Thursday, July 28, 2011

No Cure For This

When I moved to Portland, I needed things. Namely furniture, since I don't have much of an ass and sitting on the floor every day gets uncomfortable. I'd long since learned that buying Ikea furniture is like throwing your money into a bonfire, so I turned to the hipster holy grail: thrift stores.

After some searching, I found a couple decent shelves, a coffee table, and a couch in surprisingly fine condition, all for less than two hundred bucks. I loaded the furniture into my hatchback and drove it home.

A few days later I noticed a strange smell around my apartment, and try as I might I couldn't locate the source. Since my mind always cooks up the most insane and horrifying explanation possible, I naturally assumed the worst: there was something dead inside the couch I'd purchased. Why else would it have been so cheap? Clearly someone had murdered a hooker, stuffed her inside their couch, then hastily sold it to the nearest consignment store.

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Enamored with the idea that something was rotting inside my couch, I set about trying to eradicate it. Removing the cushions revealed nothing, so I flipped the couch over and inspected the bottom. Nothing. But I wasn't fooled. Something was in there, and I was going to figure out what. I grabbed a steak knife and sliced open the fabric.

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Still nothing. Frustrated, I duct taped the gash, turned the couch right side up, and peered around my apartment curiously. Wherever the smell was emanating from, it was eluding me. Defeated, I did the only thing I could think of. I took a nap.

Later, at dinnertime, I realized I had no clean dishes to eat off, and begrudgingly accepted the fact that I'd have to wash some. That's when I discovered the source of the smell. It was coming from the sink. Particularly, a tea pot with rotting tea leaves inside of it. I suddenly recalled having made tea a week prior, then promptly forgetting to empty out the pot. The stench was aggressive.

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Gagging, I emptied its contents, tied up the garbage, and hastily lugged it downstairs to the dumpster.

While riding the elevator back to my floor, I realized something: I'm disgusting. Not outright disgusting, but sort of secretly disgusting. By all accounts I'm exceptionally well put together––at times even fussy. But I had to face facts. I was gross.

I began to ponder this fact, recognizing that most of my adult accomplishments, especially my day-to-day conquests, were entirely reactionary. For instance, I only cleaned the apartment every week as a result of watching new Hoarders episodes and not being able to handle the nutjobs onscreen being consumed by junk.

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About halfway through each episode, I'd begin to feel uncontrollably itchy, pause the TV, and clean everything. And it would never be enough. My entire apartment might be spotless, but I'd still feel like I was living in squalor.

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At this point, I've come to grips with the fact that the teapot fiasco is simply the most recent example of Bacheloritis, a tragic disease I now understand I'm hopelessly stricken with. What's worse is I don't believe Bacheloritis is curable. A romantic partner may quiet the symptoms, but those of us plagued with the condition are doomed for life.

Bacheloritis manifests primarily during domestic scenarios. It's why I can't seem to do the dishes, ever. I'm fully aware that there are children in the world who don't have enough food to eat, let alone dishes to eat their nonexistent food off of, but it somehow doesn't seem to matter. When the time comes to wash a dish, it feels like a personal assault againt my freedoms. I look at my bottle of lemon scented Dawn and I'm tempted to call Amnesty International.

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Call it laziness if you will, but I think it goes deeper. It's cellular. It can't be simple apathy when to take out the trash would be a simpler option than the alternative, which is to carefully balance trash into a veritable garbage tower.

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It's like a game of Jenga, only instead of wood blocks, I'm playing with Starbucks cups and leftover Pad Thai, and instead of winning, everybody loses.

By far the worst symptoms of Bacheloritis are laundry related, because at that point you're bringing your disease out into the world and parading it in front of everyone. It can be tricky, since most dudes can manage to keep the disease in check as far as their clothes are concerned. A quick sniff test and we're good to go. In fact, I don't know a man alive who has ever washed a pair of jeans. The dirtier they get, the better. It's to be expected. It's a free pass.

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But we grow lax, and that's when problems arise. I once wore a pair of ancient 501's for an entire afternoon without realizing a whole pepperoni had been stuck to them.

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I felt like committing seppuku when I took them off that night and noticed it. By that point honorable suicide is the only acceptable option.

My own personal case of Bacheloritis reached its zenith last year, though I'd yet to come to terms with my illness and realize I needed help. I innocently purchased a copy of Fallout 3, naively unaware that videogames are the American Bachelor's drug of choice. For the next 4 days I lost myself completely. I neglected my own bodily needs in favor of searching the wastelands for more useless junk and better weapons with which to obliterate Super Mutants. Hours turned into days, days melted into nights, and I began to lose track of time altogether.

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When I finally beat the game and emerged from my cocoon of putrescence, I was hardly recognizable, leery of the harsh and unfamiliar sunlight, confused as a newborn child.

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It's a constant battle, fighting to keep Bacheloritis from taking over my life altogether. Perhaps it's a war that can never truly be won. I fear it's ingrained into my bone marrow, but I won't give up, lest I be consumed by it. It might be easier if there was more awareness of the disease, and if people (ahem, ladies) realized that we just can't help it. We're sick. We didn't forget to take out the trash, we didn't see it. It's like color blindness. You wouldn't yell at your boyfriend for being color blind, right? It's the same when a guy walks by the trash piled at the door.

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My name is Adam, and I have a disease. A diseeeeease. Take pity on me. And if you're heading to the grocery store, can you take the garbage out on your way? Because I'm sure as hell not gonna do it.

Wait. I mean... what garbage? I don't see any garbage.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Forever Alone

I have a tendency to sabotage my interpersonal relationships, many before they even start. Perhaps it's my own insecurities rising to the surface, but I can't help but wonder if people have ulterior motives when they interact with me.

Location: The Sushi Bar
Scenario: A pretty girl sits next to me and starts chatting me up.
Conclusion: Obviously, she's a hooker.

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Location: The Clurb
Scenario: A pretty girl with an accent starts groovin' next to me.
Conclusion: She must need a green card.

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Location: The Duck Pond
Scenario: While feeding my expired bread to the ducks, a cute hipster girl approaches me.
Conclusion: She's probably homeless.

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Man, I really need to step up my game.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Hulk Smash

I have a secret temper. It reveals itself once, maybe twice a year, but it's always devastating. When I lose my cool, the effects are felt far and wide, and the world is thrown into turmoil. Ships get caught in violent storms and sink to the bottom of the ocean. Crops fail and the elders weep atop smoky mountains. The sun dies out and eternal darkness overtakes the land.

It takes a lot for me to erupt, but when I do it's sort of like when a drunk girl blacks out after too many Mike's Hard Lemonades. I forget who I am and become a monster.

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Perhaps this is hyperbole, but the fact remains: deep down, I'm a crazy murderous nutjob. A few nights ago my temper exposed itself for the first time in ages, and for once, it may have been justified.

Picture it. Sicily, 1912. Oh, wait, that's how Sophia Petrillo starts her stories, not me. Sorry, let me start over.

Picture it. Portland, 2011. It was a warm, pleasant night, and I was driving home with the car windows down. The evening was peaceful and I found myself mostly alone on the road. The calm was disrupted, however, when I heard a faint chk chk chk sound from the side of the road, immediately followed by several tiny yellow objects sailing through the air directly in front of my windshield. A few more of them smacked into the side of my car. Then, before I even had time to realize what was happening, a final little yellow paintball was fired through the open passenger side window and pelted me upside the head.

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I immediately pulled over and got out of the car, scanning the the opposite side of the road, and noticed a couple of kids with paintball guns. They were trying, and largely failing, to hide behind some bushes. It was obvious the little bastards had been firing paintballs at passing cars.

I lost it.

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It was no use trying to bottle my rage. A throbbing welt was already forming on the side of my head. The kids in the bushes realized I could see them. They stood up, and we stared at each other for a brief, tense moment, realizing all hell was about to break loose.

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They dropped their guns and ran off into the trees. I chased after them, fueled by unbridled rage.

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I pursued them through the trees for a while, unsure of what I was going to do if I caught them. I had yellow paint dripping down my face and murder in my heart.

I chased the kids back to their house. They leapt in through an open window–the same window, I imagine, they had snuck out of earlier. One of the kids tried to close the window behind him, but I was too close. I nearly grabbed him, but he leapt away.

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I grabbed at nothing, flailing savagely, screaming at them, and they screamed back at me. For what seemed like an eternity, all we did was scream.

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I'd lost myself in that moment. It was then that I should have taken a step back and analyzed the situation. Had cooler heads prevailed, I might've calmly knocked on the front door and explained to the parents that they were raising tiny demon asshole children, and could they please remedy the situation, preferably with something sharp? But no, a switch had been flipped, and there was no turning back. I'd been shot in the face, and all I could taste then was vengeance.

Suddenly the door to the kids' room burst open. A woman stood in the doorway, looming large and dominant.

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At that point there were four of us screaming, at everything and nothing, a maddening din of confusion and anger. Then the women grabbed a broom from somewhere in the hallway and began jabbing it out the window at me.

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I realized that the best course of action would be to just leave, since I clearly wasn't getting anywhere. I glared at the woman and backed away slowly, leaving her to ponder what the hell had just happened.

Feeling defeated, I returned to my vehicle.

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No less furious than before, I kicked a tree on the way back, as if that could possibly be an outlet for my rage.

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I did so clumsily, and my ankle twisted awkwardly and painfully upon impact. Cursing my prolonged bad luck, I limped the rest of the way to my car, drove home, and went to bed. Still fuming, I promised that when I wrote about the incident later, I'd fabricate a new ending where I slaughter the children with a makeshift stone dagger and feast upon their still-beating hearts under a full moon.

In the morning, the damage to my ankle was obvious, and significantly more severe than I'd realized. By daybreak it had swollen to an alarming size.

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For the rest of the week I was incapacitated and disgruntled, limping around like a slightly less bitchy Heather Mills.

I don't know how I should've handled that situation. Should I have called the cops? Set fire to the kid's house? On the plus side, I feel my blind rage was justified for a change. On the downside, it turns out I'm no match for a couple of 9-year-olds. And isn't that the real tragedy?