Area Man Likes To Think Of Own Past As Sordid

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Vol 37 Issue 02

Toilet-Paper Edge Given Classy Appearance With Triangular Fold

MISSOULA, MT–A roll of Charmin bathroom tissue in Room 316 of a Missoula Motel 6 was imbued with a regal air Monday when the maid service folded the edge of the first sheet into an eye-pleasing triangle. "I felt like a pampered duchess," motel guest Rachel Spencer said. "That's what I call 'living the high life.'" Spencer also gushed about the Motel 6 matchbook propped up in the center of a sparkling-clean ashtray.

Explosion Used To Signify Big Savings

WORCESTER, MA–In an ad for Kearns Home & Garden Center in Monday's Worcester Telegram & Gazette, a violent explosion was used as a visual metaphor for low prices on thousands of items throughout the store. "Don't miss our once-a-year 'Explosion Of Savings' event," read the ad, which equated the destructive detonation of trinitrotoluene (TNT) with great savings on everything from Black & Decker wet-dry vacs to tulip bulbs. "Start the new year with a 'bang' of a bargain!"

Bunch Of People Apparently Saw That Brendan Fraser Mummy Movie

SACRAMENTO, CA–A lot of people apparently saw that Brendan Fraser mummy movie, area resident Bill Whited said to himself Monday while watching a trailer for The Mummy Returns. "Wow, I guess a bunch of people out there saw that thing," Whited said of 1999's The Mummy. "I vaguely remember it being in theaters for a few weeks, but I guess it was big. What's next, The Whole Nine Yards II?" A sequel to 1999's The Whole Nine Yards is currently in pre-production at Paramount.

White House Guidance Counselor Recommends Clinton Consider Career In Hotel Management

WASHINGTON, DC–At his mandatory post-presidency appointment with White House guidance counselor Larry Schecht, Bill Clinton was encouraged to consider a career in hotel management Monday. "Your Myers Briggs score suggests you would do well in a variety of job fields," Schecht told Clinton. "You could be anything from an architect to a food scientist, but your strong people skills indicate you would make an ideal hotel manager." To learn more about the field, Schecht recommended that Clinton set up informational interviews at some Washington-area hotels, as well as complete the exercises in the book What Color Is Your Parachute?

Somehow, We'll Middle-Manage

Times are tough, no question. There have been more layoffs in the past six months here at ProVantage Solutions than in the previous five years combined. Salaries have not increased to match inflation. Revenues have fallen off sharply. I do not need to tell you that the road ahead looks long and dark. But be brave, my friends: There is light at the end of the tunnel. Through it all, somehow, we will middle-manage.
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Area Man Likes To Think Of Own Past As Sordid

NORFOLK, VA–Ross Bingham, a married, 34-year-old professional videographer, likes to think of his own past as sordid, sources revealed Monday.

Ross Bingham, who has put his dark days behind him.

"I don't talk about it much, but I went through a pretty wild phase in my early 20s," Bingham told a group of coworkers at Outreach Communications, a corporate video-production company. "I'm lucky I straightened out, because if I'd kept heading down the path I was on, God only knows where I'd be now."

"Those first few years after college, there were times when I was going out drinking with my friends three or four nights a week," Bingham said. "The low point probably came when I woke up on the couch at my friend's apartment with my coat over me as a blanket. I could barely even remember what had happened the night before. Then I realized I must've fallen asleep while we were drinking beer and watching Fletch. Kinda scary when you think about it."

Bingham characterized his living situation at the time as "pretty out of control," telling coworkers that they probably wouldn't even be able to comprehend how "crazy" it was, not having been there.

"One of my roommates was a total pothead," Bingham said. "He'd have guys dropping by to sell him drugs, right there in our living room. I smoked a little pot myself, but I didn't care for it all that much. Drinking, now that was my vice."

Continued Bingham: "I was working part-time at a video store, so I sometimes didn't go into work until noon or one in the afternoon. For a while there, it was 'get off work, go out and party, sleep late, and do it all again the next day.' I knew it was no way to live, but, you know, you get into a downward spiral and it's hard to crawl back out."

Bingham said his other roommate was good friends with the members of Dread Skatt, a popular local ska band, which meant that Bingham would accompany the friend to shows and social events, often staying out as late as two in the morning.

"I was pretty much living to party," he said. "I didn't care about anything else."

Though alcohol was his primary vice, Bingham admitted that it was not his only one: He also had a strong weakness for the opposite sex. The now-reformed Bingham went through a "serious womanizing phase," dating numerous women with no intention of getting into a long-term relationship.

An out-of-control Bingham (left) parties long past midnight during the dark days of the early '90s.

"There was this one girl," he said. "I met her at a bar and we went home together. The next day, I was going to call her, but I realized I couldn't even call information to get her number because I didn't even know her last name. It's probably a good thing we didn't go all the way, or it might have turned into a pretty bad situation."

Bingham also described a "near brush with death."

"I was out with the guys at a nightclub one night, and I'd had a few too many tequila shots," he said. "I started walking to my car when I realized I was way too 'altered' to drive home, so I called a cab. If I hadn't, that could have been it for me right there. To think how close I came to meeting my maker that night, it makes me shudder."

Luckily, at 23, Bingham had a spiritual awakening and realized it was time to turn his life around. The wake-up call was the arrest of best friend and drinking partner Matthew Stackpole.

"Matt got really drunk one night and was goofing around on the walk home," Bingham said. "He decided to steal a 'No Parking' sign, and as he was pulling it out of the ground, a cop drove by. Matt got nailed for attempted theft of public property. Watching him stand in the harsh glare of the police lights, I realized it could have been me being handed that ticket."

Less than a month after his best friend's brush with the law, Bingham took his first steps on the road to recovery. He applied for and landed a job at Outreach Communications, where he prepares video presentations for corporations about to make initial stock offerings.

He hasn't looked back since.

"Sometimes, I miss hanging out with Matt and the old gang. But I know how easy it would be to slip back into my old ways if I did," Bingham said. "If I knew it wouldn't lead to trouble, I'd look Matt up again. It wouldn't be too hard to find him. I hear he's a systems administrator over at Novix Consulting."

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