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Smart with Pain

By Bob Woodiwiss · July 26th, 2001 · Pseudoquasiesque
This section is designed to test your reading comprehension. Completely read the paragraphs below. When finished, answer the questions that follow. Or, for those of you whose massive student brains have figured out we test makers are absolutely defenseless against clever bastards such as yourselves and that it'll be faster and easier to skip right to the questions than scan the densely packed text for answers, well, you're not even reading this anymore because you're unfairly looking ahead. So why don't the rest of you go on and get started, too ... NOW.

In 1987, Sam Benson was convicted on 12 counts of armed robbery and three counts of legged robbery (bank security cameras showed him brandishing a .38 revolver with his left foot). He was subsequently sentenced to over 300 years in jail. His attorneys, Ross Phillips, a perfectly healthy but lethargic public defender who'd recently won the right in Federal Court to make his approaches to the bench in a golf cart, and Skeeter Marsh, Benson's brother-in-law who, based on his bar scores, was enjoined from questioning witnesses on any subject other than their lunch plans, appealed the decision on the grounds that Benson could not be reasonably expected to live 300 years.

But Messrs. Phillips and Marsh, rather than ask the court to overturn or shorten their client's sentence, instead demanded that every possible human effort be made to ensure their client survive his full three centuries of incarceration. Phillips argued in court that this was necessary to carry out the express wishes of the jury. (What the attorney did not reveal was that he was trying to provide for his son, Ross Phillips Jr., a student at Holy Crap, I'm in Law School College of Law in Trenton, N.J., by building a long-term client base for whom the boy could file endless briefs and motions.) The court, their hands tied by the precedent of (Smoldering Josef) Frazier versus (Manny) Ali (commonly known as the Big Grudge in Front of the High Judge) granted the motion.

As a result, Benson was remanded to the maximum-security wing of the Kokopelli Spa and Retreat for Healthful Living in Scottsdale, Ariz., to serve out the remaining 297 years of his sentence.

The time Benson spent at Kokopelli was a total nightmare. He loathed the low fat/low sodium/high fiber diet that, while it included the familiar spoiled fruits and vegetables of his old prison, eschewed the spoiled meat he craved; he detested the yoga that promoted flexibility and serenity rather than weight-training's intimidating buffness; and he was baffled by a spa economy that was based not on the trading of cigarettes but seaweed wraps.

It was during his time at Kokopelli, however, that Benson, made an important personal breakthrough. During a sexual liaison with the facility's pool boy (who, it was common knowledge, was Benson's "spa wife"), Harmon Calypso, the prisoner had a distinct-yet-vague flashback of physical and sexual abuse. Through work with the staff life-regression counselor, he was able to pinpoint a specific, heinous incident as well as the perpetrator -- Phil DeLong, his stepfather. This violation, Benson felt certain, was what had led him to a life of crime. Based on his horrific recollection, he filed a civil lawsuit against DeLong, seeking 5,000 seaweed wraps in damages.

But, for several reasons, his lawsuit did not succeed. First, the alleged abuse took place at Benson's 42nd birthday party, at which time his stepfather was a frail 89 and in a wheelchair. Second, dozens of witnesses said the "attack" was simply Mr. DeLong attempting to give his "boy" a "birthday spanking." Third, by his 42nd birthday Benson already had eight robberies under his belt. Finally, not only had DeLong been dead for six years at the time of the lawsuit, Sam Benson had been sole heir to his estate.

Today, Benson remains in Kokopelli, an embittered 71-year-old man who, honest to God, doesn't look a day over 50.

Mark the correct answer to these questions on your answer sheet.

1. Sam Benson's lawyers are:
a. scum
b. bastards
c. bloodsuckers
d. just like Daddy

2. The most predictable reference in the prison portion of the story is to:
a. anal sex
b. bodybuilding
c. cigarette economy
d. President Bush's execution-happy bloodlust (implied)

3. Why is every imaginable business in the Southwest United States named after Kokopelli?
a. It's the law.
b. Saves valuable thinking time for business owners.
c. Who doesn't like Kokopelli?
d. Beats commercializing and diminishing Christian beliefs.

4. Blow this standardized test and you will:
a. mock the brainiacs who didn't
b. commit hara-kiri (Japanese test version only)
c. go to football practice after school like always
d. What was the question again?



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