Category Archives: Friends

Up Chunk

Living with roommates has it’s advantages and disadvantages, and these pros and cons must be considered carefully before you enter into such a living situation.  Luckily for you, the reader, I have had many different roomies over the years.  Using this experience, I’ve come up with a little list of some positives and negatives for you to weigh to help you make the right decision:

  • Cost of living is greatly reduced by splitting rent/bills…
  • But your level of stress is greatly increased because your roommate never has his portion on time and regularly needs you to cover his ass,  and he knows you will because the lease is only in your name, not his, and he knows you actually care about your credit rating and whether or not you get evicted.
  • You always have someone to hang out with…
  • Like when you bring your date home after dinner to watch a movie and there is your out-of-shape roommate sitting on the couch watching television in nothing but his boxer briefs.  You give him a hint by asking if you can use the TV/DVD player, hoping he’ll retreat to his room, and he responds with “sure, what are we watching?”  No second date.
  • Roommate has a hot sister and/or friends…
  • Not only does he not have a hot sister, his girlfriend is an ugly, loud-mouthed pothead who just walks in whenever she comes over and likes to talk about making pot brownies no matter who is around.
    Or, in another nightmarish scenario, you had previously dated your roommate’s current girlfriend, as he saw no problem in aggressively pursuing her once you had stopped dating.  Hearing them do it is just gross.
  • You have someone to help with chores…
  • Or so you thought.  Not only are you cleaning up after your dogs, but your roommate likes to throw cigarette butts all over the yard – butts you discover while cutting the grass, a chore that he agreed would be his.
  • Roommate has nicer furniture than you…
  • Or, your roommate comes into the arrangement with nothing but an end table full of flea market trinkets.  Out of pity you purchase him a used futon to sleep on, which he quickly ruins by falling asleep on it while watching TV with a huge plate of cherry cheesecake in his lap.  Who knew dessert could make such a sweet pillow!
  • Roommate likes to cook dinner for the house…
  • Maybe he will, or maybe your roommate will  sit around and eat the food you bought, and then play dumb whenever you ask him where your last can of Chef Boyardee is.  And maybe you’ll actually find the can, if you look hard enough – empty, in the trash can in his room.
  • Roommate lets you borrow his cool car…
  • If only he had one (a car, that is).  After totaling his car, he constantly calls you for a ride to or from work.  He knows you’ll do it because you need him to be earning so he can give you $100 of that $350 he owes you for rent on time.
  • Social life enhanced by your roommate’s partying…
  • Your sleep time is depleted when you are suddenly awakened at 5 AM on a Saturday by loud scary music coming from the living room.  Upon investigation, you discover that one of the “Nightmare on Elm Street” movies is playing on the big screen TV with the surround sound cranked to eleven.  Better yet, your still-partying roommate and his loser friends aren’t even watching it; they’re in the hallway participating in a drunken wrestling match which is beginning to border on total gayness.
  • You get a discount at your roommate’s place of employment…
  • Nothing is more satisfying than a half-priced, cold cheeseburger from a fast food place fifteen miles away.
  • Your roommate can let your dogs out when you’re not home…
  • Especially since he just got fired and he’s home all the time, but hey, that would require consideration and a little bit of common sense. After all, they’re your dogs, not his. Besides, he’s probably still be upset because you have dogs (which you had before he moved in), but you won’t let him get a pet snake (you told him no pets before he moved in, and even so, you allowed a pet turtle at one point, which one of your dogs killed because he had left the turtle crawling around the backyard.  Out of guilt, you got him another one, which died a week later because he left it in an aquarium in the back yard and it rained – the turtle drowned).  But wait – then he surprises you.  Any time your dogs make a mess, he lays a paper towel on it.  What a guy!
  • Roommate’s girlfriend has hot friends…
  • Not unless you think 16 and 17-year-olds are hot.  Do you tell your thirty-year-old roommate that he shouldn’t be dating someone ten years younger than he is?  After all, you’re his roommate, not his dad.
    Or you could find yourself in this gem of a situation:  your roommate’s girlfriend DOES have hot friends, and after a night of partying at your house, your roommate is banging one of them in the garage while his girlfriend (the girl you previously dated) is passed out drunk in their bedroom.  Now you’re forced into keeping the secrets of one friend from another, which is always a guaranteed good time.

Now, there is no reason to freak out.  If you are careful during your screening process and don’t jump into a situation too quickly, you should be fine.  I do have just one piece of advice:  don’t room with anyone who goes by the name “Chunk” or with anyone who has a friend who goes by the name “Chunk.”  Over time I’ve discovered that if a majority of a person’s friends go by nicknames, they’re probably not the type of crowd you want to be involved in.

My roommate had such a friend (I still don’t know his real name to this day).  Chunk was a big guy.  We’re talking 6’2″ or 6’3″ and easily pushing 300 pounds.  He was a little too friendly and a little too talkative, and I don’t think his elevator went to the top floor.  He always carried around a huge 52 oz. thermos-type mug filled with water, and he usually showed up with a Taco Bell bag containing enough food to feed {an army/an entire family of Mexicans/my uncle}.  Chunk would come over and disappear into my roommate’s room for long periods of time.  I know my roommate smoked weed and I’m pretty sure Chunk was his supplier.  Knowing that I wasn’t cool with it, roommate kept that part of his life away from me for the most part.  The thing about Chunk was, once he came over, you had to practically kick him out or else he would never leave.  Sometimes he would finish his food and pass out on the couch, and we would have to wake him up and kick him out.  Sometimes I would suddenly find myself alone with him in the living room, suffering through a pointless conversation that he would continually push.  My roommate would be hiding in his room laughing at the situation, and I’d have to go get him to make up an excuse so that Chunk would leave (i.e. we have to go to sleep now or whatever).  I’m just too polite, and he wasn’t my company – I didn’t feel comfortable telling him to leave.  These were all only small annoyances, however – small compared to what happened next.

One night Chunk came over and picked up my roommate.  They were about to go downtown to drink and hit on girls. I had to work at six the next morning (not that I would have ever have hung out with Chunk in public anyway), so I wished them a good time and retired to the couch.  I eventually fell asleep there, which was not unusual.  Around four in the morning, I was half-awakened by the sound of giggling and the rattling of keys.  This went on for several minutes.  It sounded as if they were too intoxicated and uncoodinated to get the key in the door to unlock it, and I remember thinking wow, they’re completely wasted. I drifted back into dreamland.

All of a sudden, I was violently awakened by the full force of someone flopping themselves on top of me.  I couldn’t move, and I could barely breathe.  It was pitch black.  I was laying on my back, and the person on top of me was also laying on his back with his head coming right up to my neck.  It was my roommate, trying to be funny because he was drunk.  Still in a daze from the previous slumber I had just been pulled out of, I began squirming and pushing on his head.  I quickly realized that the person on top of me was not my roommate because one, roommate has a shaved head and I was pushing on a moptop, and two, I was pinned by something very large, something my roommate was not.  That something was Chunk.

I started screaming “W.T.F?” and “get him the f*ck off of me!”  Before I even got that last sentence out I simultaneously noticed two more things:  Chunk was dead weight, making no effort whatsoever to remove himself from my body, and I thought I had just heard some sort of gurgling sound.  This was immediately followed by the feeling of warm, gooey liquid flowing over my neck and shoulders and soaking into the couch cushions below me.  I began screaming, gagging, and pushing all at once… still no sign of Roommate.  Another gurgle, more warm liquid.  Roommate finally noticed my cries I guess because the lights came on and Roommate asked Chunk what he was doing.  I impatiently explained in a pissed off manner as Roommate helped him off of me so that I could get up.  Now alone on the couch and on his stomach so he didn’t choke to death, the appropriately-named Chunk threw up some more.

Unable to raise Chunk on the phone the next day in order to get him to come over and clean his vomit, I spent the entire afternoon trying to salvage my couch, hosing off the cushions in the driveway and letting them air dry.  I went out and bought a couch cover which ended up not really fitting right, either.  Roommate apologized profusely, but I told him Chunk wasn’t allowed over again until he apologized and gave me $100 for the cleaning I had to do and the couch cover I had to buy.  Roommate came home a couple of weeks later with $40 from Chunk.  I got the remaining $60 six months later when he unexpectedly showed up at the house.  Luckily for him, enough time had passed that my anger had subsided, thanks in part to my brand new couch.

In summary, when searching for a roommate it is important to be thorough when screening potential candidates.  Interview them, ask tough questions, and make sure you have a little something in common.  You can even do a background check if you deem it necessary.  Just make sure they don’t have a friend named Chunk.

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Filed under Animals, Food, Friends, Funny, How To, humor, Jobs, Life, Lists, People, Relationships

(P)Oops, I Did It Again

I’ve done plenty of embarrassing and/or stupid things in my life, especially when I was younger.

OK, mostly when I was younger.

(Who am I kidding?)

Anyway, here is one such story; a story that, twenty-one years later, my brother David will not let me forget. He loves telling people this story. I might as well share it, because chances are good you’ll eventually hear about it from him anyway. Did I mention that he loves reminding me of this story? Everything you are about to read is, of course, true.

the_forest

The year was 1987, and I was living in Baltimore, Maryland with my siblings and my dad. It had been a warm spring, and it just so happened to be the year of the locusts (everyone called them locusts, when in actuality, they were cicadas). The locusts swarmed in and covered everything from trees to telephone poles. If you were outside, you could hear the constant hum of their buzzing. Luckily, they weren’t dangerous; they didn’t bite or sting. The locusts only lived a few days, maybe a week. I remember them being nothing more than a nuisance. Their shells remained attached to everything long after they were dead. When I say that these shells were everywhere, I mean e v e r y w h e r e. The constant buzzing of the locusts had been replaced by the constant crunch-crunch-crunching of their shells under my feet, as I ran through the park that I had spent many an afternoon in, eagerly trying to catch up to the Nerf football that had been thrown ahead of me. There was nothing like a good game of crunch football.

Locust season passed; spring turned to summer. When school let out, I traveled to Evansville, Indiana to spend the time off with my grandparents and one of my uncles. When I returned to Maryland, the fall season was quickly approaching with cooling temperatures and color-changing leaves. It was a perfect time of year to be thirteen, to have a bicycle, and access to that nearby park containing trails through it’s vast surrounding woods. I wasted no time in contacting my friend Stevie who lived down the block, anxious to get outdoors.

Stevie lived on the same side of the street as me, just down the block. His parents were very nice – they had me over for dinner on more than one occasion. His family always had more than we had (they had both VHS and Beta), but they were not-at-all snobby or selfish. They had told my father how impressed they were with me a few different times, mainly because I always addressed them as “sir” and “ma’am,” which surely filled my father with pride.

Stevie was a fun friend to have. He was the guy who was willing to do anything to win your approval and be your friend, and I was the guy willing to make him do stuff just to see if he would do it. Like the time we started a club, and we held our “meetings’ in the basement of his house (which was a playroom). These meetings consisted of video games, wrestling, or most commonly, a starting place for our outdoor adventures throughout the day. When the coast was clear, I confiscated a large empty canning jar from his mother’s kitchen. We then invited the neighborhood boys to join our club, under one condition – they had to pee in the jar and keep it a secret. Stevie’s responsibility as vice president was to keep the pee jar hidden there, in his basement. For two weeks, in the bottom drawer of a dresser at our club’s headquarters sat a big, warm, mason jar containing the urine of five or six little boys. His parents weren’t as impressed with me when his mom found it one morning.

We rode down to the park, and it is exactly what one would imagine upon hearing the word “park”: trees, a playground (monkey bars, merry-go-round, swings – all of the necessities), a sidewalk path throughout, benches for grown-ups so they could watch their little ones play, and pooper-scooper stations for owners whose dogs had decided that the park looked like a giant dog toilet. It was a big park; it could easily accommodate several large groups of people at once. If you ventured towards the middle of the park, there was a downward hill leading to a rather large grass field that saw many a crunch-football game take place. Continuing past this field was the forest, which is what you call any wooded area when you’re thirteen years old. This was my favorite part of the park.

The forest contained several man-made paths for walking and biking. If you wanted to, you could wander off of the beaten path, as this area was not overly dense. I was rather skilled with my Huffy and not-at-all afraid, so of course, Stevie and I had gone exploring several times already. On one of our very first trips, we discovered a creek. On weekends we would build a fort in a secluded area, but I guess our hideaway was never very structurally sound – upon our return, we’d only find a pile of branches, sticks, and twigs, as if some other kids actually discovered our land and knocked it over. Nah… it must have been the wind.

One Saturday morning, Stevie and I decided that we were going to try to venture further into the forest than we ever had before. I loaded up on necessities from the corner store (12 oz. can of Coke and a pack of Rain-Blo bubble gum stuffed into, and sticking out of, my crumpled up tube sock), and headed into the unknown.

We rode for almost two hours, stopping whenever we saw anything interesting. We always stopped at anything that could be a used as a bike ramp. We built another fort, our biggest to date, and it felt like we were so deep into the forest that it would never be found. It had been a very good day so far. Well, up until I was consumed by the overwhelming need to relieve myself.

There are a couple things you need to understand at this point. Number one, I had to go number two. Number two, I wished I only had to go number one. If I only had to go number one, all I would have had to do is stand behind a tree and do what all men have done at some point in their lives. But this was far more complex. I could have made the return trip home to a bathroom, but I knew that such a decision would end our expedition. I wasn’t ready to go home – we were having too much fun. However, I really didn’t want Stevie (or anyone, ever) to see me crapping, and I had nothing with which to wipe.

As quickly as these thoughts came and went, the urge to “drop the kids off at the pool” had rapidly increased. I realized that there was no way I would have been able to make it back home. I wouldn’t last that long, and holding it in was becoming a bit painful. It was “go” time. I jumped off my bike, and made Stevie promise not to look while I simultaneously scanned the area for the spot that would supply the most privacy. There’s no need to go into detail about what happened next. Once relieved, I briefly considered cleaning up with my shirt or my underwear and then just leaving them out there in the forest. I decided it wasn’t worth the risk to sacrifice any article of clothing – I didn’t have a lot of clothes to begin with. If Dad were to find out what I had done, he’d surely beat the shit out of me (pun intended).

Instead, I grabbed the biggest leaf I could find, and did the best I could. Three leaves seemed to do the trick. As I gathered myself, I was suddenly filled with pride. I had conquered nature. I was a man.

I pooped in the forest.

Back at home later that night, I couldn’t help but notice how itchy my backside was becoming. I needed to shower – it’s probably not possible to properly clean yourself in the previous conditions. I went to bed after I showered, but I wasn’t going to get much sleep that night. I tossed and turned, scratched my butt, scratched my hands (why were they itching?), scratched my butt some more… I finally slept.

I woke up still itching and scared to death – I had a rash on both hands, and on two of the fingers on my left hand there were pus-filled bubbles hanging off that were each the size of a dime. To my horror, my backside was also wet for some reason, a reason that was quickly becoming quite obvious. I ran to the bathroom. Now, have you ever had to bend over slightly and look behind yourself into a mirror at yourself? I don’t ever, ever recommend it, even under normal conditions. I discourage it even more if you had just previously used poison oak leaves as toilet paper.

I showed, and told, my father what happened to me. He was trying to yell at me to stop scratching through his laughter. I’m pretty sure this was not one of those moments that my behavior filled him with pride, and I’m still not sure which was the most embarrassing: being dumb enough to wipe my behind with poison oak leaves? Or, to be bent over the edge of the bed, pants pulled down, having calamine lotion applied to the affected area by my father? You decide.

A couple of interesting notes:
•Super Target sells travel-sized Charmin
•If you want to miss a week of school, try poison oak. It worked for me.
•I didn’t use my underwear to “clean up” because I didn’t want to destroy an article of clothing. In the following week of my recovery, I ruined eight pair.
•My brother David, to this day, routinely refers to me as “poison oak boy.” A couple of years ago, for my birthday, he drew me this cartoon. It’s hanging on my fridge.

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Filed under Family, Friends, Funny, humor, Life, Nature