I wish I could write Christmas letters like this.
Friends and Family,
We all have lofty aspirations in life, and I am proud to announce I have attained a lifelong goal that I once thought was merely a fantasy.
Yes, I am proud to say I am now a resident of the beautiful greater Federal Way, Washington area.
Aghast with envy you might be, I know. Sure, you North Sounders have your lakes, your arts communities, your BMW's and two car garages.
But I have chosen a different path, a path wrought with the exhaust belching from the rears of an endless line of 1980 Chevy Citations and 1984 Buick LeSabres, a path lined with 17 Office Depots, 42 Radio Shacks and 187 Teriyaki joints, a path that I affectionately refer to as "320th Avenue South." And at the end of that path lay my own slice of heaven, my own nirvana if you will. It's the Arco Gas Hut on the corner of 320th Avenue South and Pacific Highway. If there is a greater place to be on this earth at 4:26 AM on a Tuesday morning, please let me know where it is.
Sure, go ahead, laugh. I laugh as well, to tears of remorse each and every day, but have you ever thought that maybe, just maybe, you didn't ever take the time to learn about the real Federal Way? I know how you snotty North Sounders are. I used to be one.
Have you ever thought that, hey, perhaps Federal Way can offer it's residents superior community services? Maybe Federal Way provides a relatively unknown yet vibrant cultural scene? What about fine restaurants, and institutions of higher education? Did you ever think to yourself that maybe Federal Way might offer any one of these things, or could even offer all of them at once?
Well, before you go jumping to conclusions, let me answer that question for you.
It offers absolutely none of these things.
Not even a tractor pull for God's sakes.
Just so you guys can have a little more information on my new hometown, I took some time and compiled some interesting trivia about Federal Way, and now I would like to share that with you.
A Detailed History of Federal Way
Federal Way used to be a highway. Then there was a Kmart. Then some guy opened a sword shop. Then some people got shot. Then some fat guys built a freeway exit. Then the people demanded places that offered quality donuts at reasonable prices. And today, Federal Way is a really good place to be if you find yourself in the market for a laundry hamper.
And that's what happened. Quaint, isn't it?
Here's some more information I curtailed from a book called "Reasons You'll Love Federal Way!". Actually, it's not really a book, it was more of a leaflet. A really small one, stuck on my doorknob. Half of the leaflet was reasons I'd love Federal Way, the other half was a coupon for 10% off Cheese Bread at one of 56 participating Federal Way area Domino's Pizza outlets.
FEDERAL WAY, WASHINGTON
Defined: Federal Way is a derivative of an ancient Klickitat Tribe term "Federah Whaya Hye", which, literally translated, means "Hey, let's dump all our shit here."
Number of Pedestrians hit by cars in 2004: 121,723
Unemployment Rate: 99.9%
Primary Industries: Strip mall construction; Mattress sales; Thuggery; Loitering; Abandoning cars; Production of unwanted children; Welfare Disbursement offices; Narcotics.
Educational Facilities: DeVry institute, Scuba Division. Dress Barn Training Center. Washington State DUI Victim's Panel Conference Center. Getting beaten up on the street.
Official Federal Way color: Tar
Commentary: Tie between Tar and Suffocating Exhaust, which I did not
know was a color.
Official Federal Way bird: Pigeon
Commentary: Apparently this only applies to a pigeons with a beak. They are protected. If you run over a pigeon with a beak, you will be sentenced by a judge to spend 15 minutes in Sea-Tac Mall.
(Editor's Note: Oh, excuse me. It's no longer "Sea-Tac Mall." Now it's "The Commons at Federal Way", or "Downtown Federal Way." Which is like giving George Bush a sparkly wand and a princess hat and calling him "Peacekeeper." No matter what you call it, you still don't have to buy bullets down here. Just walk around the mall for a while and you'll be full of them. There's even a police station in the mall. Didn't get that? I'll say it again. There is a police station IN the mall.
Official Mascot: Food Stamp Freddie
Commentary: Food Stamp Freddie wanders aimlessly around Federal Way because he is unemployed and waiting for his welfare check. Wears oversized Raider jacket, and he's a Crip motherfucker, so don't you start steppin' to him.
Official Flower: Grime-covered decorative shrub with beer can in it. It's outside Arby's on 320th.
Commentary: For the love of God, don't eat at Arby's.
Official Flag: Surrender.
Local High School: Federal Way High School, home of the Federal Way Societal Burdens. The football team plays half-heartedly in the first quarter, then waits for the government to bail them out. All seats in the stadium are in Section 8.
The Official Motto of Federal Way hasn't been decided yet, but it has been narrowed down to ten finalists.
"Federal Way: Lamp Shades Always 20% Off."
"Federal Way: We're Sort Of Kind Of By The Airport."
"Federal Way: At Least We Ain't Burien."
"Federal Way: Where Anyone Can Be Better Than 95% of the Population, and Also Get 2 Free Tanning Sessions!"
"Federal Way: You Just Stepped In It."
"Federal Way: Dashing Your Dreams Since 1972."
"Federal Way: City of Hopes and Fears. Okay, Mostly Just Fears."
"Federal Way: Get Knocked Up by the Time You're 14."
"Federal Way: Urban Blight 365 Days a Year."
"Federal Way: Birthplace Of Wilbur Fortknee, 1974 US Enchilada Eating Champion."
Federal Way provided me with a wide array of apartment and condominium options to choose from, and some came without bars on the windows. I chose an "apartment community" called Cove East, whose sole purpose for existence is to deceive you into thinking that you aren't in Federal Way anymore. This is done with an amalgamation of visual tricks, such as trees, a big pond, and even a fake river. Seriously, I walk out of my "condominium-style" apartment, and there is a river, right there, for me to fall into.
For those really into nature, Cove East also provides an ample supply of violent, water-based fowl, whether you prefer perpetually angry and aggressive geese, or simply intestinally challenged ducks whose innards are unable to congeal their excrement into any type of solid, removable waste product, so what comes out is essentially the consistency of yogurt, yet with the adhesive qualities of Elmers Glue, so it just basically just sticks to my porch like a Van Gogh painting on a concrete canvas.
I've realized that management in my community cares little about the bird problem. They manage everything here except the ever-increasing proliferation of pond birds. In fact, the property is littered with signs supporting their continued evolution.
"Don't feed the ducks or the geese!" the signs scream. "Feeding the ducks and geese human foods will make them very sick, and they could die!"
And then it shows a picture of a sad goose. A sad goose? I know that goose doesn't live here. Most the geese here carry chainsaws.
Um, correct me if I'm wrong here, but isn't killing the geese the ultimate goal? Do we, as a community, want to remain ankle deep in stringy white goose turd? I think not. I do believe we should change the signs. "Please, oh, please, community members!" it should bellow, "Please feed the ducks and geese chili dogs, frozen pizzas, canned okra, and macaroni and cheese. Feed them paper clips, plastic packaging waste, hot wings and Eggo Walnut Waffles." This, at least, would get them out of the pool area.
Yes, the pool area. That has become the Baghdad of the Cove East bird population. Sure, they have a humungous pond the size of a football field to live in, complete with lily pads, reed banks and flowing streams. But where do they choose to reside? In the community swimming pool of course, which is right next to the pond. The geese own the pool, and mark their territory by shellaqing the pool deck with an amount of goose poop that is only exceeded by the amount of goose poop actually in the pool. Occasionally, the ducks, who act as the insurgents of Cove East Pool Area, will try to break into some pool space, but the geese attack and feathers fly. I could make a living stuffing pillows on the pool deck at Cove East. But anyways, I digress.
I've ascertained that the using word "community" here is really pushing it though, because generally people in my "community" stare at me with suspicion and contempt, usually from their porches where they can't ever seem to find the time to ooze their obese asses off of. I feel like I'm guilty, and I haven't even done anything. Then I decided to steal a bike, so then at least my guilt won't be unfounded. I think I stand out as one of those "city boys" with "one of dem collar thingys on his shirt." Maybe they are just startled that I have a job, or, more likely, they're just really high on spray paint.
Moving in was quick and painless, in the same sense that getting eaten by a shark is quick and painless. IKEA selected and delivered an unintentionally two-tone computer desk, which may have worked in the 70's, but not today.
Two-tone would not work, you see, because I chose to make all the furnishings in my apartment white, along with my white carpets and white walls, thinking that women would believe I’m a modern, progressive man. Instead, it just makes it easier for them to inspect my apartment and tell me where all the dirt is. Which is good, because living in a white apartment, I am actually forced to clean it every 12-16 hours. Normally, I'd probably do it every 12-16 months.
Lastly, I would like to thank the good employees at Comcast Cable and Internet Services, and offer my prayers that your corporate headquarters will someday release you from the barn you are housed in. When I called Comcast I said "Hey, can you guys come hook up my new 'ultra-modern white condo-style apartment'" (I was trying to impress them.) "Sure!" they said. "Can you be there tomorrow?" They must have been impressed that my apartment was all white.
So they came the next day, and the guy went through the usual routine of pretending like he was really busy "hooking up" my cable, when indeed all he was doing was flipping a switch. Then he left and my modem didn't work. "Gosh darn" I said, "what an unfortunate situation I find myself in."
Actually that's not what I said.
So I call Comcast and say, "Hey, the guy just left, and my modem is broken." "No problem," said the cheery, um, woman, at Comcast. "We can have someone come out there and fix it for you." (Silence). "In two weeks."
I said "Wow, how unfortunate I got stuck in this predicament."
Actually, that's not what I said.
So after verbally flogging the poor girl, I got it down to eight days, which they term "emergency service".
And just because of that, I'm going to become a fireman. And when their customer service center catches on fire, they can call me, yelling "FIRE! FIRE!" and I'll calmly say, "Well, I can come help you with that fire. Can you be there between noon and 6 pm 13 days from now and show me where the fire is?"
The moral of the story is the same one you learn from your gym. Once you sign on the dotted line, they don't care about you anymore. It's like getting married, only not as bad.
So having no cable service, no computer, and no TV, I spent a few days looking at the wall in my apartment. It was white.
Anyway, I'm at work, with a lot of time to kill on this slow night. I have to go actually "work", so I'll cut this short before Random House publishes it. (Next week, rather than write a notice, I will be sending you all a handcrafted origami aardvark.)
You can still contact me at (xxx) xxx-xxxx, unless I owe you money or just pretend to like you, in which case I was run over by an unmanned wheat combine last Monday.
So, if any of you are unlucky enough to ever be in Federal Way for a court appearance or a laundry hamper or something, or if you just happened to get into a head-on accident in the I-5 area, feel free to drop by my place, and if you bring any mud in, I'll be really pissed.
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