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SSS
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Use the call to battle from The Hunger Games.

Quote :
"War, terrible war. Widows, orphans, a motherless child. This was the uprising that rocked our land. Thirteen districts rebelled against the country that fed them, loved them, protected them. Brother turned on brother until nothing remained. And then came the peace, hard fought, sorely won. A people rose up from the ashes and a new era was born. But freedom has a cost. When the traitors were defeated, we swore as a nation we would never know this treason again. And so it was decreed that, each year, the various districts of Panem would offer up, in tribute, one young man and woman to fight to the death in a pageant of honor, courage and sacrifice. The lone victor, bathed in riches, would serve as a reminder of our generosity and our forgiveness. This is how we remember our past. This is how we safeguard our future."

9/30/2015 1:42:08 PM

GrumpyGOP
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All good choices.

My last day of work is Friday. Most of my time with this organization, I've had little to nothing to do. Now that they realize their translation monkey is gone, the work is pouring in -- far more than I could do in a week, let alone the day and a half that remain, especially given that tomorrow I am assigned to follow around a visiting bigshot so I can ghost write a blog entry for her. This gives me an immense sense of satisfaction: my colleagues coming to me as supplicants, begging me to please, please do their thing before I leave. And I get to reject nearly all of them. Fuckers.

---

I visited the Rwandan war criminal yesterday. It was a dud; we waited an hour for him to waddle into the room, claim he was sick, and bid us farewell. Maybe he really was sick; really, though, I don't think he wanted to talk to me. It's not like I've been prosecutorial in our previous meetings or anything, but he has realized that I'm not liable to give him money (as he asked for last time) nor get him out of jail. Plus he may get the impression I'm just bringing people in to "look at the freak." It's true that each time I visit, I bring someone with me, and that those people have generally been different each time; but that isn't so much for their benefit as for mine. Visiting the guy is an intensely stressful experience, and it's nice to have another person there as a conversational buffer if I lock up.

After that I visited my old host family. It was awkward, as I'd known it would be. I haven't visited them in years, even though they didn't live far from my village nor from Cotonou. I like them as people, but social calls here come with baggage that makes them awkward and stressful in their own way. People ask what you have brought them, the answer to which is generally a mumbled "good health" or "good luck," which disappoints; then they are obligated to send out the children to fetch you food and drink, whether you want it or not; meanwhile it turns out that you have remarkably little to talk about. My hosts have done well for themselves -- they're adding a second floor to the house, with a flush toilet planned -- but their day-to-day lives are essentially unchanged from what I experienced in June-September 2012. Meanwhile, I've had some adventures, but they'd be culturally inappropriate ("...so we were all drunk in the taxi when this gendarme asshole pulled us over...") or they'd be onerously difficult to explain (the war criminal, for instance, would require not just an explanation of how I met the guy or how he ended up in Benin, but also where Rwanda is and what happened there in 1994).

So anyway, it was awkward for all those reasons, plus they got to repeatedly chastise me for failing to visit more often. I did get a shot and a beer, though, which made it easy to sleep through the taxi ride back to Cotonou.

---

I've been clearing out my house in anticipation of departure, which has led to some further awkwardness. Once people know you are leaving, they start asking for things; fortunately most of my neighbors don't know me well enough to pull this, but the guard and landlord don't mind. Worse, they happily go through my garbage as soon as I dump it out. This didn't use to matter, since anything I threw out was perfectly acceptable trash. Now, though, they are finding some semi-useful things: notebooks that still have blank pages, folders, clothes that are a little too worn for me to send home, but not beyond repair. This bothers me for two reasons: one, some of the papers I have to dispose of have personal information. Two, people start to harass me more: "Why did you throw this away? Let me come take things like this from your house."

---

I live in a swamp and the road becomes largely submerged whenever it rains. To fix this, every so often a dump drunk comes with a load of dirt and debris from construction sites and dumps it into the larger depressions before driving away. At this point, a strange sort of communal action takes place.

Every 12 year old boy (give or take a year) in the neighborhood shows up with whatever tool they can bring to bear, almost always a short-handled hoe, to begin spreading the dirt around. A couple of the more responsible adults will show up, too; one of them might even have a shovel. Something I can only call "mud cinder blocks" comprise a fair portion of the debris; these need to be broken up. There's usually only one hammer to go around, and everyone else throws the blocks into each other. Meanwhile the children harass every passing car, motorcycle, or pedestrian for either a little bit of money or a few minutes of helpful labor.

They asked me for this, and I'm sure they wanted the money. They always want the money, but they also rightly deride the white man's facility for manual labor. It's true I'm particularly bad at this sort of thing, but even the best of you would be put to shame by a couple of Beninese tweens when it comes to the task in question. Well, I said, I'll show them; I have a real American-made hammer, and I'll come help them break rocks.

It's only pure dumb luck that I'm not typing this on a Braille keyboard. The first swing of the hammer, and part of the claw broke and flew off into my forehead, about a half-inch above my left peeper. OK, I thought. Maybe the claw is not the part to use. Also maybe remember all the jokes about the quality of American manufacturing next time you're proud of your American-made hammer.

I kept at it, breaking mud bricks into more manageable pieces, awkwardly closing my eyes right before the moment of impact with each swing. It was working, even more efficiently than "throwing the bricks into one another," but the problem was that I was always in the way of children flinging dirt into the hole or bits of metal or wood into piles for later collection. Finally they thanked me for my help and kindly suggested maybe I'd like to go take a shower. White skin shows mud stains pretty well, I guess.

9/30/2015 2:40:50 PM

SSS
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Quote :
"a dump drunk comes with a load of dirt and debris from construction sites and dumps it into the larger depressions before driving away"


9/30/2015 3:23:41 PM

GrumpyGOP
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I mean, the driver probably was drunk...

Today's my last day of actual work. It entails writing a blog entry about this old bitch who visited us yesterday and proceeded to piss me right the fuck off.

She's some sort of bigshot in our organization -- a member of the board of directors, I think, though the actual title was slightly different -- and she's a vice president at another NGO where I would really like to work. I may have torpedoed my chances at that, though. She was about three feet tall and shaped like an egg, with no discernible neck, and appeared to have been born some time during the Johnson administration. The Andrew Johnson administration.

We had the following conversation, which I am representing as accurately as I can:

Old Bitch: "Where are you from?"
Grumpy: "I'm from North Carolina."
Old Bitch: "North Carolina is beautiful, but it's a little boring. The people there don't really have an edge to them. In New York, where I'm from, people have an edge..."
Grumpy: "In North Carolina, we just call that 'being a jerk.'"
[stunned silence; she walks away]

Later, at lunch, there were a variety of soda options. She was offered a Pepsi. Pepsi is pretty rare in Benin and offering it is is maybe a little more polite, a recognition of status. She responded with a disgusted, "Oh, no! No Pepsi, ever. God. Pepsi is for Republicans." She practically spat out the last word.

Evidently, there is a rumor that Pepsi is served in federal cafeterias during Republican administrations, but that's beside the point. I immediately asked for the Pepsi, prompting, as I had known it would, one of my Beninese coworkers to ask if I was a Republican. I'm not any more, technically, having switched to "independent" during the vote on the idiotic gay marriage amendment, but I said, "Yes, I am." Again, I got the response I expected from the fanatically Obama loving Africans: "So you did not vote for Obama?"

"Not the first time."

Hand on my heart, the old bat almost choked on her food. I'll never work at that organization now, but my only regret is that word "almost."

10/2/2015 5:49:47 AM

justinh524
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just copy/paste that post for your blog entry.

10/2/2015 9:42:04 AM

synapse
play so hard
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^

10/2/2015 10:14:41 AM

moron
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Quote :
" She responded with a disgusted, "Oh, no! No Pepsi, ever. God. Pepsi is for Republicans." "


o.O

10/2/2015 12:33:30 PM

GrumpyGOP
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I set aside three days to close out service, but it turns out I'm so good at losing jobs that I got it done in two. My boss just punched stapled the last of my paperwork, punched a hole in my ID card, and said, "You are no longer a volunteer."

[Edited on October 6, 2015 at 11:49 AM. Reason : ]

10/6/2015 11:49:08 AM

GREEN JAY
All American
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huzzah! enjoy your trip home

10/6/2015 12:23:50 PM

wdprice3
BinaryBuffonary
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Ah, that story is gold.

10/7/2015 1:50:29 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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The past few days have been a shitshow. My buddy arrived from the US on Wednesday, and getting around with a person who doesn't speak French is more difficult than I thought. He mastered "finding a beer" with predictable alacrity but other than that he's basically a deaf-mute.

Getting Bea on the airplane was a fucking nightmare. Everything that could go wrong, did go wrong. At the last minute they said she would have to go to Miami and spend the night, so I'd have to pay to kennel her. The price for doing so, for one night: $255. Which is a fucking outrage, but fine, I love the dog, let me pay it. Oh wait, she only accepts payment by Western Union or Moneygram. This makes it sound like a massive scam but American Airlines swear this is who they use. More importantly, neither of them work from Africa. Not even their online options. In the end, we had to get my girlfriend's dad to do it from America (my parents were out of contact). So I'll be meeting him next month for the first time, and I already owe him money. Great.

Then we finally get her to the airport and have to fill out reams of paperwork (I signed 14 copies of one document) while a Beninese guy entered information into the computer. His ineptitude nearly led to me mailing a horse to New Caledonia, in the South Pacific. Evidently in the "select an animal" dropdown list, he just went down to "ch" (for "chien," dog) and hit enter, not realizing that "cheval" (horse) comes first alphabetically. Then he thought NC was the country, which the computer read as Nouvelle Caledonie. Fortunately his boss caught the error (as well she might have, given that my dog weighs 7 kilos).

Hopefully now she's in Brussels awaiting the next leg of the trip.

10/11/2015 5:06:40 AM

justinh524
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Godspeed Bea.

10/11/2015 6:00:59 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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The dog's back and now, at long last, so am I.

11/30/2015 4:38:19 PM

justinh524
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OMG

11/30/2015 4:57:09 PM

moron
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So what next? You still plan on writing about the genocide guy? Is your lady in NC now too? You helping with TGD's campaign?

11/30/2015 5:02:21 PM

mattinthehat
All American
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Welcome home!

It's been great following you these past few years.

11/30/2015 6:24:32 PM

SSS
All American
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Glad you and Bea made it back!

11/30/2015 7:23:52 PM

aaronburro
Sup, B
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Welcome home, yovo!

11/30/2015 7:25:24 PM

GrumpyGOP
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Quote :
"So what next? You still plan on writing about the genocide guy? Is your lady in NC now too? You helping with TGD's campaign?"


First there's the bureaucracy of returning to America -- I have to figure out how to get my car re-registed/insured/etc., I need a phone that works in America, I need health insurance. Then trying to enjoy Christmas while gearing up the big job hunt, looking at international relations/development opportunities, mostly in the DC area.

I'm hoping to write something, but since my last meetings with the guy yielded so little I'm not sure what form that will take. I may jump on the bandwagon and write a "peace corps memoir," in which the genocide guy would be a feature to distinguish my story from so many others.

My lady is with her family in San Diego, where my parents and I spent Thanksgiving. She's waiting to hear from graduate schools. For a variety of reasons we've got our fingers crossed for Johns Hopkins. She applied to several other schools, and it says something about how smart and qualified my lady is that George Washington University is her safety school.

I would certainly like to help TGD and I've spoken with him briefly about it. We're trying to arrange a face-to-face but I gotta get my car back on the road first, since I live a good hour or so west of his haunts.

11/30/2015 8:35:05 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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The return to America has mostly been a stress-filled shitshow of unpleasantness, but I'm happy report that this morning, before I even put pants on, I was messaged by the director of that movie I was in. Editing is nearly done and I am still promised a copy.

12/27/2015 11:50:10 AM

moron
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We need to do a tww screening.

12/27/2015 1:12:03 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Last year when I came home I thought, "Pfft, readjustment isn't hard, I don't know what people are complaining about."

Well, now I know, and I should have known then, what a wide gulf there is between "month long vacation at home" and "open-ended period of living at home."

On the family front I think we'll all getting pretty sick of each other. I've managed to piss off my mom so bad that she isn't really speaking to me, though really she started it by trying to steal my dog. If I had known how much fucking trouble that dog would be I'd have left her ass in Africa.

None of those issues are helped by the fact that I am dependent on my parents again, which has the dual effect of adding a strain to their resources and making me less pleasant to be around as I get deeper and deeper into the despair of unemployment and lack of independence.

However, there is a glimmer of hope -- I already have an interview in Bethesda, Maryland, with one of the development outfits up there. It'd be coordinating some as-yet unspecified projects in Africa. Going to take the train up tomorrow. I'm apprehensive in the short term because I've never had an interview for a "real job" before and don't know quite what to expect. I'm apprehensive in the long term because even if I get the job, some quick math reveals I won't exactly be shitting in high cotton as far as money goes.

Apprehension aside, it gets me out of the house and back on my own two feet. The lady friend got into Johns Hopkins and will go there unless someone else offers her a boatload of money, so it gets me closer to her. So anyway, send positive vibes. Not about the interview, though. I'm taking Amtrak. Just pray I make it there alive.

1/25/2016 1:43:29 PM

BigMan157
no u
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best of luck surviving your interview and pending derailment, sir

1/25/2016 1:53:56 PM

justinh524
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amtrak is probably slightly safer than the taxis/motorbikes/whatever you took in africa. slightly.

1/25/2016 3:22:06 PM

SSS
All American
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Hopefully the train will not hit a woman carrying a baby on her back. Or a pig.

1/25/2016 3:47:37 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Well the train isn't going to be late or kill anybody because it got cancelled.

Currently looking at my Greyhound bus options. Because apparently that's where my life is at now. The bus station.

You know, I took seven trains across India. All of them 10-15 hour long rides. None of them was ever really late, let alone cancelled. Good job, Amtrak. Good job. You're losing to a country that still has plague.

1/25/2016 6:29:10 PM

moron
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It's like $230 on Southwest to fly up there, doesnt seem too bad, not sure how much this compares to a bus.

1/25/2016 6:35:32 PM

justinh524
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i have no idea, but i'm 100% sure a bus is way cheaper than that.

1/25/2016 7:49:38 PM

aaronburro
Sup, B
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Quote :
" Good job, Amtrak. Good job. You're losing to a country that still has plague."

1/25/2016 8:16:46 PM

moron
All American
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I would throw in on a crowd source to help grumpy get a job... He's earned it at this point.

1/25/2016 9:32:52 PM

GrumpyGOP
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Like five minutes into the train ride back home, my car filled up with smoke and they had to open all the doors to air it out. What the fuck, Amtrak? Seriously?

As for the interview, did not go great. All websites that have job interview advice are filled to the brim with bullshit. But then again, so is the interview process itself, which is basically some kind of perverse kabuki theater parodying how people actually function in a work environment.

I'm going to go see if they sell liquor on the train.

1/28/2016 1:34:16 PM

BigMan157
no u
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fuck interviews, i hate them

1/28/2016 3:03:30 PM

roguewarrior
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First ones are always tough and they get easier the more you do. About 6-7 months ago I started the hunt and had my first interview in ~7 years. It probably could have been aired as a comedy central special

1/30/2016 10:04:43 AM

GrumpyGOP
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People smirkingly ask, "Do you miss Africa?" Right now the answer is, "You're goddamn right I do. In Africa, I had a job." And more than that, in Africa I was an elder statesman, a person to be consulted about things. I'd been there as long as anybody. If people had a question, they came to me. I introduced business contacts and likely friends. Strangers told me they loved my blog. Here, I'm a 31 year old man who lives with his parents. I don't understand how anything works and constantly have to ask people. Sometimes it's because there's new technology or pop culture things (or Obamacare) that I missed. Other times there are those things about American life that I dreaded before and fled to Africa to avoid, but now have to face. Things like student loans, cell phone plans, and actual job applications.

That last interview is now a barely recognizable ember of hope, and so the grind continues. I apply for 1-2 jobs a day and it fucking exhausts me. Not physically taxing, obviously, but the research and careful crafting of the application drains me mentally, and the near-certain futility of any given application wipes me out emotionally.

A couple of weeks ago I exhausted the supply of jobs I'd actually want, mostly managing or supporting development projects. Now I'm applying for the things that might advance me professionally without prompting me to pour a tall glass of bleach for a digestif. That means "business development." In the international aid context, "business development" never means "developing businesses." It means "finding new suckers to give us grant money." It is, in short, exactly the thing I hated about my last job, the development industry's back-asswards approach of "Figure out what people will give money for, then figure out how to do that."

In point of fact I am really, really fucking low. Lower than I've been since the last great unemployment crisis back before Peace Corps, and that was low enough to talk to medical professionals about it. Apparently I really, really need work in order to be happy. This comes as a shock to everybody who has ever met me, given that "laziness" has always been perceived to be my salient quality.

This time, at least, I have a girlfriend who is perfect in every way except insofar as her perfection does tend to highlight my own shortcomings. She just got offered a full ride plus stipend to go to her first choice MPH school, Johns Hopkins. I couldn't be prouder, but it does put the pressure on me to find a real job, and soon. She starts in June. If we are going to live together (as we hope to do), I need relevant employment by then.

tl;dr, TWW is not a blog, etc, etc. This is me cashing in all my TWW goodwill from a 26 page thread to bitch and moan for a minute.

2/19/2016 1:35:37 AM

0EPII1
All American
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Quote :
"but it does put the pressure on me to find a real job, and soon"


1) compile your posts ITT into a book
2) self-publish on kindle
3) ....
4) $$$

2/19/2016 1:47:36 AM

moron
All American
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^^ do you know what went wrong with your last interview?

I don't know you IRL, but based on your blog/tww, you seem like someone that would interview well... I'd hire you if I owned my own business, FWIW.

2/19/2016 2:08:53 AM

GrumpyGOP
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I don't interview well at all. I tend to panic when dealing with people who (a) I don't know and (b) wield power over me. This manifests itself in talking too much, being too humble and deferential, and having all the usual symptoms of extreme anxiety -- dry mouth, fidgeting, etc.

This one was made worse by the format and the sheer number of interviewers. First there was one round with two relatively low-ranking people who had jobs comparable to the one I was applying for. I did OK with them because we had a fair amount in common and besides, I can keep my shit together for a while. But after this hour-long discussion they left and three more people came in for the next round. They were much higher up. The top guy was obviously distracted and not paying attention; they sat all around me so that my attempts to keep up eye contact with everybody put my head on a constant swivel; they didn't ask the questions that I had hoped for, the ones that might give me an opportunity to show off.

2/19/2016 10:47:02 AM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Can I still reply to this?

Evidently I still can. Huh. Anyway, since Jeopardy! has me basking in the limelight, I thought I'd tell this thread that my movie came out. It's mentioned a few pages back in this thread, and I'll summarize in a new post; but if anyone is really bored and has five dollars, you can rent it here:

https://vimeo.com/ondemand/lorageafricain/249639971

Fair warning: This movie is not very good. But it is surprisingly professional, and won second place at the Pan-African Film Festival last year. It's also played at theaters here in DC, St. Louis, and soon in Seattle.

I haven't exactly timed my bits, but I'm probably on screen for about ten minutes at various scenes throughout, and have maybe a dozen lines.



[Edited on June 1, 2018 at 5:40 PM. Reason : The discussion of the movie begins on page 23 of this thread]

6/1/2018 5:36:32 PM

SSS
All American
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Quote :
"TIMED

MY

BITS"


[Edited on June 1, 2018 at 7:11 PM. Reason : sss]

[Edited on June 1, 2018 at 7:11 PM. Reason : Also, awesome!]

6/1/2018 7:10:44 PM

justinh524
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So I'm listening to an episode of Omnibus! and it's about how Benin has the highest twinning rate in the world. Did you notice more twins in Benin than in America, GrumpyGOP?

2/25/2019 8:05:26 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
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Yeah, they were pretty common in my part of the country, which was predominantly Yoruba. That's the ethnic group that mostly drives the high twinning rates, but I think it's pretty common around much of the country.

Honestly, though, if I hadn't gone in aware that it had high twinning rates, I might not have even noticed. Most of the twins I saw were children, so they were either wearing matching school uniforms or, quite often, matching fabric pattern outfits. Kids are already harder to distinguish from one another, now they're wearing identical clothes, and aside from that there's probably the typical yovo handicap when it comes to telling black people apart.

2/25/2019 11:30:25 PM

Bullet
All American
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In addition to the jeopardy appearance, i also enjoyed this. thanks!

6/13/2024 10:55:33 AM

moron
All American
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^
He’s TWWs greatest success

He started out as a gop shill, liberal wit and science converted him, he then went on to win on jeopardy and spread peace on earth

6/13/2024 9:09:28 PM

NCSUStinger
Duh, Winning
62359 Posts
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I wonder which country the 2024 UNC ACC Champs shirts went to

6/15/2024 12:51:51 PM

BubbleBobble
:3
114036 Posts
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Quote :
" So I Guess I'm Going to Africa for Two Years"


LOL

6/15/2024 9:15:34 PM

MrGreen
All American
2281 Posts
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did he ever get a job

6/15/2024 10:30:11 PM

GrumpyGOP
yovo yovo bonsoir
18133 Posts
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I did in fact get a job, and Peace Corps helped with that in two ways. First by giving me special hiring status for a year, second by providing me experience relevant to what I do now which came in handy during the application process.

6/17/2024 11:05:13 AM

rwoody
Save TWW
37269 Posts
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My cousin is in Senegal for Peace Corp now #CoolStory

6/17/2024 11:10:33 AM

moron
All American
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^^
Do you raise rabbits now?

6/17/2024 5:45:59 PM

justinh524
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Do you still have the dog

6/17/2024 5:55:50 PM

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