(Ars Technica) -- Homer Simpson's famous ode to alcohol—"The cause of, and solution to, all of life's problems"—might apply in equal measure to Craigslist, the wildly popular, barebones site where one can find all of life's problems and solutions, including: a freelance writing gig, roommates, a sex partner, a man-sized fiberglass chili pepper, a lifetime supply of hot sauce, and coffee beans that have been ingested, digested, and excreted by someone living in Portland.
Each year, Craigslist users across the country flag their favorite classified ads for inclusion in the "best of" category. The bar to inclusion is high, but somehow each year America comes through with memorable postings that remind us just why we went ahead with this whole Web 2.0 thing.
This year was no exception. Here are a few of our favorites.
"Artist needed. Must love owls," said one September post, which had something quite specific in mind.
We need an artist to depict the following: an owl skeleton with a parrot on its shoulder. The parrot is not a skeleton and is very colorful. The parrot has a peg leg, with a pirate hat on. The owl has an eye patch and a gold chain necklace with a skull on the pendant of said necklace. The skull in the pendant has an eye patch on the opposite eye of the owl (long story there don't ask). The owl skeleton also has on a wizard's hat with that typical wizard hat wrinkle. The owl is standing on a cowboy hat from a whale's spout. This all is within a snow globe. That santa is holding with his only good hand because his other hand is a hook. Mrs. Clause is pulling on Mr. Clause's coat with one of those dinosaur mouth grabbers that all 80's children know.
The artist who could handle the commission would get both some cash and "a prize."
(Side note: the oddly specific nature of this image request parallels those often received by our own creative director, Aurich Lawson, who has fielded article image suggestions that make this one look absolutely normal by comparison.)
Needed: one lap for aging cat
Next up, the "feline lap surrogate," which I want to believe is a joke but fear is not. This job post is exactly what it sounds like, viz., the surrogate goes to a home each morning from 8am-12pm and gets paid $15 an hour to sit in a chair and "allow my cat to sit on their lap (the cat is attention seeking, and has been decreasing my productivity as of late)." The ideal candidate must have cat handling experience and no allergies.
"I do not need anyone in the afternoon since the sun warms the window sill by that point, and the cat will prefer the window sill to a lap," the ad concludes. "Breakfast and lunch will be provided each day."
The Morrissey shrine
"Sing your life" with this shrine to Morrissey
"The more you ignore me, the close I get," Morrissey famously sang, but you won't be able to ignore the downbeat crooner when this this Morrisey shrine sits in your living room. I'm not sure what this ad's inclusion in the "best of" list says about the taste of Craigslist users, except that it is catholic enough to encompass suffering that is itself worthy of a Morrissey song.
My unemployment benefits ran out and I have to downsize, so I won't be able to take the shrine with me. No more reeling around the fountain, indeed. Comes from a home where smoking was previously allowed and 2 cats lived but they both died this summer. And I might as well tell you that I had to exchange all the stuff my ex-fiancee and I had at each other's places this morning, since he ended our relationship just as things were looking most grim for me, so I might be sobbing when you come by.
A question of fertilizer
I have a neighbor who grows astonishing amounts of vegetables in his back yard and regularly shares his bounty of tomatoes, zucchini, and pumpkins with me. So I had my neighbor in mind when I read this helpful ad:
We just dug up about 50 gallons of Jerusalem artichokes. They have a lot of soil attached.... I bet chickens would love them. They are piled just inside the sidewalk next to our pedestrian entrance. Bring your own container. Help yourself. No need to call unless you want to know if there are any left.
Neighborly! Community spirited! Though there is this one little caveat that elevated a humble post about extra vegetables to something much more: "Consider them livestock feed as they were grown in an area where a guy was pooping."
The case of the missing bacon
With many of these ads, one knows they aren't entirely serious -- and yet one suspects that a real story might lie behind them. Take, for instance, the case of the bacon sniffing dog:
We bought some bacon and some coffee this morning but due to being drunk we seem to have misplaced it. We are 90-93% sure it's in our house somewhere. But where? We seriously have no idea. It's driving us nuts. We just want to drink some coffee and eat some freaking bacon. If you have a dog that likes smelling and finding bacon we would love to have him over. We will even feed you bacon once it's found. Please help.
Are these guys seriously looking for a dog to immediately come over and sniff out lost bacon in their apartment? Doubtful. Did they actually get drunk and lose said bacon? Far more plausible.
Before he gets married, every man wants one last night of freedom... to explore a dungeon. With his buddies. Preferably with a topless dungeon master.
Okay, perhaps it's not a universal fantasy, but it was the request of one guy from Prince George's County, Maryland.
"Looking for a woman with Dungeon Master experience in Dungeons and Dragons (specifically 3.0 or 3.5 editions) to run a game," said the ad. "The event is for a Bachelor Party and the 'future husband to be' would prefer if the DM could be topless. With that said, I ensure you that nothing else is expect of you [sic] other than an exciting adventure."
The woman, who should sport a cup size of "C or greater," would of course not find this experience at all creepy/demeaning. "There will be 5 'guys' that will be participation [sic] including myself," the ad continued. (One wonders why exactly "guys" is in quotes.) "We are at all [sic] above the age of 24. Each of us are gentlemen and will treat the Dungeon Master with the utmost of respect."
Like so many of the best "best of" ads on Craigslist, this one just might possibly be real.
The gator got my pig
From Jacksonville comes this unusual tale of woe, headed "The gator that ate my pot bellied pig." The title makes the request clear—there's a gator that needs catching.
I need help catching the gator that ate my prized pig. My pig (Rudy Belle) was wearing a very expensive necklace, a generational necklace, which was in my wife's family for years. The emotional distress I have had from losing my pig is nothing like the stress I will receive from my wife if I don't get it back. It happened at the Blue Cypress Golf Club and it scared the bejesus out of me. I spoke to management and they said there was nothing they could do. If anyone has found the necklace or has seen this gator (has a weird blotchy snout) pleasssse contact me.
Now, some of us at Ars are edging towards 50, so we've been around the links a few times, and stories about necklace-wearing pigs being devoured on the golf courses of Jacksonville by villainous gators with blotchy snouts raise questions of plausibility. On the other hand—this is Florida.
Found: one glove
A Minneapolis resident reminds us that Craigslist is also the home for aspiring creative writers looking to hone their craft. How else to explain the time someone would take to dress up the story of finding an expensive left-handed glove in prose like this:
I chose not to wear the glove as I have a skin condition that causes me to sweat a substance not unlike butter (but only a fraction of its deliciousness) and I wouldn't want to ruin this perfectly lovely glove.
Since I found the glove three hours ago I've tried to make the best home I can for it. We played two games of Risk (he won both!), watched a documentary about the internet and had a heated debate about Obamacare.
When I say we had a heated debate about Obamacare, I am not suggesting that the glove can speak. He simply nodded in agreement while I went over my 45 bullet points. So if you have lost a left-handed black glove that has the capabilities of speech, I apologize, this is not your glove. Your search, unfortunately, continues.
Clever! But also quite mercenary, since the writer goes on to note: "I wish I could simply return the glove to you, but I don't have much money and I want some of yours."
Craigslist posts as tool of parental discipline? It's possible, as one parent's angry post can attest.
Selling my disrespectful, alcohol abusing, dwi arrested, spoiled bar bum of a daughters perfect BMW X3. The is a white X3 si, with xenon headlights, panoramic roof, all beige leather interior, all options with 105,000 miles on it. Just completed its 100,000 maintenance 2 months ago and is in complete and perfect condition with only the driver being the malfunction. We paid $20,500 12 months ago for the vehicle. Needing to sell to pay her legal battles and to buy her a shiny pink bicycle with a horn until she gets her act and her life in order some time soon.
Dragon slayer needed
Finally, if you're from the Grand Rapids, Michigan area, you no doubt saw "the rather large green dragon that has been flying over the north east side of Grand Rapids for the better part of a week" back in April. One poster sought a dragon slayer online, asking only that (s)he:
1.) Lure said dragon away from Grand Rapids to a more rural area.
2.) Force said dragon to land in rural area.
3.) Slay said dragon in whatever way you see fit.
There's no pay in dragon slaying, unfortunately, and the poster is quite clear to note that only the green dragon should be slain. "Please note that I am not talking about the red dragon that frequents the area from time to time," the post concludes. "He and I have an agreement."
COPYRIGHT 2011 ARSTECHNICA.COM