By: Patton Oswalt

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An Excerpt from Patton Oswalt’s “Zombie Spaceship Wasteland”

Photo by Ryan Russell

Welcome to a bold new frontier in Funny or Die videos.
For the very first time, is using a symbol-based, interactive form of video called “writing”. ‘ ‘It’s a cutting-edge technology that, through the use of evocative picto-symbols, or “letters”, creates in the viewer’s brain sounds, images, even tastes and smells ‘ all by simply looking at the various squiggles below. ‘ ‘And surprise ‘ you’re doing it right now!
And, ever on the vanguard of internet entertainment and distraction, the two “videos” below are simply a small fraction of a much larger collection of videos, collected in one easy-to-carry space (or “book”) called Zombie Spaceship Wasteland, available online or newly experimental “book stores”. ‘

Mary C. Runfola ?Explains Her Gifts

A picture of Chuck Yeager ?signed to someone named “Jimmy”

Grandma Runfola: Well I know how much you liked that Space Battles movie. And I thought ‘. ‘. ‘. yes, all right, dear, yes, Star Wars. So anyway, I was at this rummage sale and they had a table ‘well, one man there had a table, and I don’t think he was with the rummage sale people because he had his table set up a little bit off to the side. Well, he had two tables. One table was all these photographs of celebrities. And the other table had a large beach towel over it. And I couldn’t see what was under the beach towel but I was standing there looking at the different pictures and every now and then a young man would come up to the man selling pictures. And all of these young men either had these really close crew cuts or blond hair and they looked like if a punch in the face could get up and walk around and wear clothing. And the man selling pictures would let them lift the towel and it looked like all these knives and Nazi stuff. And the punch-in-the-face men would buy a knife or a patch. Maybe they were actors buying props for a stage show.
Oh, but anyway, Chuck Yeager. Well, you liked Sp ‘ yes, dear. Star Wars. Well, you liked that movie so much and did you know Chuck Yeager was kind of a space pilot, like that Han Solo fellow? Oh yes, I know Han Solo, your grandmother didn’t just fall off the pickle truck. Han Solo and Mr. Spock and Robbie the Robot and everyone. Well, the signature meant that Chuck Yeager actually held this photo, which makes it even more valuable.

The cassette case for AC/DC’s For Those About to Rock ?with a Best of Steppenwolf cassette inside of it

Grandma Runfola: Well, you wouldn’t believe it. There was a blind box sale, where you buy a box for fifty cents and you get whatever’s in it. Except this box had been under a leaky drainpipe, so one of the corners was soaked and kind of caving in. So I talked the man down to a dime, can you imagine? Inside there were twelve baby bibs that I gave to your cousin Jesse ‘maybe he could wipe something down with them in the summer? And then there was this cassette and it looks like a rock band. Well, when I opened it up it was only half a cassette and these three big, dead beetles, which I guess eat plastic, or maybe not because it’s almost like they ate the plastic and then died. But then this other cassette was in the box, inside a bag of marbles, so I put it inside this case. It’s got “wolf” in the name of the band and on the case there’s a cannon, and what’s more rock and roll than a wolf and a cannon about to shoot?

An old shovel (no, really ‘an unbelievably old shovel)

Grandma Runfola: Oh, it’s an antique, you can’t use it. That handle’s just a giant toothpick at this point.

Volumes 2, 3, and 7 of a twelve-volume Works ?of Thackeray

Grandma Runfola: I thought I remembered seeing on TV once that he only wrote three books. Oh well. Won’t it be fun hunting down the other books? It’ll be a mystery to solve, like that Hunt for Red October movie!

A lantern shaped like an owl

Grandma Runfola: Do you remember the Frasers? They had the daughter who did gymnastics and the son who went to college and kept hugging other boys and now he’s a swimming coach? Well, they knew these people who were having an estate sale last summer so we all went out there ‘me and the two Fraser parents, not their kids. So we get there and it turns out the estate sale was the day before, and we’d driven all this way. We couldn’t believe it. So on the way back, driving back home, we see this antique shop, and it’s the most hodgepodge-looking place I think I ever saw. And we had to go in. And I got this lovely hourglass that on the one side it looks like an egg but the other side the glass is square, like a box. And Jeannie ‘that’s Mrs. Fraser ‘she bought a flag for a country; I think it was Iceland. And Mr. Fraser didn’t buy anything but he loved all of these old toy soldiers they had, only he said, “I don’t have the space to keep them anywhere.” But he sure loved them. And when we left it was raining and we weren’t too sure about going down the road we were on because it was getting muddy, so we stopped at a Hardee’s and when we were sitting down with our sandwiches I realized I’d left the hourglass back at the store. So we asked the Hardee’s if we could use their phone, since it was a local call, and they were so nice and we called and the man from the shop drove all the way down to the Hardee’s and gave me the hourglass. He was the nicest man and you could tell the people at the Hardee’s knew him and he must be popular, which is no surprise seeing how he treats his customers.
The owl I bought at a Rite Aid.


Grandma Runfola: Your mother said to get you a Banana Republic gift certificate.



From ZOMBIE SPACESHIP WASTELAND by Patton Oswalt. Copyright ‘ 2011 by Patton Oswalt. Reprinted by permission of Scribner, a Division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
Photo above by Ryan Russell.

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