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Best of IC Craigslist

BY NICHOLAS KELLY | APRIL 15, 2009 7:30 AM

Audio: The author reads his column


It’s hard not to adore Craigslist. It offers that wonderful intersection between the absurdity of the Internet and the localization of your online classified. Which means not only can one peruse the ads and gaze in wonder at the weirdness present, but one can also come to the disturbing realization that many of these people are posting from your hometown.

It should be noted, however, that many of Craigslist’s traditional classifieds are innocuous enough. Cars, textbooks, the occasional musical instrument or neon beer sign — all the staples are there and do a great deal to convey an atmosphere of normalcy to the market. In fact, some of the stranger sounding posts seem only the result of unfortunate labeling , with ads such as “American Eagle — $25,” or “Roommate wanted — $455” seeming more the result of absent-minded grammar than the desire to purchase endangered species or a live-in companions.

Other ads seem less typical, with posters hawking items such as a replica four-headed spiked flail, places to trap pigeons, or a used “diaper champ.” Some go beyond even these levels of wackiness, such as a poster who appears to be selling lead. “I have soft lead for sale and hard good clean lead ready for what ever you want,” he writes. “The more you buy the cheaper it gets.”

For the romantically minded, Craigslist has taken the classified staple of the want ad and invested in it the potential for a whole lot of creepy with the “missed connections” board, where pining posters can attempt to contact a recent serendipitous encounter. Some results seem flattering, if unorthodox, with ads such as “emergency room this weekend?” where a poster was seeking the, “Cute Asian girl clutching her pretty little head” or the young lady looking for the man who “made the Powwow worth attending.”

Others dip further in to the realm of the sentimental such as the April 23 ad, “Bar Crawl Girl, How I love Thee.” “There you were with your chemically assaulted bleach blond hair,” the poster writes, “artificially procured olive skin, and a freshly screen-printed T-shirt declaring your budding, but raging nonetheless, alcoholism.”

Some, much like the good Dr. Jones, find no time for love and make their connection intentions more than clear. In the ad “I-80 on Thursday March 12,” the poster writes, “You were out the sun roof of a gold SUV, I was in a white Ford crewcab pickup. You know what you were doing, I just have to say you are extremely sexy.” Better still is the poster of “To Mighty Swap,” who offers to rendezvous in the bathroom of local gas station the L&M Mighty Shop to “snap some pixxx.”

However, few (if any) of connections’ posts can hold a candle to the motley assemblage that is the “Rants and Raves” board, where most anything goes, and much of that anything doesn’t make any sense.

A bit of the board is actually useful, if unexpected, debate, such as where to find good Mexican food in town, or how to make a mean egg salad. Although, as one egg-salad-enthusiast notes, “I don’t want any of that bam-bam-bam stuff. Just old fashioned State Fair winning egg salad for sandwiches.”

But the board also delivers such Internet-rant greatest hits such as: “race diatribe,” “homophobia,” and the Internet classic “damn welfare.” Other posters attempt to deal with pressing Iowa City issues such as how to deal with the “masturbating neighbor” or wondering if it’s “a little ironic that one of the most racist bars in town is called ‘BROTHERS.’ ”

Then there’s the unusual posts. These are by and large unfit for print or even really web viewing. They run the gamut from nude photos of posters to images of sex acts performed behind Iowa City trees to a shirtless man cradling a kitten to even the stern biblical warning that, “We are all going to be turned into salt.” Capping it all off is perhaps the most absurd of all posts, the one entitled, “RE:Re:RE:RE:Re:RE:re:re:re:Re:RE:” where the poster’s only comment is, “RE: tards …”

Of course, these are but a sampling of the fruits that dangle from the Iowa City Craigslist tree, a veritable cornucopia of online offerings that no one news column could dare to compile single-handedly. Instead, this list should serve as inspiration to conduct one’s own expeditions in to the wonders of the local classifieds, to see what online Iowa City *truly* has to offer, and if a sampling of some of the strangest ads to be found on the Internet is what you’re hunting for, it seems plausible, that like many things, you will find it on Craigslist.


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