Tiny-Island-Invading Ignorant Burger-Loving iPhone Thieves
In Which I Find Out Yet More Depressing Stuff About America
By Joe Bodolai © 2011, All rights reserved.
On my way to the homeless restrooms, or as I used to call it, “the Los Angeles Central library”, I was listening to yet another
podcast of WBEZ Chicago’s CBC-Radio style program This American Life on my new iPhone. The show included documenting the weapons-grade bullshit foisted on fifth graders visiting the Reagan Library, one perhaps in which the homeless do not feel as welcome as they might in the comfortable crack den appointed facilities on Flower Street, conveniently located just blocks from Skid Row. The excrementality of the Reagan docent included making sure the visiting students knew that the invasion of the tiny island of Grenada under The Great Man’s Commander-in-Chiefiness was to prevent an unholy communist alliance in our own hemisphere – Grenada, Cuba, and Nicaragua (!) – teaming up to invade the USA and turn children just like them into evil communist slaves. “In communism, when you have a job,” she rhetorically asks, “who gets to keep the money?” Apparently, “the communists” do. Since it was previously recorded, I was unable to ask, “in America, if you don’t have a job, who gets to keep the money?” That’s easy. “The Americans do.” Wall Street, bankers, and other thieves and criminals like the guy who stole my iPhone that I used to listen to this show. I suspect it was the Marseilles-style pickpocket who jostled me then quickly disappeared into the bustling commerce of Guatemala City North on 6th & Wilshire as I was in line to board the rolling virus and spewed-menudo can called the 720 bus.
For the better part of my life, having the equivalent of a new iPhone was just something normal. No worry about the expense, it was just another Apple gadget I might have adopted early with the passion of an Angelina Jolie. Now, however, jobless and pretty close to homeless these days, the handheld computer/entertainment center which had bonus telephonic capability was my connection to the professional middle class world that seemed so far away. (I’m aware that I still have my computer, email, the internet, and this blog to feel part of the world, but with no internet access where I supposedly “live”, and, for those of you who also like to feel part of the larger world, it’s my own private Idahell, a Pelican Bay on info lockdown.)
Later, iBereft, I was seated at a counter in the library café, where next to me two gentlemen have come into a conversation over their own iPhones. After exchanging the usual verbal business cards (much like dogs sniffing each other in the…. park) and the establishment of each other’s 16 or 32-giggishness and 3G/iPhone 4 cred, the subject of one man’s accent is finally broached. Now the accent in question was not the speech and accent so common to the mouth-breathingly stupid of the guy in the sagging bizarre-brand jeans, the SouthPole wearing, tatted-up Lakers Fan but the accent of the other guy, who looked and dressed like Eminem and spoke with a French accent. It was, in fact, a Belgian accent. What follows is a word-for-wordish account of some of their conversation:
Lakers Fan: What kind of accent is that?
Belgian Guy: Me? I am from Belgium.
Lakers Fan: No shit. What you doing up here?
(NOTE: “Up here?” Where exactly does he think Belgium is?)
Belgian Guy: I am with my girlfriend. We are visiting.
Lakers Fan: From Belgian (sic)?
Belgian Guy: Yes. It is very nice. Warm. Where I am from it is rain and cold.
Lakers Fan: So what language you speak over there?
Belgian Guy: Where I am from we speak French.
Lakers Fan: Oh, you French?
Belgian Guy: Belgian. I am from Belgium.
Lakers Fan: And you speak French too. Cool. I got some Spanish but don’t talk it. You speak Spanish too?
Belgian Guy: I am learning. My girlfriend, she is Spanish.
Lakers Fan: Mexican chicks are hot.
Belgian Guy: I meet her on a beach. Very warm. 30 degrees.
Lakers Fan: Excuse me?
Belgian Guy: Very warm. 30 degrees hot.
Lakers Fan: Mine’s hot too. Let me ask you something, okay? I seen on TV that over there French people don’t say “quarter pounder with cheese”. Right?
Belgian Guy: I do not understand.
Lakers Fan: McDonalds. You know. McDonalds. Quarter pounder.
Belgian Guy: Yes, McDonalds.
Lakers Fan: You say a “Royale with cheese”. Like they showed on TV.
Belgian Guy: Excuse me?
Lakers Fan: At McDonalds.
Belgian Guy: Yes, McDonalds.
Lakers Fan: You don’t say “quarter pounder with cheese”?
Belgian Guy: No, I do not think so.
Lakers Fan: You say “Royale with cheese”. The metric system?
Belgian Guy: Ah, yes.
Lakers Fan: So let me ask you something then.
Belgian Guy: Yes.
Lakers Fan: How do you know you’re actually getting a quarter pounder?
Aside from the fact that this snippet of reality reveals the same kind of immediate distrust of anything foreign and flat out
revelry in ignorance shown by the Reagan Library tour guide, the thing that really galled me was simply – this guy had an iPhone and I didn’t! I asked him “how do you like your iPhone?” It’s awesome, yadda yadda doo. He could get me one too. He knows a guy, the guy he took his to, who could hook me up, jailbreak one for me. He gets them all the time. “Where’d you get yours?” I asked. You guessed it: he stole it!
The average “bonus” paid to Wall Street bankers last year was $430,000. I’m sure they all have iPhones too.
 The invasion of this tiny island was perhaps the last great United States military victory, a “five-star resort of a war”, code named “Operation Urgent Fury” and relates in this context to the homeless library patrons’ rush for the entrance immediately upon opening.
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