But if you really know me, you know that I’m a big hygiene guy. I’m not obsessive-compulsive or anything. I’m not like Howie Mandel; I’ll shake people’s hands, sometimes, even their breasts. But I do wash my hands before eating. I always have a stick of deodorant on me. And, I once broke up with a girl because she went a day without showering. And why not? That’s disgusting. At least run through the sprinkler, for my benefit. Actually, just do everything for my benefit.
But I’m an even bigger hygiene freak as it relates to dental wellbeing. Wow, did you know wellbeing was one word? Neither did I.
I take good care of my teeth. I brush them when I wake up, I brush them when I wake down; in the morning, at night—I even have a toothbrush and toothpaste with me at work. And in all my 25 years, I’ve only had one cavity, and I soooooo got screwed. A piece of lettuce—lettuce!—got stuck under one of my teeth. Dentist said it was a million-to-one, and that there was nothing I could do about it. I’m not kidding. And if you don’t believe me, you’re welcome to come by and conduct your own cavity search.
I drink soda. I eat Milk Duds. And I get away with it all, because I take great care of my teeth. And in addition to using the old paste and brush, I never miss a chance to gargle. Until last night…
Yes, last night. With another day of being awesome (or, as some may call it, barely adequate) behind me, I decided it was time to turn in. So, into the bathroom I went to polish the pearly whites. Toothpaste? Check. Toothbrush? Check. Checklist? Check. Everything was going smoothly—until it was gargle time.
It was the mouthwash—specifically, the amount of it. It wasn’t that I was out completely, but there wasn’t a ton left. Probably about 1½ swigs worth. So, I had a choice to make: a half-ass gargle before bed, or a half-ass gargle to start my day.
Now, I know the choice sounds easy. If I was going to gargle, it was going to be more important to do it in the morning. I’d be going out to face the world. What if I met a girl on the bus? I would be kicking myself for not gargling. And, I’d probably pull a hamstring, from kicking myself. And that would just be great. I’d probably yell after pulling my hamstring, and then everyone would smell/hear my shitty, shitty breath. That’s right, it would actually be audible. The only choice would be to water down a drop, take my chances overnight, then right the ship the next morning.
Except for one problem: I had just eaten half a container of pasta salad. Pasta salad with bread and homemade dipping sauce filled with oregano. There was no way I could spoon with my pillow with breath like that.
But still, nobody was in the room. It was just me. If I just blocked it out, closed my eyes, and tried hard to sleep, first thing I knew, it would be morning.
But I’d feel awful, waking up to that terrible aftertaste of a thing that once tasted great. And who cares if I met a girl on the bus? What was I gonna do, hit on her? When’s the last time you saw a guy pick up a girl on a bus? There’s really no non-creepy way to go about that. It’s already the sketchiest place in the world, and on top of that, you’re hitting on someone? All I’m trying to do is be nice and get to work, but there I’d be, Mr. Bad Guy, freaking somebody out. To me, there are only two possible ways to go about this: one, get up and grab the microphone, and say “Attention, ladies: I am attracted to one of you. So, if you’re interested, please see me at Franklin Street at Devonshire Street.” Or, I could just make up personal business cards, and just hand them to girls as I get off the bus. But then, they might think I just want to do business. That’s why I’d make sure they’re shaped like penises.
By now, an hour had gone by, and I had been contemplating all of this to no end. I wasn’t getting any sleep, and I wasn’t making any progress in this great case of Listerine contemplation. There was just one thing to do: sit down and make a list. A list of the pros and cons of going through the motions with my mouthwash, either at night or in the day. So, I sat down at my desk, cleared a spot, and put my notepad down right next to a bottle—a bottle of new Listerine I forgot I bought the day before.
Christ, I hate myself.
Effect: To cut drivers a deal, Fenway Park lots lower prices to just three-thousand dollars.
Effect: Instead of “Thank You For Shopping at Hess,” now “Fuck You For Shopping at Hess.
Effect: Lindsay Lohan and Britney Spears forced to carpool into a lamppost.
Effect: Disney forced to euthanize Herbie.
Effect: In lieu of car trunks, mafia forced to store dead bodies in elephant trunks! What?! That’s crazy!!
Effect: Goodbye ice cream truck; hello ice cream wheelbarrow.
At a speech in Montana, Hillary Clinton said she leads in every poll–every poll that starts with the question, “Which candidate should drop the F out?”
It came in the form of a small, but unmistakable sound on the sidewalk in front of me. A slight splat, mixed with a gentle thud—a light material, colliding with a much harder surface. The man in front of me had dropped a glove, and didn’t appear to notice. I called out to him, twice, and still he kept walking. As I stood over his handless glove, a feeling of helplessness came over me. I had just witnessed another person drop his glove, and there wasn’t a thing I could do.
Or wasn’t there?
In another town, it would be perfectly acceptable to let it be, while a fellow citizen’s hand grew cold. In Hollywood, they’d probably just laugh and spit cappuccino on it! But damn it, not in Boston. In Boston, people are straight with one another. We may yell, we may curse…but I’ll be damned if we don’t pick up each others’ gloves. I decided I was going to return this one to its owner.
As I continued to call out, the man continued to trudge ahead. At least, I was pretty sure it was a man. Now that would explain things. After all, what woman is going to respond to a guy calling her “Sir?” Marion Jones aside, not many. Just in case, I tried a different approach: “Ma’am! Lady!” All that did was make me feel like a crazy person soliciting an invisible hooker.
As the wind picked up, I tried to rationalize the reasons this guy wasn’t stopping. Maybe he was talking on a Bluetooth. Maybe he was listening to an iPod. Maybe he didn’t speak English. What’s the German word for “Hey, glove guy!”
Maybe he had dropped the glove on purpose. Maybe it was some kind of timed-release device filled with poison gas, designed to kill thousands. What if he was in Al-Qaeda? I mean, we’d already had a shoe-bomber, why not a mitten-bomber?
What if this was all part of some elaborate prank? Part of some silly show hosted by Ernie Bach, Jr., where they spend an hour seeing how long somebody follows someone around, to the point of going into a full sprint—only to find out later the guy was in fact a planted Steve Prefontane, who had faked his death as part of a much bigger plan to meet Ernie Bach Jr.? Wouldn’t that be a good enough prank? Why did they need to involve me??
Maybe he was just a murderer. Minutes earlier he murdered 11 people, using that very glove to hold the poison-filled hairdryer (because he’d be creative), and now I was handling it, getting my stupid prints all over it. God forbid they find another Johnnie Cochran to try the case and tear me apart using rhymes. “If the glove’s on the ground, just let it stay down.” “If the mitten’s not yours, what you touchin’ it for?” All I wanted to do was help someone out, but nope, I’m Mr. Bad Guy, tampering with evidence, when some other loser could have come along and done it later while I laughed and drank wine with my girlfriend.
What was I thinking? I didn’t have a girlfriend. And I don’t drink. But the wind really was getting ridiculous, and I wasn’t about to break a sweat returning some dude’s glove. And so, as my target grew smaller still in the distance, I slowed my pace and caught my breath. It was over. I had tried.
Then, something caught the corner of my eye.
A girl was breaking down a souvenir stand. She had hats, pins, pennants and t-shirts, featuring each of Boston’s four major teams—the Red Sox, Celtics, Patriots, and Cheers. But it was one in particular that stood out: a green shirt with white print and a shamrock, and one simple message: Believe in Boston. And at that moment, it was my turn to believe. I believed in good karma; I believed in being a good person. I believed that if I really gave it my all, I could catch this glove-loser and make his week. Or his month. No—I would surely make his year.
So I took off. A hundred yards and countless burned calories later, I got within feet of him. I wiped the sweat from my brow, and in the proudest voice possible, yelled, “Sir!” Slowly, the man turned around.
Before me was an elderly gentleman, with wrinkled skin and bushy, gray eyebrows. 80, if he was a day. He had on a Red Sox knit cap, and looked to be the quintessential Bostonian. He wasn’t self-involved—he was just old! That’s why couldn’t hear me! As I walked up to him, I couldn’t help but imagine how happy this man was going to be. Walking along, all alone, and here I was, about to make his day—his month—no, his year.
I stepped forward, extended my arm, and presented him with the glove. “Sir, I believe this belongs to you.”
He looked down at the glove, and I detected a twinkle of recognition. He looked around, to gage his whereabouts. And, he took a deep breath, to assess the situation. Then, he looked me right in the eyes, and, in the thickest of Boston accents, exclaimed, “Keep it, ya queeah!” and trudged on.
Effect: Aliens stunned to meet beings with bigger ears than theirs.
Cause: Aliens rename famous landmarks in their own honor.
Effect: Goodbye Big Ben; Hello Large Alf.Cause: Aliens take over British international relations with the U.S.
Effect: A confused President Bush asks if because they’re British, aliens fly on the other side of the air.
Cause: Aliens conduct experiments on corpse of Keith Richards.
Effect: Corpse bids them farewell, smokes joint; resumes touring with Rolling Stones.
Cause: British excited after learning aliens can be defeated with toothpaste.
Effect: British disappointed after remembering they too can be defeated with toothpaste.
Cause: Aliens use high-powered gas in an effort to sedate the British.
Effect: Amy Winehouse not affected.
In a new “tell-all” book, a memorabilia dealer is alleging that O.J. Simpson confessed to murdering his wife while he was high on marijuana. Today, Simpson denied the man’s claims, and promised not to rest until he finds the real stoners.
I work (for now) in Government Center, where there are two options: play the meter game and risk getting a ticket—or, gonorrhea from the meter maid you screw to get out of it—or, pay well over $100 a month to park in the garage. And still probably get gonorrhea from the meter maid.
I was thinking about doing the latter, minus the maid-boning part, but when I broke it down, I’d only have to pay half that amount if I got myself a T pass. Not just any old T pass.
And for the most part, that’s been a great decision. Granted, it takes me twice as long to get home sometimes, and I have to ride with people, which is tough since I hate them; but, it has given me time to do two things: just laugh at folks I don’t know, and make calls on my phone to show them all I know people and have their numbers.
Laughing at people is just great, because none of them have any idea you’re laughing at them. And if you get caught, you can just say you were just having a chuckle about a piece of crap you saw in a urinal, or Jack Ruby. But I wasn’t laughing the day my cell phone wouldn’t work. So, I took it to the phone store.
Now off the bat, I’ll state that my phone is a piece of crap. It’s literally the cheapest Verizon phone they make, and I think before it was a phone it was some little girl’s makeup mirror. I bought it over a year ago when I lost my new (free) razor phone within minutes of getting off the plane in Los Angeles. I didn’t have much money at the time, and needed a phone ASAP. Calling and checking my messages just doesn’t do it for me; I’m always afraid that one day, I’m going to call and me in another time will answer it. (And at that point, what would I do? I wouldn’t want to scare other-time-me, so I’d probably have to lie and say I’m someone else, and do a funny voice. The last thing I want to do is freak me out.) So, I rushed to the Verizon store on Hollywood Boulevard, bought the cheapest phone they had, and that’s how I wound up at a store in Boston just over a year later, talking to a rather attractive blonde.
She was about my age, and appeared to be one of the store’s managers. She had on a pinstripe blazer and skirt, with a pink blouse and a gold necklace. She had two eyes, and a waist between her torso and midsection; legs perfect for walking.
She walked up to me at that moment and asked if she could help. I told her that my phone had died, and she looked up my account. It was explained that because my warranty was up, I would have to purchase a new phone. This beautiful blonde with the eyes and legs said she just needed to pull up my billing information. She asked if she could have my number. I said sure. Then, I asked if I could have hers.
Except I didn’t. I actually thought of it about five minutes later.
Anyway, this blonde-haired mystery woman brought me over to the service center and explained to a guy named Dwayne or Carlos or Gene that I had a busted crappy phone, and needed to have my information transferred. She told me I’d have to pay $59.99 for the new “unit,” and I told her she’d have to pay nothing for my unit.
No, I didn’t say that either. I just thought of that now, actually.
As this blonde beauty sauntered across the sales floor to tantalize another cell owner, Dwayne or Carlos or Jeb began to transfer my data.
“So your phone just died, huh?”
“Yeah, it won’t work unless it’s plugged in.”
“You tried taking the battery out?”
“Well, sometimes if you take the battery out, then just pop it back in tighter, the phone will work again.”
It was then I had an odd feeling. Not as bad as the one you get when you realize your girlfriend and that other guy aren’t just painting each other naked, but not as good as the one you get when you realize your girlfriend and that other girl aren’t just painting each other naked. As I confused even myself with that analogy, Dwayne or Carlos or Zeke removed the battery, wiped it with a cloth, and popped it back in. And hello,cell phone.
I was stunned. All I had to do was take the battery out, pop it back in, and I was good to go. I didn’t have to spend $59.99 for a “new unit”; all I had to do was pull and pop. Somebody had to have known that; someone like—the blonde-haired bitch who tried to screw me out of $60! With that, I thanked Dwayne or Carlos or Dwayne-Carlos, and turned to face my target—but she was gone.
Vanished. Vamoose. Nowhere to be found. This girl had used her authority, poise and breasts to trick me into spending $59.99, all for the benefit of them. And I wanted to give her a piece of my mind. This was surely part of her plan: screw the guy, close the sale, hide and laugh. She was the Heather Mills of phone stores, and I was a brokenhearted Beatle. But that’s how it goes sometimes. People lie and they cheat, and you never get to call them a jerkface. At least I’d saved 60 bucks.
About a week later, I walked along another block in the Financial District. A lot had happened. The day was different. My pants were different. I had shaved at least four or five times. But the weather was the same. And the time was the same. And the blonde haired girl who stood in a crowd of about four waiting for the bus was the same. The same girl from the phone store, that is.
Same girl from the phone store???
You know it, Pappy. Standing there in the very same dress, and the very same shoes—showing off the very same smugness. It was as though fate had brought us together, as though God wanted me to call this girl a crapstick and avenge whatever!
But then I got to thinking, this phone femme fatale was probably bitchy to everybody at that store. Me going up to her and saying she had treated me crappy would be like going up to Christopher Walken and saying he’d been in my movie. There are too many to remember, and thus, I would be long forgotten.
But still, if I said something to her now, she’d never forget it. A guy going up to her on the street, calling her out for crap she pulled, and putting her back in her place.
But then, I’d look like a jerk to everyone else on the corner. They wouldn’t know the back story, the history between me and phone girl. She’d mace me, they’d applaud, steal my quarters, and that would be that.
But maybe there was a way around it. Maybe I could go over and stand by her, and talk loudly on my phone. I’d call up everyone I could, and say “Yeah, I’m here talking on my cell phone! My cell phone, that wasn’t really broken enough for me to buy a new one for $59.99! Why am I talking so loud?! Why are you so fat?!”
But the odds of that working seemed slim and none. These were my choices: confront the girl, look like I was crazy, or be incredibly rude. I was the one who nearly got taken, but sure enough there I was, Mr. Bad Guy, while she smugly escaped all scrutiny. And that was okay. I was fine with that. I would be the bigger person, and keep my mouth shut. I didn’t need to let her in on my annoyance; in fact, I would take pride in my ability to abstain from confrontation. It would be my silence that would defeat her pettiness.
But things don’t always go as we plan in this nifty little life. Sometimes, our strategy fizzles; our ambition evaporates. For it was at that moment a large gentleman talking loudly on his cell phone rounded the corner, and said loudly, “Ha! I just walked by that c— from the phone store!!”
And then, I laughed. Out loud. And hard. It wasn’t so much what the guy said, but more the irony of my comprehending it. Okay, it was also what he said. And not only did the phone girl hear the guy—she also heard me laughing. And she didn’t think it was all that funny.
The bus came, we both got on, and sat awkwardly across the aisle from one another. I thought about making small talk. I thought about apologizing. I thought about explaining to the girl who I was after all, so that she understood the context of my laughing at the other gentleman’s c-bomb. But at this point, I found it best not to say anything. Besides, I had to answer my phone.
Effect: Usage of actual urinals quadruples.
Cause: Saturday Night Live unable to shoot at 30 Rock.
Effect: “Live from—Hoboken?”Cause: Empire State Building blocked off.
Effect: King Kong forced to scale a White Castle.
Cause: Knick season ticket holders unable to make it to Madison Square Garden.
Effect: Knick season ticket holders relieved when reminded it’s the playoffs.
Cause: Markets are boarded up, as food becomes scarce.
Effect: View ladies forced to eat Elisabeth.
Cause: City professionals forced to cancel appointments with clients.
Effect: Eliot Spitzer forced to settle for his wife.
Cause: FAO Schwartz unable to stay open.
Effect: Roger Clemens searches for another place to take his date.
Cause: Madness and rioting results in destruction of Statue of Liberty.
Effect: Statue replaced by Jimmy Fallon.
Over the weekend, John McCain questioned Barack Obama’s radical ties. Obama responded by questioning McCain’s bitchin’ sports coats.
Police in Topsfield, MA are on the lookout for a daytime burglar posing as a cable man. I guess people realized the guy wasn’t really with the cable company when he kept showing up to the houses on time.
The Washington Times had an article talking about John McCain being superstitious. With him, McCain carries a lucky penny, nickel, and quarter, as well as a lucky feather—or as Ralph Nader would call them, “campaign funds.”
In a recent survey, 98% of historians said “yes,” the Bush Presidency has been a failure. The other 2% couldn’t answer, because they were still laughing at the question.
There is now speculation that if she leaves her job at CBS, Katie Couric could replace Larry King at CNN. In fact today, Katie was spotted shopping for suspenders.
Barack Obama’s former pastor Jeremiah Wright will appear on PBS tomorrow. He’ll be a guest of Oscar the Grouch on Sesame Street.
The FDA has agreed to hear grievances this week from dissatisfied Lasik eye surgery patients. That is, if the patients can manage to find their way to the meeting.
A Dutch school director has discovered a holiday card sent by Anne Frank back in 1937. I’m not sure which holiday it was for—but I think we can rule out Christmas.
The Denver Post did an article on a weather modification scientist who has developed a way to generate rain. In fact, I understand the San Francisco giants are thinking of hiring him to do just that every time Barry Zito’s supposed to pitch.
AOL ran a health article with the title“What never to order at McDonald’s.” Number one on the list: the food.
This weekend, I took my Dad to the Celtics game. In return, he went to the souvenir stand and bought me a giant, foam gang sign.