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Rest Stop Karma
by Robert Tiffin

So, two Buddhist monks walk into a rest stop bathroom. A homeless guy is sleeping on the floor next to his bike while Robert is using the can.

No, it's not a joke. It's the fulfillment of Rest Stop Karma (RSK), which states that you will never be able to imagine something more random than what actually occurs at Rest Stops. RSK is what makes it pretty standard fare to read about a hidden North Korean plutonium mine buried beneath a Rest Stop. RSK is what makes you admit that if a lobster were to crawl out of the urinal you were using and recite the Ten Commandments in Spanish, you most likely wouldn't mention it to your wife when you got back to the car. Not because she wouldn't believe you, but because it would bore her to death. After all, she met Neil Armstrong in the Ladies' room. Of course, that's not really surprising considering the axiom that all women's restrooms must be at least 258% nicer than their corresponding men's rooms, though the question of why Neil Armstrong was in the Ladies' room in the first place is certainly an interesting one. In fact, whether or not his presence would make it nicer at all might be an even more interesting question. (I bet Buzz Aldrin has a good joke about why he was in there.) Anyway, the point I'm trying to make here is that Buddhist monks should help people like that homeless guy. I mean, why are they wearing bright orange robes in the first place if they don't want to brag to everyone else about how selfless and compassionate they are? Buddhist monk conventions probably have lots of gossip among the different sects about how Djarmang and Tiechlin are wearing way too orange of robes this year and how someone should give them wedgies to take them down a peg. You can vividly imagine, I'm sure, the confrontation between the tough-guy monks at the convention and those goody two-shoes, over-the-top-orange-wearing guys. And really, even if their robes aren't too orange (how do you know when something is too orange?), I kind of hope that they get wedgies anyway, because the idea of orange-clad tough-guy monks giving wedgies to two guys named Djarmang and Tiechlin is really, really funny in the first place.

So when they walked out of the bathroom a minute after I did, I was really disappointed—I heard absolutely NO mention of compassion or mercy or wedgies whatsoever. They just got back in their minivan and drove away, probably laughing about me while I was standing next to my old Hyundai. Jerks.

While I was waiting for my wife to stop talking to Neil Armstrong, I thought about going back into the bathroom to help the homeless guy. Maybe I could give him a blanket or some extra clothes to keep him warm. Maybe Buddhist Monks aren't the only ones who can be selfless and compassionate after all...

In the end, however, I decided not to go back inside. The only extra piece of clothing I have is an old, orange robe I stole from the back of a minivan and I'm saving it for my next software convention. Jeff's going be so jealous.