Friday, December 2, 2011

Best Taekwondo Head Kick Knockouts

As per a search result I got today, I present: The Five Best Taekwondo Head Kick Knockouts

(Note: this list was written before the publication of John Hodgman's That Is All, which features, briefly, a similar joke about a town of Shirley Jackson worshipers. Given that this list is a deliberate homage/pastiche/rip-off of Hodgman's distinctive style, that seems somehow appropriate).

#5: 11:30 PM, 08/23/1986 - Sante Fe, NM - 500 ft above where the Gold's Gym used to be on San Mateo Boulevard

Kicker: Ryan Appleburry, disgruntled gym patron

Kickee: Milos Sardos, disgruntled Gold's Gym night janitor

The Kick: Accidentally performed while jumping from a helicopter, piloted by kickee.

Surviors: None, except for a series of How-to manuals, including "How to Rob a Gym," "How to Rappel from a Helicopter Without Kicking Anyone," and "Kako pilot helikoptera bez uzimaju─çi nogom u glavu," a Croatian edition of "How to Pilot a Helicopter Without Getting Kicked in the Head." Investigators at the scene determined that none of the books had ever been opened.

#4: 12:15 PM, 06/05/1960 - Berrywood, NH (Pop: 400)

Kicker: Berrywood, NH (Pop: 399)

Kickee: Mike Millsop (Pop: 1)

The Kick: Founded in a hidden valley in 1953 by a mixture of Korean monks and die-hard Shirley Jackson fans fearful of being swept up in Sen. Joe McCarthy's HUAC meetings, the town of Berrywood has long celebrated a quaint tradition. Every year, all of the residents gather in the Town Square and pass out copies of Jackson's famous story, "The Lottery." Whoever draws the copy of the story marked with a black dot is quickly seized, dragged onto a platform, and simultaneously Taekwondo Head Kicked by every other resident of the town. It is believed by the townspeople that this brutal sacrifice will ensure good harvests in the coming year, and also that it might convince Shirley Jackson to come visit some day, dispensing autographs and lyrical allegories for the evils of man. Tragically, it did. (See Best Taekwondo Head Kick Knockouts #2).

Survivors: These days, when HeadKick Day comes around, Berrywoodians wear foam shoes and cloud-spun socks, and kick effigies spun from the lightest gossamer, in the hopes that no one's feet might be indecently bruised. A local clown facepaints the children's cheeks with Shirley Jackson's grim visage. Much revelry, good-spirits, and laughter are had.

The corn harvests, needless to say, are terrible.

In Mike Millsop's day, you weren't considered a true Berrywood Bruiser unless you'd smelted the steel for your own steel-toed boots for HeadKick Day and brought laminated sheets to keep the blood off your new copy of The Lottery. I don't want to get into gross imagery, so I'll just say this: Mike Millsop popped like a pimple. And that's why he's #4.

#3: 2:30 PM, 03/18/1996 - The Set of the Movie "Space Jam"

Kicker: Beloved character actor and fifth-degree Black Belt Wayne Knight

Kickee: Michael Jordan

The Kick: It's a little known fact that, buried deep within one of his many mansions, Michael Jordan has a notebook. Inside it appear the words "I will not use the phrase 'Hey Newman, get me a beer, you fat little turd,'" repeated hundreds and hundreds of times, apparently under great duress.

Survivors: If you ask Jordan about the notebook, he'll look off into the distance for a moment, gently rubbing the back of his head. Then he'll ask if you want to see him dunk.

You will.

#2 12:15 PM - 6:30 PM, 06/05/1965 - Berrywood, NH (Pop. 397)

Kicker: Shirley Jackson

Kickee: Berrywood, NH (Pop. 397)

The Kick: From "The Haunting of High Kicks: How Shirley Jackson Kicked Us All In The Head," by Alex Millsop - "Perhaps it was some sleight of hand. Perhaps, as my grandad used to say, the Jackson woman was a Wordwitch, deadly in her wrath. Maybe the Lewis child, who handed out the books that day, had been playing with a pot of ink, supplied to him by sleight of hand, and brewed by a Wordwitch. I don't know.

In any case, every copy of The Lottery we handed out that day was marked with the Black Spot. All except Jackson's.

We lined up around the square, from oldest to youngest, and approached her as the wheat approaches the reaper [Ed. Note - like most Berrywood residents alive that day, Millsop suffered mild brain damage that plagued him until his death]. To each Berrywoodian, Jackson would bow, smile, and then dispatch with a perfect Taekwondo Head Kick Knockout. Unconscious bodies began to pile up on either side, but the woman was nothing if not determined. By the end of the afternoon, her foot had swollen to be the size of an egg that was the size of a loaf of bread! But she just kept kicking, kicking, kicking. Finally, she kicked the town's youngest resident, the aforementioned Ink-hand Lewis, and, with a smile, fell over, dead. We buried her in the quarry, then burnt the quarry down, and tried to forget any of this had ever happened. Frankly, I don't know why I'm writing this book. I should stop. Okay, I stopped."

Survivors: Jackson, whose literary style reflected a cynical disappointment in the follies of human nature that belied a hope that man might someday overcome his inhumanity to man, would never have willingly taken a life with her masterful Taekwondo skills. She was the only casualty of the day.

#1: ??/??/???? - Hypothetical Improbable Robot Testing Lab



The Kick: Sublime. Perfection. An arrow is built to arc through the air as a bird in flight, striking true its target. A poet's quill, to solidify glory on the page. A head kicking-robot to kick a robot designed to be kicked in the head. Who can deny the beauty of a purpose fulfilled?

Survivors: Please visit my Kickstarter page,'t-know-I'm-still-working-out-some-of-the-details-Oh-also-the-robot-knows-Taekwondo-the-kicking-robot-I-mean-not-the-other-one.html

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