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Monday, September 7, 2009

Tales from Effort Pennsylvania

Welcome to Effort, Pennsylvania...

A damp, fall day...

The local diner, 4pm...

Hank Hankson rushes into the diner, his brown hair, which is starting to gray, all over the damn place! He's scared, "beside himself" you might say. "Guys, I lost my Swiss army knife!" he cries out.

The diner is filled with locals, drinking coffee, reading the paper, gossiping about the school board, etc.

Hankson continues: "I have been looking for the past 3 weeks! I have tried so hard! But I've had barely anything to eat in weeks and now I need your help!"

It's true, many of the people thought, they hadn't seen Hankson in a while. In fact, it had been a topic of discussion and moderate controversy that no one had put in much effort to learn the whereabouts of Mr. Hankson.

"Well," started Tom Delay, "you've certainly tried quite hard to find it. I think it's time the good people of Effort lend you a hand!"

The people in the diner erupt in applause and soon a plan is drawn up for searching the entire town and the outlying areas. The town's 850 residents are divided into 3 groups, Army Group North, Army Group Central and Army Group Extra Hard. There are no shifts, no reserves, no "breaks" -- in fact, "break" is not a word in the Effort vocabulary.

It is a huge endeavor, and people try so very hard to find Hankson's Swiss army knife. An elderly man, Kevin Jackson, has a heart attack and dies. Shelly Duvall, a middle-aged housewife, decides to make protein bars for the crew and cuts her finger off while cutting tree bark (the townspeople of Effort believe local tree bark gives them energy).

Finally, after 2 weeks, a 15-year-old boy named Luke - his last name is not known - finds the knife in the bathroom of the diner, lodged behind the toilet. Luke, however, is shunned by the townspeople because he found the knife while using the bathroom, which is not seen as an efficient way to spend one's time, particularly when such a pressing matter is at hand.

Later that day, the town's elders and the prominent members of the search party gather at the diner, where the owner, Tom - his last name is not known - offers apple pie with ice cream on the house.

"Thank you so much," Hank Hankson says, "for helping me find my knife! Now I will be able to devote all my energy to something else!"

The individuals in attendance applaud and someone cheers so loud he pops a blood vessel in his brain and dies, despite the best efforts of the local doctor, who also pops a blood vessel and dies from trying so hard to revive his patient.

Ah yes, all in a day's work in Effort, Pennsylvania.