It has been said by me right now in this sentence that petitions are like Santa Claus, only children and the mentally handicapped believe in their power. The power of a petition is to cause change. To undue wrongs. Santa Claus doesn’t really have any powers. He can shrink to fit down chimneys, but that’s about it. Giving Santa Claus powers is kind of pointless anyway. He’s no super hero. And what’s he need x-ray vision for? He’s already in your home. If he wants to look down your pants he can yank them down while you dream of sugarplum fairies.
(Sugarplums or Barney the Dinosaur terds?)
Once in my life I participated in a petition. I started the whole thing and everything. All of the Philadelphia sports games were broadcast on a channel called Comcast. Problem was, a cable company by the name of Cablevision had a monopoly on my area. This was before Fios and all of those other ways around this problem. I think this was legal because they said if you don’t want Cablevision you can go fuck yourself. So with that logic you had other options.
I knew I was not alone in my desire to bring Comcast Network to my town. I had learned in school about guys like Gandhi who took down entire empires by not eating. It was chicken patty day twice that week. I wasn’t about to go missing out on those for what I truly believed in. Instead I chose to gain support through a petition, sort of. I’ve always had a fear of clipboards as the clips on those boards remind me of bear traps. I would have to instead rely on word of mouth. The most reliable source of all. How else do you think everybody heard about films like The Hunger Games or The Avengers? Advertisements? The Internet? You’re fooling yourself. We all know those movies exist because we overheard an 18-year-old girl talking about it with frozen yogurt on her lip.
(Christ, she’s in here enjoying her Froyo while everyone else is trying to get in and escape the zombies)
Art supplies were never lacking in my home. My mom always wanted me to be artistic. She bought me countless books on how to draw. One time I successfully traced the Road Runner off of a cup. Since then it’s been kind of downhill. I had construction paper with colors from all of the Philadelphia teams. Red for the Phillies and 76ers. Green for the Eagles. Orange for the Flyers. I made little notes on these pieces of construction paper with messages about voting “Yes for Comcast” and other things that I’m sure I misspelled. My book bag was filled with them. It was time to spread them out to the rest of the fourth grade class.
I think this was the same year that Mmm Bop was a single because I remember the same guy who reminded me of the Hanson kids sitting next to me on the bus that morning. I had a great pitch. I asked him if he liked each of the teams, one by one. He liked them all. Until he got to my Phillies. He agreed that he liked their colors though and would support my cause. Once at school I had similar success. Students ran up to me from all grades wanting to know what the fat kid was handing out. I remember bullies coming up to me asking for more construction paper notes to make into paper airplanes then throw into the eyes of nerds. It wasn’t my original intention, but the message was at least getting out there. Even if it was being used as detention evidence.
(Never trust a kid who bases his life decisions on enjoyment of the color red)
Being a kid I figured I would be successfully. Close to 50 kids in my elementary school knew my cause! If they all tell each of their parents and they all had no dead parents that would be 150 people who knew! Then their parents would tell all of their friends and I’d finally be able to watch every single sporting event that I wanted! If only life was that simple.
A commercial aired a few months later. Much later than the voting ended. It was one of those crappy local commercials where a stagehand walks by in the background with a donut. The ones where local businessmen come in screaming and by the end of the commercial they’re whispering. This particular commercial featured an old guy in a suit. He stood behind two stacks of “votes.” Am I that old where they actually used to keep paper votes? One stack was much higher than the other. Like way higher. Imagine the tallest building you know. Now imagine a dog’s penis. That was the scale between the two. The old guy explained how Comcast would not be coming to our local cable provider. The people had spoken. If I remember correctly, only around 400 voted “Yes.” It was over 10,000 who gave it the “No.” Fuck. All that construction paper wasted for nothing.
(This picture to brought to you by the Morgan Elementary School Class of 1999. I only remember that was the year because I graduated 5th grade the same year as Columbine)
It took a few years, but Comcast finally come to my area. Most people voted “No” because it would be an extra $5 a month or something like that. I don’t blame them now for voting the way they did. This was during the peak of when the New York Yankees were all taking steroids. Nobody cared about Philadelphia. Especially not their loser teams. Even more importantly I learned that you can’t count on children for anything. That’s why whenever I see a school bus hanging off a ledge I continue on. No use in helping them. They’ll just help disappoint me.