Thursday, August 30, 2007

Tales From My Inbox

Earlier last month, for what reason I'll never know, I decided to sift through my junk e-mail. There was the usual crap: sweepstake offers, penis enlargement offers, messages from my mother, not to mention unsettling combinations of the three. One item, however, was titled "Love vs. Sex," and caught my eye. Now, I have a great fondness for the former and a, well, nodding acquaintance with the latter, so I'll admit I was intrigued by the title, not least of all by the use of a "vs."

"Love will win," I predicted as I clicked on the title, expecting to witness the battle to end all battles. What I got, however, was so much more. So. Much. More.

A teenage girl about 17, the e-mail began, had gone to visit some friends one evening and time passed quickly as each shared their various experiences of the past year. She ended up staying longer than planned, and had to walk home alone.

“Oh no!” I yelled aloud when I finished the first paragraph. “No good can come of this!” I was hooked. I had to read on. Sure enough, my concerns were not misplaced. On her walk home, the protagonist, who I soon discovered to be named Diane, decided to take a shortcut through an alleyway…

However, halfway down the alley she noticed a man standing at the end as though he were waiting for her.

“Bad news bears!” I exclaimed. What was she going to do, I wondered. Would she simply turn back, like a rational being? Would she take out her cell phone and call a friend? Would she start audibly complaining about her “damn herpes?” Nay…

She became uneasy and began to pray, asking for God's protection.

While this was not the most obvious choice, it seemed to have worked, as she was able to pass right by him and make it to her house safely. All’s well that ends well, it seems.

BUT WAIT! There’s more! Apparently the next day, Diane was reading the news, and discovered that a young girl had been raped in the very same alleyway just twenty minutes after Diane had been there. I’m a bit confused as to how a story of a local raping that occurred fairly late in the night could appear in the newspaper the very next morning, but that’s so not the point.

So Diane, the e-mail says, started weeping at this tragedy, but also made sure to thank the Lord for her own safety, because she’s awesome. Anyways, she then decided to go to the police station. It seems the rape victim, in addition to being a heathen, was also suffering from a short attention span, because the rapist still had to be identified. Which Diane did, forcing the rapist to confess.

Now here’s the kicker:

The officer thanked Diane for her bravery and asked if there was anything they could do for her.

She asked if they would ask the man one question.

Diane was curious as to why he had not attacked her.

When the policeman asked him, he answered, "Because she wasn't alone. She had two tall men walking on either side of her."

, the e-mail concluded, whether you believe or not, you're never alone. Did you know that 98% of teenagers will not stand up for God?

Repost this as Love vs. Sex if you truly believe in God.

"Ah," I thought, reading the last sentence, "so that explains the misleading title." Was I angered, however, by the deception? Hardly. On the contrary, I was thankful. Thankful that I had been (mis)led to read this frankly enlightening piece.

Now I knew: if I ever faced a dark stranger in an alley, all I had to do was pray for God's protection. Does it work? I've been praying for God's protection for the past month, and I can happily report that I'm rape-free. Thank you, random classmate who I never normally talk to! Your chain-mail saved my life!

But now that I had been enlightened, what was I going to do about it?

I printed off about 50 copies, and started to distribute them around. Only I didn't use the title "Love vs. Sex." I didn't feel the title did the piece justice. My revised title called it out for what it was: "Avoiding Rape." I even sent a few copies to the local rape ward (or "Unbelievers Central," as I now call it), with a note attached at the end:

Kinda obvious, when you think about it, eh? I know it's "too late" etc. etc., but thought I'd send it anyways. After all, "Fool me Twice" and all that.


What's more, I can safely say that after having read that e-mail, I'm now part of the 2 percent of people who stand up for God. The next time I see bullies kicking sand in God's face, I'll take them aside and say "Hey. Stop that. How'd you like it if someone kicked sand in YOUR face?"

And they won't be able to respond, because they'd know that they wouldn't like it at all.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

Imagine That! excerpt

The following is from a children’s show pilot I wrote last year, entitled “Professor Barnacle’s Funtime Field Trips.”

The premise of the cartoon was simple: Professor Barnacle was a scientist /schoolteacher with pirate-like mannerisms, who would always take his students on “out-of-the-ordinary” field trips. The purpose of the show was to both educate and delight, as I feel good children’s shows should do.

Professor Barnacle’s students were of unspecified age/grade, but it was meant to appeal to children ages 10-14. There were eight principle students: SUSIE, the bookworm, MORRIS, the wimpy nerd, DAREN and JANICE, the twins, BRIDGET, the priss, JEROME, the athlete, XIN QUANG, the Asian one, and FARLEY, the wheelchair one. Professor Barnacle was also joined by TERRENCE, the class pet, a talking hamster with a Rastafarian accent.

I have yet to hear back from either TVO or Treehouse, but at this point I’m not holding my breath.

Here is an excerpt from episode one: “IMAGINE THAT!”


Children are all at their desks, chatting before class begins.

DAREN: I wonder where Professor Barnacle is going to take us this week!

JANICE: Maybe we’ll get to explore the moons of Jupiter!

FARLEY: Yeah, or maybe we’ll visit an Egyptian pyramid!

BRIDGET: Or an African rainforest!

XIN QUANG: Maybe he take us see bottom of ocean!

MORRIS: Well, I hope it’s just a regular field trip…


JEROME: Morris, shut the fuck up.

BRIDGET: Yeah, you’re such a fucking fag.

All the children laugh. Suddenly, PROFESSOR BARNACLE bursts into the class wearing a high-tech looking suit. TERRENCE is on his shoulder.

BARNACLE: Yo ho ho, students!

ALL STUDENTS: Professor Barnacle! Hurray!

DAREN: Where are we going today?

JEROME: Are we going to visit dinosaurs?

BARNACLE: Oh ho ho! Settle down, children! This week, we’re visiting a place much more close by.

BRIDGET: Huh? Where?

BARNACLE: Why, our own imaginations, that’s where!

MORRIS: Imagination?

JANICE: What’s that?

BARNACLE: The imagination’s the part in all of our minds that’s responsible for conjuring up all those mental images and dreams and the like.


FARLEY: And how’re we gonna visit the imagination?

BARNACLE: Why, with my latest invention! The IMAGINA-SUIT 3000!

He pulls out 8 miniature versions of his suit and hands them to the students, who put them on (Farley with the help of the other students).

BARNACLE: Ready children? Whose imagination shall we be visitin’ first?

JANICE: How about mine?

BARNACLE: Alright! Let’s go!

He presses a button on his suit. They find themselves in a land full of chocolate and candy.

JEROME: Wow, look at all the candy!

XIN QUANG: It make mouth water!

The children eat some of the candy.

BARNACLE: Where to next? How about Bridget’s imagination?


He presses a button on his suit. There is a flash, and suddenly the children find themselves in a meadow. There is a rainbow, and pink unicorns are prancing around.

SUSIE: Wow, it’s so pretty!


FARLEY: Ewwww, so girly!

BARNACLE: Oh, whoops! I accidentally sent us to Morris’ imagination!


JEROME: Morris, you fag.

Everyone laughs. Barnacle presses another button. They are now in a house of mirrors. The children go up to them, but instead of seeing themselves they just see reflections of Bridget. However, she is covered in blood.

BRIDGET’S REFLECTION: Mother was evil, and so she shall be punished. One and two and three in one.

Bridget’s reflection then puts a finger to her lips and screams.

DAREN: Wow, Bridget! Who’s that?

SUSIE: Yeah, and what’s she saying? Does that mean anything to you?

BRIDGET: I… don’t… remember…

BARNACLE: Um, I think we should move on. Daren, how about your imagination?

DAREN: I’d rather… not.

JEROME: Oh, come on!

Barnacle presses another button. Now they find themselves on a large stage. Surrounding them, women in fat suits are doing handstands.

BARNACLE: Okay, kids. Nevermind. Let’s move on.

-And so on and so forth. By the end of the show, the children learn a valuable lesson about the subconscious and repressed memories. My personal favourite part of this episode is when they find themselves in Farley’s mind and are chased by a gnome with the words “Cerebral Palsy” on his chest.