I'm very ill. I've got stuff coming out of both ends (as opposed to the usual fantasy of stuff of going into both ends.) But honeypot Christian Cagigal clued me into this and it absolutely made my day.
Wednesday, April 28, 2010
I froze all day today. It was unseasonably cold. So screw it, let's have Christmas in April.
This is the Spookshow In Your Pants Christmas album; composed, performed and recorded Christmas week of 2000 in a crazy flurry of creativity. Warm Feelings was also composed and performed that week but it didn't quite fit with the Christmas theme aside from the "Have you been a good little boy" sample so I left it out.
It was kind of a nice time. I had a boyfriend who was probably the most natural, normal relationship I've had. He was a Christmas nut, and I have always hated that time of year. No, more than hated; it sends me into the worst place I can imagine and I don't know exactly why. Somehow my worst memories come to the surface that time of year. But Mark was crazy about Santa and trees and lights and for that very reason we never should have got together. We met on Thanksgiving week. For whatever reason, my personality charmed him; usually it tends to go in the opposite direction. But this is the Puddlewinks formula: I go years without a date and when I land someone they are way beyond, physically, for which I should qualify. He looked like a model and I looked like a toad wearing spats. Frankly, I'd rather settle for more mediocre looks and a semblance of regularity, but apparently it's not in the cards.
But Mark's Christmas glee was, at first, tough to endure. I loved looking at him; I loved talking to him. But goddamn, his giddiness over the fact he had a tree in his house and stockings stuck all over the place was more than I could bear. Plus there was that whole actor thing.
I'd said, for years, that I would never, ever date anyone who was a Psychologist or an actor. Because one wants to change your personality and the other changes theirs for a living. And Mark absolutely did this: around his Theatre friends he was insufferable but when it was just he and I felt like I was falling in love. This dual-play personality would have been a turnoff were it not for the fact that, somehow, he got me to understand Christmas.
"Look," he said, "It doesn't have to be about religion or family or crass, crazy commercialism. Let's just drive around. Let's just drive around and look at the houses, decked out in pretty lights and decorations, and pretend Earth looked like that all of the time instead of just one month a year."
So we drove around and held hands and yeah, he was right. The world looked a lot more fun to be around. The ice block around my heart this time of year melted just a tiny bit. Not enough to make me seem entirely human to friends and family, but still, for what it was, it worked a little. And compared to my screaming-meemie approach to Christmas for many years beforehand, it was a gulf as wide as the Grand Canyon.
He forced me to watch the Bing Crosby/Rosemary Clooney movie 'White Christmas' with him; something I would have never done on my own with a gun to my head. But since it was him I initially endured it. And ended up loving it thanks to our shared commentary; simultaneously making fun of it and reveling in the camp factor. And realizing, to my shocked horror, that it was a pretty fun movie just on its own terms. What the hell was I becoming?
Mark left Ohio to visit relatives across the country Xmas week. I went crazy with holiday cheer and catapulted into one of my most creative bursts ever: I created an entire mini-album of Christmas-themed songs to give him upon his return. Not entirely because he had turned me into a manger-frenzied icon of holiday cheer but because he had managed to let just a tiny bit of light shine in when it came to feeling what normal people do. Plus I hoped it would make him happy. 'White Christmas' turned out to be a major influence, but thank God there was enough of me left to make it weird.
I think it did. Make him happy, I mean.
This was not the great love of my life; we broke up a few weeks after Valentine's Day. He was decent about it and brought along a pipe and a bag of pot.
"Oh, lovely parting gifts," I said.
But still, his teaching me how to reinvent horrible times of the year into your own, more positive, terms was one of the kindest things anyone has ever done for me. I just didn't know you could do it that way.
So you and I will reinvent Christmas as something that can happen on a cold day in April and listen to the Spookshow In Your Pants Christmas Album 'Fall On Your Knees'.
I will not go into details but it turned out to be a mighty prophetic title.
Click on the titles below to hear the songs in order:
1) Dick the Halls
2) Ave Bill Cosby
3) White (Trash) Christmas
4) Adeste Fidelis
6) The Best Things Happen While We're Dancing
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
Friday, April 23, 2010
My father saw the world as a scary place. No matter what activity in which I was about to engage, if it took place outside the safety of our home, he would warn me about mysterious strangers who would “knock me in the head” and take my wallet. That I was sixteen, worked in a Bonanza Sirloin Pit and that the contents of my wallet usually amounted to thirty-five bucks didn’t enter the equation. The head-knocking and wallet-stealing was a given; the sure result of one daring to tread the dangerous, gangsta-ridden streets of Huntington, West Virginia.
I grew up and moved to Columbus, Ohio—to his mind the equivalent of settling down in Chicago’s Cabrini Green. Decades have passed where I’ve had to reassure him that I’ve yet to be knocked in the head, although to him the fact I like Chinese food is proof positive I’ve gone all uppity with my high-falutin’ big city ways. But still he thinks I’m in constant danger.
So I never told him about the time I got mugged. Sort of.
“Hey man, you got any papers?”
This is code for a stranger that wants to sell you some pot. Thing is, no stranger will ever do you this favor; it is always, every time, a scam. It works because people wanting weed, despite having been burned a thousand times before, always think that this time will be the one where an entrepreneurial stranger wants to furnish the world with ganja out of the goodness of his heart.
I forgot everything I ever knew and followed the stranger behind a building to make the deal.
“I gots to see the money first.”
I fished a twenty out of my pocket, no doubt preparing to buy the smallest amount of da chronic available on the street possible.
“Now let’s see the weed, “ I said.
Instead of producing said product, the man lunged for the bill. I yanked it away and he was not happy about it.
“Motherfucker, give me that money!”
“For what? Your good looks? You gotta show me what you’re selling before you get the money.”
Not a wise choice of words, as my new friend was apparently not used to being called on his line of crap and found it profoundly distasteful that I would suggest such a thing. He grabbed at me, knocked me to the pavement and the two of us rolled, wrestling, back into public view on the corner of 5th and (appropriately enough,) High Street.
I did a magic trick where I pretended to place the bill in my left hand but actually made it disappear. I kept my hand closed, making my attacker think it was still in there so that he wrestled me for a bit, got the upper hand, then pried my fingers open one by one to find nothing there.
“Tah-Dahhh!” I shouted.
He was not impressed.
I managed to break free and took off running. But the tables were turned and it was suddenly he who had the upper hand.
Because he had a bicycle.
I ran down the street and suddenly he was upon me, pedaling furiously and ringing his bell. Ching ching! Ching ching! The sound of impending gangsta beat-down.
He overtook me. He leapt off his Crips-mobile and once again pulled me to the ground. I saw some nerdy yahoo talking on his cell phone.
“Call 911,” I begged. “A crazy man on a bicycle is trying to hurt me.”
“Ew. Er.Uh. I don't think I want to get involved,” the man said. Reason 774 why Al Queda will win.
I broke the crazy man’s grip and sprinted half a block to the Family Dollar store. But before making it inside, my mugger caught up with me and started applying strategically-applied blows to my face.
“Call 911!” I screamed to the man trying to leave the store.
“He’s got my weed! He’s got my weed!” my attacker screamed, a role-reversal tactic that worked like a charm.
“Uh, I don’t want to get into this,” said the man leaving the Family Dollar.
“Call 911!” I yelled to no avail.
I lunged for the doorway but unfortunately my bicycle mugger had a firm grip on my favorite shirt. The beautiful, pale yellow paisley pattern ripped beneath his strong, ebony hands.
“Call 911!” I shouted as I burst into the store, my nipple peeking out from the sizeable rip in my shirt.
Although I had been mugged, albeit by a guy on a bicycle, the cops finally showed up. I told them the story I just told you, cleverly omitting the trying to buy some pot part. It probably didn’t help that I was together enough to shop for two cans of Family Dollar brand ravioli before they arrived.
"Yeah, we'll check it out," the police said, making it clear through body language that they damn sure wouldn't.
Someone I knew, Connie, showed up shortly after and saw me standing there in my ripped-to-shreds shirt, holding some ravioli.
“Uh, hi,” she said.
“I just got mugged,” I said, leaving out the part that it was a guy on a bicycle. Or the other stuff.
She took me home. Leave it to a lesbian to be my knight in shining armor.
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Another commercial from the now-defunct-but-soon-to-be-resurrected Spookshow In Your Pants Radio Hour. Sam did the free-form ranting and Chris was kind enough to allow me to use the cheesy background music from his Pagan-Queer-Tattooed-Born-Again gospel album. (Yes, such things exist; just because your pastor has a doctorate from divinity school doesn't make him an expert on what it means to be a Christian. Unless of course it helps you feel better about yourself and morally superior to others.) Sam did a great job here, at least to me; I snicker every time I hear it.
Click on the title if you want to snicker, too.
My friend Kendra just returned from a trip home to attend a funeral. While that was bad, the way things turned out was even worse.
I have my own story along those lines but for now I think I'll tell hers instead.
Her uncle died. She was close and it was a sad thing. She drove from Ohio to Tennessee, meeting up with her mother and sisters. All of them were running late, and the service was an hour away. They were cutting it close. Kendra's mom got behind the wheel.
And promptly ran over the family dog.
Kendra and her sisters realized what happened but the mother did not. "You just ran over the dog!" they screamed.
"No, I didn't."
"Yes! You did!"
The dog was shrieking and it's entire lower half was paralyzed. Eventually the mother realized what her daughters were telling her was entirely true. Decisions, decisions: deal with the dog or show up to her bother's funeral on time?
Cell phones were clicked and one of the sibling's boyfriend was dispatched to leave work and arrive to deal with the half-crushed pet.
Inside the car, Kendra, her mother and the sisters were freaking right out. "Didn't you just tell the dog, this morning," one of the daughters said, "that if it didn't stop barking you were going to kill its sorry ass?"
The mother convulsed in a new fit of sobbing; that was exactly what had went down.
Kendra was unable to deal, and the fact that everyone else in the car were fans of rap pushed her over the edge. "WILL YOU TURN THE RADIO DOWN?" she screamed, a half-dead dog and a fully-dead uncle and a career-dead Asher being too much for her to bear. One of her sisters leaned forward for the volume knob and, unfortunately, in the process, her big-boned buttocks knocked over a coffee cup, spilling it on another sister, who had to exit the car, step over the howling, half-crushed dog and return to the house so she could scrub her dress with Life Buoy and blow it clean with a hair dryer.
So Kendra's family had kind of a late start.
They arrived at the funeral home one minute before the service. They were all sobbing; the majority of the guests thinking, 'Oh they must have been so close to the dear departed' insead of "Whoopsie, we just ran over the dog." Kendra, her mother, and her sisters (particularly the one who was trying to hide the coffee blotch on her dress) settled in and tried their best to think about the uncle. But the sounds of a yelping mutt that's spine had been ground into powder took center stage.
The boyfriend called from the vet. Kendra's mother agreed, via cell phone, it would be best if the dog be put down.
"I know," the pastor said, "the death of your beloved family member upsets you..." while Kendra's mother spat out hacking sobs as she tucked her phone into her purse, knowing what she'd done.
Pat at work burst into a sob-fest on hearing this tale, convinced completely the story was all about her.
And I thought, of course, "Shit! Blog content!"
I dunno if these guys ever had a real album. I suppose I could do a google or Wikipedia search but I'm the laziest mofo to ever slither across the planet and its so much easier to post this and suggest you do the work yourself. I did have the vinyl LP single and had a lot of fun listening to it. It's sort of a tribal meets 80's synthpop thing and the video is fun to look at. So here ya go:
Wednesday, April 21, 2010
My friend Richard was into special effects-makeup (blood and gore, as opposed to making yourself pretty, like some of my other friends) and needed a guinea pig. I was all to happy to comply. He was a perfectionist, so it took hours. When finished, yep, I looked like a rotting corpse that had crawled out of the grave. Thing is, it wasn't Halloween. It was just the sort of thing he and I liked to do on a summer afternoon rather than, you know, passing ball.
It was such a terrific effect I thought it would be a shame to waste it on solely ourselves. I suggested we drive to the local mall and let me stumble around and see what people thought. Not the best of plans. We lived in West Virginia, not exactly a haven of zombie fans. Or people particularly interested in being confronted with something different.
We pulled up in the parking lot, near where the multiplex exited. A movie let out and people started streaming from the door. I got out of the car and shambled near them in my rotted corpse makeup. "Excuse me," I said, "Can you tell me how to get to Spring Hill Cemetary?"
One of my favorite, and ongoing, social experiments is to force people to come face to face with something outside their sheltered little world-view. What is fascinating, to me, is how often this sparks, of all things, sheer anger. I'm forced to confront things every day I simply cannot fathom, but the most heated response I usually offer is a smartass joke. But apparently I am not most people. A vast majority, I've found through perpetrating such stunts for most of my life, think that experiencing something they can't understand is immediate cause to feel threatened and offer bodily harm as a solution.
This is exactly what happened mere seconds after appearing in public in July made up as the living dead.
Some redneck and his girlfriend, no doubt watching Stroker Ace for the fifth or sixth time, caught sight of me. Mr. Man clearly had to protect his woman from watching a teenager bathed in latex and the fight-or-flight mechanism kicked in. He chose Fight.
"Buddy," he shouted at me like I was anything but, "You need to take off that creepy-looking suit and get your ass the hell out of this parking lot." He swiftly advanced his pace, heading straight for me.
"Richard? Richard!" I hissed through clenched teeth, "Unlock the car!"
He didn't hear. The angry man in the wife-beater ran after me.
"Richard!" I shrieked like a girl scout, "We've got trouble!"
Richard is not one for moving at a high rate of speed. He opened the driver's side door, then casually unlocked the passenger side. I jumped in an re-locked the door, smearing makeup on the window in the process.
Mr. Man and his 70's porn-star mustache hammered on the window.
"This is why we need to get out of here!"
"Oh," Richard said.
We took off, with seriously offended redneck man chasing the car like a mutt hunting dog.
And there ya go. Some twisted kid shows up in zombie paint and someone's brain misfires in a way that reads 'This does not compute' and a serious beat-down is the only possible way to handle the situation. What scares the living shit out of me is that this is how MOST people deal with such a scenario.
Some years later I bought a bunch of tubs of 'I Can't Believe It's Not Butter' and stood on a busy downtown corner with a shopping bag full of them. As each person passed, I said, "Would you like some margarine? You don't have to rub it on you right now..."
Not one person took one. And many people were hostile and threatened to punch me. (What made this experiment even more fascinating was that when I pointed to a non-existent, "hidden" camera people would smile and laugh and utterly change their personality in a heartbeat.) People clearly have to have a safety zone of the familiar. But potential stardom, no matter how half-baked, can cause them to throw that notion right out the window. Whatta world.
On the way home from my near-thrashing at the mall, Richard and I passed a car full of girls on the highway. They caught sight of me in my corpse makeup.
They mooned us.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010
Spookshow In Your Pants is not exactly known for keeping up with the times. The only cover songs so far has been Debbie Reynolds' Tammy, the James Bond Theme and In The Hall of the Mountain King. Now there's this, a funky slap-bass kind of noodling that unexpectedly morphs into Pink Floyd's (although, I suppose, legally, now Roger Waters') 'Empty Spaces' from The Wall. But since it came out in 1979 I guess we're getting closer to what's current. At this rate a Lady Gaga cover should appear in about thirty years or so.
As usual, click the title if you wanna listen.
Saturday, April 17, 2010
I hate and fear the dentist. This, plus chain smoking as though nicotine were oxygen, has resulted in a smile that is sepia-toned like a turn-of-the-century tinotype. I think this mindset came about early on. I rode my bicycle to the friendly neighborhood dentist for a routine check-up.
Understand, this was in West Virginia so what constituted state-of-the-art in oral health was pretty much the nineteen-fiftes for everyone else. The dreaded drill was operated by a manual foot pump; the dentist's ability to stomp up and down
at a high rate of speed determining the level of pain the patient might endure. But Dr. Barber was elderly and his reflexes weren't quite as quick as one would have hoped.
He leaned in and I couldn't see his eyes, splotches covering his coke-bottle glasses; no doubt specks of pyorhhea from former patients that had spattered onto his eyewear during one of his foot-stomping frenzies.
"It's going to have to come out," he said, probing at a tooth from which I'd never felt any pain.
Whmmmpf? I asked, all his fingers inside of my mouth.
"Shhh!" he hissed. "Now rinse and spit."
He went to a corner and unwrapped a tray of sterilized instruments that looked like H.R. Geiger had run amok in a hardware store.
"Look, I don't think I..."
"Don't worry, this will make you feel better," he said brandishing a syringe with a needle gauge comparable to indoor plumbing. He stuck it into my gum and halfway up my skull. I did not feel better in the slightest, although ten minutes later my entire face was numb and I talked like a woman with Cerebral Palsy.
He stuck a crescent wrench into my mouth and, planting one foot firmly on my cheek, twisted and pulled until a tooth was plucked from my head. "There we go!" he said, spritzing my mouth with Lavoris cinnamon mouthwash to compensate for the loss of part of my anatomy. Wisely, he followed up with some heavy-duty pain relievers, then sent me on my way in such a condition to ride my bike back home.
"I got a tooth pulled," I informed my mother.
"Nonesense," she said, as facts rarely interfered with her world view.
"No, look," I said, pulling back a corner of my mouth to display a hollow space now packed with gauze.
She was on the phone in a heartbeat. "Can you tell me," she asked the dental receptionist, "why I wasn't called about this? You're going to remove one of my son's teeth and didn't think I might want to know ahead of time?"
"Well, it's policy..." the phone-answerer started, but Mom gave them an earful of shouting complete with bible verses that would argue her point.
I thought it was great. Until the pain pills wore off and I spent the day crying in agony like Chris Crocker in the face of people disrespecting Brittney. I wanted to slam my head against the floor until I became unconscious. This was my first brush with the dark side of dentistry and I knew right then I didn't want to experience any more.
But I was forced to go. When I was eighteen, my dentist informed me that I had wisdom teeth buried in my jaw that were about to pose a problem. I needed to have them cut out.
"You'll need an oral surgeon. I generally recommend two. One is sort of a dry fish, not much in the way of personality. The other is a joker, a funny guy. He's got personality in spades."
The subtext was made instantly clear. I had a chance at having my face split open by a comedy oral surgeon. It wouldn't play in Vegas but in Huntington, West Virginia a man had found his niche. "Sign me up," I said.
Confusing funny with what the situation actually calls for has been the hallmark of my life.
I forget his actual name, but for the sake of the story from here on out we're going to call him Dr. Gallagher. He was, pretty much, like what would happen if you made an appointment to go under anaesthesia and Hunter S. Thompson showed up. He came to the waiting room, called my name, then dragged me back to the room where the procedure would take place, talking a blue streak NO ONE wants to hear:
"Yeah, we're gonna get those goddamn wisdom teeth right the fuck outta there before they do some damage. Shit, just last week a woman tried to take me to court--claimed I molested her while she was under. Shit, fuck, I wouldn't have touched her with someone else's dick."
This was back in 1981 where, yeah, someone with a doctorate could talk like this and not get sued. Not that it was the slightest bit reassuring.
"Okay, my faggot of an anesthesiologist is going to shoot you up with some joy juice." Given that they'd already given me a Valium, I couldn't help but smile. If only, I thought. "Count out loud backwards from five to one. Five, four, three..."
Everything went black.
I woke up, dizzy, and had to be led with two people in scrubs supporting me back to the oral surgeon's equivalent of a recovery room: a couple of folding chairs. My mouth was stuffed with so much cotton I felt like a cat hacking hairballs.
My parents drove me home. When you have your wisdom teeth removed they slice open your gums, dig into your jaw, cut loose the renegade teeth and sew you back up again. Only this is not a cross stitch pattern where exacting detail of a red-breasted robin wearing a sombrero scores points for being photo-realistic as possible; at the oral surgeon's they just want to stich you up as quickly as they can. There are loose gaps and you bleed from them. The blood trickles down your throat and, unlike in the Twilight novels, your stomach is not wild about this addition to the party.
Mom, Dad and I were watching TV and the pain medication had worn off. I was hurting. In addition to the pain I'd swallowed so much blood my stomach could stand it no longer. BLAAARRRRGHHH! I screamed, puking dried blood clots all over the coffee table.
My dad took this as supreme insolence, directed specifically at him, as though I'd been planning this for days to ruin his would-be-memorable experience of watching Rhoda.
"What do you think you're doing?" he yelled, leaping from his easy chair and slapping me upside the head. "What is wrong with you? What are you, a queer?"
I thought, but did not say, that queers are generally noted for their lack of gag reflexes.
He hit me a few more times, then pulled off his shirt and threw it on the blood and vomit covered coffee table. "Clean it up!" he shouted, exposing his manly pecs.
Yeah, I don't much like dentists.
The act of vomiting caused a few of the stitches to rip loose, so that I swallowed even more blood. This caused my neck and face to turn a ghastly shade of green, which no doubt caused my father to think I was, through the act of sheer will, turning myself into The Spotmaker. I wised up and forced myself to vomit out the blood chunks in private; getting it out of my system before family TV time. But the damage had caused my face to bloat into one of those things you see on Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade.
I returned to Dr. Gallagher's office to get what remained of my stitches removed, not that I hadn't already swallowed and puked the bulk of them. He came into the waiting room, took a look at my green and swollen face and was off on another comedy bit:
"Somebody sure beat the shit out of you! What, you don't know how to fight? Come on back here, Greenie!"
I followed him back to where the procedure was supposed to go down, Dr. Gallagher ranting every bit of the way. "Yeah, that's just what the fuck happens when you get your wisdom teeth taken out. Some ugly broad tried to sue me, claiming once
she was under I blacked both her eyes and bashed in her cheeks. I wouldn't let her suck my dick if either one of us were roaring drunk. Hey, want some novacaine before I do this?
"No, I'm fine," I said.
Jump cut ten years later and I go to a dentist's office in Cincinnati. Apparently they were not happy with the way I was flossing, so insisted I watch a video about how to floss your teeth. But they trotted me back out into the lobby, stuck the VHS into the player located there, and an entire room full of strangers got to shame me, mentally, as the guy who doesn't know how to floss.
Those porcelain fuckers can rot, break, and drop one by one out of my head before I ever see a dentist again.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
I toss off zingers and one-liners as often as a guy with Tourette's will shout "Mohammed pees Brine Shrimp!" in line at the bank. Thing is, like anyone trying to be funny, some of them work and some of them don't. But some attempts at humor
transcend bombing and move straight into comedy hell. It's more than not getting a laugh; it's having everyone present hate you simultaneously while the unrelenting silence is like a potato peeler thrust through a kidney.
The following are true-life examples of smartassery gone horribly awry.
1)I'm in 10th grade, and the private, Christian school I'm attending is having some sort of outdoor activity. I just happen to find a perfect circle of barbed wire lying on the ground. "Hey coach!" I shout, "The new Christian Academy baseball caps
are in!" It did not get a single laugh. It did get me harsh, cold stares and a trip to the principal's office.
2) Most of my family is extremely religious. One year I go home for Christmas and find my mother has baked a birthday cake for Jesus, candles and all.
"I messed it up, though," she said. "It was supposed to say 'Happy Birthday, Jesus" but I made a mistake and wrote 'Merry Christmas, Jesus'"
"Oh well," I said, "at least you didn't write 'Happy Easter, Jesus'"
3) A woman I worked with was pregnant. I came in one day and was told by another co-worker, solemnly, that she'd lost the baby.
"Did they look underneath the couch cushions?" I asked.
4) A woman brought into the workplace some kind of country-down-home-charm craft piece of shit that looked like a small child standing in the corner. Because nothing screams family values like a child being punished. From the front it was nothing, but wedged into a corner for a second you might mistake it for a real child. She was trying to sell them. I took one of the things, wrapped an orange industrial extension cord around it's neck and hung it from the drop ceiling in her office with a sign around its neck reading 'Depression Kills.' To me, merry office hijinx. To the powers that be: Grounds for formal disciplinary action.
The write-up I had to sign read like this: "Mr. Puddelwinks did knowingly and without remorse placed an effigy of a small child in a noose in a co-worker's office, with a sign around it's neck alledging that depression brought it to this untimely end. The lifeless body of the child, swaying in the workplace, is highly inappropriate."
"Who wrote this?" I asked upon reading it, "Stephen King?"
"Well I couldn't just say it was a doll," said the Program Director, who I won't name outright but his initials are Paul Spencer, "otherwise people might think it was, you know, a Barbie or something."
"You mean a doll?" I asked.
"Like what you might call what it was I actually hung as opposed to a real person?"
"Look. What if Marilyn had seen that? Three of her kids have been killed."
"Yes. Owing to sickle-cell anemia and gang warfare. I doubt they were dressed in overalls, a straw hat and polyester blends depicting sheep jumping over a fence."
"The point is that the doll looked like a child."
"Only from behind," I said. "Unless you're concerned Father Emke might have seen it."
"Are you going to sign this are are we going to fire you?"
I signed it.
5) I had moved from a secluded life in a small town to the sprawling, overwhelming metropolis that is Columbus, Ohio. On a friend's advice I started hanging out in the OSU Gay Alliance office (some years before the allegedly downtrodden masses realized renaming such organizations 'Gay-Straight' Alliances could multiply their numbers tenfold.) I watched a militant lesbian painting a sign and it was the first time I'd ever seen the particular spelling, 'Womyn'.
"Why are you spelling it that way?" I asked, honestly puzzled.
"Because this shows that we are seperate from men; completely different in every respect."
"Then why do you get so pissy when we call you cunts?"
6) My mother, after a few years of acting erratic, had finally been diagnosed with Alzheimer's. My extended family and I were gathered together and I thought I'd lighten the mood with a little joke. My friend Paul tells me that every story I've ever told him starting with this concept has ended in disaster.
"So this guy goes to the doctor," I said. "And the doctor says, I have bad news for you. You have both cancer and Alzheimer's..."
At this point my mother cracked up like it was the funniest thing in the world and that in itself was the punch line. I don't think it was the disease. Since childhood, she never understood actual riddles and would supply her own answer instead of waiting for the zinger. She knew she was always right about everything, so a need for further information never entered the picture. "Why did the chicken cross the road?" the six-year-old me would ask. "It wanted some cracked corn" she would reply, then leave the room, having satisfied herself with the answer.
So, to me, her cackling at the set-up was no big surprise. At the same time, handing her a fork and some food could be parlayed into an evening's entertainment. But it was a good joke and I was determined to finish.
"You have both cancer and Alzheimer's, the doctor says," I repeated, trying to maintain the pace.
"And the guy says, well, at least I don't have cancer!"
Not even a smile. From anyone. Except of course, from Mother.
7) My friend Glen had been so ravaged by HIV that he had to use a cane. Even so, he wanted things to be like they used to be and go out and about like we used to. A trip to a favorite restaurant found him wheezing and hobbling like an old man of ninety. I held the door open for him.
"AIDS before beauty," I said.
His boyfriend shot me a look making it clear he'd like to punch his fist through my windpipe.
8) When I was eight or nine, I took swimming lessons at the YMCA. After class I would explore the building and found the very spooky basement where the furnace engines blazed, giving off an eerie light and making dancing shadows. It was so
creepy, I had to get one of my swimming lesson classmates to come down there with me and see it. I snuck up behind him and suddely jabbed him in the sides. He let out a yelp and jumped sideways, crashing through a stack of plate glass leaned against the wall and slashing him to ribbons. They carted him away in an ambulance before my parents came to pick me up.
9) I told my mother I was gay. She told me she would have rather I'd been born dead. I checked up on this a few years later, just to see if it was something she said in anger. Nope, the verdict still held. Then she said, " I KNEW you've been stealing my panty hose!" a nutjob accusation coming way out of left field.
"That's transvestism, not homosexuality," I said. "Get your perversions straight." I thought it was a funny line but she stopped eating, most likely trying to guilt me into being someone else, and lost so much weight she became borderline anorexic.
10) I put a razor blade against my wrist and said, "Well, at least I didn't die in vein!" Then I realized there was no one around to hear it since I've alienated everyone I've ever cared about. I dropped the blade in the sink and went on in to
"I never had the nerve to make the final cut"--Roger Waters
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
My Twinn is a company where you send them 149 clams and a photo of your kid and they will create a toddler-sized doll in your child's image. Paul showed me their catalog some years ago and I could feel my flesh crawling right off its bones. Children are born egotistical, they hardly need further encouragement through props. The only way I could see such a contrivance as a positive step toward mental health would be for a parent to order one, keep it hidden away for those difficult days, then send the real kid outside to play and bash the doll's head repeatedly against the coffee table until you feel better and it's safe for the kid to be around again.
The first thing you do when creating your kid clone is pick an outfit. This is where the concept becomes even more revolting, because My Twinn just happens to sell a full line of children's clothing that match exactly what the dolls are wearing. Yes. They encourage a child to appear in public with this thing looking like Dr. Evil and Mini-Me. Little girls might be taught to go in for this sort of thing, but clearly these dolls and the line of clothing are marketed to hysterical, deluded mothers who truly think the world revolves around their offspring's attention-seeking ass and just one copy of perfection is not enough to go around.
The next step after choosing the outfit is to select eye and skin color. You would think the next part of the ego-run-amok process would be hair color, right? No. Before hair color on the importance chart comes the proper freckle and, ew, mole assortment. A handy tool on the website enables the customer to specify exactly where on the face these are to be placed. I am sorely tempted to order one just so I can dot the thing all over and make it look like I'm raising the poster child for melanoma, or perhaps a many-warted creature with skin like a toad. Nah, I'd probably just send in a picture of one of those third-world kids from the cleft palate hospital with an upper lip split into thirds, the kind where you can see exposed teeth and gums all the way up to the nostril, and see if My Twinn would make me one of those.
Then you pick a hair color, style and texture and submit a photograph.
But it gets even crazier than the love letter to stage mothers everywhere. They also suggest this:
I don't have a problem with a boy playing with a doll if he wants to but THAT, dressing him up in the same outfit and forcing him to play outisde, is asking for trouble. It's quite possible My Twinn has created the first ever Make Your Own Queer kit. I know there's plenty of evidence to support Nature over Nurture, but this sort of insanity would override any genetic disposition toward hetersoexuality whatsover. The straight gene would take one look, say screw it, I'm not even going to try, and order an appletini. Hard-liners on the nature side of the argument aren't going to agree, so let's just agree to disagree, compromise and instead call it a Make Your Kid Get His Ass Kicked In Ten Minutes kit.
Are we not a vain enough society as it is that we can't just give a kid a doll and maybe let imagination come into play? Do we have to reinforce 'It's all about me' instead of letting a kid know early on the fact that, most of the time, it's not?
My Twinn. Making society grotesquely self-indulgent one mole at a time.
Monday, April 12, 2010
Man, was I ever in a bad place when I did this one. The title could not have been more heartfelt and even still it's not something I listen to very often because the music always takes me right back there emotionally. But Sunday nights are meant for wallowing in your own sorrows so what the hey. I know I've built the expectation I'm supposed to be hi-larious all the time but the other side of me is a pathetic, depressed fuck no one should have to be around. Click on the title to share in my misery.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
I was fourteen or fifteen and our washing machine conked out. My Dad, who could fix anything, quickly diagnosed the problem and dismantled the washer in our basement and decided to rebuild it from the ground up. He declared the power source as substandard, so in the pile of discarded parts was this thing you could plug into the wall that would loudly hum and quiver. I saw it in action and thought the first thing anyone my age was bound to think:
It still had plastic tubes poking out of it, one to intake the water and another to spit it out, but it was the vibrating housing which captured my fancy. I waited til no one was around and snuck it back upstairs from the basement to my bedroom. It was huge and the exposed copper wire-wrapped components posed an electrical hazard. Still, the way it called to me, seductively, made it worth the risk. I figured if one of my balls accidentally dropped down and hit the AC power source I would spew across the room so hard it would crack the drywall. I'd be good and dead, but what a way to go.
I plugged it in and unzipped. I also had an open yearbook next to me, gazing at a picture of a guy I fancied, but was still in that stage where I could yank it to pictures of boys with the assistance of household appliances and not be gay. Another stage of denial was just how loud a sound the washing machine part gave off.
I placed my crank atop the exposed housing and man, did it feel good. I rubbed and jerked until, unfortunately, I was interrupted by a knocking at my bedroom door. It was my mother.
"What are you doing in there?"
You would think, good bye hard-on. But the machine had other plans. I continued to stroke it, carrying on the conversation:
"What's that noise?"
"I'm doing a science experiment."
"A science experiment," I repeated while grinding my dick into 220 volts of AC current.
"What is that noise?"
"It's the power source from the washing machine Dad threw away." You would think talking to Mom and referencing Dad would
have stopped me. And you would be wrong.
"What salad dressing do you want at dinner?"
"Thousand Island," I said, as I blew my spunk across the face of a yearbook picture.
"You sure you don't want Ranch?"
"Yeah, I'm pretty sure," I said, looking at the mess I'd made.
The washing machine component and I continued to date for an extended period. But eventually it wanted more than I could offer and left me. Story of my life.
Friday, April 9, 2010
My friend Ray and I lived in Gallipolis, Ohio (queer population: 5) so the nearest gay bar was 50 miles in either direction.
One of these directions was my hometown. I had ongoing, vivid premonitions of my parents driving by at the precise moment we entered a certain establishment along with a man clad entirely in leather and another dressed as Little Debbie. So I tended to make sure we went the opposite route and drove to Charelston, West Virginia: world-reknown as the hotbed of man-on-man action.
I joke, but compared to Gallipolis, it was. The idea that there were ATTRACTIVE guys into other guys made it seem like we were visiting Neptune. The Charleston bar was called The Grand Palace. It was, as you might expect, fraught with hillbilly queens, but there were other sights to behold such as average, corn-fed boys who clearly worked out. Ray and I had our stereotypes dismantled. This was a good thing and long overdue.
Because I had grown up in a crazy Christian school world that made Footloose seem a documentary, I couldn't dance worth a crap. Cute guys would ask me to dance, I'd go out on the lighted, disco floor (again, this was in West Virginia where everything is about eight years behind everyone else) and pretty much look like I was undergoing electroshock therapy.
Before the song was over they would thank me for the "dance" and move on to someone else. I dealt with this by having another Canadian Mist and Coke. Another dance, another jettisoned prospect, another cocktail. Rinse and repeat.
Time to go and I was rocked off my ass. I was a small-town boy in embarassingly non-hip clothing, faking my sophistication by ordering drinks I was in no way prepared to handle. I just ordered what I heard other people requesting, never mind the fact that I'd never taken a drink in my life. "You should probably call it quits," said Ray.
"And you should probably sheep sheep sheep a moo-moo!" I said, to my mind ending the argument.
"Okay, at least you should switch to beer..."
"Okay, at least you should switch to queer!" The fact that Ray was already gay did not enter my logic, as a well-placed rhyme, worthy of Dr. Seuss, made me the clear intellectual winner.
Closing time. The lights went up and everyone got a whole lot uglier.
"Get me out of here," I said. "The fuckers have taken off their rubber masks and I for one am not fooled."
"Yeah, we're going," said Ray.
I stood up, staggered, and Ray put his arm around my shouders to steady me. "Don't you touch me!" I yelled. "I'm tired of your always coming on to me!" I took another step, unassisted, and dropped to the floor.
"Help!" I said, extending a hand.
He hauled me to my feet and led me to his car, the Raymobile.
While the bulk of what is about to happen is mostly my fault, I do think the Raymobile was a contributing factor. Ray lived in the same, teency, judgemental, shithole midwestern town as I and had to be familiar with the way its residents related to anything unusual or different. Shit, buying canned La Choy Chow Mein labeled you a suspect with possible anti-American sensibilities. But Ray's vehicle was a compact car that had been tricked out with a custom paint job so that, across it's baby blue exterior, a wide, hot pink stripe extended from the back of the trunk, across the roof, and over the hood to meet the grille. If a car was capable of bursting into a chorus of I Am What I Am, the Raymobile was it.
We pulled out of the parking lot and immediately stopped at a red light. A convertible of hot college boys pulled up beside us.
"Hi," they yelled in unison.
"Well Hiiiiiii...." I purred back, like I was Cat Woman.
Anyone else would have seen this as a carload of frat boys looking to cause trouble. I, in one of my first brushes with alcohol, saw it as my goddamned due that had finally come around.
"Did you guys just come from The Grand Palace?" one of them yelled.
"Oh shit," whispered Ray, getting the picture.
"Yeah!" I yelled, "But I didn't see you!"
"There's a reason!" Ray hissed.
"But the night is young and I wanna make up for lost time!"
The stop light had yet to change and the frat boys leapt out of their car, brandishing their tools of destruction. This could easily have ended in death or dismemberment, like it has for so many others, but for whatever reason, Ray and I were gay-bashed by the stupidest homophobes to ever concoct a hate crime. Of all things, they had wiffle ball bats. The hollow, plastic weapons rained down upon the Raymobile with muted, thumping sounds. He and I looked at one another with total confusion.
"So I'm not gonna get laid?" I asked.
"And instead they want to hurt us?"
"It would seem so."
"And they're hitting your car with harmless plastic things to teach us a lesson?"
"Yes. Thank you so much."
The light changed and Ray gunned the Raymobile, trying to get away. The futility of wiffle ball bats as a means of teaching queers a motherfucking lesson sank in, and the carload of drunken Evangelicals trying to right God's plan for the sancity of marriage chased us, breaking the speed laws as they were answering to a higher calling.
Ray was not familiar with the area and shot the wrong way down a one-way street. Our pursuers did the same. Oncoming traffic blared their horns and skidded out of the way, unaware a battle for morality was going down.
Ray stomped the pedal and got us going the right way. But we hit an intersection where we had to stop at a light. The frat boys pulled up alongside. One hopped out and used his foot to kick out the driver's side window, glass raining down on both
of us. Not so funny any more. He swung his fist and decked Ray in the jaw, certainly a justifiable punishment for wanting to look at guys who like guys. Ray stomped the engine and drove off into the night, hitting the highway.
Being local boys, they knew a shortcut, and when the Raymobile drove over an underpass it was pelted with many falling wiffle ball bats.
I guess they showed us.
Ray and I both are married to God-fearing, Christian wives, raising a litter of children and support the war in Iraq. I'm so glad those boys beat the sense into us. God bless all of you who think the same way.
Thursday, April 8, 2010
Okay, first you have to have a look at this news story and then come back. Although it's not so much the story itself you should pay attention to but the general public's response via the crazy internets.
This, my friend, is why Al Queda will win.
There's just no middle ground here. Either people think all they have to do is say 'no' and their kids will magically obey, or they see Ronald McDonald as a red-headed Svengali with the eerie abilty to cloud their children's minds.
I don't have children, and for good reason: I can't stand the little shits. But god damn, I was once a child and haven't forgotten (as so many parents do and slap on the blinders once one comes plopping out of their womb) what it was like to be one. Essentially, you put on a good show for mom and pop and then do whatever it is you feel like doing. This is the way kids operate. Period. They know you don't want to imagine them lying or stealing or having sex, so they give you just the image you're looking for and live a completely different life outside your scruitiny.
Kids are going to eat at McDonald's. Not because some pedophile (yes, that is exactly how one hysterical respondent to this story viewed a cartoon clown, apparently equating the eating of french fries with forced anal rape) has lured your children against their will; but probably because it's affordable if your only source of cash flow is your goddamn allowance. Organic whole foods are pretty damn pricey. Oh, and that, to a kid, McDonald's tastes good even, or perhaps especially more so, if you've been raised your entire life on salads and vegan-equivalent hot dogs. Kids want most what they've been told they cannot have, be it fast food, booze or someone else touching their privates. Deal with it.
So as a parent, it's your fucking job to know where your kids are and what they're doing. GPS cell phones make it easier for you than any other generation of nutjob guardians. Quit whining, quit putting the blame on advertising icons and do just a smidgeon of actual parenting to find out what's going on with your goddamn children. On the other hand, if you are one of these chest-thumping yahoos who claim "I've TOLD my children not to eat there, so, by God, they won't!" you have your head every bit as far up your ass as the folks who think Ronald McDonald is not only real but has the same skill set as Derren Brown. Because children are hardwired to be lying little bastards. If you think your coming across as a bully is going to change this, you're fooling yourself.
You wanna raise your kid vegan and not give them the opportunity to make this choice for their own self, the way you did, fine. That's going to be it's own punishment in a few years when they discover pulled pork and chicken fat as a means of rebellion. By all means, feel free to place the blame on The Hamburglar so you can sleep at night. Likewise, those of you turning a blind eye to the fact your child is swelling up like The Hindenburg, keep on maintaining that whole glandular line of crap. As always, the truth is somewhere in the middle, and reading the responses to this news story goes to show how stupidly hard-line America is when it comes to belief over reason as long as someone gets to pretend they're always right.
Makes me wanna puke both my #1 Value Meal AND my Paul Newman Southwest Salad.
Wednesday, April 7, 2010
This was an older Spookshow In Your Pants ditty I had every intention of making the theme song for the Spookshow In Your Pants Radio Hour. I still might.
You know the drill: click on the title to listen or save.
The very worst sound in the world is pkshhhh! That is the sound of a dead mouse skull crushing under your own bare feet after your cat has left it in the bathroom as a present.
When I lived with Todd he kept mice in cages. His plan was to cross-breed them in such a way he would eventually end up with a tiny lion; a mouse with a mane and specific coloring. It was like living with Mengele, assuming it took an hour and
a half for him to do his hair.
We had a cat. Somehow Todd refused to see this as counter-productive to his research efforts.
Our place smelled like mouse pee. But I hardly think I'm the only one who has put up with some weird shit in order to do a hottie. Cages and cages of mice in every nook and cranny. He had names for them all and I was supposed to remember each
and every one. There was Grandma, the matriarch of the clan, the first mouse Todd ever owned. There was Gerald, named after the Barrett-era Pink Floyd song 'Bike': "I've got a mouse and he doesn't have a house/I don't know why I call him Gerald." Those were the only two with which I could keep up, given that mice squirt out babies like the money shot in a porn flick; although perhaps with less embarrassing accessories.
The cat spent all its free time perched on top of the cages, staring down through mesh screening like it could cause them to convulse into shock through sheer will. Apparently this worked, as Grandma the Mouse came down with a neurological disorder that caused her to wildy spin about, much to the cat's and my amusement, but not Todd's.
Centuries ago, the Japanese bred mice and confined them into teency-tiny, mouse-sized cages and kept them there until maturity to produce the phenomena known as 'waltzing mice.' What would happen, after a lifetime of total immobility, was that when the adult mice were released they would spin and whirl about. The poor creatures were sold as novelty items to Victorian England. "Oh look Mummy! The mouse is dancing!" They didn't last long and would soon die. "Oh! He's gone to sleep. Can we get another?"
But a brain tumor or even an ear infection can cause this behavior to occur in rodents. Grandma apparently had the mouse equivalent of spinal meningitis, and while tragic in humans I found it goddamn funny while watching it happen to a mouse. She made strange faces, twitchy neck movements, and danced like nobody's business. I could stare at her for hours, as long as Todd wasn't home.
The cat, of course, was masterminding her plan to find a workaround for the lock system on the cages. She needen't have bothered. The mice were working on the very same escape strategy and turned out to be smarter than the cat given that they actually came up with a workable plan. Unfortunately,
once freed, they were loose in the apartment and at the mercy of the cat, who showed none whatsoever. The first mouse to make it over the wall was gutted and laid to rest on the tiles of the bathroom floor.
I need to pee when I first wake up. I walked in and heard the most horrible sound, as I've said, a human being can be expected to endure. Pkshhhh! I stepped on a mouse head and when the skull popped open some brains shot all over my bare foot. I, gagging, wiped said foot all over the towels.
I picked up what was left of the mouse and flushed it; a burial at sea.
Todd was right behind me, although unlike me his first response upon arising is to make sure his skin still looks pretty and fresh. He elbowed his way into the bathroom and washed his face, then dried it with the same towels I'd just used to clean the mouse brains off my stinky feet.
"You shit!" he screamed!
"What?" I asked, feigning ignorance.
"You used this towel as a cum rag!"
Tuesday, April 6, 2010
I think I posted this on FB a while back but because I love it so much I want to give it a permanent home here at Der Spookhaus. I'm a freak for cover versions as long as the artist brings something new to the party and in this case Godhead surely did.
There's this thing called freeballing. That, for the average male, is a sort of russian-roulette you play with fate in hopes you won't have a heart attack, stroke, heavy thing fall on your head or any other reason to make the paramedics show
up at your workplace and have to pull your pants down in front of all your co-workers. Because freballing means you aren't wearing any underwear and should any of these scenarios come into play, your office mates will be staring at your naked dick
and be able to compare notes on size, girth and general aesthetics.
This is a karmic lottery I often play. I am the kind of guy who finds boxer shorts restrictive, much less the tugging, ongoing reminder that I have a penis due to its rubbing against some extra-snug tightie whities. I really just like being
able to flop around in a pair of jeans without having my underwear continually announce my crank like it was showing up at a society party. I have health issues that make this not a particularly wise decision. But I will always go for comfort over potentially lethal embarassment.
Getting dressed for work is not the same for me as it is most people. The general public chooses which coordinating outfit will best show them off as a professional; I select the one item from the wrinkled, pre-worn pile least covered in cat hair. I throw this in the dryer with a mostened fabric softener sheet: ten minutes later I'm good to go. So I did this, one day, failing to notice that the pants in question were somehow split wide open along the crotch seam.
Naturally this occured on one of my freeballing days.
I remember, in hindsight, thinking to myself on the bus ride to work: Man, I feel a slight breeze in places I shouldn't. Unfortunately, that was where it ended in that my other thoughts overweighed this momentary recognition in that I was far more deep into obsessing on 70's children programmng, why my boss was such a bitch, a recipie for spinach dip and other things far more important than that momentary recognition of a coolness where it wasn't supposed to be.
I made it into work, plopped down into my cubicle, and did what I did I was supposed to do. Unbeknownst to me, my balls and dick were hanging out of the slit in my pants.
My friend Lola, who was even above my boss's boss in terms of heirarchy, just happened to sit down in the cubicle next to me to check out a few things on the computer. She looked over and saw me typing merrily away, my three-piece-set dangling out of my split pants.
She told me, later, her very first thought: My God, he's lost his mind.
"Cha Cha!" she whispered, "Cha Cha!"
"You're out!" she whispered, gesturing to my crotch area, "You're out!"
"Well, duh," I said, given that my sexuality was no real secret in the workplace.
"NO! YOU! ARE! HANGING! OUT!"
I looked to where she was pointing. There was my pee-pee, for all the world to see.
This would be a major problem anywhere, but as it was we worked for a company who provided services for people who had developmental disabilities and some of them just happened to be milling around the office at that very moment. They were a couple of guys who, although sometimes had girlfriends, were not above getting it on with one another from time to time.
It would probably not be a good thing for them to see my waggling johnson.
I hastily stuffed the offending flesh back into the split of my pants. The moment the boys we were serving left our part of the office I ran for the bathroom with a stapler and tape dispenser. Once inside, the plan was to staple my split seam together and cover it with tape, then pull my outer shirt down where this improvised handiwork could not be seen. I tried, but I am a moron. Third staple up nicked right through my scrotum. I howled like a woman giving birth.
Lola banged on the bathroom door. "Are you all right?"
"No!" I screamed, sounding like a mezzo soprano. "Go away!"
"What's wrong?" the guys we provided services for asked, loudly.
"Nothing!" Lola and I shouted in unison.
I stopped the bleeding with mucho toilet paper. After a while, I limped back to my desk, crouching in a very unseemly fashion so my shirt would cover my crotch.
"I'm going to McDonald's for lunch," Lola said. "Can I get you anything?"
"Maybe just a cup of ice," I said.
Monday, April 5, 2010
I guess I'm posting this a day late because there's a sample in this Spookshow song of my mother saying, "...and we want to wish you a Happy Easter." I pulled it off an answering machine message around 1993 or so, used it in a tape collage, then actually put it to music a couple years later. She passed away earlier this year and I like to think she's making her displeasure known since as I type this thunderclaps are sounding through my window.
But she should have been used to the idea of a day late: I was forever sending belated birthday cards and forgetting to call on important dates. Anyone who knows me will understand she was not alone in this position; I just don't have that seemingly important piece other people do and just cannot remember or even get the significance of specific dates. I'd rather remember the significance of people. But for some reason a lot of folk tie that into the calendar and in that realm, to many, I'm sure, I'm a big disappointment. I think it was Aristophanes who first said: "Oh well."
But my mother is only one of many guest stars in this earlier Spookshow In Your Pants recording. Also featured are Tor and Becca, a vapid local newscaster, CNR, a kindergarten class, Ray and most notably, Mr. Alfonso from Alice, Sweet Alice.
Click on the title to listen or save.
Oh, but it if you'd like to share in a personal joke Chris and I ran into the ground as an escape from insufferable working conditions a couple of years ago, look at the above picture then click here.
Sunday, April 4, 2010
Tor had come from out of town for a visit and I decided to have a little fun.
I'd bought some really cheap, dark dress socks from Family Dollar and discovered, after a day of wearing them and sweating into combat boots, that the dye used for the socks had seeped into my flesh and stained my feet a ghastly shade of bruise-
colored navy blue. It didn't look like my feet had been painted; the resemblance to a horrifying medical condition was uncanny. Plus it didn't wash off. So as not to give away the game, I changed into some white socks.
I laid on the living room floor, making small talk and after a while I said, "You know, I think there's something going on with my feet. They just haven't looked or felt right lately."
"Well they've never really smelled right," said Tor.
"No, serious, I think something's up."
"What do you mean?"
I peeled off one of my socks. Tor sat upright, gave out a little scream and went into a display of horrified double-takes and spluttering worthy of a Thirties' slapstick comedian. "What? Fu-fu-fu-fu-fuck, man! How long? I mean, you, you, you..."
"Plus they're kinda warm to the touch." What Tor didn't know was that I had been lying with my feet right next a ceramic heater and had held them there until I simply couldn't bear the burning pain any longer. He reached out with one finger and
gingerly touched the top of my foot. His hand yanked back and his eyes did pinwheels.
"We gotta get you to a hospital right now!" He shouted, leaping to his feet.
"It can wait till you leave town," I said. "I can go later in the week. Or next week. Sometime. I don't want to be any trouble."
"Trouble! Look, there is something SERIOUSLY wrong here. You need immediate medical attention!"
"It's probably just athelete's foot," I offered. "I'll pick up some Dr. Scholl's or something."
"Are you CRAZY?"
"Besides, the cat likes to curl up against them. Like a hot water bottle, I guess."
"Please," Tor pleaded, "you've got to take this seriously. You could end up losing your feet."
"Well maybe they'll give me one of those cool, motorized carts..."
"...or a physical assist monkey. If I can't get around the house they'll HAVE to give me a monkey. I've checked into it and you can't get one if you're just lazy. 'Cause I was thinking, say I wanted a sandwich, all I'd have to do is say,
'Monkey, go make me a sandwich' and it would have to do it."
"I'M SERIOUS HERE!", he yelled. "You are in a bad way and deliberately ignoring it!"
"Tor, I want that monkey," I insisted.
He stood up and grabbed the telephone. "Either you get in my car right now and let me take you to the hospital or I'm
calling 911 and having them send an ambulance!", he shouted, nostrils flaring.
"And you're going to tell them what? My friend's cheap socks leaked dye all over his feet and then he held them next to the heater?"
It took a second to process, then the phone whizzed by, inches from my head, clattering against the wall. Tor dove on top of me, pinning me to the floor and started to throttle me.
"Monkey! Get him off of me!" I screamed. "Monkey! Make him stop!"
Thursday, April 1, 2010
A rabbit is sent to stand before the lord God almighty.
“So here’s the thing,” God says. “Above all species you and your kind are known for fertility. Hell, ‘fucking like bunnies’ has become a friggin’ cliché.”
“Okay,” says the rabbit, not sure what’s going down.
“Well,” says the creator of the universe, “we have sort of a P.R. problem here. This time of year is supposed to be about the resurrection of my son—which is really only me in another form—and how he sacrificed himself to save the world from the eternal judgment I doled out in the first place…just go with it; it’s complicated…but the calendars got all F’d up and somehow it turns out that his martyrdom coincides exactly with previously-existing dates of Pagan fertility rites.”
“ I see,” said the rabbit, not seeing at all.
“Anyway, we’re going to call this thing Easter, and as a means of appeasing centuries of legend that came before our own, we thought it might be cool to have an Easter, you know…bunny.”
“I don’t get it. What do I have to do with Judaism?”
“Mmn, actually the overthrow of Judaism. But let’s not split hares. Get it?”
The rabbit rolled its slick, pink eyes. “Yes, I got it.”
“Just kinda kicking it around the office so far…but we’re thinking, what if a rabbit became the symbol of my only begotten son’s death and resurrection. Cause then you could have that old school fertility thing but whitewashed into something that would play with the tenets of the New Testament.”
“Not sure people would get the whole fertility thing,” the rabbit said.
“I don’t think so either,” said God. “Evangelicals are not big on allegory. Sure, they see Christ’s parables as such, but they don’t allow themselves to see anything else in the bible as anything other than literal, word-for-word absolute truth. They think the bible was written for the lowest common denominator so any standard literary conceit is fucking lost on them. So we’re going to have to hit them over the head with symbolism in the densest possible fashion in order to get them to see the whole fertility angle.”
“How’s that going to work?” asked the rabbit.
“We’re going to have you deliver eggs.”
“You’ll be the Easter bunny. You’ll go around putting eggs in people’s houses, as a reminder of the Maypole dance and all the other fertility rituals, but at the same time be a symbol for our Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ.”
“Isn’t this trying to have your cake and eat it, too?” asked the rabbit.
“Look,” said the lord God Jehovah. “We’re not stupid. We’re going to hedge things in our favor.”
“How’s that?” the bunny asked.
“You’re getting an image makeover. Less Druid, more Republican-friendly. From now on you’re going to be called Peter Cottontail. You know, as in the apostle Peter. The first pope.”
“Or the slang term for phallus, depending.”
“Now you’re just being insolent!” God thundered. “You have no proof that bit of history originated before my story!”
“Actually, it’s pretty well documented,” said the rabbit. “But for the sake of argument, we’ll pretend it’s not and simply agree to disagree. We’ll just pretend it’s an unsolvable mystery. You know, which came first, the Christian or the egg?”
“So we want you, like Santa Claus, to travel the world in a single night and hit every household and give them eggs.”
“Okay, Santa brings Playstation 3’s and gobs of cash. The same kids are going to be placated by some hardboiled eggs?”
“Well, there’s candy, too.”
“What if they’re diabetic?”
“Look, we just need you to do this.”
The rabbit thought for a moment. “You know, I am reminded of the words of Christ crucified, the ones that never made it into the bible.”
“And what quote is that?” asked God.
"The thing he said, nailed to a cross, right before someone stabbed him in the side with a spear."
"Refresh my memory," said God.
"Just before he was forced to drink vinegar while blood was pouring out of his wrists, right before he had a crown of thorns driven into his head."
"What, what did he say?" asked God.
“This is a hell of a way to spend Easter.”