An open letter to my 3rd grade daughter's teacher...

Why do elementary school teachers find it necessary to assign big, elaborate take home projects to their students?

My youngest daughter (Gracie) just turned nine years old and is in the third grade. Last week, she brought home a letter from her teacher that outlined her latest assignment. Each student in her class was assigned a planet and was instructed to make a scale model of said planet, along with a display board containing facts about the planet’s surface, atmosphere, distance from the sun, etc. The instructions suggested that the model could be made from paper mache, Styrofoam or other materials readily available at any arts and crafts store.

My first reaction to the letter was to ponder why I was being punished. Had I done something to piss Gracie's teacher off? Did she think I was bored at night and needed something to do? Maybe she owned stock in Hobby Lobby and was trying to artificially manipulate the value of her shares…

The more I thought about it, the more pissed off I became. Does she really think that a third-grader is capable of making a scale model all by themself? A third-grader can’t make a scale model of shit... And paper mache; are you fucking kidding? Only a retard would give a 9-year old a bunch of newspaper and a big ass bowl of flour and water and expect them to do anything other than stucco the kitchen table. So, I guess if you don’t need your kitchen table refinished, you go buy $50 worth of shit at Hobby Lobby and hope for the best. At least you’ll have a shot at getting acrylic paint out of the carpet…

And then there’s the display board and facts…Who’s gonna have to look up all that shit? If the required information can’t be found at or doesn’t have anything to do with High School Musical 2, she’s not gonna have a clue where to start looking for it. Besides, I’m not really down with having the keys to my laptop glued together by paper mache covered fingers.

After pondering the assignment over the weekend, I started typing. Here's a copy of the letter I sent to Gracie’s teacher this morning:

Dear Mrs. Boonecourt,

I am writing this letter in response to Gracie’s Mercury project, as well as the parental handout detailing the purpose, objectives and design guidelines for the assignment. After a thorough review of your instructions, I’ve determined that you are quite possibly smoking crack.

Look, this is my third swim through that school and I’ve already been down this road before. I’m a member of the PTA, I help at the school carnival, I go to every school program, no matter how half-assed or boring, and I’ve bought thousands of dollars worth of flower bulbs, candy bars, wrapping paper and other shit from fundraisers over the past ten years or so. I’ve done a lot of shit up at that school, so I think I’ve paid my dues and earned a little latitude… I’m not doing any more school projects. Period.

In lieu of the assigned Mercury model, I will be forwarding a recycled science fair project on electro-magnets that Gracie’s older brother turned in when he was in 5th grade. Mrs. Martin graded it as a 94, so there’s really no need to duplicate her work and grade it again. Just cut to the chase, plug an “A” into the gradebook and let's save each other a bunch of time, energy and bullshit.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at your convenience.


David Dorris

I’m now screening my calls and fully expect to be placed on double secret probation by Dean Vernon Wormer.

The Babywhisperer

I love babies. Not necessarily newborns because they are always red-faced and cry all the time. I like babies when they are about 6 or 8 months old. By then they are fun to play with; they make funny noises, do tricks, laugh, and wave their arms and stuff. You can play those stupid-ass games with them like peek-a-boo and they just laugh like a retard at the circus.

My niece is 9 months old and she and I have kind of started to bond. Now that she is getting a little older, I really enjoy babysitting her. I had that opportunity on Friday night. My son and I baby sat her while my brother and sister-in-law went to a wedding rehearsal-dinner of a friend.

About 6:00pm, my brother-in-law, sister-in law and niece show up at the house. He looks like some sort suburban sherpa, packing a play pen, high chair, car seat, numerous toys, a personal DVD player and a diaper bag packed with enough provisions to care for every baby in Parker County. She is carrying the baby, a blanket, and a friggin gym bag full of noise making Fisher-Price toys and no telling what else. They dump all of the baby paraphernalia next to the kitchen table, and then whip out the paperwork. They had a Medical Treatment Authorization Form, a brief medical history of the child that also included all pertinent doctors’ telephone numbers, and another sheet of paper detailing the baby’s eating schedule, feeding instructions, sleeping schedule and a phone number for every one of their living relatives in case of emergency.

“I didn’t realize that ya’ll were going away to Europe… I’ll do my best to send her to a good college…What's up with all this shit?” I asked.

They informed me that they just wanted me to have everything that I might need to take care of the baby. To ease their anxiety, I reminded them that I had raised three children without any of them developing scurvy. I then told them that we were planning to have a relaxing evening of handgun target practice while drinking beer as we lounged by the pool; nothing to worry about at all, we would be fine.

After all of the instructions were covered and the baby was positioned in the high chair so that she could watch a “Baby Einstein” DVD, the wedding-goers made their escape and finally slipped out the front door.

I got up and went over to the table to see what my precious little niece was doing. She was staring attentively at the little DVD player, apparently watching the show. What the hell? Babies don’t watch TV at this age, where was Baby Einstein when my kids were this age? She was really watching the TV… un-believable… As long as she was content, I figured it would be a good time to eat myself a big-ass bowl of Blue Bell.

I made a combo platter of Natural Vanilla Bean and Milk Chocolate. As I was putting the ice cream back into the freezer, the baby got pissed off and started hollering. I looked to see what she was yelling about; she was leaning out of the chair, arms outstretched, reaching for the ice cream and cursing me in some kind of angry baby gibberish. Being the baby-whisperer that I am, I knew just what to do to stop that crying.

I got two spoons out of the drawer, one for me and one for her. I pulled up a chair along side of her and we dug into the Jethro Bodine sized bowl of ice cream. She got more of it on her little face and her dress than she did in her mouth, but she was having fun. She loves her some ice cream!

After finishing the ice cream I had to clean her up. I first took her dress off and then wiped her face with a wet rag. Rather than dress her again, I left her clad only in her diaper so she could be free. I carried her over to the sofa so that she could sit with my son and I to watch some real TV.

There we sat, the three of us, watching a ballgame on Fox Southwest. As we watched the game, I was thinking to myself about what an easy baby she is to take care of. She doesn’t cry much, she sleeps through the night and she eats normal food now. Babysitting her is a walk in the park.

After watching some of the game, Jacob and I decided it was time for dinner. Rather than cook anything, we opted to load the baby in the truck and go to Sonic. I had Jacob hold the baby while I got the car seat strapped in, then loaded and buckled up my niece, still clad only in a diaper. Jake rode in the back seat so he could entertain the baby as we made the 15 minute trip to town. By the time we got there, she was kind of fussy and was not real happy about being strapped in the chair. I ordered her a grilled cheese kids meal and got the boy and I some double-meat man-burgers. By the time they brought us our order, the baby was fully pissed-off, crying, and was ready to eat.

I instructed my son to start feeding her some french fries. She sucked those bad boys down faster than an Ethiopian eating a bowl of oatmeal. Soon they had finished the fries and moved on to the main course, the grilled cheese sandwich. Jacob started tearing off little pieces of it and feeding them to her. Eventually, he gave her half of the sandwich so she could suck and chew on it herself.

When we reached the house, she was full, content and fast asleep. Rather than wake her up, I just un-buckled her car seat and carried the whole apparatus into the house. Still sleeping, I sat her car-seat down between the sofa and the coffee table so I could watch her while I ate. She never moved; she was sleeping hard.

I finished my burger and reclined into the prone position on the sofa for a pleasant evening of basketball and babysitting. Once again, I though about what a breeze it is keeping my niece. She just plays, eats and sleeps… It was at that point that I heard what seemed to be a baby fart.

“Did you hear that?” I asked my son. “Did that noise come out of you?”

He denied it and said that he thought it was the baby. We both laughed as we looked at the sleeping, pot-bellied flatulent baby, still sitting in the car seat.

“That’s a white trash baby, Dad...” Jacob said. “Just look at her… She’s sleeping in a car seat… in the house… with only a diaper on, she’s blowing serious chedd and she doesn’t even wake up… That's a white trash baby if there’s ever been one.”

I laughed at my son’s astute observation and congratulated him on his sharp eye for identifying WT qualities in his cousin. My attention quickly turned back to the game and to the nap that was welling up inside of me. My gut was full of double cheeseburger and I was content to lie on the sofa and relax. I was peacefully holding the remote control in one hand and my rig in the other. I thought for a fleeting instant that I might just fall asleep for a few minutes, but reality brought me back from the edge of slumber. Reality… in the form of a smell…

Shit… And not just any shit, baby shit. The ill wind hit my nostrils like a sledgehammer to the face.

“Jeeezzzzusss Christ… She’s loaded!” I proclaimed as I quickly arose from the sofa.

“No way am I changing a diaper Dad… it’s all you…” my son said as I went to get the diaper bag. “Gawd almighty, she reeks!”

“Jacob, go get some Fabreeze or some shit from under the sink.” I said “she’s funkin' up the whole living room.”

I had forgotten just how bad baby shit could smell. How could something that sweet and innocent emit a smell so wrong? I rifled through the diaper bag and found some baby wipes. I then found one of the 30 or so diapers that my in-laws had sent for the two or three hours that I was going to keep her. Then I heard her whining from across the room, as the commotion and my vocal reaction to the smell of her ass apparently woke her from her sleep.

“Dude!!!! Ohhhh man! Dad, c’mere quick!!!! Ohhhh man… dude!!!” my son yelled in a panicked tone of voice. I grabbed the whole bag and headed to see what was wrong. As I rounded the corner at the end of the sofa and looked down at my niece, I will never forget what I saw.

There was shit everywhere; she had shit on her legs, there was shit on her hands, there was even shit on her feet. She was covered in shit.

I knew what had happened; there had been a catastrophe of mammoth proportions… She was experiencing diaper seal failure and had suffered a massive blowout. I had only heard the horror stories from survivors; I had never witnessed, first hand, the overwhelming filth and incapacitating odor of a blowout. The child was covered in shit; I had never seen anything like this before. As a father of three, I have changed some pretty rank diapers in my day, but this was more than just your standard nasty-ass diaper change.

I stood dumbfounded, mouth open and eyes wide as I realized that I was going to have to deal with this situation without the help of a mother. There was no one to call, this situation could not be ignored; my son was right, this was to be “all me”. The horror in my son’s voice changed to laughter as he saw the expression on my face.

“She exploded! Dude! I’m never holding that baby again!” he laughed. It wasn't funny to me. I had to develop an Emergency Action Plan for this crisis.

I dropped the diaper bag and fearlessly moved toward the tar baby. She was crying and she was covered in shit. She appeared to be no happier about this situation than I was. Her crying and squirming to get out of the car seat only made things worse. With all the kicking and flailing, I was afraid she would sling shit off of her legs onto the furniture or carpet. The more she squirmed, the more shit oozed out of her diaper. The clock was ticking and I had to think and move fast.

I grabbed her car seat with one hand and picked it straight up, being careful not to touch any of the adjacent furniture. I felt like I was playing a game of Operation, only I had a shit-covered baby in a car seat rather than a plastic bone and a pair of tweezers. I got her out from in between the sofa and the coffee table and headed for the guest bathroom.

As we rushed across the living room and down the hall, she squirmed and leaned forward. The shit had not only leaked out at her leg-holes, it also shot up her back. Imagine what the back of a kid’s shirt looks like after riding a four-wheeler through a mud-hole all day. She had shot a diarrhea rooster-tail out of her ass. That’s what her back looked like; only she had rubbed it in to the fabric of the car seat and smeared it around. I surmised that 60% of the child’s body was covered in shit.

I got her to the bathtub and turned on the water, but how do you get her out of the seat without sticking your hand in shit? You employ the resources that are available to you by punching the release button with the legs of a Barbie Doll that was left on the side of the tub. I carefully grabbed the baby by the shoulders and started to lift her out of her seat. Peeling her out of the car seat looked like pulling apart the two pieces of bread on a peanut butter sandwich. There was almost a diarrhea vacuum holding her in place in the chair. The shit clung to her back like wet drywall mud. It was one of the foulest things I have ever seen. And the smell… Dear God, every breath that I took undoubtedly caused irreversible damage to my lungs. Short of the Union Carbide tragedy in Bopal, India, there has never been a more toxic substance released into the Earth’s atmosphere. I was gagging, my eyes were watering and I was doing my best to not add insult to injury by puking all over her.

I lowered her into the tub feet first, trying to sit her down on her butt so that I could begin the Haz Mat cleanup. As soon as her little feet hit the bottom of the tub she began to flop and twist like a fish on dry land. Not only did I risk dropping her, she was also smearing shit all over the tub. I decided that shit all over the bathtub was better than shit all over me, so I lowered her all the way in and let finger-paint to her heart’s content.

She hit the bottom of the tub and immediately began trying to roll over. Had she been coordinated enough, she could have opened and closed her legs and arms and made a shit angel on the white bathtub. I grabbed the wand from the wall and turned the valve to “Shower”. As soon as there was warm water coming from the hose, I started spraying her down. The water further infuriated her. She started crying loudly and was trying to crawl, but she kept sliding around in the shit.

There was shit, water, shit-water and baby parts sliding all around inside the tub. It was a truly disgusting sight. I hosed the Wolf Brand off of her back and ass, then tried to flip her over so I could hose off her stomach. She would have no part of that… The crying eventually morphed into mild laughter and she finally stopped trying to shake like a wet dog. I grabbed her by the shoulder and turned her on her side. It was like washing a muddy truck at the do-it-yourself car wash, I just sprayed the shit off of her undercarriage; all I was missing was the foamy brush. I had to grab her by one leg and hold her ass up to get the brownie mix off of her bonkey and taint. She had shit in between her fingers, toes and in every baby-fat fold on the lower 2/3 of her body.

When I finally got her reasonably clean, I sprayed the drain to make sure that all of the residual waste had been washed away, and then hit the lever to engage the stopper. I let the tub fill up with about 2 inches of clean water, and called for Jacob to come help. Regular bar soap would not suffice for this job; I needed to employ some industrial strength, grease cutting, anti-bacterial power.

“Hey Boy… Bring me some soap out of the kitchen.” He dutifully arrived with a big green bottle of Palmolive. I doused her body with the green soap and lathered her up. She was still pissed off from having to be hosed down, but at least she wasn’t kicking and screaming any more.

I scrubbed her down from head to toe, rinsed her off and wrapped her up in a towel. I turned to exit the bathroom when I saw my next problem; the car seat. This problem had a very simple solution; shut the bathroom door and ignore it.

I took the baby into the living room and put a diaper on her post haste. She seemed to be content and was probably worn out from the 20 minute screaming and wrestling match she and I had just finished. She began to fall asleep, so I carried her over to her play pen and laid her down. She slept until 10:15 when the wedding-goers returned home.

“Well, how was she? Did ya’ll do ok?” they asked. That asshole Jacob just started laughing again.

“Great, everything was fine. No problems… She was a perfect little angel… until the hand grenade went off in her asshole.” I replied.

My son started rolling on the floor while my sister and brother-in-law looked at me like I was insane. When they asked me what in the hell I was talking about, I directed them to the car seat in the guest bathroom and began to describe the eruption of Mt. Vesuvius.

“The whole kid looked like that seat. She looked like a fudgecicle minus the stick up her ass.” I told them. “As for that seat, burn it, take it outside and hose it off, throw it away, whatever you want to do with it… From here on out, it’s all you!”

The Worst Part of Getting a Divorce...

There’s really no other way to put it; divorce is hell. It doesn’t matter whether you’re a heartbroken spouse who has been discarded like yesterday’s newspaper, or just a person seeking an amicable ending to a loveless marriage; every divorce eventually takes it’s pound of flesh.

I’ve faced countless challenges during the dissolution of my seventeen year marriage. Some of these trials have been easy to cope with, some have been excruciatingly painful to endure, and there are others that I still can’t figure out how to get my arms around. It’s just been too much, too fast; there are times when it feels like my life is just spinning out of control.

Dealing with the battles of divorce, recovering from back surgery and struggling to take care of my children and myself has left me absolutely spent, both emotionally and physically. My fuel tank is empty and I feel like I’m running on fumes. I just haven’t had the motivation or energy to do much of anything lately; it’s been a struggle just to get out of bed every morning. I’ve been teetering dangerously close to the edge of depression and finally recognized that I needed to do something about it before things got completely out of control. So last week, I summoned every ounce of energy, pride and self respect I had left and made a bold move toward repairing my shattered life…

I cleaned the house.

My journey down the road to recovery began at ground zero, the bathroom. Just picking up all the dirty clothes and wet towels made a big difference, but the real work was still ahead of me. The bathtub looked like a gas station wash basin that had been used to clean up greasy auto parts. There such a thick coating of funk on the bottom of the tub that it might have qualified as an OSHA approved non-skid surface. It had an adhesive quality to it, much like the sticky portion on the back of a Post-It Note. It took an entire can of Dow Scrubbing Bubbles and two applications of Easy-Off oven cleaner to cut through the layer of filth and expose the smooth, white porcelain.

After the toxic cloud of chemicals in the bathtub disbursed, I moved on to my next task. The toilet was so foul that I almost had to rent a pressure washer to get it clean. As embarrassing as this is to admit, the throne was so filthy that the dog had even stopped drinking from it. I understand how the bathtub got so dirty, but the whole toilet thing baffled me. It’s not like my son and I are 5 year-olds who haven’t mastered the art of aiming yet. How does piss get on the underside of the toilet seat and lid? I guess that’s one of life’s many mysteries.

The sink wasn’t nearly as bad as the toilet or bathtub. It was simply a matter of vacuuming up all the whiskers, then using a hammer and wood chisel to chip the globs of toothpaste off of the counter. I then polished the whole thing with a paste made from Lime-Away and Comet.

Cleaning the bathroom completely wore me out, so I took a break and started the laundry. There was literally a mountain of dirty clothes piled up in the corner of the laundry room, so I got a chair and started sorting by color. After getting organized, I started with the first of five loads of “dark” stuff. It ended up taking me all day to get everything washed and dried, but I did get more out of the experience than a drawer full of clean socks and underwear. I gained an appreciation for the expensive front-loading washer and dryer that my ex-wife had fought so hard to talk me into buying. You can cram a shitload of stuff in there all at once and really cut down the number of loads you have to do. The washer spins so fast that the clothes were barely wet when they came out. I was amazed. Then the dryer only ran about fifteen minutes before everything was ready to go. I was pleasantly surprised and decided that it was indeed worth the money that I spent to buy those expensive, behemoth pieces of equipment. I hated to admit it, but my wife was right about that one.

After kicking the bathroom and laundry room’s asses, I was on a roll and was in full “White Tornado” mode. Brimming with a newly found confidence, I decided to go ahead and make the kitchen my bitch. Upon entering the kitchen, my confidence was quickly shattered and I realized that the kitchen was going to make me its bitch…

Once again, I was completely overwhelmed. I knew the kitchen was going to be a chore to clean, but I had no idea that it was that bad. I guess when it started to get crowded with dirty dishes and trash, I just quit going in there. It looked like the inside of a dumpster, if a dumpster had cabinets and an oven.

There were filthy dishes everywhere, and when I say “everywhere, I mean everywhere. There was a pile of disgusting dishes about two feet tall and four feet wide covering the countertop in the general area where the sink was supposed to be. I couldn’t really tell if the sink was still under there somewhere or not. There were plates stacked on top of pans, stacked on top of bowls, stacked on top of glasses, with silverware sticking out from everywhere. There was even a dirty frying pan full of bacon grease sitting on top of the refrigerator. I had no idea we had that much stuff; my neighbors had to have been bringing in their dirty dishes and secretly stockpiling them in my kitchen at night while I slept.

Rather than jump headfirst into the deep end of the sink, I decided start the kitchen clean-up by picking up the trash. I easily collected two full garbage bags of empty Diet Coke cans, TV dinner trays, milk jugs and Hot Pocket wrappers. I discovered a big pile of mail containing my 2008 W-2 income tax form underneath a two-foot tall stack of empty pizza boxes. Jimmy Hoffa could have been buried in there for all I could tell.

After finally clearing some counter space and giving myself a little room to work, I formulated a plan of attack to excavate the sink. I determined that the best thing to do would be to get all the shit out of one side of the sink so I could start rinsing it off and loading the dishwasher. As I began to relocate the myriad of cooking and eating implements, I uncovered what appeared to be a cesspool. Apparently, the stopper was in the drain and the bowl was about three-quarters of the way full of a brown and gray water-based liquid that smelled like decaying ass. There was a film over the top of the liquid that reminded me of a stagnant pond. The film had some kind of moldy foam around the outside that was growing up the sides of the sink. It was nothing less than a science-fair experiment gone horribly wrong. After dry-heaving a few times, I composed myself, took a deep breath and plunged my hand into the water. I had to feel around and move some plates to uncover the stopper, but I managed to get it un-plugged before the toxic waste ate the skin on my arm.

I then started rinsing and loading cups into the top rack of the dishwasher. The glasses that didn’t contain dried milk or another hardened substance were loaded first. I knew I’d have to do some manual scrubbing before the others would be fit for mechanical cleaning. I tried to load everything as efficiently as possible to maximize space, kind of like a realistic and disgusting game of Tetris. When the top rack was full, I started with the plates in the bottom rack. Again, the cleanest dishes went first and the ones glued together with ketchup and maple syrup would have to be done by hand. Gathering up the silverware was like hunting for Easter eggs. I collected all I could find, loaded it into the basket, and then double-checked my load to make sure the door would close. I squirted a double dose of Cascade into the soap dispenser, then set the controls to “power scrub” and started the dishwasher.

I was again feeling like I had really accomplished something until I stepped back and took another look at the pile of dishes that remained in the other half of the sink and on the counter. They were the worst of the worst. We’re talking dried oatmeal, burned queso, petrified hot chocolate, and spaghetti sauce cement. It was going to take a jackhammer to get some of those dishes clean.

I knew I was going to have to change my tactics, so I went to the barn to retrieve the proper cleaning implement for a job like that, a wheelbarrow. I loaded the rest of dirty dishes into the wheelbarrow, rolled it outside and threw them in the trashcan… I decided those bad boys were beyond cleaning and we’d be better off buying some new ones.

I finished up all of the dusting, vacuuming and mopping about the time my son got home from school that evening. He and I made a pact that if the house ever got that dirty again, that we’d just move. Although I was completely exhausted from my janitorial odyssey, I felt refreshed and liberated. Reclaiming my home has made me feel like a productive human being again.

Even though the rest of my life is still circling the drain, at least the bathtub is clean!

My Appointment with Dr. Josef Mengele

Like so much James Brown, I once had bull testicles...

James claimed that his were purposely implanted by government agents, but mine were acquired by accident. While drilling postholes for a new section of fence behind the barn, I was violently racked by the handle of a motorized posthole auger. I guess I hit a rock or a big tree root, because the handle of the gas-powered drill jumped out of my hands and spun directly into my crotch. In addition to a huge purple bruise that developed on my thigh, my left testicle began to swell. After my balls continued to expand overnight at an alarming rate, I decided to seek the advice of a physician.

Let me first say that I would rather have my prostate examined by a doctor with hulk hands than go through the battery of ballsack tests and manipulations that I endured. Adhering to the policy of my PPO, my primary care physician examined me first.

Upon arriving at the doctor’s office, the nurse put me in the exam room, handed me a hospital gown and told me to completely disrobe, including my underwear. I promptly informed her that I was going commando due to the fact that my left nut was the size and color of a racquetball. She immediately left the room in disgust.

Shortly thereafter, the doctor came in and asked me how the injury had occurred. I gave him all of the horrific details of how the motor auger handle hit me square in the coin purse with a full 5 hp. of Briggs and Stratton mechanical torque. He cringed and turned away saying, "Ohhh my... Ohhh my..." He then requested that I lay back on the exam table so he could take a look at the damage. I saw him cringe, then crack a smile and almost snicker as he looked at my swollen quailskin. That sadistic bastard was laughing inside at the view of my bruised leg and testicles.

Then he touched my balls…

Nothing, and I mean nothing is more uncomfortable than lying on your back, spread eagle, having a middle aged gray haired man play with your balls. He kept squeezing my injured left cod, asking "Do you feel pressure or pain?"

I grit my teeth and replied with "If you squeeze it like that again, you’re gonna be in more pain than I am now."

After a lengthy digital exam, he left the room. I sat alone, humiliated and hurt. My danglers were throbbing and I was sitting 1/2 naked on a table with a paper cover, much like a full body ass gasket in a gas station bathroom. When Dr. Mengle returned, he informed me that my condition was a bit outside his realm of specialization and referred me to a Urologist.

Two hours later, I laid spread eagle on another ass-gasket covered exam table while a middle-aged, gray haired Pakistani dick specialist fondled my swollen gonads. I now have a newly found respect for women and their gynecological plight.

All of this genital probing resulted in the diagnosis of severely bruised testes that were causing a build-up of fluid in between the inner layers of tissue that shroud my balls. He gave me a prescription for an anti-inflammatory and I prayed that the drugs would reduce the fluid build-up in my sack before my follow-up appointment four days later. If the drugs didn’t work, I would be left with no other option than to endure the most horrific medical procedure that the Pakistani witch-doctor could come up with.

In Dr. Gandhi’s words, "I will need to draw off the excess fluid."

Four days later, leftie was still the size and color of Shaquille O’Neal’s fist; I had to go back to the doctor. I have never been more apprehensive about anything in my whole life. The drugs did not make the swelling in my ballbag go away. Just as that goddamned witchdoctor said, he would need to perform a procedure to draw the fluid off of my sack. He said that it was a very minor procedure and that the pain would be minimal.

I knew it would be bad when they gave me 2 Valium to "relax me". They left me alone in the room for about 20 minutes, presumably for the Valium to take effect. Rather than zone out in a relaxed, drug-induced haze, I spent the 20-minute eternity visualizing all of the scenarios of how “the procedure” could go wrong. When the doctor finally came back into the room, he asked me how I was doing. I let him know that the Valium wasn’t working and then suggested he bring in a dick- anesthesiologist to give me some kind of genital epidural.

Dr. Deepak then tried his version of a motivational speech; he just smiled and told me that this would be a very, quick and easy procedure and that I wouldn’t really feel a thing. He then proceeded to give me a shot of local anesthetic at the base of my nutsack where it connects to my taint. Let’s just say that this was the least invasive thing that he did to me that day…

After an embarrassing few minutes of him staring at my wedding tackle, he said, "You may feel a bit of pressure..."

Pressure my ass! That dog-eating bastard stuck something the size of a gutter spike into my ballbag. I yelled out in pain as the bruised skin that houses my testicles was impaled by a Pakistani ninja torture sword. It felt like he had jammed that thing up into my nuts about two or three inches deep. He cradled my testicles in his hand and moved them around, almost like he was massaging them. But this was no erotic massage, it was nothing less than Geneva Convention banned P.O.W. torture.

"Yes, it is aspirating nicely..." he said.

"It doesn't feel too nice." I replied.

When he grew tired of fondling my genitals, he yanked out the telephone pole that was sticking out from the base of my cods. He monkeyed around down there for a while longer, mumbling something about seepage, hydrogen peroxide and cotton balls. He arose from behind the veil of doom that was draped over my knees and proclaimed that he was finished. I collected my prescriptions for more anti-inflammatory pills and antibiotics, and left the office in shame.

I’ve never felt so violated…

"What we have here, is a failure to communicate..."

It was a November evening in 2003 and I was hauling ass down I-20 heading for town to meet some friends for a drink. I was cruising along, minding my own business when I heard the all too familiar sound of my radar detector going into alarm. The loud beeping noise accompanied by the flashing red “L” on the display indicated that a laser radar gun had just been trained on me. I hit the brakes and scanned the roadway ahead, quickly finding the DPS cruiser sitting on the right shoulder of the highway. As I passed, the patrolman’s car hit the lights, pulled into traffic and crossed three lanes. I was in speeding ticket denial until the bastard pulled directly behind me.


I made my way to the right shoulder of the highway and pulled over, grabbed my insurance card off of the visor, then got out of the truck. Trooper Buford T. Justice met me at the back bumper and informed me that I was doing 79mph in a 65mph zone. He asked me if I was in a big hurry to get somewhere. Rather than tell him that I was speeding to a bar to have a few beers with a bunch of drunken friends; I plead ignorance and confessed that I wasn’t really paying attention to how fast I was going.

He took my license and insurance card, and then politely excused himself as he went back to the patrol car to pass my information along to the dispatcher. After a few minutes, he got out of the car and came back. I was fully expecting a speeding ticket and was pleasantly surprised when the officer said he was going to issue me a warning.

About the time he started to explain that the form I was going to sign was not a citation, his radio chirped at him and a woman’s voice broadcast over the speaker; “552, your subject is wanted 21 out of Highland Park P.D. for EVH”. The Trooper asked me to sit tight and he went over to the side of his cruiser. He was sitting in the passenger seat, looking at something on the computer in his patrol car. After a few minutes, he came back.

“It seems that there is a warrant for your arrest out of Highland Park for an unpaid traffic ticket” he said.

“I haven’t received a ticket in a couple of years, and I've never been rung-up for speeding in Highland Park” I told him. “There's got to be a mistake.”

He informed me that the warrant was based on a citation for Expired Vehicle Registration and Failure to Appear. It was at that point I remembered what happened. Many years earlier, I was ticketed for expired license tags in Highland Park. I had the tags renewed, made a special return trip to Dallas to provide all of the documentation of the renewal to a Justice of the Peace, and had the ticket dismissed. I explained all of this to Johnny Law and he said that he would check on it and get back to me. He went back over the cruiser and talked more on the radio while typing on the computer. He came back shaking his head; I knew that was not good news.

“I have some bad news for you, but I do have a way that you can keep from going to jail.” He said.

I was informed that there indeed was a warrant for my arrest issued by Highland Park. The fine for the expired tags was $100 dollars and failure to appear was $250 dollars. The warrant was dated June 21, 1994. He informed me that even though the warrant was nine years old, it was still valid and enforceable. The good news was that on an “out of county” detainment, a DPS Trooper can collect the fine from the subject in the form of a money order to release the warrant.

“So what exactly does that mean?” I asked.

Roscoe P. Coaltrain told me that he could follow me to a convenience store and that I could purchase a $350 dollar money order payable to the Town of Highland Park, give it to him, sign a few forms, and I was out of trouble. Even though I had done what I was supposed to do and the ticket from many years earlier had been dismissed, $350 dollars is a small price to pay to avoid going to jail. I agreed to follow him to the truck stop two exits down to purchase my ticket to freedom.

When the cop and I arrived at the store, he gave me some devastating news. It seems that the Failure to Appear fine of $250 dollars was not a fine; it was a cash bond. He explained that a “cash bond” requires an arraignment, and to be arraigned, I would have to go to jail. My jaw dropped and my heart sunk.

"Jail? Are you serious?” I asked, “I have to go to jail for this?”

He said that it would be no big deal; I'd be in and out in no time and that all I'd have to do is pay the Sheriff’s Department and fill out their form instead of paying him. He said that he'd even let me drive my truck back to town and park it close to the jail so that it wouldn't get towed. Shamefully, I went into the store, withdrew $600 dollars from the ATM machine, and started my journey to Oz.

At 10:00 PM, I found myself being driven into the gates of hell by Barney Fife. We entered the Jail via a driveway in the rear of the building. We went down a ramp and through a huge overhead door into a garage area. We entered the booking area after passing through two sets of doors and a small room with nothing in it but an intercom speaker.

The booking desk had about 10 Sheriff’s Dept. people working diligently at computer terminals and talking on the phone. We walked up to the end of the desk and I was turned over to the custody of Parker County’s finest, a fat-ass Hispanic female Sheriff’s Dept. jailor who was as indignant and beaten down by her job as any person I've ever encountered. I was asked a series of questions in such a fast, low and monotone voice that I couldn’t understand her. When I asked her to repeat herself, it only fueled her distain for her me, her job, and life in general.

I was then required to remove the contents of my pockets, my boots, socks, belt and shirt. I was frisked while another brain-dead drone went through everything in my wallet. I had to sign forms stating that everything I had in my pockets, including $600 dollars cash, was being put into a plastic bag. After the bag was sealed, I had to sign a form verifying that everything on the previously mentioned list was sealed inside the bag. I was asked another series of questions by Senorita Fife and was shuttled to the other end of the desk for more processing. At the far end of the desk, I was transferred to another jailor, the Fingerprint Czar.

The Fingerprint Czar was a fat, old white guy who had more ink on his shirt than there was on the blotter. He gave me very stern instructions about “relaxing my hand” and “placing my index finger on the appropriate space”. He acted like he was pulling on the hand of Christopher Reeve, as if I was not capable of putting my own fucking hand on the ink blotter. After several admonishments to “relax my arm” and much smeared ink, I was done being printed. Then I had a private photography session with Deputy Olan Mills.

I was officially incarcerated.

I was instructed to walk with my hands behind my back at all times and to follow another jailor down the hall. I keep referring to them as “jailors” because there is no fucking way that these people are actually real, live peace officers that are licensed to carry guns. They're more like security guards who work for the county and get to wear brown uniforms with badges. Anyway, I followed this mongoloid “jailor” down the hall. He instructed me to stand behind the line on the floor and asked me what size shoe I wore. I responded, telling him that I wore a size 15.

“T-r-u-s-t-y-!!!” he yells at the top of his lungs. “T-r-u-s-t-y-!!!”

I was about to ask him why he was yelling “Trusty” when some inmate in an orange jumpsuit came jogging around the corner with his hands behind his back. “Bring me a bedroll and some 13’s,” the jailor told the inmate. The inmate promptly responded with, “Yes Sir, Boss”, turned and joged back down the hall. On the back of the orange jumpsuit, the word “TRUSTY” was stenciled in black directly under the Parker County Jail lettering. That dumbass was a trustee and the fucking guards call them “trusty”.

Trusty brought me a worn out pair of size 12 flip-flops and what appeared to be a blanket and a piece of ½ inch thick foam rubber rolled up into together. Trusty then said, “12 is as big as we got Boss”, and then jogged away. The Boss told me to put on the shoes and to follow him. We walked down the hall to a door marked “Holding C”. I was instructed to stand behind the line while the jailor pushed an intercom button.

“Control, open C-Charlie” he said, then a voice over the intercom repeated his command; a buzzer went off and the door opened. As I entered the cell, I turned and asked The Boss about what time the Judge started arraignments in the mornings; his response was, “Tomorrow sometime… now get your ass in the cell”.

The inside of Holding C-Charlie was littered with the sleeping bodies of approximately 15 to 20 of Parker County’s most upstanding citizens. I entered the cell and walked to one of the few empty spots left in the middle of the room. Hearing that big metal door close behind me was quite a disheartening sound.

As I unrolled my ½” thick foam bedroll and positioned it on the concrete floor, I noticed that the room was really cold; the temperature was probably 65 degrees or less. All of my fellow cellmates were covered in their blankets and were hunkered down on the floor for a great night’s sleep. Not wanting to buck the system, I decided to be a conformist and join them. I unrolled the blanket to discover that it was paper thin and well worn, about the size of a big beach towel and contained several holes where the material had just worn completely out. I laid my big ass down on the foam pad, covered up with the blanket-o-holes and reflected on just how fucking good my life was two hours earlier.

The cold air began to go to work on my feet. The blanket reached from my shoulders to my knees, leaving my sock-less feet exposed to the elements. I noticed that many of the other inmates had their heads covered by their blankets; I surmised that their ears must have been cold. I tried to position myself comfortably on the cold, hard concrete floor. While shifting around, trying to get a semi-comfortable, semi-covered position, I heard the first of many comments from my cellmates: “Shut the fuck up.”

All I heard for the next several minutes was the sound of my cow-heart beating, the snoring of my ethnically diverse cellmates, and “Shut the fuck up”. That was the noisiest silence that I have ever heard. Snoring in Spanish, English, Ebonics, every dialect that you could imagine; all coupled with the periodic “Shut the fuck up” from the peanut gallery. I knew that I was in for a relaxing evening of fellowship with my newly found roommates.

As I lay on the floor, freezing my ass off, I began to really examine my so-called “blanket”. There were some additional fibers present on the fabric that were obviously after-market additions. After a more in-depth examination of the fibers, I determined that quite certainly they were pubic hairs. I then began the process of removing the two-dozen or so hairs from my blanket, all the while envisioning how they got there to begin with. Who’s crotch had my blanket recently covered? How did the fabric really wear out anyway? When was the last time that this blanket saw the inside of a washing machine?

Pure disgust and hopelessness firmly set in. I was in jail, cold, lying on a concrete floor with 15 or 20 criminals of every ethnic background, and I had some unknown inmate’s pubic hairs touching my skin.

I lay there on the floor, freezing my as off for the longest undetermined period of time that I have ever experienced. All sense of time is gone in jail. You don’t have a watch and you can’t see outside, you don’t know if it is day or night. I tried to lay still and motionless so that another “Shut the fuck up” was not directed to me. I tried to close my eyes and go to sleep, but the snoring and constant commotions in the hallway outside of the cell were just as distracting as every “Shut the fuck up” that was issued in response.

After the longest night of my life, I heard a voice outside of the cell yell; “Control, open C-Charlie”. The cell door swung open and there stood a couple of Trustys, a guard and a cart full of trays. The Trustys immediately began getting trays off of the cart and started handing them to the inmates who sprung into motion at the sound of the door opening. It was breakfast, or a reasonable facsimile thereof.

Breakfast consisted of a cold microwaveable pancake, some dry cereal, a dollop of grape jelly, two sausage links and a tiny carton of skim milk. I grabbed my tray, just like every other inmate, and went back to my spot to eat. The pancake was chewy, but edible. The sausage links were not fried, but probably were boiled. They were kind of a pale gray in color. I opted not to eat them. The dry cereal was by far the tastiest item on the menu that day. Nothing like dry corn flakes to satisfy a man-sized hunger after a hard night of incarceration.

After we ate, everyone stacked their trays in a pile adjacent to the door and went back to bed. I then was laying on the cold concrete floor, freezing my ass off, with a raging case of heartburn. That's when all of the Mexicans decided it was time for their collective morning constitutional.

There were 4 toilets in the cell. All were constructed exclusively of Stainless steel and had no seat whatsoever. There was no handle for flushing, only a push button mounted inside of the masonry wall. Three of the toilets had sinks and water fountains attached to them. The remaining toilet did not; it had a sign that was painted on the masonry wall in stenciled letters above it that read; “FOR SHITTING”. I began to wonder, why was this really necessary? Had someone pissed in this toilet, they probably would have to stand tall in front of the man and face the wrath of Carl the Floorwalker. Who has a toilet with a sign painted above it telling you what it is for? Had someone tried to bathe in that toilet before; were people shitting on the floor before they painted directions on the wall?

The Mexicans rotated through the “for shitting” shitter like some sort of bathroom precision drill team; the Kilgore Rangerettes of the commode if you will. As the toilet flushed, another one rose from the floor to go take his amigo’s place on the throne. I swear that I heard one of them say “stick” as they executed the handoff. I dared not look in that direction, for fear of being tagged as a joto. I did however, get an earful of what was happening over there and let me tell you, it was horrific. There was more jet-powered Latino flatulence in that jail cell than there is on a 30-man roofing crew after a visit from the Roach Coach; podrido viento mis amigos, podrido viento indeed. The sound echoed throughout the concrete cell, an ever-present reminder that there was a grown man taking a shit in the middle of the room, less than 15 feet away from me.

After listening to much shitting, farting, snoring and the slamming of steel doors, I finally heard the sound that I had been waiting for. Someone outside of our cell yelled, “Control… Open C-Charlie” and shortly thereafter, the door swung open. A jailor then yelled out a list of names, thankfully, mine was one of the names he called.

We were told to get up and line up in the hallway with our hands behind our backs. We walked in a single file line down a hall, up a flight of stairs, down another hall and into a room that reminded me of a classroom on a junior college campus. There were chairs lined up in rows, similar to a lecture room, with a table and two chairs at the front of the room. The guard then instructed us to answer every question with respect and to refer to the judge as “Sir” or “Your Honor” only. As the rent-a-sheriff finished his instructions, an old man in a coat and tie entered the room and sat down at the table.

The old man was the Justice of the Peace. He read a pre-prepared statement explaining the arraignment process then read the group our collective Miranda Rights. Each individual in the group was then summoned to the table, his name and his charges were read and he was asked how he wished to plead. We were then given the option of paying the fine, posting bond or choosing to use time served as payment for our crimes. I was seated on the front row of chairs, so I got to hear everything that the rest of my fellow inmates were charged with. There were several DWI’s, a few possession of controlled substances and even an assault on a police officer with a deadly weapon. Everybody was getting their bonds set at $15,000 for DWI, $35,000 for possession of a controlled substance, $12,000 for domestic abuse and disturbance, even a $150,000 bond for the hard-ass who shot at a cop.

I got up and the Judge read my charge; “You are wanted out of Highland Park on a warrant for expired registration and failure to appear.” I felt like a pussy compared to the cool shit that all of my new room-dogs were charged with. The judge continued with; “Your bond has been set by Highland Park at $250 dollars cash. You also have a $100 fine for Expired Vehicle Registration. How do you wish to plead?” I told the Judge that I wanted to plead no contest and that I wanted to pay for the cash bond and the fine right then, that I had enough money in my belongings to pay cash for the entire amount. The judge noted my plea on the form, made a few notes, then told me that I would be released as soon as the paperwork could be processed.

All they had to do was process the paperwork…

They took all of us except the guy who shot at the cop back to good ‘ol C-Charlie. I saw a screensaver on a PC at the booking desk on the way back that said the time was 10:26 AM. I thought that surely I would be a free man within the hour. I sat back down on my foam pad and covered up with the pube-covered dishrag and began my wait.

The time seemed to drag on even slower once I knew that the end was near. The guards kept coming back to get other inmates in the cell for arraignments, others made bail and were processed for release. The guards opened and closed that damn door no less than a dozen times before one of them called my name. I exited the cell and was escorted back to the booking desk where I would have to sign another dozen or so forms to get my belongings back and to pay my fines. Finally, they brought me my stuff. I put on my socks, boots, and my shirt. After signing about 25 different forms, I was escorted down another hall and through a couple of offices and out into the lobby of the jail.

As the Lobby door opened, freedom was awaiting me in the form of my wife, who they had called to pick me up. Then I was shocked to see my 10-year-old son standing next to my wife. Then I realized that they weren’t smiling because they were glad to see me; they were laughing at me. My son cackled loudly and slumped over laughing as I made my way across the room. My wife just stood there grinning like a jackass, looking over at my son, who was hysterically laughing and pointing at me.

“Why are you laughing? This is not funny. And what is he doing here; this is no place for a kid?” I asked my wife.

She said that she decided to tell my son the truth about where I was so that I could be an example of what happens to people when they don’t take care of their responsibilities. She said that she thought my incarceration would scare him. She thought it would be a great life lesson that he would remember as a teenager. Instead, when she told my son where I was, he exploded in laughter and begged her to skip school so he could be at the jail with her when they let me out. She said that he'd been giggling all day and the anticipation of my release was killing him. She said that he’d come up with a list of questions he wanted to ask me about jail: Did you get a tattoo? Did you lift weights and play basketball in the yard? Did the Aryan Brotherhood make anyone dress up like a girl? Did you drop the soap? Could you escape like the guy in Shawshank did? etc…

Not only did I get thrown in jail and spend the night in the can for something that happened nine years ago that I actually took care of, but I had to be subjected to the ridicule of my wife and ten year old son upon my release. The price of freedom was high, very high.

Sometimes life just kicks you in the nuts…

Kabuki's Green Mist...or...I'm a Grown-Ass Man.

One fateful Saturday afternoon, my wife informed me that she had invited some friends over for dinner. Our friends had been on vacation in Jamaica and we had not seen them in several weeks. Normally, I bitch and whine about “dinner parties” because of all the preparation involved, but I always enjoy when Robert and Sarah come over. Robert won’t leave the house without at least a case of beer on ice in the back of the truck, and usually has a bottle of some sort in tow as well. A friend like that is always welcome at my house!

Well, that Saturday night was no different; they showed up around 6:30 and as expected, Robert walked in the door with an ice chest full of Miller Lite. After some small-talk and standard pleasantries, Robert and I took the ice chest outside to the barbecue and started cooking a few steaks and hamburgers. The women stayed in the house and left us outside to cook.

Occasionally, they sent a kid out to retrieve a beer, but they pretty much left us alone with the treasure chest of fine pilsner. By the time I got the burgers ready for the kids, Robert and I had put a pretty good dent in the beer supply. The Boss came outside to get the burgers for the kids; that is when I got my first “drunken” warning. She noted that there were a dozen or so empty cans sitting around the cooking area and I was warned that I didn’t need to have too much to drink. As she went inside I popped another top and told her not to worry, I was a grown ass man...

The steaks finally got done and it was time for the adults to eat. I loaded the platter full of beef and headed into the house. The boys were done eating and had gone to the batting cage to hit some baseballs and my daughters were still sitting at the table eating. My wife and Sarah were in the kitchen mixing up a big bowl of salad and talking about some bullshit they’d seen on Oprah or something. Robert followed me in carrying 4 unopened beers and handed me two of them; that’s when I received warning number two from the Warden.

“You had better quit drinking, we ARE going to church in the morning and you won’t want to get up if you get too drunk tonight.”

Immediately, Rob came to my defense and told her that he had brought those beers into the house for them to drink, not us. For some reason, she didn’t buy it. I fixed myself a plate and headed for the table. I then noticed that the women had the TV on and were tuned into the latest episode of “Homo Remodeling” on that damn HGTV. When I started looking for the remote, I was informed that they were watching the show and that I was not to change the channel. After pleading with them to let me change it to a ballgame, Robert suggested that he and I eat outside on the deck. What a brilliant suggestion!

We took our plates back outside and sat down for a peaceful meal, free of faux-finishing techniques. Rob set his plate down and immediately went to retrieve the ice chest. After a fine meal of medium-rare t-bone, random greekish salad with nuts and artichoke hearts and garlic bread, I was full, drunk and content. Big Rob and I discussed a little high-school baseball and then played a game of “Do-able, Not Do-able” using our sons teammates’ mothers as contestants. The beer continued to flow until the ice chest was completely depleted. As it was only 9:30 and the night was still young; I decided that we needed to go to town and get some more beer. After all, I was a grown-ass man...

I gathered up the plates and waddled / staggered into the house. The women were watching TV, my daughters were in their room and the boys were in my son’s room on the phone trolling for 10th grade trim. What a perfect opportunity for a beer run... That is when El Jefe’ went into defcon three and I received another warning.

“You two don’t need get any more beer. Both of you are way too drunk to drive and you both have had more than enough to drink. We ARE going to church tomorrow and you ARE going with us. Why do you always have to make an ass out of yourself and get shitfaced?”

Her words crushed my drunken spirit. There was no more beer and I could not get past the two of them to get to the liquor cabinet and supplement my already inebriated state; the well had run dry. I left the house completely whipped and made the walk of shame back outside to give Robert the bad news. When I told him that the women put the kibosh on our beer run, he informed me that he had a bottle of “something special” behind the seat of his truck. He told me to go back inside and get two cups and some sugar. While I made my trek back through the war zone for provisions, he left to retrieve the bottle from his truck. When I got back outside, Rob was holding a bottle of green liquid.

“What the fuck kind of whiskey is that?” I asked. “This, my friend, is no whiskey, this is absinthe.”

Those words will forever echo in the vast emptiness of my skull. Robert went on to explain that absinthe is a 160 proof liquor that supposedly has hallucinogen properties.

“This shit is illegal in the US. I brought it back from Jamaica.”

He then took the cups, filled them with ice from the empty beer cooler and poured sugar on top of the ice. As he poured the absinthe over the ice and sugar, it turned from green to clear. That should have been my signal that I didn’t need to drink it, but I was a grown-ass man...

I took a sip and felt the skin in my throat begin to melt. My eyes watered and my sinuses opened up. It burned, but it was a good burn; like nothing I had ever drank before. I immediately felt warm inside. It tasted like horse-piss, but I was a grown-ass man; I continued to sip on it.

After a thorough discussion of how he snuck the bottle through customs, we poured another cup of “the green shit”. I could feel my drunk changing; it was different from a regular beer or whiskey drunk. I felt a bit euphoric and completely invincible. We each had three solo cups of the green shit before I had to piss again. When I arose out of my chair, my legs were tingling like they had been asleep. I was completely and utterly shit-housed drunk, but I was not slurring my words and I was aware of what was happening around me. It was nothing less than an out-of-body experience. I felt like I was watching myself walk over to the bushes to piss. I became aware that Robert was laughing at me because I was having a hard time standing up to piss, but I didn’t care because I was a grown-ass man...

Big Rob was no better off than I was. As he was trying to mix another couple of drinks, he almost fell out of his chair while filling the cups full of ice. He then proceeded to spill sugar all over the table and had a hard time lining up the bottle over the cups. We both began laughing hysterically at the mess that he made. At the time, it was absolutely the funniest thing I had ever seen.

Neither of us could stop laughing; that is until Sarah suddenly appeared. She had a puzzled yet disgusted look on her face that caused both of us to laugh even harder. She took the bottle away from Rob and told him that it was time to go. He tried to reassure her that he was not shitfaced, but she was having no part of it.

I knew that at this point in the evening, I had to really get my act together or face the wrath of my wife. I stood, or at least tried to stand up, and began my giggling trek into the house. Attila the Hun met me at the door. And she was pissed. She started in on me about church, drinking, I told you so, being an asshole and some other shit that I couldn’t comprehend. I tried to talk, but nothing other than guttural noises and laughter would come out of my mouth. My mouth was as numb as if I had been to the dentist and my tongue felt too big. I somehow understood that she was disappointed by my actions and that I was to go back outside and clean up my mess.

The world was moving in slow motion as I tried to get back to the table to clean up. The floor was quaking and the sky was sinking lower and lower all around me. My motor skills began to falter and I held myself up with sheer will alone. I tried to fight through the overwhelming blindness that was overtaking me because I was a grown-ass man…

Suddenly there was a bright light; I realized that it was hot and that I was sweating. I opened my eyes and saw the sun. I thought for a moment that I was in hell, but quickly realized I was in my hammock. I looked to my left and saw a blurry mass; as I struggled to focus, I realized that it was Big Rob. He was slumped over the table, passed out. We had both passed out and our wives had left us outside to die.

I turned my head to the right and began to projectile vomit the entire contents of my stomach onto the deck. My head was about to implode and I was violently expelling the demon elixir from my gullet. After what seemed like an eternity of heaving and throbbing, I arose from my hammock and staggered over to Robert.

He was face down on the table, lying in a pool of partially digested steak and salad. His snoring let me know that he was still alive. My survival instinct must have taken over because I found myself in the kitchen desperately searching for a bottle of Advil. I looked at the clock; it was 10:20AM. I took a handful of Advil and sheepishly went into my bedroom to face the music.

There was no one there, the house was completely quiet and there was no one home. My family had either all moved away in shame or had gone to church to pray for my soul. I managed to get back outside with a glass of water and the bottle of Advil for my fallen compadre’. I tried to wake him, but he only mumbled and raised a hand to shield his eyes from the morning sun. With my head pounding, my stomach turning and my friend lying in a pool of his own vomit, I made a solemn vow to God that if he would heal my head, I would never again drink absinthe. Rob, on the other hand, raised his head from his altar of puke and cursed God for his plight. Much like our wives, the Lord wanted nothing to do with either of us right then.

Epilogue: My wife got home from church shortly after noon and did not speak to me for the better part of a week. Robert’s wife came back to pick him up around 11:30. When she arrived, Rob was sitting on the steps in my pool, fully clothed. He said the water was soothing to his head and that he needed to get the vomit off his shirt. The hangover almost killed me, but I eventually made a full recovery because I was a grown-ass man...