[personal profile] tangaroa
My blogging career was going nowhere so I decided to go to Iraq to look for a story. I found one, alright. It was on my way there, in Kuwait, that I met an old soldier who told me the strangest story I had ever heard.

THE CHARACTER PLAYED BY GEORGE CLOONEY: "Shortly after I joined the Army, I was assigned to a new unit that was doing a kind of training that was completely different from anything else that had ever been done in any military. I didn't know what to expect."

(flashback)

The LEADER speaks to an assembly of troops.

LEADER: "Welcome to the Brilliant Technology Advanced Research Division at Fort Shannon. By mastering the brilliant technologies that we are researching and perfecting here, you can become an elite BTARD warrior. Each of you has been assigned a Pentium Two class computer with an independent telephone connection to a worldwide network of computers called the 'Internet'. This will be your weapon and your soul. You will be receiving your individual assignments in the coming days. If there are no questions, you are dismissed."

The group disperses except for CLOONEY, whose attention is drawn to a tall marble statue of a naked woman in the entryway. The LEADER notices that CLOONEY is looking at it and walks up to him.

LEADER: "That's Natalie Portman. We love her in Star Wars."

CLOONEY: "You like the new Star Wars?"

LEADER: "The new Star Wars is crap, but Natalie Portman..." (stares at the statue) "Wow, is she something."

(end flashback)

CLOONEY: "BTARD was formed to find a way to militarize the persuasive power of Internet memes, although we did not call them that at the time."

(Flashback)

The LEADER is speaking to an assembly of soldiers while a slide of Mr. T. is projected onto a large display behind him.

LEADER: "Mr. T. will eat your balls! Discuss."

SOLDIER: (raises hand) "Mr. T. is also helluva tough and he can throw helluva far."

LEADER: "Same character, different tradition! It is the tradition that will define the human reaction, the attraction or repulsion of a particular instance of the tradition. On that subject, let's go straight to the final slide. I think they're ready. The last slide, please."

(All of the soldiers recoil in horror and avert their eyes as the last slide appears on the projector.)

LEADER: "This picture represents everything that BTARD is all about. Look at it. It's beautiful, isn't it? But you can't look at it. That's the beauty of it."

(end flashback)

CLOONEY: "He was right. Nobody could look at it. It became a contest to see who could stare at that picture the longest. Most of us were able to go for five, ten seconds, up to half a minute for the best of us. That wasn't enough for me. I had to understand. I had to become one with the picture. I practiced constantly. I made it my desktop background and made all my windows transparent so I was always looking at it. Eventually, I was able to stare at that picture for eighteen straight hours. And then I understood. I understood everything that BTARD was about."

CLOONEY: "But then the accidents started to happen..."

(flashback)

The BTARD soldiers are in the dining hall eating breakfast. One of them suddenly screams and falls to the floor. Other soldiers rush to help him.

SOLDIER 1: "What happened?"

SOLDIER 2: "He just poured hot grits down his pants!"

(end flashback)

CLOONEY: "Then the tech bubble burst and people everywhere stopped believing in the miraculous power of the Internet to solve any problem. People became skeptical, including people in the Defense Department."

(flashback)

UNIFORMED OFFICERS: "The Pentagon has decided to stop funding your research."

LEADER: "FFFFFFFUUUUUUUUUUUU--"

(end flashback)

I learned a lot about brilliant technology from that old soldier, but then came the day I lost him. The two of us were pinned down by bandits in a southern suburb of Karbala. They were probably looking to kidnap us for ransom, although they might have been religious nuts looking to kill us. No point in asking them. We were hiding out in someone's house that we'd broken into -- fortunately no one was home but their pets -- but the bandits knew we were in there, and it was only a matter of time before they came in after us.

(CLOONEY looks at a caged parrot)

CLOONEY: "I will cause a distraction. You will take the opportunity to escape."

JOURNALIST: "No. We shouldn't split up. We should stick together."

CLOONEY: "This is my time. Everything I've done leads up to this. Run."

(CLOONEY takes the parrot out of its cage while the JOURNALIST moves toward the back door)

(CLOONEY runs around the street naked with a parrot perched on his dick)

(The gunmen fall over laughing while the journalist escapes)

That was the last I ever saw of him, but I had my story. I studied brilliant technology through the books and references that he had left me, and eventually I realized that this was more than a story. This was a new way of life, a new way of thinking, a new way of being, and it was my way.

I am [personal profile] tangaroa, and I am aware of all Internet traditions.
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