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So I call ATT-Broadband and say: "I'd like to upgrade from my current package - Basic Cable and HBO - to Expanded Cable and HBO. I know this will bankrupt me and help enrich your corrupt leaders, but I'm a sucker and I want my ESPN.'' "But wait,'' says salesman. "Why not get our HBO Max Pac, which is Expanded Cable, HBO, other premium channels and "D-I-G-I-T-A-L C-A-B-L-E.'' It's sort of the same price.''

"Sort of?'' I say. "Well," he says, "it's like $5 more a month, but you get all this other stuff, like the Home and Garden channel.'' "Nah,'' I say. "Just give me my expanded cable and let's be done with it. But thanks for caring.''

"OK," he says. "Well, then we don't need to make an appointment because they don't have to come into your house to do that. We'll do it tomorrow.'' "Great, '' I say.

Next day...I call my wife's mother (who's staying at our house this week) from work. ""By the way," she says, "the cable guy is here. He's just finished installing the box. Said we have to leave it on for two hours to download all the channels.''

Me: "????????????" I get home and, sure enough, they installed the HBO Max Pac, though ironically, I still do not get my Expanded channels, which is all I wanted in the first place. But boy howdy does the 10 o'clock news look nifty in digital.

I call ATT. "Ahem, you gave me something I didn't ask for.'' Salesman: "Yeah, the other salesman probably did that because they were the same price.'' "But it's not what I asked for.'' "But it's the same price.'' "For how long is it the same price?'' "Six months.'' "And then when the promotion is over, how expensive will it be?'' "$14,392 a month'' or thereabouts.

"Do you see the problem here?" I politely enquire at this point. "I ordered a Toyota and you delivered me a refurbished Pinto whose goddamn gas tank is going to explode!'' "We were just trying to help.'' "I want what I originally asked for.'' "I can't do that. That's someone else, and they're closed.''

So I call today. It will take them a week to get me what I wanted, whereas it it took less than 12 hours for them to install the Max Pac - that I didn't want. They are bastards, all bastards. The question is - how can I make them suffer?

Excellent, excellent question. But first I must point out that you forgot to mention all the benefits of the HBO Max Pak. Did you know that in addition to the original HBO Channel there are approximately 47,000 other HBO Channels, absolutely none of which broadcast anything you might even remotely want to see? There is not just the Spanish Language HBO, which admittedly is handy if you speak Spanish, but there is also the Albanian HBO, the HBO for People with a Special Interest in Lemurs, the HBO devoted entirely to Movies from 1999 That You Never Wanted to See, and so on. The beauty of digital cable as a concept is that the companies providing it handily bundle up approximately 2,457,698 pieces of programming that You Do Not Want along with 1 piece of programming that You Really Want and deliver it all to you for one High Monthly Price.

This is in line with the Bargain Law of Buying Crap. When you are buying crap that you don't really need at a price you can't really afford, the Bargain Law states that the more crap you don't need you can get for the money you don't have, the more it will seem like a bargain. This is the principle that has enriched the credit card companies of America, in which millions and millions of Americans patriotically enslave themselves to Visa by buying a shitload of stuff they don't really like at prices they can't really afford. Because once you are spending money that you don't really have on shit you don't really need, the only thing that matters is getting a ton of it. What does it matter if you are spending $200 you don't have or $300 dollars you don't have as long as you are getting a lot more useless stuff for $300 than you would if you only spent $200? And if there is a sale in which you can get $500 dollars worth of stuff you don't need for $400 you don't have - isn't that a bargain? Aren't you pulling one over on Corporate America? Of course you aren't. You are being a sucker.

But who cares - that's not the question. The question is - how to make the Corporation suffer. Really suffer. And for that we will turn to Advanced Fucking with Corporations techniques. When politeness, malicious politeness and Getting All Fucked Up simply aren't good enough, we turn to Fucking With Their Billing Systems.

So now, we will rapidly implement a two-step plan.

But first, a caveat. Naturally, the first thing you are going to think of when contemplating Fucking With Corporations is mass murder. Perfectly natural. Unfortunately, however, it is impractical, requires considerable physical exertion and is apparently against the law. How inconvenient is this? Do you think for a moment that the bastards at the cable company would deliver you products that you don't want if they knew you were allowed to murder them if they did? Of course they wouldn't. They would deliver exactly what you ordered, on time and with a great deal of fearful courteousness. But this country we have some sort of a system in which everyone apparently thinks you are not allowed to murder everyone at AT&T just because they fucked with you.

And a good thing too, incidentally. Because murdering everyone at a Big Corporation turns out to be really hard work and to create a great big gooey bloody mess. It's awful. And your body, which was all enthusiastic about murder when you started out, once it gets a look at all those brains oozing out of people's skulls as they die, it starts wanting to heave. It gets all sick to its stomach and starts thinking 'Oh god, that's so disgusting. That's terrible. Oh yuck! Jeez I hate this, someone make it stop. Oh god this is awful. Jesus, I hope nobody ever does anything like this to me. God, this is disgusting. Jeez, I am really sorry I ever started this. Oh shit, I'm going to throw up. Who knew this was so messy and disgusting and heartwrenching and thoroughly unpleasant. God, I think I'll shoot myself right now because I cannot take this.' And then they do. The people that try this, I mean. Because occasionally people do. And it just doesn't work at all. The Unfair Corporation doesn't get it, the shooter kills himself, and lots of innocent Other People suffer needlessly even though the whole incident only makes the news for a day or two. Bad stuff. It seems like such a good idea, straightforward and practical - and then it never is.

But you already knew this. You weren't really going to kill anyone. It's just that for a moment or two there, your body really really wanted you to. Which is why we are going to implement the actual Step 1 of our plan for Fucking with Corporations.

Step 1: Swear loudly and for a long time. Not while you are on the phone with them, that does not work. Somewhere else. Like this - Fuck, fuck, fuck! Fuck, I hate 'em. Goddamn those bastards, I fucking hate them. Fuck, fuck, fuck. Sons of bitches. Goddamn them! God I am so mad! I am so incredibly fucking mad. God, I could kill them all. I am so incredibly fricking mad. Damn them!' And so on.

Procedural Note: If you do this in front of your wife and kids, they will get alarmed and think you are really mad and that you are Overreacting and so on. And they will try to calm you down and act like you are doing a bad thing. And then while you aren't looking, they will imitate you. Your wife will imitate you while she's at work, much to her embarrassment (but god it feels so good) and your kids will imitate you on the playground, which is something you will have to explain to the principal later. They will imitate you because even though they are acting like they are all scared, they are secretly very impressed and they can't wait until they grow up and get to swear like that too!

If you don't want to deal with that, swear somewhere else. Everybody needs a safe swearing spot. If your home doesn't seem like one, how about your car? If you commute to work by yourself, thereby increasing air pollution and congestion and generally degrading the environment, why not swear while you are Degrading the Environment, thereby killing two birds with one stone? It's convenient and it makes sense!

Interactive Suddenly Inserted Question: Why swear? What good does it do? I've tried it and the Big Corporation still has my money and I still don't have what I want. It all seems so futile. Everything seems so futile. Really it all does. Everything seems so meaningless.

Whoah there, slow down. Good question. Very good question. And we will address Futility.

First of all, we are swearing because of the Mass Murder Factor. When your body wants to do something stupid like kill a bunch of people, you have to let it do something to blow off steam. As far as your body is concerned really really swearing is just like murder without the fuss, bother and inconvenience of Death and Blood. Murder without the mess.

You see, when something like AT&T fucks with you, your body's natural reaction is to think 'Somebody's fucking with me!' And the response it wants to make to that, the ideal situation it wants to establish is 'Nobody fucks with me and gets away with it!' This is the basic purpose of most murders. When you swear, it makes your body feel like you are saying 'Nobody fucks with me and gets away with it! Because I am really really mad. I am not some sucker who takes this laying down. No siree Bob, I am punishing these Corporations by getting really really mad at them. They hate that! I am powerful, angry, swearing person by God and the world just better watch out.'

This is of course unrealistic and a delusion, but it's a comforting one and we don't want to get in its way. Which is why we don't swear directly at the Corporation while we are on the phone or reality might intrude. We swear somewhere else where no one can mess with us and we pretend that we are really really powerful. We keep this very safely in fantasy-land or actually swearing-land and we let it do its magic there. Because all we are really talking about is chemicals.

You see, when you encounter an Enemy, like AT&T for example, your body goes through a natural chemical cycle it has established through the millenia to deal with Enemies. Like this - Fear, Anger, Frustration, Resolve, Triumph, Celebration, and Sex. This is if things are going well. If things are not going well and you are defeated by the enemy or it is not in your interests to resist, the cycle becomes Fear, Anger, Frustration, Resignation, Defeat, Depression and Junk Food.

So in the case of AT&T, it could work something like this. Dread (fear) of calling them up and dealing with them, knowing they are probably going to try to fuck with you. Anger, when they fuck with you. Frustration as you are not immediately able to make them bend to your will. Resolve, in which you refuse to accept their shenanigans and push firmly, obstinately and irately for your desires. Triumph, when they cave in and give you what you want. Celebration in which you pump your arm into the air and then grab a beer and start drinking to celebrate. And then Sex, when the beer and the triumph have made your horny. Because triumph and beer will do that to you. To recap, what we want is Dread, Anger, Resolve, Triumph, Beer and Sex.

This almost never happens. Dealing with AT&T almost never leads to Beer and Sex. What usually happens is Dread, Anger, Frustration, Resignation to Eventual Defeat, Defeat, Depression, and Doritos. Which plays right into the cable companies' hands, because what goes better with some junk food like Doritos than a little television? You see how the insidious plot works?

This is why you went into Futility mode in your Interactive Question above. It's your chemicals. You are in resignation, defeat and depression-land. Back in the old days, one of those famous Communists like Marx said that religion was the opiate of the masses. That was before modern life had much improved things. Now TV is the opiate of the masses. Which is exactly why we need to make sure you have one. Preferably a very large one with a big screen, stereo speakers, and a million channels so your pain can be eased 24/7 by the intravenous drip of stultifying boredom mixed with occasional Entertainment. Very important we secure that for you - we don't want you running around without painkillers!

And so we're going to try to counteract this cycle just once. By intervening chemically. You see, when you swear and get really mad, you are resetting your body back from Resignation into Anger, from which point we are going to move toward Triumph. But we can't get there while you are crudded up with resignation chemicals. Prolonged Loud Swearing is necessary to flush your body of resignation and defeat. So swear a lot. And for a long time. Really loud. Mix in hand gestures, stomping, fist-clenching and so on to your taste. Just remember you are flushing your body of bad chemicals, bad Resignation chemicals, not trying to fucking overdose it on toxic psychotic Maniacal Homicidal Rage chemicals. Flushing...You are not thinking about why you are so goddamn angry and how helpless you are to do anything about it - you are thinking how angry you are even if there's no good reason. This becomes important later. Swearing is not about justifying yourself and hoarding anger - it's about letting out all the crud that your encounter with AT&T introduced into your system. You don't want to hoard anger because you are supposed to move out of Anger and into Resolve.

Got that? Swear until you aren't angry any more.

On to Step 2: Fucking With their Billing Systems.

Oh goody! Step 2: Fucking with their Billing Systems....


Bargain Law of Buying Crap

Mass Murder, Disadvanages of....

Advanced Fuckng with Corporations

Your Exciting Enemy Chemicals

Social Inhibition Mechanism


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