A high-concept take-down of Chicago-style politics

September 12th, 2013 · 49 comments

Earlier this week, on her usual walk to work across the UChicago campus, Lauren noticed a board topped by a cement block covering an open manhole. Then other day, however, she walked past the same spot to find this ingenious work of civic protest/prankery.

Dear residents of South Blackstone Ave,  Thank you for your many phone calls and personal appeal to city workers. We are finally able to address your concerns regarding this unsecured manhole.  After several months of careful review, we have decided that a few crappy pieces of wood hastily nailed together and light enough for any curious eight year old boy to move, is sufficient to guarantee everyone’s safety.  Please understand that currently, various departments of the city are operating under budget cuts, including the C.D.M.C. (Chicago Department of Manhole Covers). This department is severely understaffed with only two-hundred and fifty workers to answer phones and another fifty to replace missing manhold covers. WE do have one brand new manhole cover which fits this very opening. However, it is designated “reserve” manhole cover and is not available for actual use.  Regardless, our safety engineers assure us that an unsecured hold large enough for a grown man to fit in, poses no danger to small children or pets. Therefore, it will remain exactly like this from now on and forever. Please take care to get used to this situation and try your best not to break your f*cking leg in the winter when the ground is covered with a foot of snow.  Office of the Mayor,  Rahm Emanuel  Removing this sign or any sign bearing the City of Chicago seal, carries a penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $300,000

Adds Lauren: “I’m most impressed by the obvious work involved in the sign’s construction, but bonus points are due for capturing the speaking style of our salty mayor.” (And yes, Lauren says: Chicago’s city seal really does include the image of a baby floating on a cloud.)

Dear residents of South Blackstone Ave,  Thank you for your many phone calls and personal appeal to city workers. We are finally able to address your concerns regarding this unsecured manhole.  After several months of careful review, we have decided that a few crappy pieces of wood hastily nailed together and light enough for any curious eight year old boy to move, is sufficient to guarantee everyone’s safety.  Please understand that currently, various departments of the city are operating under budget cuts, including the C.D.M.C. (Chicago Department of Manhole Covers). This department is severely understaffed with only two-hundred and fifty workers to answer phones and another fifty to replace missing manhold covers. WE do have one brand new manhole cover which fits this very opening. However, it is designated “reserve” manhole cover and is not available for actual use.  Regardless, our safety engineers assure us that an unsecured hold large enough for a grown man to fit in, poses no danger to small children or pets. Therefore, it will remain exactly like this from now on and forever. Please take care to get used to this situation and try your best not to break your f*cking leg in the winter when the ground is covered with a foot of snow.  Office of the Mayor,  Rahm Emanuel  Removing this sign or any sign bearing the City of Chicago seal, carries a penalty of two years in prison and a fine of $300,000

related: Governor of California to State Senate: “Get Stuffed.”

FILED UNDER: Chicago · most popular notes of 2013 · raging against the machine · smartass


49 responses so far ↓

  • #1   fuckface

    enjoying the fact that i get to deny someone a FIRST!!!! post.

    and fuck you in the face, steeeeever.

    Sep 12, 2013 at 10:35 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

    • #1.1   The Elf

      Technically, that is a “FIRST!!!!” post.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 10:41 am   rating: 13  small thumbs up

       
    • #1.2   ms. out

      Quite possibly the most annoying one ever.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 1:13 pm   rating: 21  small thumbs up

       
    • #1.3   redheadwglasses

      I’ve posted at a couple of sites where “First!” posts are automatically deleted.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 3:47 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

       
    • #1.4   Rachel

      You’re on the wrong site.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 7:29 pm   rating: 8  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #2   Eliavy

    I never understood the purpose of bleeping out one letter in a swear word. Do people really think that others can’t figure out which word it is if a vowel is missing? “I’d like to buy a vowel. I just don’t know what that word is!”

    Sep 12, 2013 at 11:00 pm   rating: 23  small thumbs up

    • #2.1   Jessi

      I say the same thing to “polite” people who replace swear words with other words. Even if you don’t use the actual word itself, you’re still swearing because the intent is the same. And swearing serves a purpose, especially if you injure yourself. At least one study has shown that people endure pain better if they’re allowed to scream swearwords.

      Sep 12, 2013 at 11:36 pm   rating: 23  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.2   Kelly

      Yes! I have been saying exactly this for years. Why say “fudge” when we all know you mean “fuck.” (Unless you’re around kids…)

      I used to work with a woman who would complain all day and use words like “fudge,” “shoot,” “darn it” plus about a million other phrases I’ve attempted to eradicate from my memory. I really, really wanted to tell her to end the niceties and just say the real thing but figured then she’d scare away customers or get fired. Sigh.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 2:18 am   rating: 7  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.3   H for Toy

      I’ve been non-swearing in front of my kids for so long that you will actually hear me say ” holy moly” and “oh man” in adult company. It’s just automatic, and I’m not even thinking something else. You better believe though, than when I forcefully jammed some part of my microwave up my pinky nail, while wiping the counter down, every word in the book came out of my mouth. So, I haven’t completely forgotten them.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 6:28 am   rating: 42  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.4   Lil'

      At my mom’s house, there is actually a swear jar for the little kids. Every time one of them says a substitute swear word like dang or crap, or if they say shut up, they have to pay a nickel. Granted most of them don’t actually have money on demand, but they are pretty good about keeping track of their tab so they can put it in when they earn money for extra chores or something. It really has cleaned up those little potty mouths, and it’s made the adults much more aware of our own choice of words.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 7:30 am   rating: 8  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.5   redheadwglasses

      My first friends to have a kid created “Shucky darn” in an effort to avoid swearing.

      I’m so glad I don’t have any fucking kids.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 8:13 am   rating: 46  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.6   JN

      I have 3 half-siblings who are quite a bit younger than I am. While they were growing up I was very careful not to swear in front of them, and would scold them whenever they said a bad word. Now that they’re all adults, I don’t hold back and they think it’s hilarious when I swear. And I swear a lot.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 10:08 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.7   The Elf

      Fuck that fake swearing shit.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 10:42 am   rating: 21  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.8   Jami

      My mom always says “Oh fiddly foe!” It drives me crazy. Just say “Fuck” mom! I’m 37 years old. I know curse words. I probably know more than you cause I read so damn much.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 12:24 pm   rating: 10  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.9   Snicklefritz

      I’ve learned a few choice swear words from the 4 year old that lives 2 doors over from me. It’s going to be a joy to see what happens when that kid enters school next year.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 2:08 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.10   redheadwglasses

      My boyfriend and his ex are very good about watching their language around the kids (and my boyfriend rarely swears even when they aren’t around). But when the youngest was just starting kindergarten last year, he didn’t know that the male teacher was behind him as A. entered the bathroom and said to a fellow kindergartender, “Hey mother fucker.” Teacher had to call my boyfriend, laughing.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 3:45 pm   rating: 23  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.11   Nocturnesthesia

      I kind of thought half-ass censoring was more a courtesy than anything. I don’t really understand a lot of basic politeness-type things we do, they are pretty arbitrary at times, just look at any tourist pamphlet advising you of random things that can be extremely offensive in some cultures and you’ll know what I mean. That said while I have no reservations about dropping f-bombs left and right around my parents, nephews or stepkids, I still try to watch my language around my very proper, very elderly grandmother.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 4:32 pm   rating: 6  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.12   H for Toy

      I’m glad his teacher thought it was funny, redhead. When I was in school (granted, this was many years ago, and a private school), my bus driver told us to get our heads out of our asses and get moving. I repeated it in the hallway at school, telling my friend I didn’t know what it meant, but thought the bus driver was mean, and my teacher overheard and gave me detention!

      Sep 13, 2013 at 5:20 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.13   jazzgirl205

      Maybe the polite people actually find profanity crude, offensive and ignorant. Not everybody has to cuss.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 5:40 pm   rating: 14  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.14   Scott C

      I think some people are conditioned to think that speaking or writing the full thing is the vulgar act, that the word itself is INHERENTLY WRONG rather than merely impolite in their culture. In such a case, partially obscuring the word is more of a mystical/ritualistic act, because the evil is IN THE WORD ITSELF, not in the offense it causes others. This would be less bizarre if this weren’t the exact version of censorship supported by most mainstream media outlets, where they clearly don’t care if you know exactly what the word being used is so long as the form of that word is obscured partially.

      Anyway. Story time!

      When I was a kid, my Grandpa(1) was invited to speak at church.

      Surprising absolutely no one(2), he got about 1/3rd of the way through his allotted time before veering wildly off the assigned topic, to rail against the social ills of the day, particularly the reprehensible failures of Young People with regards to Correct Spiritual Living, Standards of Grooming and Propriety, and Proximity to His Lawn. Ok, maybe just the first two.

      “What’s with all of these Substitute Swear Word? All this ‘flip’ and ‘fetch’(3), WE ALL KNOW DADGUMMED WELL WHAT YOU MEAN!”

      Everybody has their “hierarchy of vulgarity”, and as I watched Grandpa’s face from the congregation, I could tell he was realizing for the first time that his own favorite substitution was a proxy for what, to him, would have been the apex of the profane pyramid if he’d said the actual thing. Taking the Lord’s name in vain is right there on the same list of commandments as NOT KILLING PEOPLE, after all, which Grandpa interpreted as a pretty solid indication of its relative importance. He took a deep breath and pretended to thumb through his bible like he was hoping to find a way to get back on track lurking on a random page. As he accidentally dislodged several of the bookmarks for scriptures he would have liked to have referenced if he’d stayed at all on topic, he muttered under his breath not-quite-far-enough from the microphone “Aww… horseshit.”

      It took a full five minutes before the congregation would stop laughing enough for the next speaker to begin. Grandpa sat in his truck in the parking lot until the rest of the meetings were done, and forbade us all on pain of Pain to never speak of these events again(4). He was not asked to speak again, until the next time there was a new Bishop.

      (1) – a crusty old Idaho Cattle Rancher who was no stranger to salty language
      (2) – except the poor inexperienced LDS Bishop who hadn’t been a part of that congregation the last time Grandpa was allowed to speak, and therefore didn’t know of all the excellent reasons not to invite him to do so again
      (3) – because even regular f-word substitutions are too intense for former Mormon Missionaries
      (4) – Yeah, sorry Grandpa… I’m not 10 any more, and I’m pretty sure I could take you in a fight now.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 6:01 pm   rating: 55  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.15   Plushpuppy

      Swear jars are lame. I put $20 and say every swear word I can think of until I reach my limit.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 6:19 pm   rating: 7  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.16   H for Toy

      Scott, I think I love your grandfather.

      Sep 14, 2013 at 12:50 pm   rating: 12  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.17   poopypants

      Plushpuppy is the exact reason why I, as a teacher, do NOT use swear jars.

      Sep 15, 2013 at 10:22 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.18   FeRD bang

      Scott C’s epic, footnoted storytime masterpiece may just be my new favorite comment on this site. And I’m a raging narcissist so I’m in love with some of the things I’ve posted here myself. Still, I must acknowledge my own inferiority when faced with true greatness.

      All hail Scott C!

      Sep 17, 2013 at 4:45 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.19   nurseysclone

      I remember going down south on a trip with my friend to meet his family. His mother, whose kids have all moved out never ever swears. She dropped something while I was there and all I heard was “Oh, Budgie Fluff!” She has so many phrases like these and I think she’ awesome XD

      Sep 17, 2013 at 5:26 am   rating: 5  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.20   FeRD bang

      Also, @jazzgirl (#2.13): See, that’s exactly the sort of sanctimonious, holier-than-thou attitude that makes the swearing reluctance of “the polite people” (*GAG*) so especially nauseating. They don’t avoid swearing because they feel it’s wrong or obscene, they do it because it makes them feel superior to everyone else. They take the position that “using such language is a sign of ignorance” and that it “makes you sound less-educated”.

      That’s nothing but a metric shitload of snobbery, and those condescending assholes need to lower their noses and learn that four-letter words are perfectly fucking cromulent when used creatively.

      Sep 17, 2013 at 5:40 am   rating: 12  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.21   Clumber

      I was around 7 years old and doing dishes when I cut my finger on a knife. I grabbed my finger which was just starting to bleed and muttered, “oh Fleglesnafff!” or something similarly gibberish. The next thing I knew I had been spanked (which almost never happened in my family) and my mother yelled that I was on restriction for a week.
      I was punished for muttering a fake swear.
      Even now, at 45 yo, I am annoyed by that.

      Sep 20, 2013 at 4:44 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

       
    • #2.22   Lab dude

      Several years ago I passed my very first kidney stone, and I must say, my seafaring ‘vocabulary’ came to the fore and served me well. Some time later, while experiencing another kidney stone, I went to the ER for some remediation. Upon arriving, I noticed several signs announcing that profane and vulgar language would not be tolerated in the waiting room. As I went to check in, a very nice, elderly volunteer asked if she could help me. Pointing to the sign, I said “I think I’m passing a kidney stone – could I have a seat in the cursing section, please?”

      Sep 20, 2013 at 2:53 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #3   Gladystopia

    Actually, if I’m not mistaken, this manhole is part of Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Place Where Intelligence Is Sorely Frowned Upon)’s anti-crime initiative, which in its entirety, consists of “Let’s Arrest 18000 Gangster Disciples–That Should Be Pretty Easy, Shouldn’t It?” After some conferencing with Mayor Rahm “No! I Totally Don’t Suck At Being Mayor, Despite What My Entire Constituency Would Have You Believe!” Emanuel (better known as “Ol’ Single-Term”)…anyway, Kirk and Ol” Single-Term must have decided that a nice big hole in the ground was the bestest possible way to round up all of them pesky Gangster Disciples. Did the poster take the time to peek down there and see what-all was going on at that time???

    After all, we don’t want to interfere with innovative crime fighters, do we??? (barfs into own shoes)

    Sep 13, 2013 at 12:05 am   rating: 11  small thumbs up

    • #3.1   FeRD bang

      Huh. Well… on the bright side, isn’t it cool that your username here has become a fitting sobriquet for the place you (presumably) call home? ;-)

      Sep 17, 2013 at 4:47 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #4   Poltergeist

    This is clearly a conspiracy between the city and McDonald’s. Now every citizen will be forced to eat shitty hamburgers and gain 300 lbs. if they don’t want to be small enough to fall into a hole and die.

    Sep 13, 2013 at 2:22 am   rating: 21  small thumbs up

     
  • #5   Aless

    I simply dont know what to say…

    Sep 13, 2013 at 3:32 am   rating: 0  small thumbs up

    • #5.1   Wench

      @ Aless how about Fuck?

      See, totally helpful :-)

      Sep 14, 2013 at 7:19 am   rating: 6  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #6   TRT

    The problem is that manhole covers are no longer available. Please submit a new request stating that you require a replacement cover for a person-hole. Thank you.

    Sep 13, 2013 at 4:29 am   rating: 55  small thumbs up

     
  • #7   Ace of Space

    Everybody knows that there are only 12 people out there replacing manhole covers. The other 13 called in sick. Every day.

    Sep 13, 2013 at 9:41 am   rating: 10  small thumbs up

     
  • #8   Raichu

    I love this.

    Sep 13, 2013 at 12:51 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

    • #8.1   The Elf

      Yes, roadwork anger dude from a few weeks ago needs to take lessons from this master of snark.

      Sep 13, 2013 at 2:36 pm   rating: 5  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #9   redheadwglasses

    Sigh. I belong to a forum that has a lot of Chicago people in it. I shared a link to this today because I thought they’d get a kick out of it.

    One person said to me, “You know that letters is a fake, right?”

    /facepalm

    Sep 13, 2013 at 3:44 pm   rating: 36  small thumbs up

    • #9.1   Snowflame

      Maybe they mean it’s a fake PA note, and it actually *is* from the Mayor’s office after all, designed to lull us into a false sense of security.

      Sep 14, 2013 at 10:10 am   rating: 14  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #10   AMoparGirl

    LOVE everyone’s stories!

    Sep 13, 2013 at 10:06 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

     
  • #11   Tard

    This is one of the best things I’ve read here, and everybody wastes my fucking time talking about swear jars for kids?

    Jesus fucking Christ cocksuckers, what the fuck?

    hee hee

    Sep 14, 2013 at 7:27 am   rating: 15  small thumbs up

    • #11.1   Snowflame

      What would you like to talk about? We could talk about indoor/outdoor cats instead, if you like?

      Sep 14, 2013 at 10:11 am   rating: 9  small thumbs up

       
    • #11.2   Poltergeist

      You really shouldn’t let your cats roam around outside. They might fall down a manhole and have to live off mutated green sewer rats for the rest of their lives.

      Sep 14, 2013 at 12:44 pm   rating: 20  small thumbs up

       
    • #11.3   FeRD bang

      Those aren’t rats, Poltergeist. (Who ever heard of green rats?) No, they’re actually mutated turtles. You just got confused because their adoptive father is a rat. Also, They Fight Crime™!

      Sep 17, 2013 at 5:17 am   rating: 4  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #12   Snowflame

    You’re talking about a cat in a sewer having to live off mutated green animals, and you choose rats? Turtles, dude. It’s all about the turtles.

    Sep 14, 2013 at 3:00 pm   rating: 9  small thumbs up

    • #12.1   H for Toy

      No cat wants to eat the good guys.

      Sep 14, 2013 at 11:55 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #12.2   L

      Hello, alligators.

      Sep 15, 2013 at 4:31 pm   rating: 2  small thumbs up

       
    • #12.3   FeRD bang

      Dammit! Snowflame’s gigglebrax led me to repeat a joke. I am disappoint.

      Sep 17, 2013 at 5:18 am   rating: 1  small thumbs up

       
     
  • #13   operagost

    This letter adeptly captures the failure that is Chicago. You get the government you deserve.

    Sep 14, 2013 at 7:11 pm   rating: 4  small thumbs up

     

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