July 30, 2014
Astonishin​g Shit You Can Buy: “Southern Pride Spittoon”

Right.  Okay.  So here we have this item:
 
 
 
That’s a spittoon, for horking your chewing tobacco slurry into.  You keep it in your house.  Also, it’s covered with Confederate flags.  So it has that going for it, if that’s the look you’re after.
 
So, to revisit this item in summary:
 
1.  It’s a jug you keep in your house to store your phlegm in
2.  It’s covered with confederate flags
3.  Southern pride spittoon.
 
So many of my friends live in the Southern United States, and I’m trying to envision the circumstances under which any of them would buy this thing.  They’re all really good people so naturally I’m coming up short.  In an effort to help my understanding, I read some of the reviews.  What I’ve been able to glean from them is that:
 
1.  It’s difficult to break this item
2.  Not that people have been trying, but it was a gift, so…
3.  You seriously can hardly break it
4.  On the upside it doesn’t tip over easily
5.  Which keeps your lungers off the floor, basically
6.  Can someone please come over to my house and “accidentally” break this spittoon that I hate owning?
7.  I need a spittoon, but I don’t think I’ll buy this one.
 
Amazon also has about a million other spittoons in stock at reasonable prices if for any reason whatsoever you absolutely MUST keep a jar of your chunky saliva on hand, you can choose from such a wide variety there is almost no reason on earth to buy this.  
Buy a different spittoon.

July 29, 2014
Let’s Learn Romance: Cakes on the Griddle

Never tell Sifu you have an earworm.  This is simply good common sense, if you are at all familiar with his history.
 
Last week while I was undergoing some intense mental recuperation, I made the mistake of posting on Facebook about how I’d been humming John Denver’s “Thank God I’m a Country Boy” all morning.  John Denver and I have some history together, and it’s not always easy to put those memories behind me, but I try.  Obviously his ghost resents this and makes every effort to infect my brain with thoughts of him whenever possible.
 
I never thought I’d say this, but my husband is in cahoots with John Denver.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
We were watching the Fellowship of the Ring.
 
Gandalf:  “BILBO BAGGINS, do not take me for some conjurer of cheap tricks!”
 
BIOU:  “Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?”
 
Sifu:  “Didn’t I, didn’t I, didn’t I see you cryin’?
 
BIOU:  “Feelin’ all alone without a friend you know you feel like dyin’”
 
Sifu: “Thank god I’m a country boy.”
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I’m on a conference call at w*rk.  My cell phone buzzes a happy alert -a text message!  Someone is thinking of me and wants to tell me something!
 
Sifu:  “I have heard that life ain’t nothin’ but a funny funny riddle.  What do you think?”
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I’m laying on the couch messing around with my laptop.  A Facebook alert pops up.
 
Sifu:  “I was just thinking about how grateful I am that I am a country boy, and I had to take a moment to stop and thank God.”
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I’m washing the dishes.  The sun has finally gone down, the Child is sleeping, the house is dark and quiet.
 
Sifu comes up behind me and wraps his arms around me.  I tense for the inevitable, because we have been married a long time and I sort of know what’s coming now.
 
Sifu:  “You know what I’m grateful for?”
 
BIOU:  “That you are a country boy?”
 
Sifu:  “No!  I was glad to be born a Ramblin’ Man.”
 
And that’s how you keep things fresh in a marriage, friends.  You have to be able to surprise your mate with the unexpected.  Just keep her guessing, and try to make a living and do the best you can.  And when it’s time for leaving, she’ll probably understand.
 
You have learned Romance. Go in peace.

July 28, 2014
Forehead of the Week: Helen Hunt!

Did you ever get sick of the sound of your own voice?  That’s what happened to me in the last couple of weeks, which is why I took a brief sabbatical from composing penis based humor in posts that contain ten thousand times too many words for Tumblr.
 
But then, out of the mist like a man-eating alien, a comment came through on an elderly post from forehead enthusiast Danni, who suggested that I might want to write about a forehead I can’t believe I never wrote about. 
 
And so, in honor of Danni and forehead lovers everywhere, I give you:
 
 
 
 
Helen Hunt.
 
Helen Hunt has a forehead that, if I am to be completely honest, makes me a little weary and sore.  As foreheads go, it’s magnificent, with an epic combination of width and breadth and a full-bodied, highly symmetrical shape.  It is smooth and unlined and about three miles high, as though you could advertise on it, but not just a picture with a couple of high-impact words.  You could put the kind of ad on this forehead that contains lots of fine-print legal language about professional stunt drivers on enclosed roadways.  So what is it about this forehead that I find so bothersome?
 
I believe it’s what I think of as the Andie Macdowell Phenomenon (AMP).
 
This is Andie Macdowell.
 
 

 
 
 
Every time I look at her, I feel stress building in my temples.  It’s as though Andie Macdowell is radiating inner-cranial pressure at such high volumes that I am receiving an air-transmitted migraine via photographic eye contact with her.  
I can’t think of one movie Andie Macdowell was ever in, but I remember a commercial for eye makeup or wrinkle cream or some shit where she’s glaring into the screen, focusing so hard on showing us how minimized her wrinkles were through the scientifically harnessed powers of microbeads and what-have-you that I could feel a low-grade fever starting to ignite behind my eyes.  Andie Macdowell just gives me a headache.  Just writing this paragraph hurts me deeply.
 
So it is with Helen Hunt.  For me, the only Helen Hunt credit that matters, besides “Twister” which I watched on a Greyhound bus which was plodding  down the east coast amid torrential hurricane rains, is “As Good as it Gets”, which is a movie about Jack Nicholson’s temperamental love affair with his favorite booth at a diner.
 
In this movie, Helen Hunt plays a working-class lady with a lot of personal problems.  And even though I know that Helen Hunt in real life is a wealthy, successful woman, I was able to forget all about that and fully immerse myself in her home-life woes in the movie because her forehead projected EXTREME STRESS to me.  I was able to forget that she was Helen Hunt, actress, and allow myself to believe she was Overworked Waitress with Sickly Child, Money Problems, and Frenetic Household.  Because of FOREHEAD POWER.
 
Foreheads can project a lot of things.  And you can project a lot of things onto the right forehead.  Literally onto it, like a movie screen. 
 
Congratulations, Helen.  You are our forehead of the week.  Treat yourself to a couple of Advil and a neck rub.  You look like you could use it.

July 27, 2014
This Space for Rent

Just kidding.  My hiatus is coming to an end.  Starting tomorrow.
 
For today, just kick back with the following video and allow the smooth, sexy sounds to wash over you so you’ll be good and warmed up in anticipation of my return to filling your life with whatever the hell it is I do here.

See you tomorrow, for head.

July 11, 2014
Let’s Learn Sociology: His Name Is Not Woody

A few years ago, I lived on the same block as a young girl who was forever walking her shaggy little dog. 
 
One day I heard this girl addressing the dog by name.  “Bilbo, it’s time to go inside now!  Come on in, Bilbo, let’s go home!  Come on Bilbo!”  Through my shrewd powers of deduction I was able to extrapolate that the dog’s name was “Bilbo”, and I retained this factoid within the warm, pulsating lobes of my soggy thinkmeat as I imagined there would be a time when it might come in handy.
 
I was not a fan of this particular little dog-walking girl, for reasons that seem mean-spirited in retrospect.  She was not the same little asshole who told me my skin was too white that time, nor was she the little punk shit who raced me to the bus stop so mom could skip ahead of all the people waiting in line.  As I think about it, I have had problems with a few kids in my general vicinity, but in true me fashion, I don’t blame myself for this.  Those kids are dicks. 
 
Bilbo’s guardian, however - she never did anything wrong to me, not specifically.  It was more of a Hannibal Lecter vs. Benjamin Raspail type of situation.  She was just a garish and unpleasant kid in a lot of ways, and her poor flute playing was diminishing the entire orchestra.  She was always barefoot, and her feet were filthy, and she was constantly shouting at that dog in the street with her filthy exposed feet.  Her face reminded me of kids who were unpleasant to me when *I* was a kid, five thousand years ago.  Her stupid ponytail and inappropriate butt shorts gave her a constant wedgie, which she could not quit digging at.  She had perpetual Jam Face.  Who eats jam every day?  Employ a napkin please, my god.  Eugh.  Just eugh. 
 
Please forgive me for judging a child in this way, those among you who are of a finer ethical class than I.  I am the mother of a little girl now, and the idea of some snotty bitch judging her feet in front of her own house makes me want to punch this hypothetical person in the face, but this was years ago, like I say.  Before I grew a compassion gland. 
 
In any case, this hapless child had done little to earn my ire, but nonetheless, she had it.  As a result, I also found Bilbo distasteful.
 
I am a terrible person.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Sifu and I were discussing affairs on the block one day when he mentioned the girl with the dog.  “That dog’s name is Bilbo,” I said.  “I heard her calling it Bilbo over and over again with her horrible little voice.”
 
"What is your problem with that child?" Sifu asked me.
 
"I am a terrible person," I said. 
 
Sifu, who is a lifelong Tolkien fanatic, thought “Bilbo” was a perfectly good name for a dog, and remembered it.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Weeks passed.  One day, Sifu came home from w*rk, and as he entered our apartment, greeted me with a look of perplexed disdain.  “Why did you tell me that dog’s name was Bilbo?” he asked. 
 
"Because that is what the filthy little child who owns the dog was calling it."
 
"I just saw that kid’s mother walking the dog, and I said ‘hi Bilbo!’ and the woman looked at me like I was crazy.  ‘My dog’s name isn’t Bilbo.  It’s Rufus.’  That’s what this woman just said to me."
 
"That crazy kid was calling it Bilbo.  I am not making this up."
 
"I told her I called her dog Bilbo because my wife is a liar."
 
"I am not lying.  That lunatic kid doesn’t even know her own dog’s name."
 
"I’m sure that’s what happened here."
 
I may be a terrible person, but I would never mislead someone into thinking a dog’s name was Bilbo if it wasn’t.  That’s not how I was raised.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
But Bilbo the dog is not what I want to talk about today.  Today I want to talk about two situations involving people I have w*rked with in the past.
 
The first situation was when two guys, Jack and John, were hired on the same day.  They were introduced to me in passing, and I absorbed that their names were Jack and John, but I failed to assign an appropriate face to each name.  They both looked similar, and they sat next to each other performing similar tasks, so all conversations with JackandJohn could be handled as a combo deal. 
 
Until the day that I, the consummate professional, was tasked with informing Jack, but not John, of some critical w*rk related matter.  ‘Give this information to JACK’, I was told.  ‘John doesn’t need to know about it.’
 
Fuuuuuuu…
 
It had been months since they started at this point.  It was now simply too late to consider asking anyone at all which one was Jack and which one was John, because in doing so, I would be outing myself as a completely oblivious moron.  So I did what any rational, thinking adult would do.  I snooped on their desks and messed with their phones until one of them produced a name, and then I threw caution to the wind and addressed one of them by name.
 
I guessed correctly and never again forgot who was Jack and who was John. 
 
But Jack and John and their stupid phones and name are not really what I want to talk about today.  Today I want to talk about another guy I w*rked with, who was introduced to me on his first day, and then I never had anything further to do with him until almost a year later. 
 
Throughout the course of that year, I had determined, somehow, that his name was Woody.  Every so often I’d address him, in passing.  As Woody.
 
Which by now, you, super sleuth, have determined, WAS NOT HIS NAME WHY DID I THINK HIS NAME WAS WOODY????
 
One day, Not Woody casually asked me why I kept calling him “Woody”.
 
"Because that…is your name?"
 
"Nope, my name is Jeff."
 
His name was fucking JEFF.  Jeff doesn’t even sound like Woody.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Jeff Not Woody and Jack and John and I no longer w*rk together.  And I no longer live on the block where Bilbo and his unpleasant little mistress patrolled the pavement with their murky toenails on display for everyone to enjoy.  I guess this is all for the best.
 
But I think of them often, when I am trying to remember some jerk’s name.  I think, “perhaps a pneumonic device should be used to retain this data for future use”, but then I remember that what I actually want is a MNEMONIC DEVICE, and if I can’t even remember the kind of god damned DEVICE I should be utilizing, I have no chance of remembering the name of someone I never want to talk to.  So why try.
 
You have learned Sociology.  Go in peace.

July 10, 2014
Astonishin​g Shit You Can Buy: High On Opie…um?

You guys.  I wish I could tell you how many millions of times I’ve gnashed my teeth and torn at my clothes and wished I could have a ceramic mug featuring an artistic rendering of a guy scoping out women’s weird asses at a bar painted by actor and director Ron Howard.  Dozens of millions of times, probably. 
 
I would pay up to $27 for such an item, if only the universe would provide me with an opportunity to do so.  I would be so happy if such a thing were possible, I’d even pay extra for rush shipping. 
 
But we do not live in a dream world, friends.  We live on dystopian Earth, a cold and unfeeling planet where adorable animals are going extinct every day.  A planet where hearts are broken, lovers are parted, mattresses are drenched with load and Barry Manilow concerts get cancelled, where beloved pets are lost and lives are ruined and there are fucking bummers and downers around every corner.  This is a world where dog anuses appear on television where CHILDREN can see them.  An EVIL world.  
There is no bright spot of light in this life.  There is no secret pocket of joy overflowing with unanticipated satisfaction and glee.  There is no supreme mug out there ready to hold my coffee and carry it to my face whilst festooned with original artwork lovingly crafted for charity by the director of The Da Vinci Code HOLD THE PHONE:
 
 image
 
As it turns out, dreams can come true, motherfuckers.

July 9, 2014
Celebrity Hoarders, Episode 1

Good afternoon, and welcome to Celebrity Hoarders.  Following in the footsteps of former Big Boss of the Day Matt “Haz-Matt” Paxton, in this important series we are going to help celebrities in need with their cloying emotional and psychological disorders.  This session is close to my heart, because we are going to delve deep into the psyche of a man who has had a profound influence on me personally, as well as millions of others.  For generations, female loins have erupted like volcanoes at the sound of his voice.  For decades, men have been driven to underground caves due to a sense of profound inadequacy in his presence.  Women want him.  Men want to be him.  No coiffure can withstand his potency.
 
I refer of course to the one and only Barry Gibb.
 
Barry Gibb is his name.  Sweet, sexy music is his claim to fame.  And hoarding gold necklaces is his game.  Behold.
 
 
 
 
Rev. BIOU 13:  Hi Barry, I’m a minister but I’m not a licensed psychologist specializing in obsessive compulsive disorder and hoarding like Doctor Suzahne ChaBOW.  I’m not an expert but I want to help you.  I am here for you.  I want to help you understand what’s happening in your home and in your life.  Tell me a little bit about the chains.
 
Barry Gibb:  I really like gold chains
 
Rev. BIOU 13:  Do they make you feel sexy?
 
 
 
 

 
Rev. BIOU 13:  What if I were to take one of these gold chains and remove it from the property.  If I were to tell you that I’m going to take this chain, and you will never see it again, on a scale of 1 to 10, how anxious would you say that makes you feel?
 
Gibb:  That would make me feel extremely anxious, Reverend.
 
BIOU:  Would you say it makes you feel “10” on the anxiety scale?
 
Gibb:  It would make me feel like I was losing a part of myself.  I would feel like…like it was difficult to breathe.
 
BIOU:  So, very anxious then.
 
Gibb:  Yes, a ten on the scale.  At least a ten.  Nobody has the right to tell me what to do with my home. 
 
BIOU:  You are Jive Talkin’, Barry.
 
Gibb:  I’d like you to turn the cameras off for a minute.
 
 
 
 
BIOU:  What if I were to say, given the amount of space you have here, that in order to live a healthy life in this home, Barry, you’d need to cut down on the amount of gold chains by about 75%?
 
Gibb:  I don’t think that’s a reasonable number.  I don’t find that do-able.  I can maybe give up…two of these gold chains.  No more than that.
 
BIOU:  You know, your family is hurting, Barry.
 
Gibb:  I can feel that.
 
BIOU:  You understand that even without the chains, you’re still Barry Gibb.  You’ve still got all this love in your life.  You’ve still got the chest hair.  You’ve still got a lot of sunglasses, and, you know, the thing with Grease and your history.  All of that stays with you even if you let some of the gold chains go.
 
Gibb:  I think I’m ready to let some of them go.
 
BIOU:  You’re ready?  Oh Barry, I am so proud of you.
 
*hugs*
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I think with aftercare and the support of his family, Barry Gibb can move on from his gold chain hoarding into a positive new future.  He will absolutely need the encouragement of those closest to him to keep him from going right out and buying MORE gold chains, but with time and therapy, I think he can beat this, and I am so proud to have been part of his recovery.

 
Without the chains, he’s still Barry, and nobody can take that away from him.

July 8, 2014
Did You Know?

Sometimes, it is difficult to tell who composed the beautiful lyrics that define our culture.  For example, Andy Gibb’s 1978 smash hit “Shadow Dancing” was originally penned by none other than Oscar Wilde!
This is what you call gentle foreshadowing for tomorrow’s post by the way.  But that doesn’t change the fact that Oscar Wilde wrote easy listening disco classics for us all to enjoy.

July 3, 2014
Big Boss of the Day - Some Kind of Comedian

It was many years ago, although it seems like only yesterday.  When I think about it, a bleakness begins to envelop my soul.  I feel a shame burning within me, and I didn’t even do anything wrong.
 
I know it was many years ago, because the Big Boss of This Day and I haven’t spoken in years.  I either lost track of him by accident, or he lost track of me on purpose.  I’ve been given indications from fairly objective third parties that either alternative is equally possible.
 
I wish we hadn’t gone our separate ways entirely.  I always liked him, even though I later came to find out he found me…”frightening”.  That is the word that was used.  Frightening.  Me!  I’m as sweet as pie. As sweet as motherfucking PIE.
 
In any case, he’s gone now.  Misty watercolor memories…
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
I have a lifelong aversion to singing children.
 
I realize how awful that sounds.  There is nothing more pure and innocent and joyful than a happy child, unless that child is happy because it is singing to you in its horrible shrill little ogre voice.  I’m not a big Child Person.  I mean, I adore my own child, I love her with an intensity unprecedented by any other love in my whole human-like experience. I would willingly lay down my life for her.  She is still a bit too small to say much of consequence, but her every utterance swells my heart with pride and love and its so incredibly foreign to me, because other people’s children freak me right the fuck out.  Flashback!
 
I was a subdued kid, overall, but my mother reports that I was unable to ever pass an American Flag, even in public, without launching into a full and loud rendition of the National Anthem.  She dreaded to take me to the post office for any reason, lest my warblings draw attention.  And this is horrible, and it was horrible of me to do that, and my mother is an angel for not committing a very late term abortion on me up until the age of six or whenever I stopped singing at flags, but even this is not as horrible as the type of Child Song I am thinking of right now.
 
My older cousin was much more theatrical than I was.  I turned every trip to the DMV into a musical but she was inclined toward performing in local theater productions, and the whole family would have to go to watch her on stage, hamming it up. 
We’d mob her backstage after the horrible thing was over, pile flowers onto her, praise her dramatic mastery as Girl #4 or Milkmaid #2, and then we’d all go out to eat.  I have many such memories, squirming in some community theater’s uncomfortable wooden folding chairs in a hot auditorium, waiting for her to finish her moment in the sun so I could GTFO and get my chicken fingers.  On some level I seethed with envy as well, which is how I came to play “Bridget” in a local production of “Heidi”.  I still remember my one and only line:
 
"Oh look, it’s that girl from the village, I believe her name is ‘Heidi’!  I’ll go get my knitting."  (exit stage left)
I believe her name is Heidi.  They say there are no small parts, only small actors, but whoever they are, they never tried to make Bridget into a dramatic powerhouse worthy of standing up and taking note.  
 
I was ten at the time, and my cousin was twelve, when we were riding in the car with her strict Catholic parents, and she launched into this perfectly great piece of entertainment for all of us to enjoy:

I will never forget the discomfort I felt when her dad, my stern uncle, turned his head 180 degrees around on his neck while driving the car, looked at the two of us back there and said, “Just what the holy hell are you saying in this song?”
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
It is probably due to my formative experiences with this outgoing cousin that I am so squeamish about watching people I know perform on stage.  I don’t care how good they are at what they do - I hate seeing it.  It doesn’t matter if you’re the funniest guy I know.  If you want me to sit in an audience and watch you tell jokes, on stage, in front of a whole room full of people, while chairs squeak on floors and bored muttering gets louder and waitresses shuffle in front of you and cost you your train of thought and kill your delivery, I will stop taking your phone calls forever.  For EVER.
 
Which is exactly what happened with Today’s Big Boss of the Day.  Who shall remain nameless for reasons which are about to become clear.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
We’d met at a few parties hosted by mutual friends, and I thought he was the funniest.  He told me an anecdote about cracking his weiner in half during a very energetic evening of romance that had me literally clutching my sides, weeping tears of joy.  He told me a story about how me made it rain on a camping trip and ruined the weekend for the rest of the eagle scouts and I was gasping for air.  He had that natural comedic I don’t know what as the French say.  He really had his banter worked out.
 
"Not really no.  This is a different thing entirely.  It’s spontaneous and it’s called wit." - Edmund Blackadder
 
The point is, he was hilarious.  I don’t know what I did to scare him off but maybe it was how hard I laughed at his “I broke my dick off” routine.  Because he really did snap his boner in a painful sounding way.  Who knows. 
 
And then he invited me to watch him do stand-up.  At a comedy club.  On stage.
 
I pictured him up there, at some desperate place called “Cap’n Wacky’s Laugh Shack” or something.  A brick wall backdrop, an audience of people who just want to get drunk.  Fluorescent stage lights making ghoulish shadows of his features.  Sweat beads on his face as he tries - tries! - to eke a little mirth out of the humorless wraiths who haunt a place like that.  Four or five friends planted in the audience, there out of a sense of dutiful compulsion, laughing a little too loud, a little too hard.  “Is he going to tell the broken dick story?”  “God I hope so.”  Watching him die up there.
 
It was too much.
 
I never went and eventually the invitations stopped coming.  The memory still haunts me, though.  Can the memory of something you never saw still haunt you?  Or is that a different thing entirely, spontaneous, and called a morbid imagination.  Blackadder is never to be found when I need him for clarification.
 
But here we are, wrapping up Awkwardness Week.  Tomorrow is a holiday and on Saturday we all die.  Who better to bring this week to a close for us, Idiots? 
 
My friend, the Comedian, you are the big Awkward boss of the day.  I’m sorry that I never went to your show.  Today I give you a standing ovation.  
I’m sorry you broke your dick, too.  

July 2, 2014
Awkwardnes​s Week: Proctorological Examination

Due to some recent shifts and fluctuations in my place of employment, last week, I was made to take a proctored exam. 
I had not done this in many years, since college, the DMV, the SATs, etc., and I was tense about it.  It was all the stress and getting stabbed through the skin of medically mandated bloodwork, without the presence of biological malfunctions beyond my control to blame for falling short. 
 
Because I am a failure at relaxing, I got so worked up about this meaningless exam that I gave myself a blinding tension headache the day before I was scheduled to be tested, and it lasted for three entire days.  Three days of acute suffering over a test I can easily re-take, the failure of which is virtually without any consequences whatsoever!  Literally nobody of any importance in my life even has to know whether I’ve passed it or not.  Three days of my limited lifespan spent wincing with intense awareness of every discomfort.  I’m top notch at overreacting these days.
 
I was stressing.  I’m still waiting for the results, but I don’t care what they are, and will refuse to care unless I have to re-take the fucking thing.  Life’s too short to waste double the amount of time you’ve already wasted being miserable.  Even I have limits.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
As I went into my ordeal, I was as confident as I could be in something I didn’t care about at all.  I studied the materials thoroughly and left my house obscenely early, because I abhor tardiness.  But when I arrived at the testing center, I was surprised to find a mass of other test-takers, lining up around the block to get into the building. 
 
I was alarmed to see that these people, some of whom were actual, literal mouthbreathers, had brought along a friend for emotional support.  Many of them had flashcards.  Many of them had heavily highlighted notepads filled with scribblings.  Some of them had #2 pencils.
 
WAS I SUPPOSED TO BRING A #2 PENCIL?  The website said nothing about this.  I wasn’t even in the building yet and already lagging behind the crowd.
 
It was too late to do anything about it.  I figured if need be, I could offer a stranger $100 to give me one of her pencils.  If that failed, I could punch somebody until they were unconscious and relieve them of their pencil.  Anything for success.  Anything for victory.
 
It also seemed like an unusually large crowd, but as I had never done this before, I accepted that maybe this was standard.
 
Nope.  The facility was not equipped to accommodate everyone.  We were ushered from room to room, eventually settling on (and filling to capacity) a large auditorium, where we waited until additional proctors could be located.  Where was this reserve of trained professional proctors, hovering in a constant state of readiness, I wondered.  I envisioned a volunteer fire department, staffed by plump older ladies in colorful smocks.  When the alarm sounds, they slide down the pole into the classroom, poised to supervise.  “We’ve never had this many people here before,” said the chipper lady who handed out the applications.  “What in the heck is going on today!  We’re not going to be able to let you all leave as you finish the exam, because of the crowds.  You’ll have to wait until we come around and dismiss you.”
 
So I had that going for me.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
Eventually we were handed our stupid pencils (no need to punch anyone whatsoever) and given an extensive lesson on how to use them (the pointy end makes the mark on the paper), and the penalties for dishonest behavior were explained to us in great depth, and we were free to begin the exam.  A flock of proctors paced the aisles, making sure we weren’t using our smartphones to cheat.  I felt very five years old again.  I kept my eyes aggressively on my own desk, hardcore within the letter of the law, filling in full and complete circles and not turning my head so much as a millimeter in any direction, not even to glare at the GROWN MAN sitting behind me, who was rhythmically drumming on the back of my seat with his imbecile feet.  It was clearly a nervous response on his part but I resisted the urge to murder him because murder was specified in the introduction as grounds for dismissal from the test.  Do not murder anyone in the room!  They were very clear about that.
 
I was busily filling in my circles when a middle aged lady proctor breezed past my desk, gazing around for evidence of wrongdoing.  It was just as she passed me that a tiny fart squeaked out of her butt, right onto my desktop.
 
She kept on moving, cool as a cucumber, as if nothing had ever happened.  Cool as a farty old cucumber, shooting methane at me for no good reason at all.
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
 
How am I supposed to take this business seriously, now?  How am I supposed to observe the sacred and inviolable institution for which I was being examined, when little ladies in flowered tunics can toot in your face while you toil?  This was a government building, WITH a security desk and everything.  There is supposed to be a somber decorum present at all times.  There was a great seal of the state of New York in the lobby and I had to present identification.  For the privilege of getting farted at.  I say!
 
I finished my test and beat a hasty path out of there. I was afraid that if I lingered too long in the vestibules, someone might be permitted to come along and flick boogers at me.  Is this what our nation has come to?
 
But this raises some perplexing questions.  Such as, what if I fail?  Am I subject to additional farts?  Is it because of the fart?  Was my brain scrambled?  Post traumatic stress disorder!  How will this impact future test-taking scenarios.  If I pass, was that the fart’s doing?  Are gifts of knowledge and understanding borne on warm, fragrant winds? 
 
I hope I never have to find out.
 
Your moment of awkwardness for the day.

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