Now I don't want to get off on a rant here, but revenge has been a basic human motivation ever since Noah sailed his ark past the drowning jerks who always picked him last in high school phys ed, and yelled, "Good luck on the swim team, fuckers."

Life as we know it is completely based on revenge. It all started with Adam and Eve being expelled from Paradise for eating an apple. Does that not reveal to you a vengeful God? God likes vengeance. God encourages it. He's kicking people out of paradise for eating apples. Turns out God is a touchy cosmic Korean grocer. Oh, and by the way, for those of you who are not of the Judeo-Christian persuasion, just think of revenge as "induced karma."

My general rule of thumb when it comes to revenge is to not give in to my first impulse to throw a punch. Now, primarily, that's because the only guy I can beat up on this planet just had his birthday announced by Willard Scott.

But sometimes, enough is enough. The other day I'm at Denny's, and I order two eggs and three silver dollar pancakes. The waitress serves me three eggs and two silver dollar pancakes. So I very calmly whipped out a can of lighter fluid and torched the entire establishment, all the while whistling the tune "Disco Inferno." On the way home, of course, my wife says I overreacted. Of course she'd say that. They got her order right.

And it's not just me. Everybody's life is chock-a-block full of opportunities for retribution. The workplace, for instance, with all its shifting alliances and power plays, is a ripe setting for revenge. I myself have never peed in the boss' coffee pot, but I have suggested that the coffee tastes salty and just winked at him on occasion.

And I guess the death penalty is society's ultimate revenge, especially if you fake the guy out and make like you hear the phone ringing just before you throw the switch.

And even in what's passing today for our leaders, the urge for revenge festers like a clamhouse dumpster on an August afternoon. Texas Governor Bush's entire presidential campaign is built on settling a score. His father lost to Bill Clinton in '92, and he's still pissed. For eight years, George Senior has been seething over his loss to that smirking, two-timing two-termer, while he sits at home writing his memoirs, thinking up euphemisms for "sushi vomit." Everyone knew it was only a matter of time before Bush Senior showed up on the parapet of the Texas Governor's Mansion like the ghost in HAMLET, screaming, "Avenge me, Dubya! Avenge me!"

Paybacks are also why, after the Michigan and Arizona primaries, the nation of Vietnam began sweating like Roger Ebert in a tae-bo class. Now, sure, Senator John McCain parrots reconciliation with our former enemy--that is, when he's not screaming the word "gook" at the top of his lungs. But because McCain has a blast furnace of a temper, if he wins, you just know he's gonna crank up Air Force One, fly it over Hanoi, and start dropping a million leaflets that say, "It's on again, Charlie."

I think our goal shouldn't be eradicating human beings' need for revenge as much as it should be refining it. Be creative. Ladies, you really want to get back at a man for dumping you? It's very simple: Get his new girlfriend drunk and go to bed with her, then call him up and tell him how great she was. He will simultaneously be so pissed off and insanely turned on that you'll short circuit his brain and his dick in one vengeful masterstroke. By the way, if you do try this method, please submit to me a meticulously detailed report on how it all turned out and a comprehensive video tape in the SP mode. Remember, that's the SP mode, not SLP. SP. All right? Good luck!

So, summing up, just think of revenge as an indispensible release valve for an increasingly pseudocivilized society. These days, Americans feel they have only two options when someone has harmed them. They can beat the shit out of that person or they can hire a lawyer. Hey, I got a better idea. Let's kill two birds with one stone. Next time somebody does you wrong, go beat the shit out of a lawyer. Everybody's happy.

Of course, that's just my opinion, I could be wrong.


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