History Is History: I Walked In To A Pawn Shop With A Priceless Artifact…I Left Without My Pants, My Dignity, And My Anal Virginity

***Welcome to Part I of my History Is History series, where I take an in-depth look at the televised sewage plant that is The History Channel. The Klan Rally of Kable. TV’s equivalent to working a 9-5 at minimum wage, except instead of getting cash at the end of the week, you’re paid exclusively in worthless 9/11 Commemorative Coins. Truly, and honestly, one of worst channels in the History of television.  Enjoy.***

(excuse me while I snort this huge grain of salt)

First up, the #1 show – Pawn Stars

What was once a station commonly mocked and labeled as The Hitler Channel for its obsession with the Second World War, but in actuality featured solid, if run-of-the-mill, documentary-style historical programming, has grown up to become a full-on redneck.

Using the term “History” about as loosely as an Air Bud film does “Drama”,  The History Channel is so far removed from its origins, that it sometimes seems like a different entity altogether.

Today, The History Channel is complete filth.

Think of it as a colonial plantation dropped awkwardly into the middle of television suburbia.

A neighborhood where the families of USA, VH1, and Spike hold a friendly potluck dinner. AMC and HBO snuggle in for a movie night. MTV’s parents are out of town and they’re throwing a block party and Shop Network’s got a yardsale in the front lawn.

Hell, even the recluses over at SyFy come out and say hello every once in a while.

But down at the end of the street, a kid from the ESPN house kicks his soccer ball over the fence and into The History Channel’s massive backyard. The kid stops at the fence, examining a row of ominous signs riddled with bullet holes, No Trespassing and, I’ll Take my Guns Money and Freedom, You Keep The Change.

He quickly second guesses whether or not he should go in after it.

But before he can decide, a warning shotgun BLAST rings out, and a voice hollers from somewhere inside, keep the hell outta my property with that fancy soccer ball and left-wing bullshit! We ain’t got nothin’ for the likes of you round here. Now git!

And standing proudly at the gates of the History Channel mansion, (think the bad guy’s place in Roadhouse, except with more monster trucks and less class) the station’s mascots guard the door…The Pawn Stars.

For me, it all begins with Pawn Stars. This is the show that truly made History into what it is today, a huge steaming pile of dragon shit.

When being pitched, I’m sure the show was described along these lines:

Watch four historical experts buy and sell some of the country’s most unique and valuable artifacts.

However, a more realistic pitch would go as follows:

Watch four morbidly obese slobs with Wikipedia access lowball you and offer you thirty five dollars and a samurai sword for your priceless family heirlooms.

The first thing you’ll notice about this show is the main characters. That’s because they are fucking massive.

All of them look like those pig-aliens that guarded Jabba the Hutt in Return of the Jedi.

(pictured: the guys waiting (angrily) for The Sizzler to open for breakfast)

Rick is the leader of the whole operation, and I’m calling it that on purpose. Make no mistake about it, these guys are a nothing but a two-bit criminal operation.

Reverse-Robin Hoods stealing from the poor. Ocean’s Eleven if it followed a group of guys who ate their entire month’s worth of Nutrisystem in the first day, and then broke into the homes of lower-middle class Americans to steal their most valuable item, leaving them nothing but a feeling of confusion and violation in return.

Rick is the ringleader, the brains of this operation. In Home Alone terms, the Harry to the rest of the store’s Marv. Completely fucking stupid, but not quite dumb enough to get electrocuted into a skeleton by a twelve year old.

There’s also Rick’s senile father, Old Man. This guy mostly gets a pass from me simply because he effortlessly works in antiquated, feline-based phrases like Cat’s Pajamas or Cat’s Meow into every other sentence. Try doing that. Come on, try. Hard, isn’t it?

And then, of course, there’s Chumlee. The most glorified retard since Forrest Gump.

(durrrrrrrrr)

This guy has been everywhere. Late night TV, commercials, you name it, he’s slobbered on it.

I find it fitting that the show’s poster boy is also their dumbest. Having an actual mongoloid as the mascot for Pawn Stars is the truest form of brand representation I’ve ever seen.

Think if the logo for Taco Bell was just a picture of diarrhea. Or if Jameson Irish Whiskey was a blank black image. Exchange the iconic Budweiser seal for domestic violence court documents. Chumlee as the face for this show is simply too perfect.

Finally, there’s Rick’s son, Corey. My least favorite of the bunch. I kid you not, deciding which member of the Pawn Stars I hated most was the single hardest decision I have ever made in my entire life.

Shockingly, these guys don’t know shit.

The show attempts to portray them as knowledgeable history buffs, but I guarantee if they were called out on any of the scripted and memorized facts they blatantly read off during the show, they’d stumble and turn red like a student caught plagiarizing on a paper.

There is one thing I’ll give them, though, they’ve got an eye for garbage.

You could walk The Shroud of Turin through that door and no one would look twice, but if you can get your hands on Hulk Hogan’s soiled trunks from Wrestlemania III…well, now we might be talking serious money.

All you need to do is take a look around their shop to get an idea of what I’m talking about.

Ted Nugent has a more tasteful eye than these people. A layout like the living room of a hillbilly who won the Mega Millions. All manner of trashy trinkets and accessories thrown about haphazardly.

(this place oozes class and taste. the taste of a battery covered in ferret piss)

Cases upon cases of swords. If you watch this show, you will quickly notice that there are swords everywhere. The interior of this place is like the set of Braveheart, except with an even more racist director at the helm.

Jimi Hendrix and Jim Morrison posters stare down from the walls, and if you look closely, you can see actual tears dripping from their eyes, wondering what they ever did so wrong to be enshrined in such a hell hole.

Loose pistols and uzis indiscriminately thrown into a rotting cardboard box, mixed in with engagement rings and baseball cards. Dig in, most of them aren’t loaded and there’s a signed Darryl Strawberry card in there somewhere.

Somewhere in the back, a pristine pilot’s suit from WWI gathers dust on a shelf, but hanging on a mannequin out front are the actual suits worn by Arnold Schwarzenegger and Danny DeVito on the cover of Twins. You know, really valuable shit.

(it's a movie about twins...who are total opposites!)

Somehow, real artwork finds this place, too. A Picasso hangs on an angle, barely noticeable beside the featured artwork, an airbrushed eagle soaring through a dolphin’s butthole, leaving a rainbow trail at the top of a snowy mountain in the desert.

It’s fucking sad. Cripplingly sad.

While most folks may turn to primetime CBS programming to get their dramatic television, to have a good cry, I just need Pawn Stars.

This, to me, is the most depressing show on television.

Episode after episode, a patron arrives at the store, looking like they just spend the last twenty years as a roadie for a Dio cover band.

A man with a rat-tail tucked in to the back of his Bob Seger tour t-shirt finishes the last of his Wild Turkey pint and stumbles through the door. A woman donning a sweater that inexplicably mixes dreamcatchers, unicorns, and cats, breaks her 20 year self-imposed home-imprisonment to head down to the pawn shop for the day.

People who are at the end of their rope, buried in debt, crippled with addiction…these are the ideal customers for our heroes.

Please come with me as I take you through the journey of the average Pawn Stars patron:

Their grandmother just died. A sweet woman, who did nothing but love them as hard as she could. She practically raised them while their mother was over at The Bunny Ranch playing hide the salami (I owe you one, Captain Ron) with every dirtbag in Nevada.

But she’s dead now, which means her grandson has to go through her things, sort out what she left behind. And then he finds it, something that has been within the family for generations.

A golden necklace that came over during an ancestor’s perilous voyage from Europe. Or maybe a relative’s Civil War saber, covered in the blood of a Confederate trooper who meant to kill him, to end the family line right then and there. Not a single price tag capable of matching the item’s significance.

Actually, how about two hundred dollars and that signed Kid Rock guitar over there? SOLD.

That’s all it takes. They shake hands and the man parts ways with something that his family will never get back, all so that he can go around the corner to the casino and spend the rest of the day staring at Vanna White’s airbrushed tits on the Wheel of Fortune slots.

What’s so disgusting about this show, and what is says about our culture, is that literally everything is expendable for a quick buck.

There’s nothing too sacred to sell; no one item that simply can’t be bought. If you walk it into that pawn shop, they will find a way to pry it from your hands for the lowest possible amount.

In fact, I’d be willing to wager, that if tomorrow, the dingleberries of our elderly become valuable, you’d see them by the bucketload on Pawn Stars the very next day.

Terrible grandsons and awful nieces would be flooding old folks homes with a pair of scissors and a ziplock bag, snipping away at the very last thing these people have, their god damn dingleberries.

These decades-old shit balls that have faithfully clung on within the trousers of our elderly through good times and bad, wars and depressions, would at the drop of a hat, be cut, packaged, and sold to these mouth-breathing fatties for the promise of cold hard cash in a heartbeat.

I can see it now:

Rick: What ya got there?

Customer: Oh…well, I actually have my grandfather’s dingleberries here. He just moved in to a retirement home down the way, and I uh, I thought he wouldn’t need them anymore, so I cut them off when he was sleeping.

Rick: And what were you lookin’ to do with it? Pawn it? Sell it?

Customer: I was hopin’ to sell it. Could use the cash right now.

Rick: Mind if I take a look?

Customer: Please, be my guest.

Rick pulls out the dingleberry from the baggie and inspects it with one of those magnifying glasses that fancy diamond dealers use.

Rick: You have no idea what you’ve got here, do you?

Customer: Well…I know it’s a pretty solid little dingleberry. And…I know it’s old.

Rick: This is the rarest dingleberry I have ever seen.

The customer gets excited, dollar signs flashing in his eyes.

Customer: Pop-Pop you son of a bitch! I always knew you had great dingleberries! Yooweee!

Rick: You mind if I call in an expert? I mean, I think this small turd is genuine, but we see a lot of fakes in here, and I just have to be sure.

The customer agrees and Rick calls in his trusted dingleberry expert, Carl. Carl takes a look.

Carl: Rick, you’ve got the Holy Grail of fecal matter in your store right now. Wow, I’m just, I’m just blown away by the quality of this dingleberry.

Customer: What’s so special ’bout the thing?

Carl: This is no average shit-flake. This dingleberry has somehow survived for centuries. It’s as if…no, that’s impossible…

Rick: What Carl? Say it. The people need to know the history, dammit!

Carl: Well, I’ll probably get laughed out of the historical dingleberry community for saying this, and you might think I’m crazy, but this is the dingleberry of Jesus Christ himself.

Rick and the customer nearly faint.

Carl: Somehow it’s stayed with your family, passed down from underwear to underwear for generations, for THOUSANDS OF YEARS! This…is the dingleberry to end all dingleberries.

Customer: I can’t believe it! I had no idea it was that valuable! So what do you think it’s worth?

Carl: Oh, well I’d have to place the dingleberry of Jesus Christ around at least a million dollars.

The man pumps his fist.

Rick: Hey Carl, thanks a lot for coming down, you’re the best in the business.

Carl tips his hat and leaves the two to their negotiations.

Rick: So what did you want for it?

Customer: You heard the man. I’ll take a million dollars. Cash.

Rick: Not gonna happen. That’s the auction price, I’d be lucky to get half that. I can do two hundred.

Customer: Thousand?

Rick: Two hundred dollars. Cash money.

Customer: I don’t know. That seems awful low. I mean, this thing is really worth something. That’s Jesus’ poop you’re holding right there.

Rick: Look, I know it’s a pretty rare piece, but it’s gonna be a tough sell. I’m just not sure there’s a market out there for it. I mean, with the current economy, people aren’t spending that kind of money on the feces of their gods anymore. They just aren’t. I’ll go two fifty and that’s it.

The man mulls it over. From a million to 250$ just like that…

Customer: Aw hell, I’m on a hot streak in Keno and I just can’t pass up big money like that. You got a deal.

They shake hands and the man leaves the pawn shop, smiling as he counts his money. Rick, meanwhile, bags up the artifact, the doo-doo of a deity, and tucks it away behind a row of howling wolf sculptures.

Aside from making me sad beyond expression, unbelievably concerned for the future of our country, and curious what I could get for that totally bitchin’ cougar painting hanging over in the corner of my room, writing this has inspired me.

It’s inspired me to do whatever I can to make sure my valuables don’t suffer the same fate.

So I want to close with a letter to my yet-to-be-born grandchildren, with the hope that they get this message someday long after I’ve gone.

Dear Grandkids,

I know I haven’t always been there.

I know it embarrasses you when I show up drunk to your little league games, crashing my flying Hoveround scooter into the dugout, screaming into the Life Alert app on my iPad 40.

I also know that you hate it when I shit myself at the dinner table and you have to change me. Actually, I want to let you in on a little secret, I have full bowel-control, I’m just super god damn lazy.

And sure, my Christmas presents haven’t been great lately, but you’ll thank me one day for that Sam’s Club size box of tin foil. You can’t ever have enough of that stuff.

But listen to me, and listen good, your grandfather loved you. Calling you all assholes and hoodlums because you wore your space pants baggy and had your Intergalactic Raydon Visors on sideways all those years was out of love.

And it’s because of that love that I want you to have my most valuable possession. Something that I’ve had since I was just a boy, something that means everything to me…

My 1994 Shogun Mike Ninja Turtle figurine, still in the packaging. Mint.

Cherish it. Display it on your mantle. Pass it down from generation to generation. Keep it in the family.

Please, just please, promise me that whatever you do, don’t sell it for two hundred dollars cash and a signed Kid Rock guitar.

Love Always,

Grandad

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Robot Farts And Computer Barfs: One Man’s Struggle With Dubstep

(DUB 'isthisevenfuckingmusic' STEP)

If I were forced to describe Dubstep in a nutshell, I guess I’d have to say that it’s the genre for people who like music that sounds as if they’re connecting to AOL in 1997.

Dubstep is fucking huge. Even if you haven’t heard of it, you have probably heard it. It’s best described as Techno to people who don’t know any better (me), and as a sub-genre of Electronic Dance Music to people who do.

People go nuts over it. Just like any major genre of music, it has transcended from simply being a collection of songs that sound the same, and transformed into a genuine movement, a lifestyle.

I absolutely hate the shit.

The best place to start is to cover what the music actually sounds like.

That answer’s simple. It sounds like Robocop having explosive diarrhea.

It’s computerized. Keyboard bleeps and bloops. Aggressive beats, sampled or original, beneath some sort of repetitive vocal track with a chick saying something like: Let’s Go. Or perhaps, Systems Online-Systems Online. How about, The Time is Now, The T-T-T-TIME IS N-N-N-NOW!

All manner of noises produced by an array of electronic instruments and tools. Simply put, the computer aisle at Circuit City having an orgy.

In case you’ve never heard the stuff, or are interested in self-torture, here’s a quick primer for you:

For those of you that didn’t take a flaming chainsaw to their computer after only five seconds, let’s move on.

When I listen to a Dubstep song, I can’t help but think someone dropped a box of Lightsabers onto a Casio in the middle of a laser tag arena. Hell, you could drop Kenny Loggins onto a keyboard from ten stories up and he would produce better music.

R2-D2 with a stutter. Johnny 5 with Tourette’s. A blender. Blending a blender.

C-3PO, only gayer.

These are just some of the ways this untrained, and admittedly, uninterested ear interprets Dubstep.

This is the first genre of music in my young life that has made me feel old, disconnected.

Not unlike a grandparent simply unable to understand what their child sees in those damn Beatles. Or a politician fearing that something coming out of Dee Snider’s mouth is capable of making youngsters kill each other.

I. Just. Don’t. Get it.

I like to listen to music that takes me somewhere. That transports me to a certain place. Where does Dubstep take you? To a bad neighborhood in the year 2420?

When one of those song kicks in, I panic, thinking John Connor failed and Skynet is invading. I want to connect to a song, where with Dubstep I think I might literally need a USB cable to do so.

Putting on headphones and blasting a Dubstep song is like having your eardrums gang-raped by Transformers.

Some of the top artists in the genre are guys like: Skrillex, Deadmau5, Nero, and Bassnectar. The fuck is that shit? Aren’t all of these just bad guys in The Running Man?

How am I supposed to take your music seriously when your names sound like aliases that aspiring 8th grade hackers decided were too lame.

(i'm an artist, MOM. i make music!)

These are the kind of names that disconnected Hollywood executives threw around in the 2000’s for fictional computer programs in direct-to-DVD movies.

I can see it now as some producer-douche frames the scene with his hands:

Producer Douche #1: Alright, get this. Right after Casper Van Dien’s character, Jake Slade, finishes just absolutely GIVING IT to Alicia Silverstone’s character, Becca Pride, he’s going to hack the mainframe.

Producer Douche #2: Oh fucking GENIUS. So realistic. But we need a name for the computer program. You know, really send it home.

Producer Douche #1: Way ahead of you. We’re gonna call it…SKRILL-X!

(The production room explodes in sea of mostly-missed old white guy high fives and cigar smoke)

I get it, you’re trying to sound techie and computerized, but it’s so heavy-handed it just makes you look like an asshole in the end.

Nirvana didn’t hit the nail on the head and name themselves Daddy Issues. Motley Crüe didn’t go with Venereal Disease, although I’m sure they were tempted. Maroon 5 isn’t Music for Guys In the Closet. Fuck, even Creed didn’t save us all the trouble and call themselves Jesus, The Cover Band. All I’m saying is, leave some mystery.

And we can’t forget the Dubstep shows themselves. By all accounts, these things aren’t unlike the rave scene in The Matrix Reloaded, except even more universally hated.

A zombie horde of ecstasy-fueled internet trolls, frat bros, and every flannel-wearing assbag in the greater Los Angeles area ages 17-32. Except, to kill these zombies you don’t aim for the brain, you just have to shut down Reddit, Barstool Sports, and Instagram.

(we have no musical standards! whoo!)

I know drugs are a major factor of any good music scene, but ecstasy? Come on.

I thought ecstasy died out after Dateline was running pieces on it in the late 90’s, followed shortly by an exposé on how to spot a phony Beanie Baby. Actually, if you’re still taking ecstasy, could you PLEASE look after my Tamagotchi for me, I haven’t fed him in years.

Taking ecstasy is more late 90’s than Princess Diana letting the dogs out to find the Unabomber’s titanic Y2K bug at Dawson’s Creek.

But here I am. Ranting on like that same grandparent who didn’t understand their child’s demonic rock music. Calling for a mass-burning of their favorite albums.

Am I just Tipper Gore, branding any type of music with a slight edge to it necessary of Parental Advisory? Maybe I’m out of the loop. Have I hit that age where I can’t understand it, where I’m too old for Dubstep? That’s certainly possible.

Or, maybe, just maybe, this isn’t a matter of age at all. Rather, it’s simply a case of those two holes on the side of my head telling me, you know what…this shit sucks.

Now, where the hell did I put my Metamucil, Matlock’s about to start.

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Finally, Women Can Smell Like Douchebags Too!

(please do not use me)

If you’ve been watching TV recently, you may have seen the commercials for the new Axe Body Spray for women. Let me repeat that. Axe. Body. Spray. FOR WOMEN. This truly blew me away.

For years, Axe Body Spray has been the uncontested douchebag heavyweight of the fragrance world. The Ed Hardy of cologne, the Fred Durst of fragrance, the Shake Weight of scent.

You know the guy who wears this stuff. He’s the guy who has UFC viewing parties where he practices submission holds with his buddies, calling them all fags while he prays that nothing moves downstairs. He’s uttered the phrase, “YOU WANNA GO?!” more times in his life than he’s mustered a simple, “thank you.” He’s seen Blink 182 3 times…since 2005. On multiple occasions, he’s thought to himself, “You know, I don’t think The Situation’s that bad of a guy.” He’s the type of bro who uploads footage of Hines Ward’s best illegal crackback blocks to YouTube set to Click Click Boom.

Simply put, he’s fucking scum.

("Hey bro, what's your beef with Axe?")

But finally, it’s not just men who get to smell like the carpet at a strip club, ladies can too!

Women, the picture of elegance, taste, and style. They’re demure, they’re tactful, they have class. Mysterious and subtle. Sexy. Confident.

These, of course, are NOT the sort that will be purchasing Axe for Women.

Oh no, the kind of women buying this shit are the kind of women that allow stand-up sixty nining on the first date. The sort of chick that can really connect to a Ke$ha lyric. On numerous occasions, they’ve thought to themselves, “I’d probably still at least go down on Bret Michaels.” The sort of girl who works a double shift at Buffalo Wild Wings while her two month old sleeps in the white Dodge Neon (windows up, Juggalo sticker on the back) in the parking lot.

But what really perplexes me about this item is not the people who wear it, it’s what the smell must be like. What scent are they capturing that really stays true to the Axe image, while updating it just enough for women?

I’d imagine that the scientists over at Axe have been able to perfectly capture the fragrance of the panties of the runner-up on a Real World/Road Rules challenge and somehow packaged it into bottle form.

On their website, the official description reads:

“Axe Anarchy For Her is a feminine mix of sparkling fruity notes, (apple, blackberry) with soft florals at the heart and a light finish of sandalwood, amber. and vanilla. The fragrance is delicate and fun, designed to be used throughout the day.”

Wow, that’s quite lofty language coming from a company used exclusively by men whose closest connection to college is a Beer Pong table and a Boondock Saints DVD. So, because of this, I know it’s hard for some of you ladies out there to make sense of that copy, so I’ve gone ahead and translated it for you:

“Axe Anarchy For Her is a whorish clusterfuck of stagnant stale odors, (vodka, Kathy Griffin’s taint) with broken glass at the throat and a heavy finish of regret, bad credit, and Myrtle Beach. The fragrance is drunk and sloppy, designed to be used when you want to give off the impression I will literally let you fuck me in front of everyone at this Daughtry concert.

So I guess, in conclusion, my reaction to this product is one of abject disgust, but not surprise. I’m disgusted that there are women out there that will purchase Axe for Women. Women who will spray this aromatic anthrax onto their bodies and head out to the club (or to work at the Hip Hop Abs kiosk in the mall. It’s right next to the Fushigi stand, you can’t miss it). It’s gross, that much is for sure.

But, in a world where an asshole like Guy Fieri is laughing a trail of bacon bits all the way to the bank, Housewives have become millionaires, and Snooki has entered the national vernacular, I’m certainly not surprised that douche is the scent de jour.

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