Wednesday, March 28, 2007

We're All Adults Here

A few days ago I let slip my age to co-worker. He was dumbfounded. His expression suggested that i was no longer the robust and youthful, nay, spry lad he once believed me to be but a decrepit has-been, an over-the-hill curmudgeon, in short, he thought I was old.

Now I don't believe I'm old. But I'm no spring chicken either. in fact I've come to the conclusion that somehow I've stumbled into adulthood. No I'm not on the PTA, and don't pay property taxes, I don't golf, and still listen to 'new' music. But I'm adult nonetheless. Reason #427?

A friend of mine whom I hung out with as an undergrad is officially a home-wrecker.

It's a long, complicated, tragi-comedic story of which I'll presently deliver the cliff-notes. Friend, let's call him 'Kevin', has always been a wise-ass. One of the funniest guys I have ever met, he could wheedle a conversation out of a stone. Kevin likes girls and pursues them in a way super-villains constantly quest for worthy super-heroes to do battle, i.e. he's always on the look-out for his presumed equal, if not better. Mostly because he enjoys a challenge, but possibly because he has a death-wish. hard to say. To illustrate, the following anecdote.

One of the few times I found myself in a bar as an undergrad, Kevin decided he was going to pick up a girl and get her to sleep with him by telling them he was terminally ill with cancer. Offensive? yes. Funny? I find it hilarious and am going to Hell. But the reason i find it hilarious, and the reason Kevin employed said tactic is what makes it funny.

No honest girl is going to sleep with a guy because they say they have cancer. The premise is ludicrous, no matter how good-looking the guy is, and Kevin is no slouch, or how powerful the rhetoric. The whole angle is a ruse. It's how the girl reacts you see. If she's offended? He didn't want to hook-up with a girl like that in the first place. No sense 'using' some 'good' girl for scandalous means. But if she laughs, or better, fires something equally witty/disturbing right back in his face? pay-dirt. Said girl might not/probably wouldn't mind a meaningless hook-up, after all Kevin is unofficially declaring his intentions and is not dissembling in any way. He may not be avoiding a long-term relationship because he's leaving the land of the living, but he is clearly showing off his early exit strategy.

And this was all well and good as an undergrad. Kevin didn't even hook-up all that much. He was a cocky and a braggart, but like most of Braggadocio's retinue, he also has a fair amount of insecurity. Unfortunately Kevin's undergraduate behavior hasn't come to an end. Here we are 5 years out and he's still up to old tricks. And here's where things get dicey.

Kevin's good friend, let's call him 'Fortinbras,' is a preposterously good-looking well-intentioned young man who graduated a year earlier than my class and promptly married while we were still sweating out our theses. Fortinbras set up a nice little home in Anonymous East-Coast City, got a good job at a good firm and things were going swimmingly. Then Kevin graduated (late) and moved to the same AECC Fortinbras had been living in for a few years. At the time Kevin was (and still is) dating a little spit-fire who gives as good as she gets. In other words, she knows exactly the type of man she is with and harbors no delusions he will reform or be corrected by her charming influence. I don't forsee a long-term relationship there, but they are both having fun, and i suppose no harm no foul.

Back out on the town Kevin and Fortinbras soon hook up and become best buds again, frequenting the bars and sowing shenanigans. Old habits die hard. K & F were lady-killers then and are lady-killers now. When Kevin last visited me he mentioned how guilty he felt, chatting up women and bird-dogging all the time right under their loved one's noses. To my knowledge (and K's admission) nothing ever comes of these flirtations, they remain just that. However Queen Fortinbras finally had enough. Unlike Lady Kevin, she won't stand for this sort of thing (and good for her) and as a result (after numerous wanrings, apparently) is divorcing Fortinbras. Serious business.

So it's not exactly like Kevin slept with Fortinbras' wife or anything. But he's still a home-wrecker, however indirectly. I mean i suppose a bulk of the blame falls squarely on F. He's the one who's married, not K. And if he really loved his wife he wouldn't just blithely ignore her frequent admonitions. We all design our own downfall, but Kevin didn't exactly keep his nose clean. I know he doesn't feel good about what happened. I learned all the above in a drunken phone message I woke up to a few days ago. Kevin rambled on about how he needed to talk to me (Yeah, you guessed it, I was the 'moral compass' everyone turned to in college, not because I was a goody-goody [which I plainly was] but because i was the only one who would listen and a) not laugh, and b) not tell anyone else) about serious things, as well as silly tangential topics like 'not understanding the Brothers Karamazov... how that crept into his brain patterns I can't fathom a guess, though it gives you a clear picture of Kevin, muddled and complex, drunk or not. At any rate after descending into less lucid mumblings, Kevin suddenly ends the message by reaffirming,

"Well, we're all adults here!"

And against my instincts and better judgment, yes, I suppose we are.

Thursday, March 22, 2007

coming to theaters this Spring

Untitled Movie Trailer. Based on a true story. I shit you not.

Fade from black, ominous music in the background, lessening. Two young men on rickety chairs in a cramped office doing busy-work. One is blonde and strapping and wearing a wife-beater. The other is, well, the other man is me.
Close up of me processing a textbook order. Red Ball-cap. haven't shaved in a while. Here's your hero, you think to yourself. Then, a mysterious scratching sound.

"Hey Doug," Strappy Wife-Beater says, "Check out the size of that 'roach on the wall!" Camera zooms on Strappy's finger, then swings violently toward wall.

I look up and am horrified. Only the second 'roach I've ever seen. and I want it dead. I stand up slowly lest I disturb the winged beast. Camera moves back to long-shot as i struggle to find a suitable weapon despite the fact I'm drowning in clutter. Cut to one second shot of bead of sweat on my temple. Cut to wall. the 'roach is gone. Fade to black.

Fade from black, same ominous music, same cramped office, same dudes. Maybe an hour has passed. I'm on the phone taking to Cal/Princeton. Sweet-talking them. Minding my own business when I catch something out of the corner of my eye. there it is, an inch from my blue puma, scraggling along, seconds away from climbing in and up my pant-leg. I shudder, shift and stomp.


All the while my sultry business-phone-tone never quavers. Transaction takes another minute to complete. I slowly hang up. freak out. OMG. leave cramped office and Strappy for some fresh air.

Cut to 15 minutes later, me walking into the famed 3rd floor bathroom, now free of 'out of order sign.' Ominous music gets stronger. The bathroom is dark, the light flickers. I only want to wash my hands. I move toward the sink when what do I hear?

soft crinkling insect feet.
Another cockroach!

Camera zooms in on toilet, then dark corner opposite, then waste basket. Nothing is revealed. I jump back. I run from the bathroom, camera pans around to show 'roach, now visible, stowing 'out of order' sign behind the trash can, chuckling to itself in small hissing noises. I catch my breath near the soda machine.

Put in change, ominous music growing louder.

Press mountain dew...

sold out!

Dr Pepper...

sold out!

diet coke? Per-chigga-clung. Diet coke in hand I turn around only to overhear a conversation down the hall. Camera slowly zooms down hall, perversely, voyueristically, focusing on nothing but a disembodied voice. All one hears is the coversation:

female voice: "Oh my God, what is that!? on the wall! Its a what!? Ew, I've never seen one of those before!"
male voice: "Yeah, it's a cockroach, I just killed one in my office just this morning..." They're everywhere.

Some hero. I turn and run. I don't look back. Save yourself. save. your. self.

trailer *fin*



Wednesday, March 21, 2007

i make old-man noises

it's true. i make old-man noises. all the time.

When I sit down after standing, my sigh creaks into something like eh-EH-Ahhhh.
When I take a flight of stairs that has more than 5 rises I begin to wheeze.
When I haven't spoken in a while, I tend to clear my throat.
When kids come to the door I tell them that "No, I won't give them back their frisbee, that it's on my roof and that they should be more careful," and when they arrive in costumes on Halloween I helpfully remind them that "it's cold out there, better bundle up!"

Sunday, March 18, 2007

flipping the switch

Bathroom Trilogy of Terror! (Part 3)

the fans get what the fans ask for. don't let anyone tell ya differently. my zombies, robots and dinosaurs know a thing or two about the water closet. perhaps a thing or two too many. Case in point....

I was visiting a friend's apartment almost a full year ago. It was a small gathering, there was some drinking. As such a trip to the lav was soon necessary. Door closed, I imagined myself alone in this foreign bathscape. I proceed to unzip, etc... there's really not that much prep-work that goes into a man's number one. However there is a light-switch-esque on/off mechanism that gets released. The mind gives the go-ahead and then there is a lag, perhaps not even a second or so before relaxation can commence. Well what to my abject horror can you imagine happens, just as I 'flip the switch,' but a furry lightning bolt leaps up onto the rim of the bowl.

I watch in terror during the first split-second as I fear the cat will go head over tea-cup into the drink. But he does not. Grace is a particularly innate feline gift. A gift I proceeded to urinate all over. I couldn't stop! It wasn't my fault! The switch had been flipped... of course i reigned it in but there's an even more stubborn lag involved in a premature ceasefire. For perhaps a whole second or two I peed on my friend's cat.

Mortified, I tore off swatches of TP, wet them in the sink, and began wiping down the cat. I added handsoap to some of these swatches, but not much, apprehensive of adding even more foreign material I'd never sufficiently get out of the small animal's pelt. Then I rubbed and petted and stroked, 'fluffing' the beast back to an appearance I deemed reasonable, if not altogether not urine-soaked. All the while I still really have to pee. even more so after deceiving my poor body, issuing the 'a-okay' only to cruelly demand a cease and desist.

Needless to say I swiftly booted the cat from the bathroom, cursed my bad luck and succeeded in accomplishing what I had walked in there to do. But never again will I enter a friend's bathroom so insouciant and on top of the world. Ladies, colleagues, friends and enemies, please lock up your pets before inviting me over lest i befoul their coats. But like I said. It wasnt my fault. honest.


Thursday, March 15, 2007

Bathroom Humour

This is the second in what I hope will not be a trilogy of lavatory based posts. Yesterday I stumbled upon spectacular bathroom pejoratives as only the University of Chicago can muster. Laced across the surface of a bathroom stall was a dialogue that made me laugh, then feel ashamed that I'd found it all funny. It is mostly a repartee back and forth between two formidable foes, but with a surprise rejoinder at the end from a visiting dramatist. (the parenthetical annotation is my own) Voila:

"God is Dead!," -Nietzsche

(the almighty strikes back)

"Nietzsche is Dead!,"- God

(Very true, but Nietzsche proves resourceful)

"Zombie-Nietzsche Lives!" -Zombie Nietzsche

(the almighty is impressed)

"Well-played, Zombie Nietzsche!" -God

(and the stunning conclusion, from a surprise entrant, reminding us that yes, this is writing in the men's room)

"Zombie-Nietzsche sucks cock." -Zombie Euripides


Tuesday, March 13, 2007

that guy is out of order

The bathroom on the third floor of the building I work in is out of order. It has been out of order for as long as I can remember. It is not locked, the door remains propped, slightly open, but a large sign aggressively taped to the front declares "Out of Order." Now we can debate the semantics of the phrase "out of order," what a bathroom in order might entail, whether or not, in a philosophical sense, order can ever exist, or hypothesize that if the predominating order of the universe is entropy, that human life itself is "out of order," and that of course the bathroom on the third floor of the Chicago Theological Seminary, just adjacent a posse of vending machines, is, and forever shall be, "out of order."

But that still does not explain the behavior of a colleague of mine.

The soul-crushing boredom of work + a tedious ride in an elevator can result in some interesting discoveries. Co-worker got into the elevator just as the doors were closing and seeing that we had next to nothing in common, our topic of conversation strayed down some unorthodox path. Somehow we got to chatting about the bathroom on the third floor. That's when I found out that said facility wasn't out of order, or at least that my colleague still used it like it was perfectly fine. "How on earth did you figure that out?," I asked, perplexed.

"I just went in and used it anyway," was the simple, direct, bewildering reply, "I'm just that guy."

So now I can add yet another category of 'that guy' to an ever growing list I've compiled over the ages. There's 'that guy' who sells moisturizer on the Red-line every morning, who gets on at 47th street and proceeds to inquire if anyone wants any "body oils." There's 'that guy' who comes in every week or two and drops $300.00 (!!) on poetry. And there's 'that guy' who goes to the deli place and orders sandwiches with "just turkey and bread." Actually that last guy is me. But anyhow, as i was saying, I have a new 'that guy.' Now there is 'that guy' who randomly defecates in public restrooms with signs on them stating they are 'out of order' just to, you know, make sure they really are not in service.