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Monday, September 13, 2010

Residue

I got a stern “talking-to” after the Pants on Fire column a few weeks back. My wife made me pinky-swear that I’d start eating better while on the road. She mentioned something about being around for the grandkids, but I just think she’s sick of looking at my gut.
Either way, I agreed. Picking up a matchbox car off the floor shouldn’t be so hard. So, it was with great sadness that I passed McDonald’s and pulled into Subway last week. Like usual at lunchtime, I had to piss.
Generally speaking, I’m not a fan of using public restrooms right before I eat. I just feel like somehow, some way, another man’s penis residue is going to end up on my sandwich.
Annoyingly enough, there was just one girl working. I’m not sure if she was new or just really focused on her craft, but my balls were starting to swell as she placed little banana peppers with painstaking care. My knees started rocking as my patience grew thin.
Given the earthly shape of the family in front of me, I suspected a large volume order was about to be placed, most likely with a complete complement of toppings and condiments. I couldn’t wait through all that. I had to go.
I busted through the bathroom door and was surprised to find another man using the urinal. It was a little bathroom, much too small to share with another dude.
“Sorry…I’ll wait outside,” I offered.
“Nope…nope…I’m just about…ahhh….wraaaapped up here,” he stuttered while shaking his hips.
My stomach churned as he pointed his ass outward and slowly packed his apparently gigantic man-garbage back into his shorts.
“All yours,” he offered.
“Thanks,” I replied as he grabbed for the door without washing his hands.
“Enjoy your lunch now,” he blurted cheerfully while leaving the room.
“Enjoy your pecker...sweat…sandwich” I mumbled.
I was in mid-stream when a man coughed from inside the stall next to me. I had no idea anyone was in there. I couldn’t believe it.
“Mmm…nnnn…nnnnt,” he groaned, “…nnnnnnnnt.”
“Who takes a dump at subway?” I whispered to myself.
I was taken aback by the man’s struggle. The horrible rumblings were broken up by the man’s heavy breathing. It sounded like Darth Vader was being strangled with a whoopee cushion. My cheeks ballooned in disgust as his waste splashed into the waters below.
“Ahh…uhhhhhhh…yesss,” he mumbled under his breath. I clenched my teeth and winced as he continued to fight the good fight. I was waiting for him to ask who Number Two works for.

The stink became increasingly offensive. It smelled like disease and imminent death. The stench cannot be sufficiently described in words, but the man was clearly not in good health.
Sensing he was on the verge of an anal fissure, I forced out the rest of my pee and headed hastily for the sink. I squeezed out the last drop of soap and rushed to wash my hands.
“Ahh!” I blurted as the man quickly rose from the toilet. I was embarrassed by the outburst and feared the awkwardness of looking him in the eyes.
Blood rushed through my veins as the man’s shoes squeaked loudly on the floor. He started to yank feverishly at the toilet paper. I knew it wasn’t long before he would emerge. I pulled equally fast at the paper towels. Just as he was fidgeting with the stall lock I was able to escape. I leaned against the hallway and let out a sigh.
The relief was short-lived. I feared it was only a matter of time before he got in line behind me. Worse yet, I wondered, perhaps he was an employee?
I began to worry as the young girl was still making sandwiches for the same behemoth from before. I watched suspiciously as she walked out of sight for a moment.
“Hey…I need some help out here,” she shouted.
She wasn’t alone! My heart began racing…my head was spinning.
It couldn’t be. It just couldn’t be.
The world seemed to slow down around me. I could hear the squeaking of his shoes getting closer and closer.
“Caaaaaannnn…I…Heeeelp yoooouuuuu?” echoed a deep, slow-motion voice from the distance.
I didn’t answer. I couldn’t answer. I was paralyzed by the thought of his crap-riddled hands fondling my meal.
“Sir!” he repeated while snapping on a pair of rubber gloves, “What can I get you?”
“Um, give me a minute,” I stammered. I reached for my phone and nearly dialed 911. Instead, I acted like I just got an important text message. I didn’t care about the rubber gloves as he used his damn hands to pick them up! Not to mention, I used the last of the soap!
“Oh no! I can’t believe this,” I pretended.
“Is everything okay, sir?” he asked.
“I’ll be right back. I have to make a phone call.”
I hustled out of the restaurant and headed toward my car. While I was pleased to not be eating a poop-tainted sub, I felt bad for the young man who passed me on his way inside. The poor bastard will never know what I know. He’ll never know the horrible truth of every scrumptious bite.
I can only wonder what went through the worker’s minds as they watched me peel out from their parking lot. I hope it was a learning opportunity…to…ya know…not take a massive dump at work.

Friday, August 20, 2010

Road Trip

It’s nice to be back at work this week. I can finally relax after a few days on the road with my family.
It’s much easier when I travel alone. It’s just me and my luggage. Never has my suitcase shouted from the backseat, “Are we there yet?”
Stinkin’ kids…we weren’t even to Canastota.
When it’s just me, I never have to worry about my favorite sports talk show being preempted for Alanis Morrisette, or having my vision obstructed by bare feet wedged against the windshield. I damn sure don’t have to listen to the grunting of my ten year old niece as she satisfies her linebacker appetite.
The only good part about traveling with the family was the acute asphyxiation that followed the children’s flatulent outbursts.
I’m only kidding, that part sucked too.
The four of us set sail for Lake George last Monday, and our first stop was a place just north of town called Natural Stone Bridge & Caves. Initially, my wife and I agreed it was a swell time. But, as more time separates us from the forty five dollars we dropped down, I think we both know it was about as impressive as my brother’s back yard. I could find more natural wonders looking at a Braun family photo from 1986.
As much as I enjoyed watching an elderly gentleman sprain his ankle, the overall experience seemed a bit over-priced. The best part may have been the free picnic facilities (crooked table). The lunch spot provided a good laugh as my son pointed out a weird trash barrel with large wheels, apparently to make it easier to move.
“Look Dad! It’s a garbage can for handicap people!”
After my wife and I argued about the absence of macaroni salad in our picnic basket, we packed up and set sail for our river tubing appointment. I was extremely excited for this part of the trip, but it got off to a rocky start.
Apparently in the Adirondacks, an appointment is defined as such;
Appointment [uh-point-muhnt] – a long period of sitting around with odd-haired foreigners while waiting for your hillbilly tour guide to arrive. While you may enjoy the short-lived bliss of a large breasted water-shoe girl, you’ll mostly spend time wondering why anybody would wear corduroys and a jean jacket to go down a river, or more importantly, why your rented life jacket smells like it was last worn by Sloth Fratelli.
After a long wait, our guide finally showed up and loaded us onto a green bus. We had about a ten mile ride to the river.
I was instantly startled by the driver. She seemed more likely to eat my internal organs than to take me somewhere safely. I was starting to wonder if we’d be floating down the river in garbage bags instead of inflatable tubes.
We proceeded anyhow, and thankfully so.
Turns out the bus-driver was just beaten with the ugly stick. She hadn’t been charged with a violent crime since the mid-eighties, and despite being a tardy Unabomber lookalike, the river guide was outstanding. I was pleasantly surprised as he told jokes and impersonated animal sounds for the kids.
Our one hour float down the crystal clear waters was by far the highlight of my trip.
The next day was spent at Six Flags Great Escape, which is a fitting name, because I feel like they escaped with all our money. I hate to sound like such a party-pooper, but I was disappointed. It’s not that we didn’t have some fun, but we were spoiled with short lines and long hours at King’s Dominion last year.
Besides being burnt to a crisp in torturous long lines, wasting two minutes of my life on the bumper cars, and spending forty bucks on Papa John’s, I had a great time.
“Excuse me, sir,” I said to a ride attendant, “where is the nearest bathroom?”
“Yes.”
After several seconds of awkward staring, I asked again, “Bathroom? Where’s the bathroom?”
“Yes,” he said again.
“shabby-doo, shobba-de-da,” I asked.
“Yes,” he nodded in agreement.
I don’t know what Six Flags has against hiring American college kids for the summer, but thankfully they provide a pretty nice pocket map.
It wasn’t all bad. The day was saved by a few great hours in the water park. The slides gave my wife something to talk about on the ride back to the hotel. She went on and on about her “near-death” experience.
“I can’t believe you weren’t there to help me,” she said.
“Honey, I don’t even think the water went above your nose,” I interrupted.
“No way! I was like…gasping for air. I started to see white lights…” she carried on.
We finished up our trip on Wednesday with a day in the village. We did a little shopping…a little miniature golf.
As the day was winding down we came across Dr. Morbid’s Haunted House.
“Yes! Yes! Please, let’s do it,” begged the kids.
We were only ten feet into the tour before my wife was rushing our shrieking niece out the emergency exit. It wasn’t long before my son began to panic as well.
“Suck it up…don’t be a wuss,” I whispered into his ear, with my hand covering his mouth.
“Mmmm…mmmm…mmmm!” he mumbled through my fingers, pointing wildly at the exit.
As I finally relented and tossed him outside, I wondered what was worse…wasting the twenty-eight bucks, or watching my only son go the way of the cowardly lion.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Fangs

The world can be a scary place. We’re subjected to so much; from violence and war to economic uncertainty and spiders.
Yeah, that’s right… spiders.
I can’t think of anything worse. I’d rather stare down the barrel of a loaded shotgun.
Those creepy crawlers are the spawn of Satan. Have you ever seen the sick rituals they perform on their prey? Seriously, they make dinner time seem more like serial murder than an act of nature.
In what resembles a satanic sacrifice, they hang their victims in a web and watch them slowly suffocate. As if that’s not troubling enough, they return to the remains hours later and wrap the corpse tightly with webs until it has been mummified. Then, under the cover of darkness, the body is dragged to unknown depths where I imagine it’s consumed in a most unholy manner. I can imagine the horror movie now, The Hills Have Eight Eyes.
They are disgusting cretins. My hatred runs deep for them, mostly because they are so terribly ugly. I think mammals have pretty much proven that four legs are more than enough. Anything more just adds to the creep-factor. It’s like having four nipples or six nuts.
You know, I might be able to look past the hideous veneer if they were able to slaughter other annoying insects in large droves, but they seem to average one fly capture per week. That’s not exactly contributing to society.
I don’t know if I’ve just moved into a more advanced stage of arachnophobia, but I feel like I’m overrun with spiders lately. They’re everywhere! They’re dangling from the eves while I paint my house, building fortresses on my front porch, and clinging to my car’s windshield like the psychotic paper boy from Better Off Dead.
Just the other night I awoke suddenly to a tickling sensation on my shoulder. Fearing the worst, I slowly opened my left eye to investigate. I was frozen by the horror…my heart was pounding wildly through my chest as I stared at the creature. He was a quarter-sized monster with a furry core.
Perhaps I was a bit groggy, but I swear he had a patch of blonde hair and two fangs, just like Eric Northman from the HBO's vampire show, True Blood.


I was terrified, but I held my ground. Just like encountering a bear, I figured it was best to avoid any sudden movements. In an apparent show of respect, the spider slowly backed away from me.
“Is it you, Eric?” I mumbled to the demon.
He didn’t answer, which I took to mean only one thing; it was him.
“She is the one you want,” I whispered, motioning my eyes toward my wife as she slept peacefully by my side, "It's Sookie, you must feed now."


“Huh? What?” mumbled my wife in her sleep.
“Shh…go back to sleep,” I muttered in her ear, “It’s all just a dream.”
As the spider climbed onto her arm and traveled toward her neck, I turned away on my side. I couldn’t bear to watch. A tear rolled down my cheek as I felt her legs twitch under the sheets, followed by the painful sound of her hand slapping wildly at her neck.
Quickly, the spider’s belly filled and I was safe. I was finally able to fall asleep.
The next evening I was watching Unnatural History with my family when we were suddenly interrupted.
“Eeeew!” shrieked my wife.
There it was, a large spider carefully making its way down our curtain. It looked similar to the visitor from the night before, but I wasn’t sure it was him until he seemed to point his middle leg at me. He didn’t respect me after all. How could he after what I did last night?
“I got bites all over my neck! I bet it was him! Kill it!” shouted my wife.
I moved toward the window slowly.
“Honey…you know I don’t like spiders.”
“Fine, I’ll do it!” she quipped.
“I got it…I got it,” I assured her, “just give me a minute.”
I emerged from the kitchen with a butter knife and an old shoe. With my wife and son huddling on the other side of the room, I approached the beast slowly. Inch by inch, I moved closer to the target. With my arms extended, I stabbed wildly at the air like I was in a 1980’s knife fight. As the spider quickly scurried out of site, I dropped the silverware and raced away.
After a few moments, I regained my composure and prayed that my wife didn’t notice my ballerina-like leap and flailing wrists.
“That was pathetic,” she steamed.
Her eyes were cold and dark. Her love for me draining from her soul.
From the distance I could see the animal had resurfaced on the baseboard. I was overcome with rage.
“Ahhhhh!” I screamed while charging with the shoe held high.
My first swing barely missed, knocking the enemy onto the floor. He came at me with a final ferocious burst but his advance was stopped short as I pounded the shoe atop his tiny skull. I exhaled slowly after a brief silence.
“Is he dead?” my wife whispered.
“I think so,” I replied.
I slowly lifted the shoe. His motionless body was surrounded by a pool of blood and guts, but I had seen too many horror flicks to be sure of his demise. I felt one of his legs for a pulse. It was official.
He had expired. Time of death 8:22 PM.
"It's over...he's gone."
I outlined the perimeter of his corpse with chalk and blocked off the living room with yellow caution tape. We decided to cover him with a sock until the proper authorities could come and claim his remains.
I felt like a hero as my wife and son rushed in to hug me. I rested my chin on my wife’s head and ran my fingers through her hair.
“It’s over…” I assured her again as my eyes fixed onto another spider on the living room wall, his eight vengeful eyes burning into mine.
“It’s over,” I promised again.
But it wasn’t over. It’s still not over. The war has just begun.