Monday, July 08, 2013

The Worst Smell of My Life

This is not a fairy tale to tell to your children.

The single worst smell I ever experienced occurred on August 18, 1994. If you smelled what I smelled, trust me, you'd remember the day.

I was a happy go lucky boy of 15. And by "happy go lucky" I mean completely miserable, ignorant of girls and deeply imbedded in my baseball card collection. We lived in suburban New Jersey and we had 2 german shepherds. These were not small dogs. One weighed about 105 and the other in the high 80's. This is important to our story.

Now, this particular August New Jersey day was special. You know those perfect summer days where it's 80 degrees out and there's a nice soft summer breeze that gently caresses your skin and all you want to do is be outside? This was the opposite kind of day. It was 117 fucking degrees outside. Humidity was about two thousand percent. It was so hot the mercury broke out of the window thermometer, stormed upstairs and fucked my dad in the ass. It was that hot.

Another key detail to this story is that tomorrow was garbage day. As such, certain chores needed doing. I remember my dad calling me from up in his room - he was in no condition to do anything  - and insisting that I go outside and pick up the dog shit.

Going outside was bad enough. This was the kind of day you don't even want to turn the lights on. My mom spent the whole day sitting on the floor by an air conditioning vent sobbing into her hands.

But, chores had to be done and I was an obedient child and I loved our dogs - both of whom were laying on top of two other A/C vents in the house, preventing the cool air from circulating. They were smart dogs.

I opened the door to go outside. Now when you go outside on a day like this, it feels like there's no air to breathe. You just step into a wall of heat. Immediately, every pore on your skin sweats and you become instantly dehydrated.

I wanted to move fast and get this over with as soon as possible, but on days like this your body is incapable of moving quickly. It can't be done. And so I labored over to the pooper scooper and trudged slowly through the yard. It took my about 20  minutes to pick it all up, and it filled the scooper to its max. It was the worst kind of shit to pick up. It was like melting ice cream, just sort of sloshing around in the pooper scooper. If you've ever heard anybody complain of heat and say "it's hot enough to melt ----," trust me, it still probably isn't hot enough to melt dog shit. At any rate, I headed over the our poop bucket.

Our system for poop removal was pretty simple and I imagine somewhat commonplace among dog owners with yards. We dump the poop in a garbage bag inside a bucket. When the bag is full, we throw it out on garbage day. Bingo bango. Unfortunately, there were 2 flaws in our system. The first was that the bucket of poop was kept on the side of the shed that was in direct sunlight all day long. The second was that the bucket was black.

Now I don't know exactly how much shit was in this bucket, but I do know that it was the day before garbage day and my wounded father had said the bag would be ready to go. So figure about 2-3 weeks worth of German Shepherd shit. High protein diet German Shepherd shit.

As I approached the bucket, I noticed that on the ground all around it were dead flies. This was not a good sign. I reached out to remove the lid and it burned my hand. I jumped back and squealed in pain. I thought for a minute about how hot it must be in that bucket. Conservative estimates put the temp in the 225-270 range. Essentially, this bucket was an oven, and for the last 3 weeks, it had been cooking like 5 pounds of dog shit.

My plan was to hold my breath, knock the lid off the bucket, dump the poop in and run away across the yard. There I would regroup and come back, holding my breath long enough to get the bag inside the bucket tied. From there, it would be easy.

The last clear thought I can remember having as I leaned down to knock the lid off the bucket was: "This might not be good."

I kicked the lid off the bucket.

If you've ever seen Raiders of the Lost Ark, and I assume you have, then you'll know what I mean when I say that shapes came out of the bucket, like they did when the Ark was opened. These shapes came fast and they carried with them the single strongest and most impossibly vile smell I have ever smelled. It was an aggressive smell and and it forced itself into me. I refer to it as a smell but it was more than that, because it invaded all of my senses. In less than a second, this smell had shot up my nose, into my eyes and my ears. It forced open my mouth and charged down my throat. I could smell it. I could taste it. I could see it. I could feel it covering my body like the mirror in the Matrix after Neo takes the red pill. It grabbed hold of my balls and squeezed them.

I won't waste time describing the smell. It can't be done. People always try to describe bad smells by using other smells: "It smelled like month old chinese food, on a bed of burning hair on an indian guy's lap in the subway and a guy who just ate a pound of asparagus is trying to piss out the fire."

It doesn't work. There is no way to describe the smell because I've never smelled anything even remotely close to it before. You want to know what it smelled like? Take 5-6 pounds of dog shit and cook it in an unventilated oven for 2-3 weeks and then stick your head in there.

I remember I felt like I was being lifted off the ground. I heard a terrible gagging sound coming from my own throat - a sound I have failed to reproduce since, despite brief efforts - I shook violently, puked, shit myself and collapsed on the ground.

When I first came to, I saw my father moving towards me. He was speed walking, in that wide legged way that only people who've had mercury forced inside their asshole would understand. He didn't want to be moving, but seeing his son lifted from the ground by an invisible entity forced him into action. I was mostly out of it, but I remember seeing him swinging his harms violently as though he was being attacked by bees, then stoop to his knees to vomit. He waddled to the lid and tried to throw it back onto the bucket. It missed. He let out a string a profanity, some of which I hadn't even heard yet and to this day I don't really understand. I think he was speaking in tongues like those people pretend to in particularly crazy churches. Anyway, he ducked and covered his face with his arm, like he was walking into a strong wind. He grabbed the lid and slammed it back down on the bucket, threw up again and then collapsed in the grass.  

When I came to, I was in a bathtub and my mom was stroking my head. She kept saying over and over "I don't understand. I just don't understand."

My dad came in, still waddling uncomfortably. His hair had turned white and his eyes were blood red. He and I had contracted what would eventually become 2 of the worst cases of pink eye in the history of New Jersey. "You don't need to understand," he said. He tried to wink at me, but his eyes had crusted over. He waddled off and yelled back "and get rid of all those Goddam thermometers."

Monday, April 25, 2011

How the Mighty Have Fallen

It's with a heavy heart that I relate this recent conversation I had with my wife about a girl I would once have happily murdered several close friends to have sex with. Times have changed. People have changed. Dress sizes have changed. Sadly, this conversation has not been altered. It took place as my wife was reading an issue of STAR magazine and I glanced over her shoulder as I walked by.

Me: Is that Christina Aguilera?
Wife: No. It's a drag queen.
Me: Oh dear.

I'm not saying I cried. But I will say that it was suddenly very dusty in our house.

Also, the fact that I just mistook a guy for a woman I used to ogle was disturbing on a level I wasn't comfortable thinking about.

Luckily, there will always be this and this to remind us of better, happier times.

Thursday, March 31, 2011

'Twas the Night Before Baseball...

Twas the night before baseball and all through the house
The wife was a bitch, her libido was doused.
The game gets me horny, my juices are flowing.
But I know exactly where this dance is going.
Baseball to me is akin to foreplay.
But not for the wife, she still hopes I'm gay.

Now Opening Day was coming up quick
The winter forgotten, like a Nic Cage flick.
Wife's voice would soon become background noise
Drowned out by Vin Scully, immune to her ploys.
My focus would soon find only the game,
In a matter of weeks I won't know her name.
Conversations will be so fully one sided
Attempted flirtations are dumb and misguided.
I'll know batting stats and road OPSes
But important life dates will be down to best guesses.

All fantasy rosters are drafted and set
With the best sort of players a smart man can get
Power hitters and on-base machines
And strike throwing pitchers gripping the seams.
Head to head, roto and even points leagues
all ready to play like a young Cheryl Teigs.
Soon baseball would start with pitches and steals
But tonight I'm online with Jessica Biel.

The wife went to bed, a frown on her face,
As I sit and watch midgets get way past third base.
Hours from now, sweet baseball will start
The joy can be felt down deep in my heart.
But now I recline down next to my screen
watching the dirtiest shit that I've ever seen.
Rare is the time I can't focus on porn,
but tomorrow's the day a new season is born.
Baseball is coming, the season is near,
Tomorrow's the very best day of year!


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

The Decline of American Civilization

We're well beyond spelling "definitely" with an "a" or sincerely recommending the Sex and the City movies. Soon there will be nothing left but fat corpses and the distant hum of a Kim Kardashian "song."

This was a news story on today:

How Will Mariah Carey's Jack Russell Terriers Handle Sharing Her With The Twins?

I cannot imagine the type of person who clicks on this story. But I can only assume that they contemplate suicide on an hourly basis. And if they asked me for my opinion, I wouldn't even try to talk them out of it.

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Monday, February 28, 2011

Movies of 2010

10 Best Movies of 2010

10. The Crazies: This is the kind of movie that usually ends up on Worst Of lists - A remake of a little seen and long forgotten horror movie. But Olyphant man-crushes aside, it's a suprisingly good movie. A rare horror/thriller/slasher movie that has smart characters behaving intelligently. It deserved a much better box-office fate.

9. Waiting For Superman: This documentary about the unfortunate state of America's public school system is depressing, inspiring, frustrating and then depressing again.

8. The Town: That Ben Affleck is turning out to be a very good director. He's found where he belongs. BEHIND the camera. Behind it. All the way behind it.

7. Black Swan: Mind fuck. The hangnail scene and the nail cutting scene were more squirm inducing than anything else I saw this year (intentional division). Kudos to Natalie Portman for the best masturbation scene in a mainstream movie this year.

6. The Kids Are All Right: Annette Bening and Julianne Moore gave us what might be the most realistic on-screen marriage of the year. Come for married lesbians watching all male gay porn and stay for Bening screaming "I need your opinions like I need a dick in my ass!"

5. The King's Speech: Great movie, great performances. Beautifully shot. Geoffrey Rush is one of those actors who can take any part and make it memorable. Always a pleasure to watch, despite his somewhat grotesque appearance.

4. The Fighter: We've all seen the underdog/redemption sports movie. Many of them have even been about boxers. The Fighter still stands out because of its characters and the performances. I love Amy Adams character in this movie. She swears like a sailor and crawls around in lingerie. What more could anybody ask for? Christian Bale is amazing, especially the cake scene.

3. The Social Network: David Fincher is the best director working today. How many directors could take a script where all the characters do is sit at computers and talk to each other (all sounding the same) and make it visually interesting? Probably just one.

2. Inception: Movies that require the viewer to really pay attention shouldn't be so unusual. The zero gravity hotel fight was worth the ticket price alone. I have one question though - how old is Ellen Paige and why do I feel creepy whenever I look at her? Is she 13 or 30? I can't tell. She looks like I could easily fit her in a kitchen cupboard.

1. 127 Hours: Amazing movie. Amazing story. The only movie I saw last year that really moved me and made me want to stand up and cheer. My wife literally sobbed for ten minutes. Please put this movie on your Netflix queue. You'll be glad you did.

6 Worst

These are harder because I don't see every movie. And when something looks terrible, I usually don't go. It doesn't take a genius to know Sex and The City 2 was going to be a bad movie. I couldn't sit through the trailer. So a lot of movies that fill up most people's worst of list won't be on mine. Not that I'm a movie snob. As you'll read, I still see a lot of crap.

6. CopOut: You know what happens when a comedy isn't funny? You pay attention to the story. That's not a good thing when you're seeing a Kevin Smith movie.

5. Clash of the Titans: Money grubbing bad 3-D conversion aside, the movie just didn't really offer anything new. There wasn't much to it. Then it was over.

4. Dinner for Shmucks: Painfully unfunny. A classic example of a movie putting every funny line it has in the trailer (in this case, maybe 2 lines), leaving you nothing new to laugh at for what feels like 4 hours.

3. Legion: This movie is obviously really bad, and I blame myself for seeing it, but what makes it unbearably bad is that it takes itself so incredibly seriously. There are scenes in this movie that don't seem to fit anywhere. Actors clearly don't know what kind of movie they're in and old reliable Dennis Quaid doesn't seem to know what planet he's on. Just a terrible mish-mash of the worst parts from a dozen quasi-religious-sci-fi garbage movies before it.

2. Skyline: Skyline is terrible. I get that it had no budget, but that's no excuse for such awful dialogue. The opposite of The Crazies, almost every "character" in Skyline does several ridiculous, stupid, impossible things just to keep the "story" moving along. I'm being extremely generous when I use the words "character" and "story." If my choices were between watching this movie again or staring at the blue light and having my brain harvested by aliens, I'll take the light.

The Worst Movie of the Year is....

Alice in Wonderland: There was nothing engaging for me in this movie. Nothing. I didn't care about anything that was happening. I've never had my mind wander so much during a movie. There were a lot of bright colors and 3-D things moving around, but none of it added up to anything. ANYTHING. It was so uninteresting the main character didn't even change her face during the entire movie. The most cringe inducing scene of the year (unintentional division) was Johnny Depp's dancing at the end. Clearly, it was supposed to funny, but there wasn't a sound in my theater. Not a chuckle.

Random Awards and Thoughts

Best Use of 3-D: Piranha 3D - between the naked underwater swimming and the severed penis getting vomited up, this is the movie that most delivered what it promised.

Star Who Most Needs to Fire Her People: Jennifer Aniston - I don't get it. She's beautiful and funny, but she keeps signing up for absolute crap. First she gets stuck listening to Gerard Butler trying to talk in The Bounty Hunter and then makes an ill-advised sperm movie with Jason Bateman - maybe the only movie possible that could misuse both of those talented people. Then to kick start 2011 she jumps in bed with Adam Sandler? Somebody her a good part in a good movie. Please!

Best Use of Ass In a Trailer: Rachel McAdams in Morning Glory.

Funniest Sex Scene: MacGruber

Funniest Supporting Characters: Going The Distance - Charlie Kelly, Jason Sudekis, Christina Applegate and Jim Gaffigan all get big laughs in this R rated comedy that nobody saw for some reason.

Best Looking Sniper in a Train Station: The A-Team

Most Inappropriate Movie Title: Unstoppable

Least Realistic Scene of the Year: Jessica Biel and Jennifer Garner left alone to commiserate about how awful Valentine's Day is because nobody wants to be with them. This is flat out insulting. How is that supposed to make a ugly girl with a flat ass girl feel? If Jessica Biel and her perfect body can't find love, then everybody else is fucked.

Why Aren't These Two Bigger Stars?: Timothy Olyphant and Mary Elizabeth Winstead.

Most Distractingly Unrealistic Stunts: Salt. I don't understand why they had to put this crazy shit into what could have been a pretty decent movie. Angelina Jolie cannot leap onto the roof of a truck going 60 miles an hour. Can't happen. She also can't jump down an elevator shaft 2 floors at a time. And she certainly can't fly - yes, literally fly - out of a closet. She also needs to eat something.

Movie I Really Wanted to Like, But Just Couldn't: The Expendables. I'm sorry, but it's a bad movie. And it doesn't make sense. Why isn't Dolph Lundgren dead? Is that woman really supposed to be attracted to Stallone? And what the fuck is Mickey Rourke talking about?

Movie That Should Have Been Terrible, but was Actually much better than the Expendables:
Universal Soldier: Regeneration I know was technically a 2009 movie, but I only saw it last year. And it's pretty good. If you like action movies, it's worth checking out.

Trailer That Made Me Feel Bad For the Actor Until I Was Reminded That He Got Paid a Lot:
Gullivers Travels

Most Disturbing Scene of Characters Accepting Their Own Firey Death: Toy Story 3

Highest Grossing Movie I Didn't See: Twilight - Eclipse or whatever it's called. I just flat out don't get this series. At all. It looks like it's made and sold directly to unattractive, awkward teenage girls. I watched 15 minutes of the first movie and thought it was a comedy. I understand there are genres that are simply not for me and this clearly is one of them. So if it makes sad, homely adolescents happy to watch this stuff, they can have at it.

As for me, I'll be one theater down watching the latest Alien invasion/buddy cop/talking animal/lesbian/transformers/killer fish/Bruce Willis movie.

On to 2011 and it's 27 Sequels.

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Thursday, January 06, 2011

Scenes From a Marriage: Vol. 10

"Ow! What is that? Is that the dog's foot or your penis?"


Tuesday, November 23, 2010

"Ghost Community"

Saturday night - playing some pretty intense Pictionary with friends of ours. Not that intense, but intense enough that the frequency with which our rolls resulted in "All-play" vs. their rolls was pointed out. More than once. And apparently we're "just good at rolling high numbers."

Anyway, it's our turn, my wife is drawing. She draws well. I should point out that I'm at least a half dozen strong Jack & Cokes into the evening at this point (so the intensity may have been higher, but I wasn't feeling it).

My wife draws your basic ghost. "Ghost" I say proudly, assuming the round was done. She keeps drawing. She draws a house. "Ghost House" I say and I know immediately that it makes no sense.

She draws another house. "Second Ghost House" I say, this time thinking I was funny. I was not.

Time is running out.

She draws a third house. Then circles all three houses. I'm looking at a group of houses. And I think we all know the common term for such a thing. "Community! Ghost community!" I shout.

Time expires.

We've all played games like this before. And you just don't have any control over what comes out of your mouth while your playing. Your eyes see a group of houses and your brain just grabs a box of synonyms and starts throwing them out of your mouth. It does not have time to try and match those synonyms with the first part of the puzzle. "Ghost Town" obviously makes more sense, as it's a term people actually use, but that's just not the first word my brain heaved out of my mouth.

Now, as married man of almost 7 years, I've seen a lot of disappointment in my wife's face. A lot. I can spot it pretty easily. Usually, it appears right after I'm done speaking. And this was no exception.

We all immediately agreed that "ghost community" is a term nobody had ever heard before. And that novelty is not lost on my wife, who seems determined to help my newly coined phrase make up for lost time by including it in almost everything she says.

I'd be mad at her, but I know I'd be doing the same thing.

(Side note: We went 2-0 at Pictionary.)

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