I think that each and every one of us is a deranged sociopath. But as a unit, we have shared sociopathologies that skew towards the normative. In other words, we’re all fucking lunatics and that’s normal. But once you accept that fact, it becomes very difficult to write, because the only things that I want to write about are the abnormalities. But how can I, in good conscience, hold myself liable for my eccentricities when I watched a guy pee on himself in a bar restroom while doing coke off a urinal?
You see, it’s not that he was doing cocaine, because, I mean, if he wants to instantiate some 80s stereotype, who am I to judge. Other than that, if you’re going to do it, at least get a pastel colored blazer and roll up the sleeves. Commitment is a virtue and it sells.
But my issue is that he couldn’t even finish emptying his bladder before sticking his nose onto the porcelain. It’s like he thought it was fishy to go the bathroom and not pee, but no one ever suspects a man in his mid-40s with a prostate problem of cocaine abuse because he’s lingering too long at the urinal. I get it. Your prostate is bigger than it should be and gravity isn’t getting the good stuff through your urethra anymore. My mind doesn’t immediately go to Johnny Depp before he sold his soul to Tim Burton.
I watched this kid go through the standard unzip, aim, and let it rip—but then with his offhand he impressively laid a line on the top of the urinal under the flush handle , and, mid-stream mind you, leaned over, covered one nostril, and snorted the whole thing. He was like a three year old with a pixie stick on a summer afternoon—and yes that simile includes the urine.
My point is, when I look at the rest of you, I’m really not doing all that bad. But still, I think my shortcomings are worth sharing.
1. “This Whiskey is Too Sweet”
I like to try different spirits because drinking a beer every night during Seinfeld reruns is just too American for my Liberal Arts degree to handle so the least I can do is try some sort of distilled devil’s poison. And for the longest time, now, I’ve been on quite the gin kick—trying all the gins I can. I even paid an obscene amount for a bottle of Hendrick’s — which is DELICIOUS but a poor investment for a bro’s night on a lazy Saturday. Keep in mind my girlfriend would like to go to Hawaii and I keep insisting I lack the requisite funds, which makes the guilt all the more haunting.
Like, what do I say, “Sorry sweetheart, I know you wanted to take a trip to LITERALLY paradise on earth, but I developed a taste for the ole tarantula juice and it’s crept into my travel budget from now through about 2022. How about Reno? I’ll take you out for a nice Mexican meal and we’ll get some tacos and refried beans with a side of despondency. It’s not that we ordered it off the menu but it comes free in the water because they add hopelessness by the gallon in at the treatment facility. I think that explains the obesity. BUT at least we can gamble afterwards and celebrate the metaphorical rape of the Native Americans all at the same time. It’s efficient. Fun. AND educational. And this time I won’t get thrown out of the casino by an Asian woman that I called an asshole for hitting 21 on a 5 card turn. Even though she was.”
But the gin had run its course and it was time for something new so I strolled down to the neighborhood liquor store which sits between a Jersey Mike’s and Kroger—a possessive proper pronoun liminal hell on earth. And because I like their commercials I bought a bottle of Jameson and the Indian man behind the counter—I know the Simpsons made that predictable but it’s not my fault that sometimes stereotypes are true—winked at me as I walked out the door and I remember audibly gesticulating, what the fuck?
But the ding of the doorway had already donged its ding and I walked past a homeless man on the way to my car wondering for a moment if I shouldn’t just give him what was in my brown paper bag and go home to some frozen taquitos and the last Bud Light in the fridge. But the thought alone sufficed and I left him there in the dankness of a spring night to brood in his unrequited existentialism — or was that me? Sometimes it gets hazy.
But when I got home I made myself a mixed drink accompanied by the pulsing of my ceiling fan and diet tonic water and with that sip I thought to myself, this whiskey is too sweet.
2. Fan Control System
I shower every night before I go to sleep. Something about washing the leeches that have clung to my skin throughout the day feels baptismal before crawling under my sheets and the warmth of my down comforter. But I’m also lazy and I figure that if I’m clean before I go to bed, that’ll keep my sheets just a bit cleaner than if I came home with the sheen of the world on my body to roll in my linens.
But the combination of my thick down comforter and the fact that I take scalding showers has caused me to get a bit overheated as I fall asleep so I turn on the ceiling fan before bed to keep the air circulating around the room and me cool as slip into dreams that seem familiar, but I can’t ever remember.
When I wake up in the morning that familiar whomp whomp whomp churns through the room and the pseudo-melodic strum from my iPhone tells me it’s time to get my shit together and face the immensity of reality. I wander like a zombie to my electric kettle to make my coffee in my French press, because fuck you if you use a drip machine. Colombians worked hard to maintain the essential oils of that bean and I’ll be damned if I let that go to waste with a paper filter and blinking LEDs. The French may be the ultimate pussies, but they know how to make coffee.
I’m a half and half man with a sprinkling of brown sugar to give just the suggestion of something sweet. I take the carafe and my coffee cup back to bed with me to just enjoy the caffeine, the bitterness, and the warmth. BUT, the fan is always still on and because we’re all slaves to the laws of thermodynamics, the circulating air makes the coffee cold quickly. And cold coffee turns an otherwise primal experience into a pathetic exercise of sweetened dairy and burnt Arabica.
And I’m far too lazy to get up and turn the fan off, so I’ve developed a system in which I keep a plastic clothes hanger next to my bed and, with my coffee in hand, I reach up like that scene from the Rescuer’s Down Under to flip the switch that’s just out of arm’s reach so I can have my coffee with the scalding heat of its creator’s intent.
But I think to myself, not just in this instance, what if an Alien life form was watching me in that moment, naked and reaching desperately for a small nubby protrusion from the wall as I balanced a beige cup of liquid in my hand—what would his conclusion be?
3. In Search of Lost Chocolate
I have determined without a shadow of a doubt that the best milk chocolate on this entire floating ball of carbon, oxygen, and silicon comes from Trader Joe’s. And I crave chocolate. Donuts were my vice, but chocolate is my Siren’s call and tertiary drive of being. And I found it—it was in that value food market all this time.
But on Sunday night, Trader Joe’s closed at 9PM and I found myself in desperate need of chocolate. My cravings don’t align with business hours—in fact, Murphy’s law dictates that they are nothing but discordant with any convenience whatsoever. So what did I do?
I went to Kroger, which is open 24 hours, and I raided their organic chocolate department. I was disgusted with what I found. Dark chocolate continues to be the whore of the confectionery industry — leveraging its health benefits so abashedly displayed in percentage of cocoa. Despite its wanton exhibitionism, I found some milk chocolate. There were four varieties. I bought them all. I couldn’t take any chances.
Every single one of them tasted like a milk chocolate bar mixed with the rectal discharge of some tropic primate. Each one had the mask of chocolate with the horrid after taste of blue cheese. Yes, I ate them all, but still—gross.
4. Foot Deodorant
I wear Sperry’s to work. I do not wear socks with my Sperry’s. I left my Odor Eater’s at home. A few weeks prior I found myself in the unenviable work position of forgetting to wear deodorant. So I bought a mini-stick of Dove for men to keep in my desk drawer in case this unfortunate olfactory incident were to repeat itself.
As I sat at my desk, I began to experience waves of stale, damp leather that were both unpleasant and pungent. So, with my advanced critical thinking skills and deft ability to adapt, I applied deodorant to my feet.
Did it work? Yes. Am I ashamed? No. But, I will say deodorant has a certain lubricating affect that the dry powder of Odor Eater’s does not. I felt like I was walking in a mucus membrane all day. But I smelled like Mountain Rush. Also, I think I may have cured bunions.
5. The Muppets as Depressed Alcoholics
Sometimes you sit alone after a long day’s work and you begin to think of things that are only hilarious to you. Two of my favorite things are Tom Waits and the Muppets/Sesame Street and I just started thinking about those characters as if they were different versions of people from Tom Wait’s songs. Even though Rowlf the Dog was pretty Tom Waits-y.
And THEN I thought it would be hilarious if I misquoted different Muppets characters with really sad, fatalistic quotes. What I’m saying is, in my downtime, I amuse myself by destroying the innocence of my childhood.
“I drink more than I should, but not as much as I’d like.” Kermit the Frog
“I know it was the right thing to do, but I’ll never forgive myself for giving that child up in the dumpster on the corner of Sesame and 7th ave. It wasn’t even Kermit’s…” Miss Piggy
“I’m going to gut him like a fish and hang his carcass from the street lamps.” Big Bird
“The Piano has been drinking…” Fozzie Bear