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Rant #16
(published Late in the Year, 2000)
Page 617 from the Poor Mojo Special Services Exam:
Qualification Exam Relevant for Levels X to OP13
by the PMjA Staff

23) True or False: Colorless green ideas sleep furiously?

SECTION V: Story Problems:

1) A priest, an Olympic track star and a cheetah are killed in a freak train collision. Given that:

  • the priest had dedicated his life to helping troubled youth ,
  • the track star had abused steroids and
  • the cheetah was a cheetah

    and also given that:

  • the priest had also been guilty of 15 counts of arson (never prosecuted),
  • the track start had once donated a kidney to a little girl (without any publicity or fanfare) and
  • the cheetah was the mastermind of a Wall Street stock swindle (from which she profited greatly.)

    Which will reach Heaven first? Why?

    (For the purposes of this story problem, you may assume that each of them, as spiritual beings, is able to travel at his/her maximum living foot speed for an indefinite period of time— so, the cheetah can travel at 60 mph forever, the runner at 22mph, etc.— while en route to the Sweet Here-After. Please show all work. Continue on back if necessary.)

    2) Three men rent a hotel room for $30, chipping in $10 each. Later that evening, the desk clerk realized that she overcharged them, and that the room should have been $25. So, she gave $5 to the bellhop and sent him to the room. While riding the elevator, the bellhop puzzled over how to best dived the $5 among the three men. Since they didn't know they had any refund coming at all, the bellhop figured it would be safe to just give them back $1 each and keep $2 for himself.

    So, when all is said and done, each man really only paid $9 for the room, for a total of $27. The bellhop kept $2, which brings the total to $29.

    2.1) Where the hell did the missing dollar go?
    2.1a) Is there any way we could get our hands on it?
    2.1b) Would this be illegal, unethical, neither, or both?
    2.2) If the three men didn't know they had a refund coming, then why didn't the bellhop just keep all five dollars for himself?
    2.3) Why were three men renting a hotel room together in the first place?

    3) Using the Meta-Dollar from question 5, purchase a Meta-Coke from the Meta-Machine down the hall from your cubicle. Crack the can, sniff at the fiz, day dream about the cute guy in accounting. It's okay, you can day dream about him. Remember, this is a Meta Coke.

    3.1) Is he cute?
    3.2) Does your boss walk by and ask you what you are doing?
    3.2a) Do you give your boss what for, and then admit to using his Kleenex when he is away from his office and the door is open? (remember, this is a Meta Coke.)
    3.3) When you go home, do you save the second half of the coke by putting it in the freezer next to that human head you got last year for Christmas? (Say it with me, Meta).

    4) Thomas Conroy is a cop. He hates niggers, but has never said anything to anyone. His father was never racist in any way, and he never knew any niggers, personally, as he was growing up. Now he is thirty-five and has been promoted to sergeant in a small police department in the mid-west and he has realized that he hates niggers. That's exactly what he repeats in his mind every second of every day, it seems. "Niggers. I hate them." It makes him giddy, the whole absurdity of it. He knows that if he ever said anything he would probably be fired, maybe beaten up by the niggers on the force with him, certainly exiled from the community.

    What will he do? Even he doesn't know. It has all come upon him like a virus, so suddenly and now constantly in his mind. He imagines lynchings and cross burnings and slavery and the sound of whips against the backs of a thousand black young men. A flame has risen up inside of his mind, but it is terrifying to Thomas, and this is what confuses him. He is married to a women he met when on vacation in Texas. She was a school teacher there, and now she tutors in her spare time. They have two sons. He is afraid to speak to his sons, now that this whole "thing" has swept up around him. He smiles tightly to them as they play hockey in the winter, baseball in the spring, football in the fall. All of those tall black wide receivers and running backs and tight ends. What could be wrong with him? He doesn't know.

    4.1) What will Thomas do?
    4.2) Do you think he can see the cheetah, as it runs forever faster across the sky, chasing the sun which opens up into the gates of heaven?
    4.3) Does the green sleep furiously within the head of Thomas Conroy?
    4.4) The Coke is as frozen as those brown, staring eyes. What is Thomas? Who are you? As all of the churches burn, and the priest laughs and kicks his heels, as a silhouette, do you see the cheetah?
    4.5) And the men, those poor men. One cannot pay your ferry across the river Styx without a Meta Dollar. Charon has changed the rules. He is like a furious green idea.
          And they wait now, eternally, in that hotel room, for the meta dollars which the office clerk sent up to them as a signal. But those dollars are in the bellboy's apartment, and he is you, and he looks at the dollars. He turns them over (you turn them over). And they look just like normal dollars, as though nothing were amiss at all, but when he looks at them, at a glance, from the corner of his good eye, he (you) see the headless body of a man ten years long gone as you lower it into the wet, Virginia earth. And sleep, furious sleep, like a track star, sweeps up across your eyes and takes hold of your mind.
          Mercury, winged-foot, grinning, and eyeless as a coyote... he skitters across the sky wagging his tales ferociously. What can we do? What can we do?

    5) Tom Conroy lurks in the shower now late into the morning, coming to work later and later, and he stares at the ceiling at night, as his wife snores, and only the oily barrel of a revolver, heavy on his lips, can comfort him. Sleep is furious, but elusive, on winged-feet, and it smiles, as a satisfied priest surrounded in the flames of faith might look.

    5.1) Why?

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