“Theresnoplacelikehomeandstuff” is what he said. But he said it—theresnoplacelikehomeandstuff—like it was all one word. And at first I was confused because it sounded like garbled nothing. I thought he was pulling on my chain. “What was that?” I yell after him but he doesn’t turn around. And that’s when it clicks. There’snoplacelikehomeandstuff. It wasn’t gibberish at all. It was seven words, well eight if you count that first contraction. It was the answer. There’s no place like home and stuff. I click my heels together. That was the “theresnoplacelikehome” part. Then I smiled at my cat, my life. That was the “andstuff” part.
Category Archives: fictiony
Oh, you know, if I was a superhero, I’d be The Hypochondriac, sporting a flashy-teal hospital gown and a bright white wristband that has all my information on it, all the while effortlessly rolling around that intravenous drip cart everywhere I go. My power would be, get this, just by hearing or reading about a particular ailment, condition, circulatory-system defect, whathaveyou, I’d magically take on this sickness as if it were my very own! Oh really, a new study shows that testicular cancer most commonly affects men 25 and under huh? You know now that you mention it my left testicle has been shrinking slightly for the past minute and my right one does have this teeny bump on its side that definitely wasn’t there before you told me all about that age 25 stuff. Whoops, did I just accidentally google-image-search the rare kidney disorder known as Bartter’s Syndrome? Gosh those pictures look nasty but, ouch, I feel a slight pain in my lower back out of the blue coupled with a sudden decrease of electrolytes in my blood in 40% of cases. Whoa, it feels really weird to lose all those electrolytes at once. Think of all the good I’ll do as The Hypochondriac, coming down with that Hemorrhagic Fever everyone thought had been wiped out in the 1890’s, so you don’t have to. I’ll do all that I can, selflessly, if you’ll just get me a glass of water cause I can’t stand sweetheart, for as long as I’m able, which probably won’t be that long given my family’s history of death.
There’s this guy at work I talk to now and again, let’s call him Jake. And I noticed just the other day that Jake tends to evoke “gas chambers” quite a bit more than the average person just in normal conversation.
Take yesterday, we were discussing the lethargic pace of a particular project, blah blah blah, apparently higher-ups were eager to see some progress, and he comes out and says, “Well, they’re not sending me to the gas chambers just yet but…” as if the impending quandary he’s talking about isn’t as bad as it could be, i.e. it hasn’t reached “Holocaust-level” priority as of this morning, but if what’s-her-name doesn’t send ‘comps’ by the end of the week, who knows what might happen, doors could be broken down, people dragged from their homes screaming in the middle of the night, uncomfortable conference-calls tantamount to genocide, no one knows for sure. But heck I got the point, I better connect with what’s-her-name about those ‘comps’ before my name gets written on some list in permanent marker, jeez.
And yeah, so this is Jake’s hyperbole of choice, sure it’s slightly culturally insensitive but it’s also sort funny too. Yargh.
What’s your hyperbole of choice?
So it was a lovely saturday in Fort Greene – 3 parts sunny, 2 parts nippy, but all parts pleasant – and I decide to take a stroll in the park, stopping briefly for my first iced coffee of the season. And when I enter said coffee shop, one male barista says to the other male barista, “And what about this one?” he looks in my direction. “I’d say a 7,” the taller, blacker one says and the squeakier guy nods. Now this wasn’t whisper-speak, by the way, this was full-fledged, unabashed dialogue for all parties to witness, absorb, whathaveyou. I just half-smile, “Can I have an iced americano? Thanks.” I pay, milk up, then continue with my stroll, trying to put my finger on that sortofoddexchange.
Um. Did I just get rated out 10? Nah, I’m just inventing some soap opera to keep me stroll-company cause Ricky’s away. “Oh, come on, let’s flesh this thing out,” a suave and sophisticated voice inside my head tells me. I like to think we all have a gossip-appreciating, self-centered British fop who happens to look like Robin Leetch living inside our heads, cause I most certainly do. “You’re right, Cedric,” I tell myself. “And I know just the perfect-shady spot for us to dissect this little mystery.” We laugh in unison like little girls. Oooh saturdays can be fun. Darn this coffee is good.
Well I’m 90% sure both baristas were gay. “Oh absolutely,” Cedric agrees. He really has an eye and he’s been around the block like a thousand times, so I trust him. Yeah the obvious cliche is that these boys are rating other boys on the cuteness-scale. “Right, right.” But I actually think they were rating boys on the probability-of-being-gay scale. “I love it! Can I get a sip?” Cedric’s never asked for a taste of iced coffee before. Sure um. He takes a long hard suck in with the straw. “Oh, that’s delightful!” Great, he finished it.
But low and behold, a narrative, however fake, is being woven. One of the baristas, the younger less-experienced one, recently had a bad experience with a straight dude and confides in the older, wiser gay, “I just don’t know anymore whether boys are queer or not,” and the older guy’s like, “Oh I can tell,” so they start this game. POOF. I’m a 7. Yeah that sort of makes sense. “Oh well. My work here is done, watch out for that ball.” Cedric takes a quick-left at my hypothalmus, disappears, just as a soccer ball comes flying from a nearby game, hitting me on the right ear. Some skinny-tall baby-faced sports dude runs after the ball, “Sorry about that.” He scampers off. “Eh, a 4,” I hypothesize.
So, uh. My name is Matt, I guess. And I’m a Shockers-addict. (deep breath) Wow, uh. Never in a million years did I think I could say those words, gosh. Oh for the visitors out there, a “shocker” is a nickel-sized candy, of the Sweet Tart family, but more chewy and much more sour. Wickedly-tasty and unfortunately for the hundreds of thousands like me, highly addictive. (cough)
When you eat one, as many of you know, taste-buds that have lied dormant in man for thousands of years suddenly spring to life – WHOOSH – and what follows is some kind of nucleo-chemical reaction of sorts that can only really be described as, pardon my vulgarity, an orgasmic experience. Addicts commonly refer to that initial moment the shocker hits the tongue as “sour street,” you know, “I’m taking a walk on sour street.” I’ve also heard, “Dippy Time,” and “Screwing the Jew,” the latter mostly in the midwest.
After that initial surge, the pleasure doesn’t end there. I wish it did. Next comes the chewing phase, a.k.a. ‘Chew City’ ‘Chew Chew Train’ ‘The Pancake Express’ ‘Putting on that Jew-make-up’ and the like. The more experienced shocker eater will learn to flatten the candy until it’s thinner than an amoeba cell (had to dictionary.com the shit out of that one!) and just let it sit on your tongue for over an hour until every last sugar particle dissolves. All worries and fears dissolve with it, along with (as many of us found out the hard way) any desire to take care of yourself, pay the mortage bills on time, answer the doorbell, unless of course you’re expecting the Shocker-Man to deliver his next shipment. Gosh, you know, for nine years straight, I was living from one shocker to the next. Did a lot of things I’m not proud of. Sold my entire pog collection for one pack of shockers back in ’98. Dressed up as a purple shocker three Halloweens in a row (jerry-rigged an old California Raisins costume if you’re curious). Pushed a girl down a well. Um. Dark times indeed.
But here I am, thank God. Haven’t had a shocker for, let’s see, three minutes, so I’m well on my way. But there are so many who aren’t so lucky. Who “took a left on sour street,” so to speak, and just kept on walking, down past those famous “salty dunes,” sinking deeper and deeper into the “shock-sand,” as they say, until sadly they eventually, “lost their hamster in a jew fight.” Again the latter expression coming pretty exclusively from this small town Atkinson, Nebraska. You can get a pretty delicious roast beef sub there. So here’s to those who’ve fallen! By the way, anybody got a mento?
yeah, so i guess sort of the other day I was just blahing around (whatever), thinking about blah, minding my blahs and q’s or maybe my p’s and blahs, not entirely sure, and I guess perhaps at some point, this nondescript character, um, he comes up to me, his face and hair were both pretty blah, and, he was wearing this gray-blue-green-white-ish t-shirt that had some writing on it, that, I don’t really remember what it said exactly, but I do remember thinking it was pretty blah, you know.
Anyway, he asks me how I’m doing, oh yeah I guess I kind of knew him, we took some seminar together sophomore year maybe junior year on like the cultural implications of carbon dating (don’t take it, btw, the reading list was really blah) so yeah he was like, “How are you doing?” and I’m all, “Well, I don’t know, I feel sort of blah today, I don’t know” and he’s like, “Same here, blah too,” then his stomach makes this entirely audible grumbling, we both heard it, and we’re pretty sure this woman down the street heard it too, she completely stops what she was doing, (cleaning up after her brownish-beige dog, blah), and looked right at us. “Uh, you hungry” I ask him. “Ehh, not really,” he answers wavering. “But I could eat, I guess. You hungry?” My face scrunches up. “I’m not sure,” I look down, deciding not to go into the fact that my stomach’s been feeling blah all day.
“Maybe something light?” I half-offer. He sort of nods. We walk off slowly, in no direction in particular.
I know this guy who really really hates wicker. You might say, he’s just not one for wicker. It simply doesn’t agree with him. The texture. The stench of it. All the holes. Wicker literally makes this guy sick, I’m not even joking with you (I wish I was, for his sake). Because we live in a wicker-world, ladies and gentlemen, let’s be honest for a darn second. Baskets, hampers, rocking chairs, waste-containers, patio furniture, the like – we’ve got wicker every which way you turn. Come to think of it, I’m looking at a plant right now in my living room, guess what it’s sitting in? Let’s just say there’s a little sticker on the underside that reads: “Made in the United States of Wicker.”
And I asked this guy once: “What is it about W, really?” Oh, you can’t even use the word wicker around this guy, cause he’ll break out in hives or whatever, so I abbreviate it to “W” whenever I discuss it with him and he knows what I mean. “Have you ever thought about where this hatred for W really came from?” I ask. And he just stared right back at me all serious. I could tell he was thinking about something real hard. He takes a deep breath and whispered: “I never told no one this.” I nodded in anticipation.
“My first mother,” he began, “People called her tushy-face, don’t ask me why. ” I didn’t. “She had a magical way of turning polaroid pictures into real pictures by cutting off that white bottom thing. People would say she was 2 parts genius, 1 part Mets fan, and 1 part tushy-face, don’t ask me why, but I just called her mom, or sometimes tushy-face, behind her back, cause it was pretty unavoidable: I’d be talking about her to someone, ‘Oh my mom said so and so,’ and they’d be like, ‘oh you mean tushy face?’ and even though I didn’t love the implication, I eventually would just nod to avoid confusion.” He looked up in the air, “Sorry mom,” he said.
I was hoping he’d get to point soon. “I’ll get there,” he bellowed. Things were heating up. “She was a real crafty lady, you know. That’s not to say she was up to tricks all the time, but that she had a real penchant for arts and crafts projects. Well one morning she started blabbing on and on about some new miracle medium. ‘Oh I just love W!’ she kept saying.” He meant wicker, of course. “‘It’s so easy to use, yet so elegant.’ Pretty soon the whole house was filled with W – W chairs, a W dining room table, W couches, W dishes, W floors. And one evening she knocked on my door holding some new W contraption and said, ‘Try this on.’ It was a pair of dungarees made out of W. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I started crying. ‘I never see you anymore,’ ‘You love W more than me!’ but the kicker: ‘And you have a real tushy-face!’ And after I said this, she just, her face tightened up real hard, sort of like it was trying to squeeze out a large piece of poo. She grabbed the W dungarees, walked out of my room, and my life, it would turn out, cause she tripped over the W cat, fell down the W stairs and broke her neck.”
I was silent for a long while. Then asked, “Do you have a picture?” He nodded, then took out something battered from his wallet. I could tell it was a polaroid with the white part snipped off. His mom was posing with her son in front of a life-size wicker statuette of Ron Darling. I figured it was taken circa 1986. “Yeah, you know, I don’t get the tushy face thing at all?”