Friday, November 11, 2005

You, Sir, Are an Ass

It occurred to me as I was finishing up my Spotlight on Flunky that the final number 5 in my trio of fives might sound a little harsh to anyone not around during the college years, so I figured that I'd take a few minutes to explain the history of The Battle of the Jackasses.

I don't remember exactly when it all began; at some point around the time when I moved into the house with the full compliment of roomies there was this story circulating about a man who was taking some small revenge on a couple of guys who ticked him off through prank calls (you can read the story here); a pretty amusing story overall, but one thing kind of jumped out to us: the last exchange, in which the prankster responds "Hello, Jackass"; it just had a nice ring to it, I suppose: “Hello, Jackass.” Yes, a very nice ring. Anyway, we joked around about doing it to other people, and to doing it to each other, and so forth; whether the other roomies were involved in the initial discussion I don't recall, since the true Battle of the Jackasses took place solely between Flunky and me.

It was a pretty simple (and silly) little game; we would each look for the perfect opportunity to call the other one a jackass in an exaggerated voice; there were no hard and fast rules as to when this was acceptable, although there were some general parameters: sometimes we would wait 'til the target had said or done something stupid, which would elicit something along the lines of "I didn't mean to do it now, ya jackass!"; other times it would be used by the recipient of a particularly crushing witticism, almost as a concession of defeat in that round of verbal sparring. The best, though were the jackass-ambushes, when you were able to sneak up on the target without them noticing and announce yourself with a loud, "Hello, Jackass!" I think there may have been one occasion in which the much-sought after phone-call-ambush was actually achieved, but I could be wrong.

The Battle of the Jackasses would wage for several years, the two combatants fairly evenly matched in their jackassary, up until the end of The Year of the Flunky, when he finally graduated and moved out. I think I'll remember the day he moved out until I take my very last breath; I had come home from work to find that he had already set out on his way to Texas and Flunky Lover; sitting next to the phone was a note detailing what all still needed to be taken care of in terms of cleaning the carpets and whatnot; at the bottom of the note was an arrow, indicating that there was more on the back; I flipped it over to find only a single phrase . . .

"Made ya look, Jackass!"

And with that, my blog monkeys, The Battle of the Jackasses was pretty much over; Flunky had made a masterful final move before fleeing off into the night, and I was forced to concede defeat. Oh, sure, I would slip the occasional jackass comments into my letters and emails, suggesting in the post-script that he name his PFL team the Flunkrow Jackasses, for example; he sometimes responded in kind, such as his reply to an email I'd sent about a dream I'd had, which he interpreted for me as symbolizing the fact that I knew everyone hated librarians, ending his missive with the following: "Duh. You think that you could have checked out a library book on dream analysis. You work right there you Jackass." Good times, good times.

Fast-forward a couple of years: in a rare fit or bravery, Flunky was able to force himself to overcome his fear of reply buttons and actually respond to an email I'd sent, wishing me a happy birthday in the process. He typed out the lyrics to a couple of different birthday songs, and said that he had wanted to come up with five of them but couldn't think of any more. I, of course, took this as a challenge, and planned on coming up with the requisite number of songs for his birthday a few months later; then, in the month before his birthday I got to go see a sneak preview of a film thanks to Fellow Book Monkey and Blogger Bubblegum Tate; a film which contained a song in it that inspired me to take my birthday song list and build on it; with Rebel Monkey's help, I burned a CD with ten songs on it and designed a "Flunky's Solid-Gold Birthday: 5x5" label for it, complete with Axis and Allies symbols on it; yes, inspiration had struck, and the borderline OCD was in full effect.

The first five songs on the CD were all different birthday songs; the other five were the Five Faces of Flunky, each listed only by a vague clue about what the songs might be; Flunky would have to listen to it to discover what each track really was. The first four were all songs from the Parker days: Old School Flunky was "I Remember" by Coolio; Military Flunky was the "Airborne Ranger" song, although missing the "Shoot to kill, shoot to kill, shot to kill, drive on" refrain we all enjoyed so much in the Parker days; Gangsta Flunky was "Pocketful of Stones"; what I finally decided on for the fourth song eludes me, it was probably either Musical Flunky ("Skid Row" from Little Shop of Horrors) or Dancing Flunky ("Mr. Jones" by Counting Crows). And the fifth song, the one which I entitled "The Real Flunky"? Why, the Bloodhound Gang's "Jackass" of course.

So, I packaged the CD up with a birthday card I'd got him the year before but never sent, shipped it off through UPS 3-day express four days before his birthday, and went home that night immensely amused at my own joke, anxious to get his retaliatory response.

The date I sent the package off? September 10, 2001. Within 24 hours Army Officer Flunky would have much more pressing things on his mind than my silly little b-day joke; to be honest, I still don't even know if he even got it or not, since I didn't have any contact with him at all for about two years after that, and when I did finally see him at that first PFL draft, he never mentioned it . . . the Jackass.