Archive for the 'Gross' Category


Not even an earful

inner ear

One condition of getting older is the likelihood that my doctor will send me to a specialist. I guess as I slowly break down and descend into decay, my parts need more and more special attention.

Last September, I spent $50 for a visit to the otorhinolaryngologist. I like that word far better than “ears, nose and throat doctor,” or, if you’re too lazy to live, ENT. You know a word, you should use it, right?

Otorhinolaryngologist takes nearly as long to say as my appointment lasted. Continue reading ‘Not even an earful’


Why I will only eat the No. 6

The short answer is, the Jimmy John’s No. 6 vegetarian sub may very well have saved my life.

On the evening of Sept. 23, 1997, I put myself in the hospital with alcohol poisoning. That is to say, an ambulance and some paramedics put me in the hospital, but I’m the one who started it.

No. 6 vegetarian

It looks kinda like this, except they dont do sprouts anymore. (Courtesy of

It was my 21st birthday. My job laying out the student newspaper held me up, and I was late meeting my friends at the bar to celebrate. Time before last call was short, so I drank something like four beers and nine shots in less than an hour.

I remember this much before waking up on a gurney as I was wheeled into Sparrow Hospital in Lansing, Mich.

  1. Thinking: Should I do those last two shots?
  2. Thinking: Hell yes.
  3. Stumbling home on the shoulders of two of my roommates. I didn’t so much walk as allow myself to be propelled forward by gravity and their patience.
  4. Rolling off the living room couch into pure darkness to hit the floor, clutch my gut, and commence vomiting.

Continue reading ‘Why I will only eat the No. 6’


Scat cat, or every creep that creepeth

When a situation is hard to control, we say “it’s like herding cats,” because cats are bloody hard to control—especially mine. Humans, by comparison—pet owners, especially—are much easier.

However, I can happily report that I have managed a coup of animal behavior control that might make a student of Burrhus Frederic Skinner jealous.

The New Yorker published a remarkable profile of Michele Bachmann in August that delves a bit into (among a great many other things) her devotion to a political conservative Christian principle called Dominionism. It’s based on Genesis 1:26.

And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth.

Somehow it applies to the notion among some politically active conservative Christians that their ultimate goal is to gain control over every secular civil institution in the country through political action to create (they would say “restore”) a theocratic government run exclusively by Christians.

Makes sense as a metaphor: Control the animals, control the earth, control the system. And there are a lot of politicians who seem to creep about upon the earth. Though I know fundamentalist Christians hate metaphor. To them it’s either the plain truth, or it’s not in the Bible.

But to turn back to the original text, in which god is telling Adam and Eve to make use of animals—not, I might add, to annihilate Barack Obama—this may be one area where Bachmann and I overlap in our beliefs. And it’s specifically in regards to my cat.

Continue reading ‘Scat cat, or every creep that creepeth’


Hitting the Bowl, Missing the Point

At the Scissor Sisters show in Philadelphia a couple of weeks ago, some guy spent the entire night trying to hook up in the men’s room.

urinalsAbout half a dozen friends of mine were there, and we were all drinking, so we all made frequent trips to the loo. He wasn’t in there every time, but without exception, each of us had some kind of story about this guy.

He stood a little too close.

He washed his hands a little too long.

He kept trying to catch my eye in the mirror.

He leaned over and watched me pee.

Continue reading ‘Hitting the Bowl, Missing the Point’


The Odors of East Broadway

Walking to my office from the last Manhattan F train stop before Brooklyn, I felt like I could imagine what the old Lower East Side was. Or maybe what it always has been — and always will be. A neighborhood of immigrants. The home of the undervalued and overwhelmed.

The social service agency where I worked was located on the eastern edge of ever-eastward-expanding Chinatown. The area is still brimming with unassimilated culture, but the immigrants these days are the young white folks from uptown, adding their soy latte paper cups and Whole Foods plastic bags to the polystyrene clam shells and broken liquor bottles of previous inhabitants’ detritus.

Every morning along East Broadway I passed several of the small food distribution warehouses that supply the innumerable restaurants in the area. It’s all rubber tires and wooden palettes, beeping carts and honking horns, orders barked in Chinese and answered in Spanish.

Lazy, unaffected stray cats lounge on bags of rice. Cases of five-gallon jugs of monosodium glutamate wait, cooling in the early shade. Bags of overripe onions and packs of bean sprouts sit waiting for refrigeration, sending into the air a spoiled, acrid bouquet of lost time.

Waxed cardboard boxes of chicken parts drip quietly inches above the pavement. Oil and bile and festering water from thawing seafood mix with milky pools of unidentifiables in the streets. The draught, gently, blindly finding its way toward the pungent gutters, never frozen in winter, never quick in summer, would glisten in the sharp early sun of crisp fall mornings, would stir cigarette butts slowly in shades of gray and beige in the murky mornings of springtime.

God knows what time these poor guys got out of bed to haul crates, push carts, load vans. They’d have been at it for hours before I passed by at 8:30 in the morning. I’d avoid the puddles, careful not to slip, hopping to one side then the other to miss skillful dollies and swiftly moving carts, pressing onward toward the warming day to a place I had the nerve to complain about.


Cat and Mouse

Our cat discovered a mouse the other day. This in itself does not bother me. The benefit of having a house cat is to keep the mice away.

What is somewhat bothersome, however, is for Jeff to come home one day to catch her in the act of taunting a half-paralyzed rodent, batting it across the floor like a shuffleboard disc. The human intrusion distracted the cat just long enough for her prey to crawl under the refrigerator to die in peace.

So now we have a dead mouse somewhere under our fridge. This is not a terribly difficult problem to solve. But now I fear that our cat, starved for excitement in an environment not built for her, has re-awakened a carnivorous desire. She will remember those days spent outdoors in Minneapolis, before we moved her to this urban prison. And even though she may appear to be lying calmly on my lap, she will secretly always have one eye open and both ears tuned to the hunt.

There’ll be no living with her now.


Cooking with Cream

From the Didn’t Want to Know files… Guess what’s in this:

semen dessert
Click to find out.

Didn’t know you could cook it.






There are plenty of unpleasant ways to wake up, nevermind that most of the time waking up is unpleasant on its face.

One can be shaken awake or startled into consciousness by an alarm or a bell or a loud clock or a gunshot — depending on one’s neighborhood. One can be temporarily blinded by the sun through a drawn curtain. One can fall out of bed to a hard, cold floor below. One can be aurally assaulted by barnyard creatures. One can be woken by a restless bed partner or a carelessly noisy roommate.

Or, one can be woken up as I was today.

I was wrenched to sudden, desperate consciousness at 5:40 a.m. when I threw up in my mouth and began to choke. Huck! Gasp! Kack!, I said — Huck! Gasp! Kack!Huck! Gasp! Kack! Seriously, I could not catch my breath. I was scared awake more than anything else. Could I have suffocated on my own vomit? What a crappy way to go. I had exactly two thoughts at that moment: 1.) This is like the first five minutes of a Six Feet Under episode; and 2.) Don’t wake Jeff!

When I could finally breathe, I realized how gross it all was and spent the next few minutes desperately trying to clean my mouth out.

Then I enjoyed a delightful assortment of chewable, fruit-flavored antacid tablets for breakfast before retiring to the couch.

No more pizza at 1 a.m.


The Real Tragedy of Alcoholism…

…is the taste of non-alcoholic beer.

the untallied hours