Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Just another post about poop

We all know I love poop.

Quick side note for all the smartasses out there: did you just say, “well, actually, I didn’t know that, so you’re wrong.”? Did you? Because I didn’t say, “we all knew I love poop,” I said “we all know I love poop,” which, after having read that sentence, we all DO. So shut your damn pretty mouth.

Heretofore my accounts of poop stories have been the only worthwhile things I’ve written (I say heretofore because this post isn’t going to be worthwhile, and also because I think that word makes me sound smart). I’m fascinated by poop.

So naturally, when Tiff posted about this stuff yesterday, I was immediately engrossed (best usage of that word ever). [The link is not for the faint-of-heart. Basically it’s a product that makes you shit a ton and supposedly cleans out the poop-chute.]

The thought of rectal pollution got to me though, because really, if you have fifteen pounds of poo-gradually-ossifying-into-cancer wedged in your colon, you’ve got to want to shit it out, right? I mean, even the thought that one of those monsters might be lurking around the next bend of my large intestine had me breaking out in cold sweat.

At the same time, I knew this company was an exaggerated, charge-you-out-the-wazoo (ha), one-step-short-of-a-pyramid-scheme bunch of shlepps. I’ve asked my dad before if there really might be a couple stone (ha) of turd in the lower level of your GI and he said of course not. Oh yeah, I should mention my dad’s a doctor – otherwise it sounds like I’m four years old (and my dad can beat up your dad).

So at first, I thought I’d just let it go. But I couldn’t. Last night in bed, I tossed and turned. I probed my abdomen gently, wondering, fearing the worst: that I was basically the star of Aliens 4: It Comes Out Your Ass.

I needed my own version of the ass-blaster medicine. So this morning, in a minor panic, I broke into my mother’s All-Bran. I had dashed out a bowl of the mouse-turd shaped cereal and crunched a handful down before I saw that we had no milk. No milk for the cereal, real effing great.

Did that stop me? Hell no. I poured warmish water over the gravelly mix and started gamely spooning. Despite the fact that All-Bran and water is fucking disgusting, I got into a zone. I ploughed through that damn cereal like it was going to save me from cancer, which it might have been. Next thing I knew, I had eaten six bowls. Six fucking bowls of All-Bran!

This was bad. This was bad, I just knew it. And then I heard the loud, unmistakable creaking groan of an old sailing ship’s mast tilting in the wind. Or that’s what I thought. Then I realized the sound was actually my own bowel growl, registering at about 80 decibels. The ground was shaking a little bit, a light bulb shattered in the sconce, and beads of sweat sprang out on my forehead. I bolted for the bathroom.

Poop and I have been at it all day. Three times I’ve hit up the growler, and three times emptied the tanks, leaving a deposit the size of a swaddling papoose. It’s inexplicable. I can’t imagine how that much poop fit inside me. It’s like I just had triplets.

But you know what? I’m enjoying it. I’m really kinda digging the whole experience. It’s not every day you have the opportunity to poop the equivalent weight of an ottoman soaked in water.

And two seconds ago, someone walked behind my desk and saw the first paragraph declaring “We all know I love poop.” So now that everyone involved has far more information than they ever could have wanted, I’d better go. As a matter of fact, there’s another reason too. Excuse me.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

You want answers?

First of all, I promise I didn't think this post was going to suck. But I blame the suckiness at least half on you.

Answers to the questions.

First off, my cousin Jake asked me “why are you so gay?”

Obviously, I don’t know, because if I knew, I would do everything in my power to undo the causes since, as everyone knows, I can’t stand gay people. They make me feel uncomfortable and morally superior.

But if I had to guess, I’d say the reason I’m so gay is because of a story I once heard from a friend who I loved and trusted. This friend, a future roommate of mine, told me that once in high school, he had been extremely constipated. After half an hour on the toilet, he was getting desperate, and so he reached up his aft chute with one finger, curled his fingertip to hook into the turd, and yanked it out. Who wouldn’t turn gay after that story? You guys are all gay now, right?

Second, J. Hi asked “Who’s the best cereal mascot?”

Now, I was never allowed to eat cereal when I was a growing boy. My parents knew that too much sugar made kids hyper and too much playing with the toys that come in cereal boxes makes boys gay.

So I had to think long and hard about this. The best cereal is certainly Cinnamon Toast Crunch, but I don’t remember that having a mascot – so instead I’ll go with Captain Crunch. I actually mentioned him as an exemplar for the upcoming celebration of May as White Men’s History Month, and I think of him as a venerable old gentleman we could all learn something from. Or maybe not. But whatever, he’s not a pirate at least. (He’s not a pirate, is he?)

Tiff actually asked some serious questions, and serious questions, like gays, make me uncomfortable. But I’ll do my best. Just don’t expect this section to be entertaining.

What’s my best memory? My best memory is also probably the most sublime experience of my life: swimming in the Blue Grotto in Capri off the coast of Naples, at sunset, with my best friends all around me and the sea like a giant jewel backlit by fire.

What’s my worst memory? My worst memory is probably any one of several crises of conscience after doing something wrong, or finding out that my mom had cancer.

Where do I see myself in 5 years? Ideally, starting every fifth day for the Cubs. Realistically, who cares? Because I only care about ideally.

Have I ever been in love? Yeah, I think so.

Lil asked what Jake (anonymous) said. I was waaay over it.

Surviving myself asked if I was gay.

In response, I can only say, what are you supposed to do when you’re playing spin the bottle and it happens to land on a guy, and you have to play by the rules? And he sort of slips you the tongue to make other people laugh? And then maybe you blush a little bit and hold your cheeks? Your butt-cheeks. Exactly.

Falwless asked a question I didn’t even understand, but I think she finished by asking if she should sport more cleavage. So the answer to that is obviously yes.

Then later she called me an ass clown, so I’m changing my answer to no! No one wants to see your lame cleavage! I’ve seen better cleavage on a six-year old boy! What? He was kinda fat!

Asiankp went ahead and went there…
Who is my favorite sibling? My sister Mary Elizabeth, who my mom miscarried right before me!
Who is my favorite cousin? It’s a tie between everyone except Jake.
Who is my favorite person that my sister lives with? Her youngest son, Sam. HaHA! Escaped from your Pharisee-esque questions!

Jake then anonymously asked if I am susceptible to any cheeses. As a matter of fact, after my oldest brother poured a full glass of mild down my throat on my first birthday, I became allergic to dairy, and susceptible to all kinds of cheese through most of junior high school. No longer, thankfully.

Malice Blackheart asked why I chose the name Fort Knocks. Unfortunately, this story is boring as hell. I was drinking, and I thought it was an insanely clever pun. In case you haven’t noticed, it isn’t.

Kayleigh asked if I can do the limbo despite being 6’6”. I don’t know, I haven’t really tried it in about ten years, when I was pretty good at it (and 5’4”). If I had to bet, I’d bet on my knees going out before my competitors.

Margarita asked boxers or briefs. This made me glad, because then maybe it will seem less creepy when I say I had a dream about her. Ok, maybe that was more creepy.

Thing is, in the dream, she was more creepy, because she came up behind my while I was eating dinner, put her hand on my left shoulder and introduced herself. But then when I tried to turn around, she kept dodging and ducking behind me so I couldn’t see her face. But I could see that she had long dark hair. Which she probably doesn’t. I should probably stop telling this story now. Boxer-briefs.

And Tiff asked, “is this a trick where you’re like “ask me a question” but you never answer them?” …I don’t know, probably.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

Ask me a question

Everyone knows what "The Hills" is, right? And who Heidi Montag is, right? And everyone knows how some bad R&B can get so raunchy it's not even sexy any more, it's just more, you know, what?!

Well, this dialogue occurred earlier today - observe the intersection of patterns:

My friend: I heard Heidi Montag is coming out with a new single called “I want to be your toilet paper.”

Me: That is incredible.

My friend: I know, isn’t it?

Me: …actually, no.*

Well, that was a short post, so we better have something else to go with it. So ask me a question, any question at all, and I'll answer it, guaranteed. I won't even need to consult any sources, because the reservoir of knowledge inside my dome is an umplumbable depth.

This is sort of like that meme or whatever - except my answers are guaranteed to be better than anyone else's you've ever seen.

* This story is totally false. Don't look up the song; it doesn't exist.

So... questions?

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

H&R Block is easy, but I wish it was hard

Here’s the deal: things that are funny make you happy – but things that make you happy aren’t funny. No one wants to hear a story about how “oh my gosh, traffic was totally fine today, the highway was empty and no one cut me off and I didn’t swear or curse the whole way home and I only cried once.” Because that’s boring.

Everyone wants to hear about when this guy in a white Monte Carlo cut you off and you honked and yelled “Where the hell do you think YOU’RE going, jackass?!” and he got out and said, “What’d you say, asswipe?” and you say “you heard me, you fat turd-burglar!” and then he pops his trunk and takes out a huge mother-effing bat and you shit your pants and screech over onto the shoulder to get around him and wave him the finger out your window as you go. And maybe he hurls the bat after you and just misses your bumper, but maybe the effort made his sunglasses fall off his head and they broke on the pavement and then maybe when he bends over to pick them up, a burly trucker jumps down from his cab and rapes him, and maybe you and your friends all cheer. Everyone loves that story.

For this reason, I was really hoping that doing my taxes was going to turn out to be a huge pain in the ass – because then at least it might make a funny story and my day wouldn’t be a total bore. No such luck. H&R Block is the Prince Charming of my Internet tax-filing fairy tale. That company up and swept me off my feet, took me on a crazy horse, magic carpet, Crazy Horse (holla, Pocahontas!) ride and left me breathless at my desk, with a sweet taste on my lips, a pounding heart in my chest, and a fire in my loins.

If I was a princess, and that was my first date with my Prince (both pretty much true), I would kill myself if he didn’t call back. H&R Block is lucky I don’t have his cell phone number because I’d already be peppering the old inbox with mushy text messages. “Hey boo, miss you already! Can’t wait to “do business” next year ;) call me! Muah!”

Good thing, I guess, because you just know he’d get turned off that I was so clingy and needy and then I’d probably go on anti-depressants and sleep with TurboTax, who’s basically the Rumpelstiltskin of the story, except with Turbo-charged libido – at least I hope so. (Don’t you hate when you’re doing that “try-to-get-over-him hook-up” and the guy you pick up at the bar whose pick-up line was when he said he liked your personality turns out to be kind of a pansy in the sack? Yeah, that’s never happened to me either.)

Where were we? Rumpled stilt skin? No, before that. Oh yeah, H&R Block and how much I want him to take me to the Prom. I know it’s kind of short notice, but I’m really hoping, because we really hit it off, and I know he’s really popular, but I don’t think he’s such a player. Deep down, we’re so similar, I can just feel it.

Plus, booyah! I get like $900 back from the government, which kicks ass! I know that’s just because of the economic stimulus package, but whatever. The economy’s not the only one getting his package stimulussed, you can bet on that. And I’m definitely giving all the credit to H&R Block anyway, just like girls in high school at the prom.

You know what I’m talking about: all these girls in high school with visions of romance compounded with the whisperings of a thousand slumber parties and two shots of cheap vodka who are dead-set on the idea of losing their virginity at prom and rationalize that the mop-top soccer player in his dad’s car is the dream boy because he bought her a corsage and smiled while he held the door for her.

My date was the only honorable one who told me that was what was really going on. Nice girl. Kinda outta my league, but at least she was honest. I think she might have let me kiss her, but she had to get home early.

No such excuse, H&R Block; you work round the clock, my heart you unlock, you harden my, resolve.

Guess what else is open 24 hours, H&R Block? My arms, and the other half of my bed. Like I said in the first place, you're easy; I just wish you were hard.

Thursday, April 10, 2008

Shaving my goatee made me the rudest person I know

or - The Butterfly Effect vis-a-vis Facial Hair and Excretory Hygiene

As a youthful act of defiance, I grew a goatee. It didn’t look that great, but I gave it some time, and after a month or so, it really started to fill in – I’d say I was halfway between Orlando Bloom’s fruit-stache in Pirates of the Caribbean and Jeff Bridges’ Dude a la Big Lebowski.

But this story is about poop. Jon at Extraneous Kickassery told a story today about a guy who had stunk up the bathroom at work (come to think of it, Lil was on a potty kick too), and it reminded me of the time when someone at work took a dump in the garbage can in the bathroom. This episode I did not understand. Clearly, the guy had made it to the bathroom on time, there was plenty of toilet paper; the situation was perfect for an ordinary, regular, put-the-seat-down-and-sit-on-it poop. Instead, he chooses to wedge himself up between the top of the can and the paper-towel dispenser and pinch a loaf for posterity – a loaf that will last.

When I came into the bathroom that day, and smelled that bitter oniony stank of a air-drying turd (you can tell a turd in water from a turd in air just as easily as you can tell a fart from an oops-I-just-shit-my-pants, sorry, tmi), I checked the toilet for “klingons,” then peeked into the garbage, saw the relic, and burst out with the only thing I really could say: “Oh, COME ON!”

But this story is about my goatee. Jon’s poop story also reminded me that I had grown a goatee – wait for it – as a youthful act of defiance. I started it around a month or so ago (call it six weeks), and it was just beginning to fill out nicely (I’m having the strangest sense of déjà vu here).

Then suddenly, two days ago, I heard from my coach about my upcoming tryout. I was excited, and decided that I needed to look as young as possible for the tryout (minor league coaches are notoriously pederastic – see those mustaches?), so I shaved the goat. And you know what? It had filled out more than I expected – so much so that I needed a hair clippers to get it down to length before shaving, so much that I dulled one and a half razor blades, so much (and here’s the kicker!) that I really looked different when I shaved it off. Why is that important? I wouldn’t let myself into bars? No. It’s important because (remember this) every time for the last two days I have seen myself in the mirror, I have gotten startled and have to check again for thirty seconds or so to make sure I am myself and not a vampire or Matt Damon or whatever.

But this story is about poop. Yesterday, I cruised into the bathroom as is my wont, and purged my colon (wow, sometimes it’s best to leave the descriptive writing at the door, huh? The bathroom door. Zing!). And as I stood up, I caught a glimpse of someone moving around suddenly, staring at me. When I stood still, he stood still; when I moved, he moved.

I was petrified. Slowly, slowly, I poked my head around the corner and saw… the mirror. Duh! It was the goatee, throwing me for a loop all along. I chuckled to myself as I walked to the sink buckling my belt, washed my hands and winked at myself in the mirror. Then I shook my head and gave the requisite shake-of-the-wet-hands-so-as-not-to-waste-paper-towels-by-drying-hands-that-are-soaked-and-could-easily-be-shaken-half-dry-at-least. Then I checked my teeth real quick, made a scary face at myself and laughed. And then I walked out.

There was one thing I didn’t do.

Go ahead, read back, see if you can see what it was.

Figure it out yet? I hadn’t. I was almost all the way back to my desk when it hit me.

You didn’t flush.

I panicked. I started hyperventilating. My face was flushed… but the toilet wasn’t.

So I scurried back toward the bathroom, and just as I rounded the bend and the door came into view, I caught a glimpse of a shoe retreating into the commode and the door clicked close…. I was too late. All was lost.

I shuffled aimlessly, despondently, over to the locked door, as if there was something I could do. And then I was startled by the bellow from inside, a screech of the most righteous indignation. “Oh, COME ON!”

I hustled back to my desk.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Betting, stealing and making restitution: an unsolved mystery in one part

I enjoy the occasional prop bet as much as the next man – well, more than the next man if I’m being honest with you. I say that it never hurts to make a question more interesting by putting some money on the outcome.

A few times in college, I offered other students various amounts of money if they could eat a certain amount of a certain food in a certain amount of time… ten bucks for a bottle of mustard in fifteen minutes, twenty for a jar of grape jelly in ten minutes, forty for a gallon of Pace thick and chunky salsa in an hour. None of those three finished, and two of them threw up.

The most I ever had to pay out was $100, when one of my friends jumped into a sewage canal fully dressed and swam fifty yards to a ladder he could climb out on. Never bet against a drunk person doing something stupid.

Remember when I said that I pick my teeth with staples at work? I wasn’t lying. Well, it bothers the girl who sits closest to me, so we came up with a decent bet (if you can call it a bet): every time I pick my teeth with staples, I put a dollar in the jar between our desks. She has to put a dollar in every time she checks her Blackberry Pearl for messages. We didn’t really plan what we would do with the money after it accumulated for a while, but we had the feeling that we’d cross that bridge when we came to it.

But another co-worker (Peggy, who happens to be my cousin) surprised us with a concern we hadn’t considered. “Someone is going to steal that money,” she said, pointing to the three dollars that I had dropped in the jar that morning.

“Surely not,” I said. “The employees here have integrity, class.”

But Peggy was unconvinced. “I wouldn’t be so sure,” she said.

And of course, being myself, I chimed, “well, care to make it interesting?”

In a minute, we had another prop bet on. If the money stayed in the jar for more than two days, Peggy would owe me four dollars. If it was stolen within a day, I would owe Peggy four dollars. If it was stolen on the second day, we would call it a push.

The first day, the first night passed. Evening came and morning followed. The money remained. Satisfied and confident, I let Peggy know that I couldn’t lose – that the best she could hope for now was a tie… and then I went home. Evening came and morning followed.

The second day, I came into the office to find the money gone, the jar empty. That was it, stolen and done.

I emailed Peggy my congratulations on her narrow escape, and was content to let it go at that. Until…

Evening came and morning followed, and on that morning of the third day, I noticed three crisp dollar bills in the bottom of the jar.

And paperclipped to the front, there was a thin strip of typewritten paper. I fished it out, and read it:

“Sorry, I took the three dollars for lunch money. Here’s some extra back.” Sure enough, beneath the bills were four shiny quarters. 33% interest, not bad. But not enough to cover my forfeited winnings from the bet.

I didn’t know whether to leave a scathing note back in the jar and hope that the mysterious borrower would return for another loan… or to cut my losses.

And then the “wait just one minute” moment occurred. Wait just one minute, I said to myself. The money was taken after I had left for the evening and before I had come in in the morning. So it was either a late worker or an extremely early riser… ok. But then why would this person steal money “for lunch” early in the morning or late at night? Breakfast money, perhaps. Money for a late-night snack, I can see. But lunch money? Really? Or is there a more sinister explanation?

And a possibility occurred to me. Maybe Peggy was just saving herself from losing the bet. Maybe those quarters she left afterwards were the product of a guilty conscience. Maybe she taken three and given four when she should have left the three and lost the four.

And I have two questions. Did Peggy take that money? And if she did, was she cheating, or did she just pull the wool over my eyes?

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

I want to play professional baseball

I’ve mentioned a few times before that I play baseball. I’ve bragged about how good I am, about how hard I can throw. But I’ve never really talked about baseball – never said what I hope for, what my realistic prospects are, and what it would mean to me if I could nut up and get it done.

Instead, as anyone foolish enough to come back to this blog more than once can attest, I spend most of my time trying to be funny, or preposterously exaggerating a position I believe in. I don’t talk very seriously, because when you talk seriously, you’re asking people to take you seriously, and therefore becoming accountable for what you say. And obviously I’m not much for that… so I just goof around.

Baseball, though, has been the one thing I can’t even goof around about. But I’ve also not talked about it seriously – hell, no. Now, I guess I will.

Even though putting down in black and white what I want to do sets me up for a hell of a let-down if I don’t do it. Maybe a lot of you won’t understand why this is sort of a big deal, but maybe you will. A favorite professor of mine once told me to “be radically honest.” So I’m going to give that a one-time go.

I love baseball. I’ve always played (organized ball since I was six, yardball before that), and I’m pretty good. Four years I played in college, at a D-III school in a pretty good conference, and last summer (after graduation) I played in the Chicago Suburban Baseball League (former home to Tim Mahay, Curtis Granderson and Jerry Hairston) – where I was fortunate enough to be named to the All-Star Team: mine is one of these thirty names.

I’m a right-handed pitcher, I’m 6’6”, 225, and my fastball has been clocked at 92 mph. My slider needs work, but it’s not bad. My change-up is a good one as long as I stay on top of it.

My coach last summer asked me if I would be interested in playing professional baseball. I would. I’ve been fascinated with that idea ever since my pitching coach suggested the possibility my freshman year in college.

So hopefully, sometime near the end of April, I’ll have a private tryout with the coach of the Gary Railcats, an independent pro team that plays in the Northern League.

I’m pinning a lot on that tryout, and I’m nervous about not making it.

It’s a long shot. I tell everyone it’s a long shot. But there’s no way I’d do it if I didn’t think I could make it. I think I am going to make it. But it is a long shot.

I’ve been throwing into a tarp hung from the ceiling in the attic at my house to get my arm in shape. It’s not as good having someone to throw with, but hopefully it’s enough.

People have asked me if I have a dream job, and I always say no. People have asked me if I know what I want to do with my life, and I always say no.

This is my dream job. But I’ve been afraid to say so, because if I don’t make it, what does that make me?

It’s not like an interview. It’s not to see if you’re “a fit.” It’s not to find out if you’ll get along with your teammates, if you “mesh with the vision of the company,” or “correspond to the implementation of the mission statement.”

This is what it is: are you good enough? Do you throw hard enough?

They stick you on a short hill, sixty feet and six inches from the plate and you just have to throw the ball. Really hard, and really accurately. You have to be uncannily good. You have to be a sort of freak.

They won’t ask you “what’s your biggest weakness?” They’ll tell you. I’m not used to hearing that.

It’s April Fool’s Day, and I guess it’s ironic or appropriate or both that this is about the most serious I ever get. Every other day is a joke for me. But not today. Not this April.