Opinion » Shredder

They're baaaaaack!

Welcome back students. It’s so nice to see your smiling faces again …

Is every parking spot filled? How is it that a Miata is taking up two handicap spots?

Sorry about that. Where was I? Oh right. It’s been a long quiet summer, but I’m so glad to …

Excuse me, can I get by you so I can get to my beer? … No? OK.

Like I was saying …

Hey, bartender, can I get a … HEY, BARTENDER, CAN I GET A … ?!? What’s this techno-babble garbage they’ve got playing? It sounds like Katy Perry strangling a herd of cats at 150 decibels. BARTENDER!!!

Anyway, welcome back, students, from your summer at Mom and Pop’s, where the laundry is free and food is unmicrowaved. For all you brand new eager young minds just arriving in this hamlet, allow me to introduce myself: Think of me as the belligerent second cousin your family pretends doesn’t exist. You’ll find your new home is a delightful little slice of heaven with a psychotic underbelly of bored bureaucrats who split their time between beating down the defenseless and finding new ways to smack around people who didn’t know they were defenseless. The rest of the time they just do silly things.

For instance, if you’re caught gathering in large groups, smoking, or feeding ducks, you may be fined, publicly flogged, or banished and shot from a cannon into Pismo Beach where they tolerate such nonsense. Not to burst your bubble too soon—now that you’re attending one of the finest engineering schools in the country—but you’ll also have the pleasure of paying more tuition for less education than anyone before you. You have Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to thank for that, partially, and now his new second-in-command, Abel Maldonado, who is the acting governator as I write this drivel.

It sucks, but welcome to the real world. I know some say it starts after you graduate, but I’d like to think kids are growing up faster these days. Also, people who spout off all that “real world” malarkey bruise too easily and wouldn’t know the real world from The Real World.

For the returnees, you may have learned now that it’s your second, third, fourth, or 10th year, that New Times is useful beyond just being free, low-grade toilet paper—occasionally it’s filled with words, facts, and proof that print journalism should go the way of the dinosaurs. Or is that shouldn’t?

Let’s get you all caught up:

• A lot of the locals here will blame everything on you students. Just remind them that they were all Cal Poly students once, too. Or that you’re rubber and they’re glue. City types and a few local SLOcals are organizing a “SLO Night with Your Neighbors” citywide event. They say there will be barbecue and ice cream—kind of a social lubricant for making good neighbors of new students. Be wary of anything associated with the city, because for perhaps the first time, your local government has less cash than you do. I think I saw City Manager Katie Lichtig chowing down on ramen noodles the other day.

• But the Sheriff’s Department is rolling in dough, which they got from drug dealers. Sort of. The department is finally wheeling out its 1994 Dodge “man enhancing” Viper. There was a press release picturing the Viper showing off its new paint job and slipping a little V10 in front of an ocean backdrop. I’m fairly certain you can see butt cheek smudges on the hood from where the model was posing before they decided to go a little classier.

Acquired in a drug bust after it had been paid for with drug money, the department says, the car is now making the rounds to local schools in an effort to keep kids off drugs. They announced the new hypocrisy-on-wheels-mobile-marketing campaign at the Mid State Fair, but now it’s ready to confuse kids throughout the county. I’m really not kidding here. Welcome to wonderland.

•The Sheriff’s Department is also warning of “a seemingly innocent menace” known as “Pedobear.” In short, it’s an Internet viral phenomenon, or “meme,” that people like department spokesman Rob Bryn don’t really understand. Not surprising, though—Bryn’s VCR still flashes 12:00, and it’s bad enough that he still has a VCR.

Pedobear sprang up from the cosmic dust of the Internet as a way to mock creepy online photos. For example, if you post a questionable .jpg in an online forum, someone will probably slap on a cartoon Pedobear. No one’s trying to keep this information secret—I read up on it on Wikipedia.

The department chose instead to scare the pants off of every mother and father by feeding local media a warning that the Pedobear does, in fact, exist and is, in fact, a mascot for pedophiles. Now you can’t even trust teddy bears.

The bear has been spotted at such nerd-conventions as Comic-Con, which may sound safe because it’s an event held more than 300 miles away, but … well, the department hasn’t made it clear why it matters that a nerd was at a comic convention in a bear outfit.

KSBY—voted the best local news source every year—happily repeated the fear mongering without question, then went on to be a spokesman for the hysteria by running another story. On the plus side, the issue has landed our dreary-eyed little community on laughingsquid.com, gawker.com (“Stupid California police warn parents of Pedobear”), and huffingtonpost.com (“California police mistake ‘Pedobear’ meme for actual pedophile”).

So your new, adoptive hometown is famous! Welcome, and enjoy your stay!

The Shredder can be rented to write term papers, though you’re probably going to get a better grade if you just don’t turn one in. Send requests to shredder@newtimesslo.com.

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