>>> The Scholarly Tabloid
By staff writer Et Nola
May 28, 2006

Where form meets function and Harry met Sally.”

An author once wrote, “Planning to write is not writing. Outlining…researching…talking to people about what you’re doing, none of that is writing. Writing is writing.” That same philosophy applies to moving.

Let’s face it: the trouble with moving is that you can never fully grasp the scope of what’s ahead until the moment you actually start moving things. Until that moment, you only have the image of the lies you’ve constructed to make other people help you. Lies about how “it’ll only take a couple minutes,” “I promise to help you move (said while avoiding eye-contact),” and “I swear I don’t know where that naked picture of your sister came from…dedicated to me…with her signature” are each important lies though, so I understand.

The moving process can be complex. Moving is often a mentally, physically, and financially taxing process that—unlike operating heavy machinery—may actually benefit from the consumption of alcohol. Bear in mind that in order to persuade others to help us move, we generally have to understand our personal struggles with the process. Only from there can we exploit such emotions within others.

First and foremost, moving generates mixed emotions, especially for me. On one hand, I’m forced to move off campus property, and on the other hand I don’t think the Keebler elves could really take Snap, Crackle, and Pop in a no-holds-barred royal rumble. Those crispy bastards are deliciously evil. Anyway, whether you’re moving to campus hovels or to a Mongol yurt on the Yangtze River, moving can elicit feelings of attachment and a general unwillingness to change. Though we often label such emotions under the guise of “laziness,” the truth is that we cling to what we know. To use Samuel L. Jackson’s rant of “known knowns,” let’s just say that where we live before moving represents a “known known”—to the best of our knowledge, we have all the facts and are aware of the outcomes. I know that if I can enter late without waking my roommate, I’ve truly grown as a person and a future ninja.

“Motivate one of your ‘volunteers' by using the other and vice versa. Mention something about ‘teamwork' or ‘that time you saved them from lead poisoning.'

The future, should we remain in one place, represents an “unknown known”—to the best of our knowledge, we have an idea based on prior experiences that helps us feel more comfortable with what remains to be seen. Again, an example is how my stealth skills show promise for the martial arts. I’m pretty excited about the sword-fighting element.

Anyway, moving elsewhere is different from the above scenarios. Moving represents an “unknown unknown”—where we have no idea how/where things may go and our past experiences won’t necessarily amount to more than incongruent memories. Pause for that thought. It’s real, and it’s deep. Alright, now that I’ve gotten the substance out of the way…

Make note of this fact: of all the activities friends can share, moving is not one of them. In fact, friends don’t let friends help other friends move. Moving is a huge favor, and as we all (should) know, huge favors are the car accidents that can paralyze a friendship from the waist down, possibly disabling one’s ability to walk permanently.

Why, God? Why!? You bastard!

Ahem. Excuse me. Anyway, as a general rule, I only employ the services of specific “moving-related personnel” as my source of assistance. The only time these personnel and I talk is when one of us is helping the other move. That way, we lack the situations in which such ammo can be used against us either in a court of law or during an evening of excessive drinking. Sure, we all know that “a friend in need is a friend indeed” but have we forgotten that a needy friend tends to be the first one killed in a slasher film? I mean, I don’t want moving to hinder my survivability should my circle of friends spend Spring Break at Camp Crystal Lake. (Yes, I’m black but since Brandy survived someone still knowing what Jennifer Love Hewitt did last summer, we’ve all been allowed to survive—provided our music careers end promptly.)

Depending on where you’re moving from and where you’re moving to, here are the top three rules to consider.

1. If at all possible, pack your belongings before your help arrives. Sure, it’s fun to see how many loose t-shirts you can stuff into Paul’s Camry but the time spent putting them in and getting them out may provide opportunity for Paul to realize how much of a sucker he was to help out. The goal is to get your shit out as fast as possible—packing in advance makes sure things are easier to transport.

2. Estimate how many trips it will take, divide that number in half, and then add one. Sure, math may not be your thing, but psyching your friends into helping you is your specialty. The theory is that you give them a number that eases their apprehension about helping—and then you take utter advantage of their pity. It’s pretty much what Jesus would do.

3. Try to have more than one person help you move. I don’t care if it’s at the same time or on different days. The key here is to motivate one of your “volunteers” by using the other and vice versa. Make up something inspirational. Mention something about “teamwork” or “that time you saved them from lead poisoning.” The sky is the limit.

For fans of my usual artwork, I apologize for a lack of pictures (I do all my art and most of my own stunts). Since moving back to my old neighborhood in New Orleans, I’ve been without internet access and a number of other luxuries. I’ll write more about trailer-life in my next column. Think of it as Bob Villa meets Martha Stewart during a taping of MTV Cribs. I hope you didn’t just imagine them getting it on. That would be inappropriate…unless her carpet matched his drapes.