Note: I’m a columnist for the Reader Weekly, an alt-weekly newspaper in Duluth, MN. Every Monday I post a new column.
This economy is like a monkey locked in a microwave. No one can get the microwave open or switch it off, and rather than allowing us to turn our heads, the major news outlets babble on endlessly about it, almost forcing us to watch as the facial features of the monkey melt into goo.
Well I say enough is enough, reader! The goddamn monkey is dead, and there’s nothing you can do about it. Are you a surgeon? Are you able to mold a melted monkey mug back into its former shape? Of course not. We’re just regular folk. We work in offices and warehouses, not monkey hospitals. There is no shame in closing our eyes and thinking about sexy things instead.
With that in mind, this Pulitzer Prize winning columnist* is not going to follow the sniveling crybaby trend put forth by our media. Sure, that damn monkey is on my mind as much as the rest of you, but complaining won’t help, and neither will forcing ourselves to think about it. In fact, that might make things even worse. We need to get that monkey out of our heads for at least a few moments each day. With that in mind, the remainder of today’s column will consist only of tips for how to win a water balloon fight.
Water is the last thing that’s free in this economy, or at least it is if your neighbor has an outdoor water faucet and is gone to work during the day. A pack of balloons are less than a dollar, so there is no logical reason why you and your unemployed friends can’t have a massive scale water balloon fight in your neighborhood.
It’s like playing Call of Duty on your Xbox 360, except it’s not an online game, so your opponents won’t be 14-year-olds who shout the n-word just to get a reaction out of people. Whether that’s a positive or negative aspect depends upon your sense of humor.
When I was 13 – a mere decade before I won my second Minnesota Book Award** – my friends and I would organize elaborate water balloon fights. They would scale entire neighborhoods, to the point where sometimes none of us would actually be able to find anyone from the opposing team. But the strategy was the fun part.
**This is a blatant lie.
The best strategy is to fight dirty. In one particular battle, the opposing team filled their water balloons with laundry detergent, which proved to be a devastating – if not tremendously dangerous – attack plan. When my mother walked outside to see what the commotion was about and found our house covered in Tide, the angry cursing that ensued became more entertaining than the battle itself.
Fortunately, the detergent was easy to clean, and after it had been rinsed off, our house smelled Mountain Spring fresh for days.
Another popular tactic we used was to implicitly state at the beginning of the water balloon fight that no cars were to be used. Then as soon as the battle began, we’d get our parents to drive us around the neighborhood so we could perform drive-bys on the opposing team and mock them for their naivete. This was the early-90s, so gangster rap culture was much more popular than it is today. However, the tactic is still relevant.
Since gasoline is once again inexpensive, and a biopic about Biggie Smalls is coming to theaters soon, I’d highly recommend the return of drive-by water balloonings. Especially to friends who are unaware that you wanted to have a water balloon fight with them in the first place.
A third water balloon strategy is to not leave your home base at all. Make the enemy come to you, and then unleash the hose on them. This is an especially effective plan if your opponents are using drive-by water balloonings. An outdoor hose with a powerful nozzle should be able to spray a heavy stream of water directly through the open windows of their vehicle, soaking them while also ruining their car’s upholstery.
When you and your unemployed crew get tired of soaking each other, a fourth plan is to join forces. You will undoubtedly have friends who don’t want to participate in your water balloon fights. Mainly your friends who still have jobs. Gather your unemployed brethren and hide in the bushes at an employed friend’s house. When they come home, make them pay for being better than you.
If possible, break into their house and hide someplace they frequent often, like the refrigerator. Granted, if you’re not good friends with them they might have you arrested for burglary and assault, but who’s going to press charges on someone brilliant enough to hide in their refrigerator? It’s like arresting Yo-Yo Ma for playing the cello.
Staging childish water balloon fights won’t help you find a job, and it certainly won’t make your significant other proud of you, but as sure as I’m the 2009 Wadsworth J. Poone Brilliance in Literature Award winner***, I guarantee that water balloon fights will give you a purpose. They’ll pass the time and make you feel powerful again. And in this fartpie of an economy, that’s just what we need.
***This award does not exist.