The Vermont Cynic

Blue’s Clues and Conspiracies

Everybody has unpaid parking tickets. No big deal. You clean the change out from under your couch cushions and just like that, your glove compartment can once again be used for what it was meant to be used for: the safe and secure storage of gloves.

Here at UVM, however, it’s not that easy. Parking tickets are ridiculously expensive. Some bear the hefty price tag of 50 dollars. If you try and pay off a string of tickets here, you’ll need the net worth of Indonesia and a virgin sacrifice.

Now, don’t get me wrong-it’s not that I can’t understand where UVM Parking is coming from. It’s not like we’re all students going to the same places. No one said anything absurd like the price of tuition is high enough so that students should be able to park where they need to without fear of a 50-dollar fine. No, no one said anything of the sort. In fact, the truth of the matter is that some of us deserve nicer parking spaces. Why? Because we’re better human beings.

Fifty dollars, though! Where I come from, fifty dollars would BUY you a parking space. They’d give you your own sign and a coffee mug, too. Of course, where I come from, Wal-mart is the religion of choice, but still! If a parking space is worth fifty dollars, at least have a clown there to hand out balloons when people park. Or William Shatner. Either one.

So I decided to get to the bottom of this expensive secret and confront The Man. I parked my car illegally and I set up my lawn chair behind it. There I sat with my trusty binoculars while eating nothing but string cheese and uncooked ravioli for two days. Then, at long last, he came. He was overweight and had slicked back hair and a cigar. He strutted up to the car and began to gleefully scribble out a ticket, holding at his side a large bowl of spaghetti.

Okay, that last part was simply to complete the stereotype. There was nospaghetti.

I sprang out and began to question him with journalistic tenacity. I demanded an explanation. Why fifty dollars? I cried, outraged. Why so steep? I was as ruthless as can be, given the fact that I had been inhaling exhaust for upwards and in excess of 48 hours at this point.

“Hey,” he merely shrugged. “Fuggedabout it.”

Ah-ha! There it was! Black and white, clear as a bell, he admitted the whole thing: UVM Parking is tied to the mob. They call themselves “The Meter Mafia,” I assume. Or “The Parking Posse.” There is still infiltration needed, so I can’t be sure. Who, however, would not be afraid of a gang full of meter ladies and gentlemen? I, for one, am not afraid to admit that I have several pairs of soiled slacks.

Ever since that fateful meeting with Peter “The Meatball” Spagelli, I’ve been living in fear. Will they cap me for ratting them out in this article? Will they hurt my family? Or, worse still, will they give me an unjust parking ticket?

The answer came rudely last night. In my bed, I found the neatly severed head of a pony! And on it there was a pink parking ticket with these shocking words: “Keep your mouth shut. Love, Peter.” My mind raced in terror. I thought, what am I going to do now? I’m in serious trouble! Then I thought to myself, wait a sec-did he sign that threat with love? I just met the guy. I mean, isn’t he moving a little fast?

But I would not be deterred by their threats! No, I didn’t give into their brute thuggery. I am writing this for one reason: to warn the students of UVM.

Park where you’re supposed to. You’re dealing with a dark and violent mob here. Save yourself fifty dollars so you can buy another invaluable textbook to be used several times. For God’s sake, people! Do you want to be responsible for a child reaching out at a petting zoo only to pet air and realize that Snuggles, the beloved pony, no longer has a head?

Think about it. It makes sense now. You’re not just parking. You’re saving ponies’ lives.

Blues Clues and Conspiracies

Under the pristine image of UVM, the deep rumblings of mutiny are emerging. Malcontents are whispering, “Those damn Vermont scholars…” They sit in their gutters, eating banana peels and omelets made from their own feces, and they watch us, the golden children, the scholars of the green mountains, walk around in our glory. “They get everything,” these flatlanders hiss while they waddle around with their hunched backs and absurdly long, yellow fingernails. “They get to pick classes first, they get scholarships – just because they’re from Vermont!” The truth about Vermont scholars is that we’re really not that privileged. In fact, all we get out of the deal is complete and total control over UVM. Oh, and Burlington. Is it too much that we have access to a private jet? Is it ridiculous that we should get our own hot tubs and massages? Why should UVM’s money go into something meaningless, like teacher’s salaries or better dorms, when it could be going into something fruitful, like butlers for us? Sounds like sour grapes, guys. You didn’t know we had a secret lair, though. You didn’t realize that we ran the school from an underground hideout where we sit around in big leather chairs, wearing our monocles and our suits with emblems, sipping expensive wines (the drinking age is 17 for us VT scholars) and doing our very cool secret handshake (I’ll give you a hint – think lots of fist pumps). Yes, we hang out down there, discussing such scholarly Vermont topics as sugar on snow and the symbolic meaning of “mud” season. Things that I’m sure people from Connecticut or New York or…I can’t think of any other crappy states off the top of my head, but you get the point. In this lair, the brothers and I have plastic figurines of every UVM student and we play with them on our scale model of the campus. It’s here that we devise our schemes and decide how things will happen in the coming weeks. Sometimes I like to dress these figurines up in Barbie clothes and make them karate-kick each other. Another brother, Gary, sometimes comes over during these times and starts to make the figurines hump. I just stare at him until the awkwardness fills the room and the clatter of their plastic bodies fades away. “Really inappropriate, Gary,” I tell him. I mean, how childish can you be? At this point, I bet the very few of you non-Vermont scholars that are actually capable of reading and/or comprehending are insulted. You’re thinking, this guy is obnoxious! You’re thinking, this guy is offensive! You would think that, wouldn’t you? Dummy. I’m not implying that our elite group is better than any of you “regulars,” as we call you. No, I’m simply saying that you are the puppets, here to entertain us at our whim. Now, Vermont scholars are not gods-not by a long shot. We’re just your average, run-of-the-mill college students with heavenly authority and the ability to create or destroy all of you at our fancy. Yes, to be a Vermont scholar does bring advantages. I won’t deny that. Like the time that kid cut me in line at the dining hall so I whistled to my bodyguard and had the cutter executed. Haha! Just kidding, friends. I would never do something like that. I only had one of his legs cut off and his family tortured. Well, I’m off to the lair to play house with Gary and the figurines again. Who knows? You could be the father or mother this time! But please try and remember – we won’t hold this status over you lower forms of life. We will never make you feel subordinate or less cared for here at UVM. On that note, I hope to see all of you there at our annual “non-Vermont scholar Auction” on Saturday where we will be auctioning off any non-Vermont scholars for Frisbees, bumper stickers and really cool bubble-making kits. Bring your own refreshments. Oh… and your paperwork. See you there!

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Blue’s Clues and Conspiracies