Yeah, yeah, I know I haven’t posted in while. But gimme a break, it was a holiday, right? Martin Luther King Week. I was chillin’ like a villain, I know that’s right.

What? What’s that you say? It’s actually Martin Luther King DAY? Not week?

Oops.

Well, at least I’m well rested.

In all seriousness, my black ass has been BUSY this week. I even started a diatribe on Wednesday, only to get too busy to finish it. Then yesterday, when I had 4 minutes to get a flow going (it’s all about the flow. If I don’t feel it, I don’t write), my PC crashed – BEFORE I could save a draft of my extremely funny shit. Suffice it to say that I didn’t feel very funny after that, and though I tried to recreate my comedy, it was just gone. So I said “Fuck this ‘tribe” and went on about my bidness. But I realize that some of you have been coming back every day, looking for a little somethin’ somethin’ to get you through the day. And though I’m not gonna diatribe (that ship has sailed for this week. Sorry), it’ll be something for you to gnaw on while I prep for next week.

So get to gnawin’.

Now.

Ever been in a focus group? I hadn’t, until Wednesday night. Before then, focus groups were, to me, insane little gatherings of people who decided the path of some very important products and services. My opinion was that the people who went there were either dolts, or only had cats for company, or really loved stale coffee. Boy, was I ever wrong. I was wronger (new word) than that time when I thought 14 year old hands were strong enough to stop a moving motor vehicle that was hurtling toward me, doing 360s all the way. I was VERY wrong then, lemme tell you. But this time, it was worse because I misjudged the people who went there. They didn’t go out of boredom or for the taste of day-old Folger’s crystals. They went for the cash.

Oh yes, this was a PAID focus group. My opinion was officially for sale, and the asking price for 2 hours of my precious time was $100. I called the folks, answered the bullshit questions, and I was informed that I got the last available slot for the focus group that would be discussing…video games.

Are you KIDDING me? Video games? That’d be like Micheal Jordan attending a basketball focus group, or Andy Dick attending one about dickheads or bad actors or unfunny men or attention whores or men who smoke pole to succeed in Hollywood. Not that there’s anything wrong with pole-smoking. So when I found out I was in there like swimwear, I was thrilled.

Wednesday night, I get down there, and they gather all of us around a table in a big room. The people were:

Moderator (MOD): The guy running things.
Lhasa Apso Mom (LAM): Nice lady, looked just like the breed of dog. Not kidding.
Obnoxious New York Mom (ONYM): She lives in The Colony! She has TWO media rooms! Her daughter is #2 in the country in figure skating in her age group! Blah blah fucking blah.
Family Guy (FG): Called so because he looked just like Peter Griffin. He didn’t say much.
Slow-Talker (ST): I hated him. He didn’t say much, either. It took him 10 minutes to give us his damn name.
Sista Girl Mom (SGM): She was the other black person there, and very nice.
Loud Man (LM): Married, one kid, kept trying to sell us all cell phones.
Country Boy (CB): Very nice guy. Nothing bad to say about him.
And of course, me.

As we progressed through the questions, several things came to light. First of all, the focus group WASN’T about video games, per se. It was about a large chain of video and rental stores, the name of which I promised not to give, but I’ll give you a hint: it may or may not rhyme with “cockduster”. The second thing was that some of these people were clearly insane. Check it:

Mod: So, ST, tell me about the gaming habits in your household.
ST: Weeeeeellllllllll….I tell you whaaaaaaaaaaaat….I reckon my son… he’s 17, you know…growin’ right up, he is…I can remember when he was fiiiiiiiiiiiive, and he fell dooooooooown in the yaaaaaaaaaaaard one timmmmmme….funniest dang thing you’ll ever seeeeeee-
Mod: Uh, thank you, ST. What about you, ONYM?
ONYM: Well, I buy my kids a game at least once or twice a week.
Group: HUH? A WEEK?
ONYM: Yep. 1 or 2 a week. I LOVE having a big library of games and movies. Every Tuesday I go to Wal-Mart and buy the new releases, even if I don’t like ’em or don’t know what they are. I just HAVE to have them. And it’s no big deal, ’cause the kids have their OWN media room – and it’s HUGE – and they keep their stuff there, and in OUR media room –
Mod: THANK you, ONYM.
LM: I BUY GAMES WHENEVER I WANT BECAUSE MY DAUGHTER IS ONLY 5 MONTHS OLD AND SHE CAN’T PLAY GAMES BUT I DO AND I LIKE GEARS OF WAR BECAUSE I CAN SHOOT STUFF DOES ANYONE NEED A NEXTEL PHONE?
FG: *sigh*
ST: Yoooooooooou buy gaaaaaaaaaaaaaames every weeeeeeeeeeeek? Wellllllll, I tell you whaaaaaaat –
Mod: THANK you, ST and LM.
LAM: My kids get games on birthdays and Christmas. Period.
Me, CB, and SGM: Same here.
ONYM: But why would you DENY them their games like that? Just get ’em when they come out! They’re only $50 or $60, it’s not that big a deal. We have a Playstation 2, an XBox 360, a regular Xbox, a Wii, and a Nintendo DS for each kid. By the way, I have a masters in chemical engineering, and I’m a stay at home mom.
FG: *sigh*
ST: Weeeelllllll-
Mod: THANK YOU, EVERYONE.

And so it went. At the end of the group, we each got $100 cash. We all rode the elevator together, and I was scheming on how I could do this again, when SGM asked “Is it true that we have to wait 6 months before doing thing again?” And everyone threw their head back and laughed like they do on TV. LAM said “Hell no! I’ll be back in here next week, doing another one. Just tell ’em you haven’t done one in 6 months. They don’t keep track.” SGM beamed, and I did too. Slow Talker started to say something, but the elevator doors opened before he could get 2 syllables out.

Y’all, that’s easy money right there. Do that shit.

Peace.

Cartoon Edit: I’m laughing my ass off here. Look what I made.
Get better soon, Pirate.

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