I walked into Cracked Editor-In-Chief Jack O'Brien's office, worry etched on my face. It had been a while since I'd been summoned in to this wholly imaginary article-jumping-off-point, and every time it had happened in the past I had soon after ended up on a roller coaster ride of sorrow and gastrointestinal distress. "Bucholz, I've got bad news," he said, off to a good start. "We're running out of old things to make jokes about." "I see," I said, lying. "Do you know how many jokes we made about Lethal Weapon
last month?" he asked. I shook my head. "Twenty three thousand." I looked at him searchingly. "And is thatÃ¢ÂÂ¦?" "It is a little higher than normal, yes." I frowned, wondering how I was going to get out of the office without having to do any work. "I'm getting too old for this shit?" I asked, searchingly. Jack just shook his head sadly. "Fortunately, I've already come up with a solution." "Oh thank goodness," I said, getting up to leave. "Good work chief. Savvy and far sighted as ever." "Shut up and sit down. You're going to write an article on Family Matters
. I've just checked the Internet, and nobody has ever written anything about Family Matters
. This could be a big scoop for us." My face sunk. "Oh man. That's the saddest thing I've ever heard." Jack nodded, eyes damp. I sat back down and together we had a good cry. _______________ So I traveled to Chicago, the setting of TGIF mainstay Family Matters
. Arriving at O'Hare I proceeded to rent a car, opting for the GPS system
to help me navigate the unfamiliar city. Although my car, a 2001 Pontiac Sunfire, appeared to be made entirely out of plastic and disappointment, the aftermarket GPS system installed within it was surprisingly fancy. Flicking it on, I fiddled with the settings for a bit. The default voice was a grimly cheerful lady who I immediately disliked. I was amused to see a category for celebrity voices, although it was mostly empty. The voice for KITT was in there, which sounded like a great idea, until I remembered how much I hated that prick.
"Michael, blah blah blah, according to my calculations, blah blah blah, I'm a huge penis-sore." The only other voice was Bill Kurtis. His name sounded familiar, but it took me a second before I could place it. If you've ever watched anything on A&E you'll know who I'm talking about. You know that distinguished voice who narrates tales of true crime while probably enjoying a glass of port? Yeah, that guy. I activated the feature, and after a few seconds was delighted to hear Kurtis's unmistakable voice resonate throughout the car: "Hello, I'm Bill Kurtis. Before we set out on this journey, would you like to tell me your name, so as to personalize your driving experience?" "All right," I said, a little unsure of myself. "I'm Chris Bucholz." "Hello Chris. You may begin by entering a destination." "Uh. Chicago I guess. Just basic Chicago please."
"2:00pm. Chris Bucholz heads south out of O'Hare airport's rental parking lot, towards Chicago." "Oh awesome!" I exclaimed, putting the car into gear and following Kurtis's instructions. "Keeping to the right as he approaches the interchange, Chris spots Chicago's iconic skyline in the distance. Clouds blot the horizon; clouds well suited for casting shadows... over murder.
" "Yeah!" I shrieked. "Yeah! This is exactly how awesome life should be all the time." Bill spoke again. "I take it from the elevated pitch of your response that you enjoy this style of pathfinding. Would you care to tell me a bit more about yourself, so as to better personalize your voyage?" I nodded vigorously. "Sold. Completely sold. OK. I'm a writer. For Cracked. I'm here researching an article." "As in Cracked Magazine
? Is that still around?" "After a fashion, yes. Wow. You're really interactive, hey?" "This is an extremely advanced personal navigation system, yes," Bill responded. "Powerful heuristic language detection and response systems, 3G network connection, access to an enormous database online and off." He paused to let that digest. "Taking exit 27 in a half mile, Cracked writer Chris Bucholz drove down the chilly Chicago streets, towards events that would soon change his life forever." I laughed. "That's great! And it could apply to basically anything." "Indeed. That's a little narrator's trick for you." ____________________ "So this is the Winslow house," I said, looking up at it. It didn't look like I remembered, but that was almost certainly because I didn't actually remember what it looked like. Bill narrated my thoughts accurately. "2:45 pm. Chris looked up at the North Chicago home, once used for the exterior shots from the hit sitcom