State Of My Fat Ass
December 29, 2000
A few things:
-- This week I experienced a minor security breach here at the Surf Report Compound. Through a series of events that I don't care to rehash, the existence of this website was made known to some members of my extended family. News of this fact caused me to suffer a mini-meltdown; I pretty much lost my shit over it, to tell you the truth. Yelling, ranting, cursing and the dispatching of angry e-mails immediately ensued. Now that Iíve had some time to cool down I realize I probably overreacted a little, but Iím still not too thrilled about the whole episode. This site isnít meant for a general audience; itís not Live with Regis and Kathie Lee. And while I donít really have an issue with the particular family members who were directed to it, Iím concerned it will now be passed on to other members of the family, and quickly get away from me. I fear the genie is out of the bottle, as they say. The thought of my seventy year-old church-going aunts squinting at their grandkidís computer monitors, reading my dissertations on pants-shitting and masturbation is enough to make my stomach churn. I donít know if I could live with myself if I triggered an epidemic of hemorrhages throughout the family tree. I know I probably shouldnít be admitting this; I should act like a badass who doesnít care about reactions to his sacred ďartĒ. But that would be pretense, because I do care -- at least as far as my family is concerned. These two worlds shouldíve never overlapped, for the same reason Reservoir Dogs should never be shown at a Baptist spaghetti supper. I think that's the part that really glazes my donut hole. Iíd like your opinion on this. Is it something I should try to control? Should I be concerned about members of my family finding out about my ďeven scarierĒ side? Am I a loser for even worrying about any of this stuff? Let me know what you think. Oh, and Hi, Aunt Yvette! Iím glad to hear the grafts took.
-- Because of an untimely illness, ďNancyĒ and her so-called husband were unable to make the trip to our house for the holidays. A real ball-rupturing shame, it goes without saying. I was wiping away the tears as I put the Big Tofu Chair back into storage for another year.
-- I know everybody says it, but I truthfully donít watch much television. Unless thereís something on that Iím really interested in, I canít just sit there and kill time. I do that with the internet, thank you very much. But I find myself attracted to quite a few shows nowadays. Iíve mentioned the wonderfully wacky Spongebob Squarepants on Nickelodeon (although the much ballyhooed Christmas special was a minor disappointment), and Iím also addicted to Malcolm in the Middle. I can trace that particular addiction to a single moment in a specific episode. It was last season when Malcolm and his wheelchair- bound buddy sneak out to an arcade late at night. Somehow the wheelchair is stolen and Malcolm tries to drag the kid home on a giant sheet of plywood. Thatís the kind of magic TV moments we donít get nearly enough of these days. Lately Iíve also become enamored with Ed, the Letterman-produced show about a guy who returns to his hometown and practices law out of a bowling alley. Itís a really funny show as well, with great characters and sharp writing. And I donít mind the occasional episode of Raymond, Friends or Frasier either, although the latter two have been treading on thin ice of late. Itís been a long time since thereís been this many television shows that I actually seek out. Are things getting better, or am I getting worse?
-- Today a woman in my office blew her nose and on complete auto-pilot, I said, "Bless you." Then I became all flustered and made a half-assed attempt to pretend it was a joke, which only made matters worse. I think I detected a trace of actual fear in her expression. I should be institutionalized, I swear.
-- A few days ago the supremely-talented singer/songwriter Kirsty MacColl was killed while swimming in the ocean off Mexico. She was reportedly struck by a speedboat, and died in front of her sons. This would be absolutely horrifying news even if she wasn't such an enduring talent, but her death is a major blow to plugged-in music fans all around the globe. And the fact that the accident happened just before Christmas makes it even sadder. Ironically, she had a hand in one of the best (and most loved) contemporary Christmas songs, ďFairytale of New YorkĒ, a duet with the Poguesí Shane MacGowan. Great song, great artist - tragically gone at 41. A huge loss.
-- I've been listening to the new Beautiful South album a lot lately, and a few of the songs are about growing older and losing the spring in your step, and that kind of thing. The problem is, the guy who writes the songs is just six months older than I am. I know this because he mentions his birth date in one of his early tunes -- I didn't see it in Tiger Beat or anything creepy like that. But, what the hell? I'm not ready to surrender to the September Of My Years just yet. I mean, really. I donít like this at all. This has the potential of planting some dangerous seeds in my fevered brain. It's freaking me out, man.
-- Earlier this week I saw a picture of George W. Bush wearing a ZZ Top baseball cap. First SNL was campaigning for the band to be president, then Clinton spent eight years dispensing ďpearl necklacesĒ in the oval office, now this. Whatís the deal?
-- An actual quote from the Classmates.com message board for my old high school: ďWould this be the same Gene who won a dollar from Persinger by playing the b flat concert scale the fastest? One crazy sax, man! Your legacy lives onÖĒ Whew! Wild stuff. I'd bet a dollar these guys never did figure out why they sustained so many savage beatings throughout their school careers.
-- It's lung-bitingly cold here in northeastern PA, and I heard yesterday that we're going to get hit with a "snow bomb" this weekend. I don't know what that means, but I don't like the sound of it. My instincts are telling me to buy large quantities of beer, which I fully intend to heed. Iíve learned that a man should trust his gut in situations like this, and the size of my gut is proof that I nearly always do. Please pray for me.
When I came home from getting an oil change yesterday Toney was on the phone with one of her more unusual friends. This woman is a source of endless fascination for me, because she's just so goddamn weird. I always get excited when they talk, because a lot of stories invariably come from it. But when I realized they were discussing a possible overnight visit in the near future, I was reminded that I like talking about her far more than actually spending time with her. I'll call her Nancy.
Nancy and her "husband" (they were married by an actor) are highly educated, and highly pretentious. They've spent the better part of their lives on college campuses and, after finally graduating, took jobs as college professors. Of course they're fanatically liberal, vegetarian, feminist, environmentalist, blah blah blah. And that's where the fun begins.
They shower while standing in large buckets, so they can trap the water. Afterwards the buckets are lugged down a narrow flight of stairs and dumped into the washing machine, thereby saving a small precious sliver of Mother Earth's natural resources. That sounds all fine and dandy until you think about your clothes being washed in skanky old ball water. No thank you. I don't need to go to work with a pubic hair on my shirt collar, thank you very much.
They're also minor-league exhibitionists. Whenever they come to visit it can be counted on that they will fornicate loudly in our shower at least once. And that's fine. Who am I to begrudge them their fun? After all, it might be hard to pull off at home with all those buckets everywhere. But the sheer volume and apparent fervor they work themselves into makes it hard to believe they're not doing it for our benefit. Indeed, I'm surprised some of our pictures haven't come off the walls over the years. I think they like to demonstrate how passionate and liberated they are. When they're visiting, my standing line to Toney about the bathroom is, "Watch where you step, 'cause that ain't Tilex."
Believe me, I could go on and on (and will, over time), but I'd like to restrain myself and tell only one more at this point.
A couple years ago Nancy called our house in a state of despair. Toney asked her what was wrong (this time) and, after a long pause, she said, "Do you get jealous when Jeff masturbates?" Toney said, "...pardon?" Nancy proceeded to tell my wife that her husband masturbates on a regular basis, and it always makes her feel bad. She said it not only makes her jealous, because she can't be sure he's thinking of her while he's at it, and she also worries she may not be pleasing him fully. Why else would he need to take matters into his own hands, she wondered?
Of course, my first reaction to this story was uncontrollable laughter and several long distance phone calls to friends around the country. And the second was, "What does he do, make an announcement?" This was a joke, but it's probably not too far from the truth. These people are highly flamboyant, and theatrical. They can completely wreck a kitchen, for instance, simply by preparing toast and jelly. A common jar of jelly and stack of toast, you see, is unthinkable. Several variations of "marmalade" must be transferred to individual saucers, and their shitty roofing-shingle co-op bread must be fanned out on a large serving platter, etc. It's quite a production, believe me. There's no reason to believe the jacking off would be much different.
I imagine him entering the "study" (the goddamn living room) and proclaiming that if he can be excused for a few moments he would very much like to surrender to his desires for a vigorous session of self-gratification. After Nancy sadly offers her blessing, our hero spins on his heel and retires to his bedroom. There he dims the lights, gets some candles going, and slips into his silk imported Chinese masturbation robes. Presently, the smell of expensive exotic oils can be detected throughout the house as loud moans and all-out hollering begin to be heard from the top of the stairs.
Maybe it doesn't happen exactly like that, but I wouldn't be surprised. I know that I can't hardly make eye contact with the guy anymore as a result of all this, which I recognize as maybe being a little unfair. But, for the record, I don't really feel bad talking about them behind their backs. I'm convinced that everything they do is calculated and orchestrated for effect. Every one of their actions is to get a reaction, I think. The fact that she told Toney about all that masturbation stuff was an attempt to illustrate her openness and ease in discussing such subjects. I doubt she gave a shit about his "sessions" either; it was just an excuse to bring it up -- and shock us with her candidness. And phoniness voids all implied contracts of confidentiality, in my opinion.
As usual, though, I'm going to have to remain mildly drunk throughout the holidays to be able to endure. Somehow, regardless of whether we live in Atlanta, Los Angeles, or Pennsylvania, Nancy and her husband just happen to be passing through on their way to somewhere else during December. So, in what is quickly becoming an annual event, it's going to be another traditional old fashioned Christmas at the Surf Report Compound this year -- with uppity masturbating atheists.
December 15, 2000
Earlier this week I woke up at around 1AM and felt like I needed to either puke or unleash a Montana-sized fart. I stumbled downstairs, groaning and clutching my stomach, and just as I lifted the lid on the toilet the suspense ended. Five or six powerful jets of whatever happened to be in my gut at the time came up -- with authority. And I also shit my pants. About five times. Every time I heaved, a little something extra snuck out the rear exit as well. I was a walking lawn sprinkler of grossness. And then, as if that wasn't enough, the toilet overflowed. I kid you not. I don't know what happened there. I wasn't upchucking solid balls of vomit or anything. But over the top it all came, and into the floor. Yes, it was one of my prouder moments. One minute I was sleeping peacefully in my warm bed, and the next I was mopping the bathroom in the middle of the night, sporting a beard of puke and a sizable load in my pants -- my wife looking on in utter disgust. It was like an episode of The Lucy Show as written by Michael O'Donoghue.
When I was a senior in high school I got a job as a toll collector. I wore a blue uniform, stood in a tiny WWII-era booth with grouchy chain-smoking old men, and took quarters off people driving back and forth across a bridge. I know it doesnít sound glamorous, but it paid $4.60 an hour, well above the minimum wage at the time of $3.35 -- which pretty much made me the H. Ross Perot of my high school. I wasnít as hip or as good-looking as Perot, but I was raking it in baby. Yes, the world was my oyster back in those high-flying fat-cat toll collector days.
But, in typical fashion, it all came crashing down when some pain-in-the-ass do-gooder got involved. After it was discovered, by a nasally shitass with a calculator no doubt, that enough tolls had been collected to pay off the bond on the bridge and possibly a few smaller bridges down the river, the gravy train came off the tracks. The old men and I stood there, with tears in our eyes, as the booths were ripped from the ground by giant mean-spirited cranes, knowing that yet another golden era was over.
And then, as if to add insult to injury, they put up a plaque. It was a "commemorative" plaque designed to salute the key men and women involved at the time of the toll removal. And I wasn't fucking on it! I don't want to seem petty, but this has been a sore spot of mine for a long time. It's true that none of my co-workers were listed on it either, but they were old and they'd had their day in the sun fighting in the Civil War and so forth. I was young and vibrant, and pretty much ran the joint. When I first saw some of the do-nothings listed on that thing, I was physically ill. And I wept. I'm not ashamed to admit I wept.
Luckily I have good friends still living in my hometown, and they look after my best interests -- as I do theirs. A few weeks back I launched into another painful e-mail diatribe about my snub at the hands of "big toll", to some of the gentlemen I stay in contact with back home. It was an especially passionate performance, I must say, and apparently struck a chord. Just yesterday I received a photo from an anonymous, unfamiliar Hotmail address with an attached photo.
God bless the United States of America.
December 2, 2000
A few things:
-- While watching Spongebob on Nickelodeon the other day I saw a commercial for a doll called My Real Baby, and I couldnít believe my eyes. The thing looks big, bigger than a real baby, and its selling point is the fact that it makes facial expressions. If you tickle its foot, its face contorts into a tortured semblance of a smile, and itíll occasionally offer up a freakish frown for you, and so on. The problem is, it looks retarded. I mean literally. It looks like a big retarded baby struggling with some discomfort -- possibly brickhouse constipation. A perfect gift for the holidays if ever there was one, right? If it doesn't sell well (it won't), maybe the makers should just rename it My Big Retarded Baby, and align themselves with the other politically correct toys we've got now -- like Palsy Barbie or whatever the hell it is. In any case, be on the lookout for this commercial. Itís like something out of Eraserhead.
-- I was in a restaurant a few days ago and the hostess looked me up and down and said, ďNon-smoking, right?Ē It was one of the proudest moments of my life.
-- I've never subscribed to the popular belief that people in various regions of the country are radically different from one another. I've lived all over, and people are basically the same wherever you go. In fact, I get a little irritated when I hear people stereotype the South, or California, or West Virginia, or most any other place. It's just ignorance, in most cases. But I must go on the record and say that I think northeastern Pennsylvania has an unusually high concentration of bad drivers. I spent years effortlessly navigating some of the worst traffic in the world, in Atlanta and Los Angeles, but the roadways here shred my nerves. Before I moved I don't think I've ever seen a person backing down an interstate entrance ramp, for instance. Now I see it about once a week. And any right-thinking person knows that the speed limit is only a suggestion, not something you're supposed to actually adhere to. But the worst offense, the one that will probably get me killed someday, is the mind-boggling tendency of people here to come to a complete stop -- WHEN MERGING ONTO AN INTERSTATE! These fools drive to the end of the entrance lane, with their blinker on, and STOP to wait for a break in the traffic! You don't do that! This is one of the basics! That lane is designed for acceleration, so you can join the flow of traffic at the going rate. I've barely averted slamming into the back of a half-dozen cars because of this, and I've never encountered it anywhere else. One of these days I'm going to be preoccupied with skipping a song on a Smithereens CD or something, not paying attention, and end up on the roof of a hardware store with a steering wheel in my hand covered in gasoline and on fire.
-- My workplace is currently crawling with consultants. Apparently it's time for The Company to drop a few million on some computer "upgrades", so out come the consultants. And if there's a group of people easier to hate, I'm not aware of it. Smug, arrogant, self-assured, young, well-dressed, highly-paid, educated bastards and bastardettes, one and all. God, how I hate them. But there's one from Raleigh, NC with a thick Southern accent, and for some reason he's a lot easier to take than the rest. I'm pretty sure it's the accent that makes the difference. It gives his air of absolute, soul-crushing superiority a sort of homespun appeal, that ultimately elevates him above the pack.
-- My mother-in-law recently asked me if I've seen The Green Mile. I told her no, and that was her cue to tell me all about it. In a nutshell, she said it was a good movie but way too graphic. I assumed she meant it was too violent, but I should've known better. She went on to explain that it's "basically three hours of pissing." Those were her exact words. I started thinking about this and was a little surprised that an accomplished actor like Tom Hanks would take on a project based on pissing. Maybe a cameo in a small pissing picture by a director he admired, but a starring role? Of course I know what she meant, but I like the quote taken out of context. Warner should've used it on the video box: "Unquestionably the best picture of the year" -CBS-TV, "Explosive!" -Gene Shalit, "Basically three hours of pissing!" -Jeff's mother-in-law.
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