Troubled Teens Mock Social Worker's Car

Top Headlines


Grin Slowly Spreads Across Mom’s Face As Meal Revealed To Contain Healthy Ingredients

‘The Mashed Potatoes Are Actually Made With Cauliflower,’ She Announces

VERONA, WI—Having waited until everyone at the table had finished their dinner Monday, a knowing grin reportedly spread across local mother Angela Hopkins’ face as she announced to her family that the mashed potatoes had in fact been made using cauliflower as a healthier alternative.

Sudden Death Of Aunt Creates Rupture In Family Gossip Pipeline

VIRGINIA BEACH, VA—Grieving family members of local aunt Laurie Shelton confirmed Monday that the 48-year-old woman’s unexpected death had caused a major breach in their gossip pipeline, suddenly disrupting access to the latest dirt on all their relatives.

Man Really Letting No One Have It During Exit Interview

SPRINGFIELD, MA—Keeping his voice at a measured volume and holding everything back, departing employee David Hughes was really letting no one have it during his exit interview Monday, sources at local accounting firm Grier and Associates confirmed.

Conceptual Genius Goes As Self For Halloween

‘He Himself Is The Costume,’ Say Amazed Onlookers

SHERMAN OAKS, CA—Brilliantly subverting the very idea of a costume, conceptual genius Mark Richards, 27, reportedly stunned his fellow partygoers Friday when he announced that he had dressed as himself for Halloween.

No One In Gym Class Volleyball Game Willing To Set Ball

LITTLE ELM, TX—With neither team having completed more than two hits during a rally before sending the ball back over the net, sources confirmed Wednesday that no one in Jefferson High School’s third-period gym class was willing to set during a volleyball game.

Impressive New Hire Figures Out Bare Minimum Of Work Job Requires On First Day

MILWAUKEE—Marveling at his extraordinary ability to learn the ropes at the technology firm and quickly fit right in with the rest of his colleagues, sources at Starpoint Solutions confirmed Thursday that impressive new hire Eric Myers has already figured out the bare minimum of work his job requires on the very first day.

45-Minute Phone Call To Credit Card Company Goes Great

FORT WAYNE, IN—Grinning with contentment as he reminisced about the call he placed earlier in the day, 31-year-old accountant Greg Schulhoff told reporters Thursday that his 45-minute phone call with MasterCard regarding late payment fees went “really great.”

Mom Keeping Tabs On Coyote Situation

WAYZATA, MN—Regularly updating her husband and children on the frequency and location of sightings around the neighborhood, local mother Dana Salisbury continued to keep close tabs on the coyote situation this week, sources confirmed.

Teen Coming Out Of Shell Giving Bully Lots Of New Material To Work With

SCOTTSDALE, AZ—Claiming he “hit the jackpot” when his victim began displaying an increased level of confidence and expressing his personal interests, local bully David Macomber told reporters Tuesday that he has had loads of new material to work with since 14-year-old Andrew Reid started coming out of his shell several weeks ago.

Boss Able To Seamlessly Blend Constructive Criticism With Personal Attacks

SAN JOSE, CA—Marveling at the ease and deftness with which he communicates the two messages simultaneously, employees at local advertising firm Wavelength Solutions told reporters Tuesday that their supervisor Eric Crowell has a unique ability to seamlessly blend constructive criticism with cutting personal attacks.

Neighborhood Starting To Get Too Safe For Family To Afford

CHICAGO—Explaining that the sense of unease she felt walking to and from her home had declined markedly over the years, Humboldt Park resident Kirsten Healy expressed her disappointment to reporters Thursday that her neighborhood was becoming too safe for her family to afford.

Area Dad Informs Busboy He’s Ready To Order

NASHUA, NH—Raising his arm into the air while leaning outward from the table in a bid to command attention from the other side of the restaurant, area father Walter Bierko called over a busboy at DiCapri’s Italian Eatery to inform him that he was ready to order, sources reported Wednesday.

Winning Argument With Aging Parents Less Satisfying Than It Once Was

CINCINNATI—After firmly telling them that she was okay paying city prices and that she would not move back to her hometown just because it was cheaper, local woman Ellen Wallace, 40, confirmed Thursday that winning an argument with her parents has become much less satisfying as they have gotten older.

Rescuers Heroically Help Beached Garbage Back Into Ocean

ATLANTIC BEACH, NC—In what many described as an inspiring display of selflessness and teamwork, a group of rescuers heroically saved a beached mound of garbage by helping the stranded trash back into the ocean, eyewitnesses reported Thursday.

Man Races Against Time To Take Out Trash Bag With Widening Puncture

RIO RANCHO, NM—His pace steadily quickening as he rounded the corner out of his kitchen and made a beeline for the front door, local man Henry Parnasse reportedly found himself locked in a race against time Wednesday morning to take out a trash bag with a widening hole in its side.

Man Pushed Off Plate Of Chicken Wings By Larger Male

WARMINSTER, PA—Looking on as the intense display of aggressive behavior played out over several minutes, sources at Flannigan’s Bar & Grill confirmed Thursday that local man Pete Samuelson was pushed off a plate of buffalo wings by a much larger alpha male.

Grandma Guts It Out Through Lunch On Sunny Patio

MALVERN, PA—Making the audacious decision to dine outdoors with her family despite a noticeable lack of umbrellas or awnings, grandmother Diane McGilvery, 83, reportedly gutted it out through lunch Friday on the sunny patio of a local restaurant.

Parents Formally Announce Transfer Of Expectations To Second Child

GRAND JUNCTION, CO—Explaining that the adjustment made the most practical sense for all parties involved, local parents Beth and Ryan Morgan held a press conference Friday morning to announce the official transfer of expectations from their oldest child, Jeremy, to his younger sibling, Angie.

Motorcyclist Salvaged For Parts

SIOUX FALLS, SD—Following a multiple-vehicle accident on Interstate 90 that temporarily halted traffic in both directions, sources reported Friday that a motorcyclist involved in the crash was hauled off and salvaged for parts.

Detective Not Sure He Was Close Enough To Partner To Endlessly Pursue Killer

DETROIT—After his partner of three years was gunned down last week while the pair were on duty, Detective David Killian of the Detroit Police Department’s Major Case Squad told reporters Wednesday he was unsure whether he had been close enough to his murdered colleague to single-mindedly pursue the killer for as long as it takes.

Man Pretty Cocky Since Beating Cancer

FT. LAUDERDALE, FL—Whether he’s bragging about his newfound appreciation for life or arrogantly refusing to take anything for granted, local man Daniel Oretsky, 38, has been acting insufferably cocky since winning his two-year battle with non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, sources confirmed Tuesday.
End Of Section
  • More News
Up Next
TV Listings
Just Like Everything Else!: Fox 8 p.m. EDT/7 p.m. ABC Pete's wife is still on him about building that darn shed, these kids are going to be the death of Sheila and Dave, and the hot next-door neighbor is up in EVERYBODY'S business! Sunday nights on ABC couldn't be any more familiar!

Special Coverage

Area Man

This Great Song, Bar Sources Report

TOMAH, WI—Pausing their conversations momentarily to call attention to the music playing on the establishment’s jukebox, sources at local bar Shepherd’s confirmed to reporters Friday that this is a great song.

Troubled Teens Mock Social Worker's Car

CHICAGO—Despite facing socioeconomic inequities that put them at a lifelong disadvantage, troubled inner-city teens at Marcus Garvey High School are fond of openly mocking their social worker's "shitty car," sources reported Monday.

Rogowski and the 1990 Subaru mocked by Stefano (top) and Banks (bottom).

Social worker Gary Rogowski, 32, works with disadvantaged youths on Chicago's South Side through the neighborhood Second Start program. His car, a 1990 Subaru Loyale station wagon that, as Rogowski puts it, "has seen better days," is a constant source of derision among the teens he has dedicated his professional life to helping.

"Last week, Mr. Rogowski was all up in my face about how I got to go to the job center," said Manny Acevedo, 18, who has struggled with substance abuse for more than three years. "I told him I didn't have no ride, so he says he'll drive me himself, and about an hour later, he shows up in the sorriest car I ever seen. Me and my sisters, we was laughing our asses off as he pull up. I was like, 'Why don't you go to the job center, Mr. Career Advice Man? 'Cause with that car, it's pretty obvious you ain't getting paid.'"

"Mr. Rogowski drive one seriously ugly-ass car," agreed Tyquan Banks, 18, another Second Start program member.

Rogowski said he purchased the Subaru in 1997 "just to use as a winter beater" after his previous car was stolen from outside his workplace at the Cook County Department of Social Services office. Though he planned to keep the car just long enough to last him through the winter months, budget cuts in Chicago's social-services programs resulted in a 15 percent salary cut, leaving him unable to trade in the vehicle.

"After the pay cut, I could no longer float the loan I'd been banking on that spring, so I had to put off getting a better car," Rogowski said. "I figured I'd just put it off for another year. I've been doing that for—how long?—I guess about five years now."

Continued Rogowski: "If that's not bad enough, these kids won't let me hear the end of it."

During a trip to the Cook County Courthouse for a preliminary parental-fitness hearing in April, single mother of two Mary Carver, 17, told Rogowski, "We should make a quick stop first—at the dump, where this piece of garbage you're driving belongs." She then pointed at him and laughed.

Rogowski suffered more good-natured ribbing from Louis Stefano, 15, who asked the social worker if he should borrow money from his mother's welfare check "to pay a truck to come haul away that piece-of-shit car of yours."

According to experts, such exchanges are not uncommon between troubled teens and the drastically underpaid civil servants who are assigned to help them.

"These kids live under tremendous social pressure to achieve status in a visible, immediately recognizable way—designer clothes, flashy cars, jewelry—even if it means turning to crime," said sociologist Dr. Jeremy Gottlieb, author of The Bling-Bling Factor: How Society Teaches Disadvantaged Kids To Value Instant Gratification Over Substantive Values. "Music videos and magazines teach them that to get respect, you have to be a 'playa.' So you have to admit, it's ridiculous to expect them to respect an ostensible 'authority figure' whose annual salary is less than what their average neighborhood drug dealer makes in a month."

"I mean, have you seen what these social workers have to drive?" added Gottlieb, stifling a laugh. "Man, talk about shitboxes on wheels."

For his part, Rogowski said he tries to view the teasing as just another occupational hazard.

"I try to let it roll off my back," he said. "I realize these are kids who, in most cases, are dealing with intense personal issues of low self-esteem and poor self-image, and that this is just a defense mechanism to compensate for their own insecurities. They are, by and large, traumatized children who live every day in the shadow of drugs, poverty, and violence. So I'm sympathetic to their situation."

Added Rogowski: "On the other hand, I certainly wouldn't mind if someday the city decided to pay me enough money to afford a car that doesn't need a half-gallon of oil poured under the hood every three days just to keep the fucking thing running."