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IT’S ASSEMBLY TIME

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AND WE HAVE A SPECIAL GUEST

MIDDLE SCHOOL VICE PRINCIPAL: Alright kids, settle down, settle down. [paper airplane whizzes by head] HEY. SETTLE DOWN. Okay, we’ve got a special treat for you all today. As many of you may remember, I promised you at the beginning of the year that, if we made it through the first two months of the year without any major incidents, I’d bring in someone special from the sports world.

BRAYDEN: Is it Steph Curry?

ZAXBY: Mike Trout?

PEYTON: League of Legends e-sports star Faker?

VICE PRINCIPAL: I don’t know what any of that meant. Are you mocking me?

PEYTON: A little, yes.

VICE PRINCIPAL: No, I’ve got a very special person here today, with a very special message. A breakout star from the world of college football!

OLIVIA: Oh, Tua Tagovailoa?

LOGAN: No, I bet it’s Trevor Lawrence!

KEVIN: Alabama special football analyst Lyle “Butch” Jones?

OLIVIA [to LOGAN]: I don’t feel like we talk enough about how weird it was that someone named a kid “Kevin” in 2006.

VICE PRINCIPAL: Alright, kids, here he is!

[guest walks on stage]

UTAH STATE MASCOT BIG BLUE: Hi, everybody!

TWEENS: [silence]

BIG BLUE: That’s right, it’s your ol’ pal Big Blue, beloved and well-known mascot for the Utah State University Aggies, currently ranked #14 in the Associated Press poll. You all know me for my lovable antics on and off the field at Merlin Olsen Field at Maverik Stadium in Logan, Utah. But today I’m here to talk to about something more serious.

BRAYDEN: Drugs?

PEYTON: Sex?

ZAXBY: Guns?

OLIVIA: Naming your kid “Kevin” after like, 1979?

BIG BLUE: [chuckling] No, no, those are all important issues, no doubt, but I want to talk to you today about: properly winterizing your house.

TWEENS: [dangerous silence]

BIG BLUE: Because, you see, guns and drugs may get a lot of airplay and attention - just like Auburn might get ranked in a college football playoff ranking - but you can’t go overlooking the importance of proper winterizing just because it isn’t [making air quotes with his hooves] “sexy”. Why, that’d be like overlooking a team that’s 8-1 on the season just because they don’t play in a high-profile conference!

BRAYDEN: We’re 12.

BIG BLUE: It’s never too early to care about winterization, Kevin. Now, how many of you still use disposable fiberglass filters on your furnaces? Anyone?

TWEENS: [the kind of silence that comes right before you’re mauled by a tiger]

BIG BLUE: Wow, you’ve all switched to permanent electrostatic filters, which stay cleaner and reduce energy demands? Your vice-principal was right, this is a hip crowd!

BIG BLUE: You kids like Drake? Heh. Me too. We’re connecting. Alright, since you’re already hip to best practices in furnace filtration - man, I bet cool kids like you know that the Mountain West is a stronger conference than it often gets credit for - you probably also know about checking the seals on all your doors and windows.

TWEENS: [the kind of silence like all the birds and animals have fled because of an impending tsunami]

BIG BLUE: But I bet you don’t know that reversing your ceiling fans so you’re recirculating warm air back down into your rooms, saving on your heating bills!

BIG BLUE: EH? EH?

PEYTON: Uh, my dad says we should keep the thermostat at 68 in the winter, and just put on a sweater if we’re cold.

BIG BLUE: Your dad’s a smart guy, I bet he also knows that a team that’s averaging over 50 points a game isn’t one to be overlooked, regardless of some preconceived notions about ‘strength of schedule’.

PEYTON: He has not mentioned anything about that.

BIG BLUE: Is your dad on the College Football Playoff Committee? Is he one of those blue-blood goons keeping teams like Ohio State artificially inflated even though they’ve played like a hot bag of ass for the last two months? Is he? IS YOUR DAD OHIO STATE ATHLETIC DIRECTOR GENE SMITH, WHO GETS TO VOTE HIS OWN GARBAGE TEAM 10TH IN THE RANKINGS EVEN THOUGH WE ALL WATCHED THEM GET ROLLED LIKE A CHEAP RUG BY GODDAMNED PURDUE? [punches blackboard]

VICE PRINCIPAL: Alright, Blue, buddy, Blue, calm down. The kids aren’t here to hear about this, they’re here to listen to you talk about saving on winter energy bills.

KEVIN: We’d actually like to hear more swears.

BIG BLUE: [shaking with anger, but trying to compose himself] Well, Kevin, I SWEAR - that you’re really doing your household a disservice if you’re not looking into the tax credits that many states and municipalities offer for upgrading your home with energy-saving measures. It can make a big difference in your bottom line! Now, if you’ll excuse me.

[BIG BLUE steps out into the hallway, where everyone can still hear him]

BIG BLUE: WE’RE ON AN EIGHT-GAME WINNING STREAK AND WE BLEW OUT FRIGGIN’ BYU AT HOME, BUT WE’RE GONNA END UP PLAYING IN THE DANGED NEW MEXICO BOWL BECAUSE THESE VILE BOOT-LICKING BASTARD OLIGARCHS ON THE COMMITTEE INSIST ON RANKING PENN STATE OVER US EVEN AFTER MICHIGAN BEAT THEM LIKE AN EGG THIS WEEKEND. [slamming lockers, cursing] CENTRAL FLORIDA ISN’T ANY BETTER THAN US.

VICE PRINCIPAL: Well, kids, I hope you learned a lot today.

BRAYDEN: What’s a “vile boot-licking bastard oligarch”?

VICE PRINCIPAL: I think your civics teacher can speak to that. Now, who wants brochures on proper window wrapping technique?