenopolis in pottery class. Or it might even be the remains of a clay pigeon. Maybe Dmitri and his father shoot skeet all the time over that ancient altar/shed.

Yes, well, obviously I shouldn’t have picked it up, but I did, and I still have it, so there. I just can’t seem to put my fingers on it right now. I think it’s probably in the steamer trunk that my computer sits on, and I don’t feel like clearing everything off of it just to have a look. If it’s in there, it is safe – as safe as anything else in this godforsaken house, at least – I promise that.

But jewels? Jewels that were actually worth something? That were actually worth something like ten million dollars? Oh, no, man. That shit, I’d give back.

The five-fingered salute is one thing, but I don’t need no oogie-boogie curse called on my head.

You're up: What would YOU rather do?


su said...

Maybe you should find it and mail it back... perhaps it is the curse that befalls you! Okay here's my story. Shortly after we bought our MA home in the 70's I had an incident. In those days you could just plow all of the toxic waste under the earth and leave it for future generations. Whoville, where we lived, had a DUMP. The dump was where all of the elite met on Saturday morning to scratch and spit and dump. We sometimes went altogether and shared the garbage bag retrieval and tossing as close to the grader or whatever that giant machine was, as you possibly could. As you tossed the operator would push dirt over your deposit.
On this particular Saturday, as I was tossing, at my feet I spied a silver moneyclip with an initial, and $60 inside. Times were tough, 3 kids mortgage, car payment and one income. Oh the temptation! But I went to the operator and revealed my find offering to turn it over to him so when the rightful owner returned he could be made whole. He said Lady if I take that sure as hell it is going to "disappear" I will take your ph# and if someone comes looking I will have them call.
I tried, but today having been jaded by life I think I would pry the Gd jewels, make a great piece for myself and sell the rest of those suckers!

Khurston said...

I’m not even REMOTELY conflicted here. I’m the one sitting there yelling “SELL IT!” at the tv when some geezer’s in tears because some appraiser just told him his grannie’s boot buttoner is worth a cool thousand bucks on antiques roadshow. In fact, not only would I pry out the stones and sell them, but then I’d go back to the mountain, collect the jewell-less skeleton and call the media “look at what someone did, they done tooked out all the pretty stones, but I will now turn this over to the state for preservation.”
And then I would shake Richard Nixon’s hand when I bump into him in hell. But at least my daughter would go to college.

soup said...

i've found money on the ground and kept it. i've found money sticking out of the bank machine (ATM) and kept it. actually the timing on that last one couldn't have been better - i almost didn't make rent that month. phew! but i have a degree in fine art history (which is why i almost didn't make rent), so i would have to surrender the tenth century artifacts to the “state” based on the preservationist’s imperative to keep all works intact for future academic reference.

besides, i am the worst liar on the planet, and would never be able to come up with a plausible story for where the 10 million dollars came from.

Athena said...

First thought: SELL THEM! The state didn't know they were there, and they'll float around on the black market for a while and eventually some curator will get their hands on them. It all works out!
However, with my luck, I'll end up in a stolen foreign jewel sting operation and end up in prison. My paranoia beats out my good will, sadly. So I will begrudgingly sell them to the state. Damnit.

Charlie said...

Finders keepers, losers weepers!!!!!!
Yay! I'm rich! I'm rich!


Hmm, I think this is a really interesting question...I mean the real question is of a problem of value rather than values. No one expects every little kid that finds an arrowhead to turn them over to the state, and the state probably does not even want them. I wonder what the state would think if you were talking about some weird jewel encrusted arrowhead?
Anyway, I digress (and procrastinate). I guess I would turn it over to the state, for pretty much the same reasons as "Soup" - intact for future generations - plus a healthy dose of "Athena" - paranoia.

EGE said...

Wow, I don't know what impresses me more: those of you who have no qualms at all about pocketing the prize, or those of you who really really WANT to take it, but are sure you'd fight the urge. There's something to admire in both impulses, I'd say.

Although so far I think Khurston's the winner. The sheer audacity behind the thought of turning in the empty shell just stuns me.

Wish I'd'a thought of it!

jen said...

Do we have to tell a story? Cuz alls Im sayin is Im keepin the shit. Done and done.

EGE said...

Nope! I tell the stories around here because it's my blog and therefore my job to embarrass myself for y'all's entertainment.

Some folks like to chime in because I'm so inspirin', but all you have to do is laugh and love me, hopefully tell me so as often as possible, and cast a vote once a week on the Would You Rather question.

But Jen? If you think you're getting any more grape jelly from me this year, then you're GONNA tell me, private-like, just what you stole!

HPH said...

Steal the jewels and have the curse of the ancient mummy on my arse? No way man, to the State they go. Besides, 10 Mill is such pocket change. Yawn. I could just barely get by on that.

amanda said...

I would have to give them in. I have seen too many movies.

DonnaStaf said...

I'd have to turn them in since I have the "walk straight or your gonna get caught" gene. I've also successfully passed that gene on to my children. We can't get away with anything, especially where money is involved; just ask Uncle Sam how much $$ son Tony owes them... 8 bucks and pay up or it becomes $800 in short order (I learned THAT the hard way!)

John said...


makes me wonder what happens to those who keep taking sea shells home..

does "Poseidon" the greek god of the sea slap their ass with bad karma?

or are the beach police adding them to their "most wanted" list?