A WORD FROM OUR FOUNDER
Douglas Paszkiewicz is an nationally (Eisner Award and Harvey Award) and internationally (comic-dom Award) award nominated writer for his own books and numerous national and international magazines. Here are his thoughts this week.
this is why you DON’T help people...
SO, I am minding my own business, scanning some things at my friends house when I hear the doorbell ring. Joe had left an hour ago, to run some errands leaving me in charge of the empty house. I assumed it was him at the door with something heavy or he had locked himself out...no problem.
I open the door to see a weathered skinny old (late 50s) white guy, stubbly, not dressed poorly...exactly. He asks "is that your truck" I get asked this a lot, usually followed by "cause it's in my way" "it's on fire" or the ever popular "it's leaking something". I sigh and drop my shoulders ready to be lectured by someone who looks like roy rodgers' sidekick
He then, in a relieved and excited fashion, tells me he needs help moving some furniture, stuff too big for him to handle alone, that he has no one to help him, and that he HAS to move today or his things are going to get thrown out, and that he'll pay me twenty bucks.
I am about to reply "well, good luck" and slam the door when it dawns on me that I may be looking at my own dark sad future. - Old white guy who either has no friends or who's friends have grown tired of helping him with his hair brained schemes, no wife, no kids to help him, desperate to move a collection of crap from one shabby apartment to another. I sigh again...okay future Doug, let's go move your crap.
"oh thank you"
"i only have an hour"
"oh that's great i just need to move the big stuff...I HAVE to move out today my landlord threatened to call the cops"
(In my head)- dear Lord, i know i'm not a good person, but please spare me this sorry fate.
We get to his apartment and it became a sanford and son version of the ghost of Christmas past...his worldly possessions were worth to the REST of the world about 5.65 cumulative. In drawer no. 1 was a shoe box of half used pencils, a half a dozen dress shirts still in the cellophane bag (it dawns on me here that he is wearing a dress shirt just like those, like a crazy ass charlie brown...with OCD) then i see the mattress... this man DOES NOT have OCD. There is a stain on it that could only come from performing an exorcism on a small dog and losing to it the dark side.
in my head-Dear Lord...don't let him ask me to move the-
"i really need to move the bed!"
in my head-Look God just cause i didn't get it out in time doesn't mean anything...you knew what i was gonna ask for!
After ten minutes of trying to convince him that his other stuff was more valuable, I gave up. luckily I had my wielding gloves in the truck (which I have since thrown away) and the mattress was from like a child's bed so I was able to carry it off without it ever touching my skin...although I imagined a demonic stain demon mist hovering over me as i prayed the rosary in my head to keep it away.
We load the bed, a dresser, three boxes of crap that makes my crap look like it should be in the smithsonian and get ready to drive off.
"oh wait i left the door unlocked!"
THIS CONCERNED HIM, EVEN THOUGH NO ONE FROM EVEN THE MOST POVERTY STRICKEN THIRD WORLD COUNTRY WOULD STEAL THE STUFF THAT HE DEEMED MOST IMPORTANT...much less the stuff we left behind for some other time. But he marched up to the apartment complex to lock his door and realized, that while his apartment door was unlocked..the door to the complex WAS locked. That's right, he locked himself out and forgot to lock his door at the same time....it IS me in the future. While he goes around banging on windows for someone to let him in I now rest my head on the steering wheel and beads of sweat form i concentrate so hard.
in my head- no Lord, no, please no, i can change, i'll be a better person, i'll learn how to forgive, and i'll be friendly, and i'll throw away junk and not fight with my neighbors, i'll visit my family...please don't let me end up like this...
Future Doug returns after getting a old angry latin woman to open the door and off we go. While giving me directions he relays a vague story about why he has to move so quickly that sounds more and more like something that would happen to me...finally we come to a block with three apartment complexes on it
"stop here, this is the place...i hope"
That's right he said " i hope". Now if this were any other bum you would assume that meant he wasn't sure which of the three was his new place...but nope, this is me in 30 years and "I hope" means the world has passed him/me by and I/he doesn't understand that you need a credit check, background check, security deposit before you move in. And that IS what "i hope" meant. He marches into the office.
Momnets later, a landlady marches out with him in tow desperately gasping "BUT i have to move here, my landlord said i have to go! i have to move in TODAY" there is a long discussion/argument after which I wonder who is more crazy- him, or the landlord who kept trying to explain "credit check" to a 50 year old man who's worldly possessions all fit in the back of an el camino.
Then he tries a different angle, he now tries to convince her the credit check will be fine but in the meantime he needs to put his stuff inside...again the answer is no...and NO you may not leave it on the corner.
inside my head-Lord please...just...send me some vodka
Back to his apartment we go as he tries to get his head around the fact that you can't just live off of cash and a handshake anymore (a horrifying parallel to the fact that i can't understand how computer art programs work...at least he kept up until 50 something, the world's passing me by in my early thirties.)
I drop him off, carry his stuff back up to his apartment, oh and of course some hot college girls happened to walk by as I unloaded the dirty mattress, and of course he was not around and so it looked like it was MY dirty mattress...might as well go with it...I nodded my head at them and in my most lecherous voice said " how's it going ladies". I wink and motion at the mattress "who wants a ride?". That seemed funnier until one of them took out a cell phone and made a panicked call.
I advised future Doug as I left that he should contact the sheriff, it is illegal for the landlord to just throw him in the street...my uncle is a landlord and it is nigh impossible to get rid of a bad tenant in the state of wisconsin....and tell him that i'm sure the teenage girls are sending the cops so..ask them when they get here.
"it's not too late! the spirits did it all in one night!"
Charles Dickens a Christmas Carol