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How Snoop Dogg, Dirty Harry and Kathy Lee Gifford conspired to kill me.

This morning I caught a couple minutes of the Today show. I never watch it, but it caught my attention because next to Kathy Lee Gifford was some woman with a giant head named Hoda. I had no idea who she was except that she was on daytime TV and therefore probably completely uninteresting and annoying. I watched for a minute or two (boring, but still better than work) and saw that her last name is Kotb. I wondered if she had once been married to one of the New Kids on the Block. The two women were giggling about a topic that they skirted around actually saying. Like the kid in biology class who stifles a laugh when the teacher says titmouse, these two grown women avoided saying the word hemorrhoids as if it would cause Pee Wee Herman to jump out and throw a bucket of water in their faces.

My fear of hemorrhoids goes back a long way. I remember hearing about them when I was a kid, probably six or seven years old. It started out with TV commercials. Preparation H, specifically. Butt cream. The thought of needing cream on my butt for any reason was quite terrifying. It still is. I had no idea what hemorrhoids were, though. I can recall taking a bath once and accidentally sitting on one of my GI Joe figures (they were performing a naval reconnaissance mission if you must know). It was quite painful. The pain lasted for several days and I worried that I might have developed hemorrhoids. Fortunately the pain subsided before I resorted to topical cures.

Later, when I was eighteen, I found out that a girl I knew had hemorrhoids. It reminded me that I was afraid of them but I still only had a vague sense of what they were. Something sore on your posterior that required cream to ease the pain. Were they temporary, like a rash? Were they some kind of growth? I was clueless. The girl who had them didn’t mean for me to know about it. I overheard a private conversation where she repeatedly mentioned someone named “Harry”. It seemed like this “Harry” was bothering her some and he even hurt her. I found out later that she was talking about hemorrhoids by asking another friend who knew. I was deeply disturbed, mainly because she named the bloody things. I still have trouble watching Clint Eastwood movies. I made a mental note to never think about hemorrhoids again. That is, until I became a Home Support worker.

As a Home Support worker, I meet mainly with seniors and people with disabilities to help them in their day-to-day tasks. Getting dressed, cooking meals, etc. Yes, I know what you are going to ask, and yes, it does occasionally involve bowel related productions. Thankfully, it’s a very small part of the job. Old people might piss themselves like nine-year-olds at the kiddie pool, but they rarely sully their britches.

One of the exceptions I have dealt with is a client who I will call Snoop-Dogg. That’s not really his name. You probably knew that. Anyway, Snoop-Dogg has MS and has lost the use of his legs over the 30-plus years he’s had the disease. He needs assistance with a ceiling lift to get from his wheelchair onto the toilet. This was the primary task I was given the first time I met Snoop-Dogg. The transfer went smoothly. Business negotiations were conducted flawlessly and soon I had Snoop-Dogg transferred back to his bed so I could dress him. Putting his pants back on required him to roll from side to side while I lifted the pants up. It was when Snoop-Dogg was on his side that I saw my first hemorrhoid.

I’m not going to hold back here. What I saw was terrifying. You may want to stop reading (I say this because I know you won’t. Tee hee). It looked as if someone had inserted a tire-pump into the mans rectum and blown it into a balloon. It looked as though his ass was blowing a bubble. A red and purple vein-lined bubble. I am almost certain it spoke to me.

“One day, maybe we will be friends” it said.

I screamed.

“Don’t be afraid,” the hemorrhoid said, “I’m just a varicose vein caused by increased inter-abdominal pressures.”

Or maybe it was Wikipedia that said that. I don’t remember the details. It was a traumatic moment for me, so lay off.

I did consult Wikipedia to find out how the fucking-fuck one gets hemorrhoids and how one can avoid them. I found out that hemorrhoids can be caused by, among other factors: constipation, diarrhea, exercise, low-fiber diet, prolonged straining, pregnancy, Michael Bay films, genetics, aging, obesity and sitting for long periods of time.

Hemorrhoids loading... please wait.

That’s not too bad, I just have to stop exercising (been looking for an excuse for that one), eat more bran muffins and NOT GET OLD. Shit.

I guess I am getting hemorrhoids at some point in my life. I might as well look up the treatments. There are treatments, right?

  • Rubber-band ligation is a procedure in which elastic bands are applied onto an internal hemorrhoid to cut off its blood supply. Within 5–7 days, the withered hemorrhoid falls off. If the band is placed too close to the dentate line, intense pain results immediately afterwards. Cure rate has been found to be about 87%.
  • Sclerotherapy involves the injection of phenol into the hemorrhoid. This causes the vein walls to collapse and the hemorrhoids to shrivel up. The success rate four years after treatment is 70%
  • A number of cauterization methods have been shown to b- FUCK NO.

I can either snap on a rubber band, jab them with needles or burn them with fire. Delightful.

Or, maybe I’ll make a youtube video out of it.

And then kill myself.

Proof that my degu hates me. (video)

Below is a short video I took that illustrates how much my degu hates me. His name is Dante and his hobbies are running, pooping and making me look bad.

Don’t fear the yellow reaper (there are worse fates).

I encountered a new word this week that I was both delighted to learn exists and ashamed to recall a situation where I could have used it.

The word is spanghew. It means to launch a frog in the air with a stick.

Read that again. I had to. Apparently there was a time when frogs were traveling through the air with sufficient regularity to warrant the penning of a new word for the practice. Not only that but these frogs were specifically being launched from the ends of sticks. This raises some important questions.

Who was sending these frogs into the air? I hope that they were scientists, testing their theories on aerodynamics or some other nobler purpose. Perhaps they were hobbyists, engaging in some sort of barbaric competition. Witch doctors, maybe? I have no idea and I would prefer not to dig too deep.

The embarrassing thing about this post is that I am guilty of spanghewing. Not directly, but as an act of omission.

When I was eighteen I volunteered at an orphanage in Mexico. I didn’t work much with the children directly, but on occasion one or more would find themselves in my charge. This often led to disastrous results for the local wildlife.

I’ll get to the frogs in a second, but first let me tell you something about these kids I worked with. Some of them were boys. Are you getting the picture? Most boys love nothing more than looking for bugs and then finding ways to torture them. There was a time in my life when I would drop everything the moment I saw an anthill. I liked to dig down into the tunnels, trying not to collapse them. The ants would react with fervor, scurrying about, probably following the ant earthquake emergency protocol. One time I was digging into a hill of small red ants when I saw some larger black ants nearby. I placed three black ants right in the middle of the red ant crater. It was an instant gladiator fight. The red ones were too small to pierce the armor of the larger black ants but they were overwhelming in numbers and would pull down any of the black ants trying to make a break. This went on for several hours without a clear victor. Eventually I got bored and filled the hole in with sand. There is a lesson to be learned there, but you’d have to ask the ants what it is because I have no clue.

The boys at the orphanage were no different. I can remember watching on as they cornered a tarantula. I was fascinated by the way it reared up on its hind legs, stretching out the front ones, presumably to look bigger and scarier (for some reason bring a tarantula was not scary enough). Eventually they backed it into the opening of a Coke bottle and by some act of contortion it squeezed through and sat in the bottom until another boy came along, coaxed the spider out and then ran it over with a Tonka truck. On another occasion I came across a couple of boys who had trapped a rather large cockroach in a metal dish and were setting fire to it with matches. It made a surprising popping sound as it burned. It’s true what they say about the survivability of the roach. The fire was like a minor inconvenience. It probably would have walked away unscathed if it hadn’t been for the boy with the Tonka truck.

And now we come to the frog. I was walking back to the orphanage with a fellow volunteer, just before dusk. We had to cross a playground to get to the entrance and there was a group of boys huddled in a semi circle on the blacktop. We could see that they were deeply engrossed and, at times, animated. When I was close enough I looked over the back of one boy and saw that another had a stick. He was poking a large frog. Every time he poked the frog it would jump and the boys would react with laughter. They were having a lot of fun but it was almost dark and soon it would be time to get the boys ready for bed. My friend took the stick from the senior frog-poker. Having conquered nature with a stick, they were quite content as I led them inside to the care of their guardians. As I left the orphanage I heard my friend call to me. I saw him standing about twenty feet away, picturesque in front of the setting sun, with the stick in his hand. On the end of the stick was the frog.

“Watch this” my friend said.

I knew then that there are worse fates than the Tonka truck.

Digital depression.

I have a love/hate relationship with technology. I see what is possible and how far we’ve come and I am fascinated. I talk to old people and I am often amazed at their casual references to things that seem prehistoric to me today. Things like horses pulling wagons through muddy roads (roads that are now four lane highways), families gathering around the radio to hear the local news and the Catholic church still being relevant.

It boggles my mind to think about what changes I might see in my lifetime. If there are people around today who have seen the invention of such staples as TV, automobiles, air travel and the internet, then what kind of change is in store for us over the next fifty years? No doubt a good deal of the advances will be in porn, but I digress.

The one thing I fear losing is the CD. I love CDs. They were the first medium through which I truly came to love music. The first CD I ever bought was Monster by REM. I was really excited because I had saved my Christmas money and went in together with my sister to buy a CD player. Not having to rewind the tape or flip it over anymore? That was a sweet deal. I suppose it is no different than the generation before me who love themselves some vinyl records. Will old people and future hipsters be the only market for CDs one day? I have to think so.

But in the past, when one physical medium was replaced, it was with another physical medium. Vinyl to cassettes to CDs. VHS to DVD to Bluray (laser disc, LOL). The change today is from physical to digital, and with that is gone the allure of the album. You can download the songs immediately, from anywhere, from a number of music sites. You can even download them illegally (not the same thing as immorally) for free. The extras that come with the album such as the artwork and the lyric book and whatever goodies the band curiously threw in there cannot compete with the price and convenience of digital music.

Those extras matter to me, though. I love the anticipation of fighting through the shrink wrap to get into the album. I love discovering the unique design on the painted side of every album. I hold the CD delicately, in reverence for the awesomeness of the music it holds and the fragility of the playing surface. I take great care of my CDs. They always go back into their original case and very few that I’ve ever owned have acquired scratches. I can’t think of a time that I lost the lyric book or stained it with a coffee ring. CDs are precious to me.

Countless forms of technology will change and even disappear in the coming years. Some dramatically. You think printed newspapers will exist in 10 years? I kind of doubt it. And I could care less. Take the papers. Take the books. Take the TVs. But please, let me keep my CDs.

My degu is an asshole.

I love the guy. He is furry and cute. But he is a total anarchist asshole.

Here the cute little bastard is contemplating my jugular.

 

You’re probably wondering how such an innocent fuzz-ball with whiskers and big ears can cause me any trouble. I’m probably overreacting, you might be thinking. I’m just a fat jerk you must have already said by now. I would say to all of you “Pshaw!”

Allow me to elaborate. Today I looked into his food dish and saw that there was no food. He eats small green pellets made mainly of pressed alfalfa. I can’t give him the cheaper brands because they have a higher sugar content and degus are prone to diabetes. Already he sounds like that kid no one wants to have over because he is allergic to everything. To make it worse, I know he did not eat all his food. I filled the dish up this morning. No, what he does is he hides his pellets in little stockpiles around his cage and then, for no conceivable reason, other than to antagonize me, he pisses all over them until they are soaked and rancid. I’ve checked the forums, I do not think that this is normal degu behavior. I think he takes satisfaction in wasting my money. Either that or it’s the closest thing to Shredded Wheat he can come up with.

But, instead of eating his food, one time he ate his own house. Seriously. I bought him a nice little wooden log-cabin style house to live in. It cost me about $20 too, and he chewed the whole thing down to nothing in a matter of months. For a while all he had left was one wall with a cute little window in it, the rest was destroyed. It was like he was a survivor in a shelled French town in 1944. Now, I know that he must chew on things in order to wear down his teeth, otherwise they continue to grow until he can’t shut his mouth and he starves to death. I bought him plenty of wooden toys and blocks to chew on. Instead he ate himself out of house and home. This is exactly what the Republicans are talking about, isn’t it? Get a job, you damn hippy!

One last thing to consider. He has a wheel to run in and he uses it all the time. I would guess that if the wheel traveled as he ran, he would have circumnavigated the earth four times since Christmas. I even believe sometimes that when he gets off the wheel he thinks he is in a new location. I mean, he pisses on his own food and ate his house. I don’t think there is a ton of brain power up there. Anyway, he does stop running on the wheel on occasion to sleep, but even then, if he sees me turn on the TV he immediately gets onto the wheel and runs like no other occasion. It’s like he has an app for that. The wheel isn’t what it used to be, it’s made of metal and it’s a bit rusted and it squeaks like a motherfucker. I swear he triples his efforts just to keep me from hearing the TV. I still have no idea what The Wire is about because of him.

One of these days I am gonna get a cat. If someone accidentally forgets to lock the degu cage, well… you do the math.

I’m almost out of heroin.

Why did I do it? I knew I had a floor hockey game tonight but I ate the Spicy Big Crunch anyway. And the poutine.

Oh God.

It hurts so bad.

At least I didn’t drink all of the 7-Up. But that is like saying “At least I didn’t shoot all the heroin. See, still some there!”

Goodnight, folks. I’m off to finish the heroin.

Yogurt is on sale!

Here I am. Joining the blogosphere. I have no idea what this blog will be about but I do anticipate spelling mistakes and flame wars in the comments section.

Generally you can expect me to blog about random happenings, thoughts and weirdness. I have received a lot of praise for my Facebook activity and I thought a blog might be a good place to practice writing, stretch my creativity and share my thoughts in a broader manner. The interesting ones, anyway. I am pretty sure no one wants to hear that I got yogurt on sale yesterday (I did!).

Be sure to keep checking here, sign up for updates and tell your friends and church elders all about my blog. I will be working on the look and feel of it too,  I just haven’t had time to get that involved with the guts of this thing yet.

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