Post 270: Enlightenment

Today on True Crime Stuff, we look at the life and crimes of Sparky McTheifpants. McCrimepants. McSomething Clever. As a small boy, he was always pulling plugs out of sockets and trying to walk off with things. His mom just laughed and said things like What a clever boy.

Now 45 years old and still living with her, I bet she wishes she has sent him to the corner for a time out. Her basement is filled with things the Clever Boy brought home. Now that he’s taking a little enforced vacation, Mom McClever is cleaning out his room.

Walk / stop led lite street sign

All lights work
Great for
Mancave or garage etc.
You just have to wire it up
Which is simple
I can show u it lights up
Lookn for $39cash or WHY
Send offer w pics

Good luck, Mom. And don’t let Sparky write the ads next time. Looks like the new code in Sparkyville is WHY. Not that Sparky is questioning his or her existence, he or she is looking for What Have You. Personally, I’m hanging on to my What Have You. Could be valuable someday.

Special thanks to NinjaChow for this ad and all the ones to be used this week. Hooray!

3 thoughts on “Post 270: Enlightenment

  1. “Red Light/Green Light”

    It seemed like a good idea at the time.

    Well, in fact, it was a really dumb idea, and Burb knew it, but he really wanted them, and thought they would turn his two-bedroom bungalow into an epic man cave. He lived alone, so he didn’t really need the second bedroom, but he turned that into a man cave in pretty short order, thinking it would probably be best if he kept that sort of thing confined to one room of the house. In time however, he decided to expand the theme to the rest of his home and make it as true a total man cave as he could. Big flat-screen television with a killer home theatre setup, powerful stereo system for those parties he never ended up hosting, and lots of man cave-type paraphernalia such as old records and classic photographs or paintings on the wall (“Dogs Playing Poker” being an essential centrepiece) and one of his favourite man cavey things, signage.

    Not just classic brand signage, but city infrastructure signage. Street signs in particular. Stop, Merge, No Parking, Slow Chldren — this last was his favourite. But lately, he felt a little bored with his arrangement and felt he needed something to liven it up. Something _active_. Something _electric_. He needed stoplights. Real, working stoplights, ones that changed from green to yellow to red and back again at regular intervals. And obviously, that just wouldn’t be a complete set without working, synchronized walk/don’t walk signs for the pedestrians. He’d have to set 4 sets of each to make a real intersection, too, all properly synced up. That, Burb felt, would make his the absolute ultimate man cave. And they’d double as Christmas lights when the time came, as they already had colours appropriate to the season.

    Burb ended up finding what he needed from someone on Craigslist who pointedly did not divulge how they’d come across them, and Burb had no interest in asking. They were pretty cheap, too, as these things went, so he was able to deck his entire living room area out in a full set of intersection lights for less than two bones, and that suited him just fine.

    Indeed, it seemed like such a good idea, and upon wiring everything up to a purpose-built Raspberry Pi-based controller board and writing some simple code to synchronize the lights and set timing intervals, then flipping the switch to turn everything on, Burb was well pleased with what he had wrought. Giddy, even, after seeing those lights change at traffic-appropriate intervals. This. This was a man cave. This was HIS man cave. This was THE man cave. If there was a Better Man Caves and Beer Gardens magazine, his man cave would be right there on the inaugural cover with a glowing, almost defiantly tumescent write-up as a spotlighted, this-is-how-it’s-done article within.

    His consuming sense of pride and joy lasted exactly as long as it took him to take a chest-puffing inhale and then exhale it through his nose, an act which was almost cut short when the first car unexpectedly plowed into one side of his house, down the hall, through his impromptu intersection, and straight out the other side of his house. Such was his state of shock that Burb’s first reaction was to get angry over the fact that the light was still red in the direction the car went, and he wondered if he’d be able to issue a ticket. It was only after he started processing that anger that he realized the car shouldn’t have driven through his house in the first place.

    Unfortunately, Burb’s consideration of this fact was interrupted by another car, which thankfully did manage to stop at the red light. Despite his shock, Burb managed to shake it off just enough to decide to go talk to the driver and find out just what in the hell he thought he was doing, but no sooner had he committed to such a course than did the light turn green and the car rolled through and out the side where the other car had gone, followed by several more periodically.

    Burb didn’t understand it. He had just put the lights up. He had just turned them on for the first time. It wasn’t a real intersection. Where were these cars coming from? Why had they turned his house into a roadway? Where did they think it led? He had to know. Burb waited for the next red light, then started walking straight towards the waiting car — and very nearly got mowed down when a red sedan burst through his front door, past the mudroom, through his intersection, and out the rear sliding doors in between the kitchen and the dining room, followed by a further stream of cars that prevented him from reaching the one car that was waiting at the red cater-corner from him.

    Burb crossed to the other side of the living room, but was going to have to wait for the walk signal to get to the waiting car on the other side of the cross-traffic. All in his own living room. He waited patiently for the light to change, and when it did, he made a break for the other side, but the car he was trying to flag down was already rolling through the intersection. Great. Just bloody great! But there was another car, this one having come from his back yard and was waiting in his kitchen to cross — right beside where he was originally standing, naturally. He crossed the living room again and waited once more for the light to change, and once again, had the same result, missing the car he wanted to flag down as it rolled through and out his front door.

    This was ridiculous. All of it. The whole thing was ridiculous. The lights were a patently dumb idea. But how could he have possibly known? How could anyone have known? This was the sort of absurd thing that only ever came from the questionably sane minds of hack writers or Cyanide and Happiness shorts, and Burb was pretty sure he was a character in neither of those things.

    Burb’s incredulity was sharply interrupted by the sound of a car running a red light and T-boning another car right in the middle of his living room. Shards of glass flew everywhere, peppering in his hair, scratching the walls. A front bumper flew off and impaled itself in his back kitchen wall, and the smell of motor oil, gasoline, and airbag explosive quickly began to fill the room. Burb dialed 9-1-1.

    “9-1-1, what’s your emergency,” a voice intoned.
    Burb cleared his throat. “I need to report a car accident.”
    “Where at?” the operator asked.
    “Um,” Burb hesitated. “Well, the corner of living room and kitchen, actually.”
    “I’m sorry? Where?” the voice asked, obviously having trouble with the concept.
    “Look, just come to 2854 The Trotsway. You’ll know what I mean when you get here.”
    And then he did something he probably should have done after the first — or surely, the second, at most — car had barrelled through his house. He turned off the lights. He knew things would get sorted, bizarre though the circumstances were, but strangely enough, and despite everything, the one thing that upset Burb the most was that they were probably going to take his stoplights away from him.

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