Tuesday, February 28, 2012

The nail that sticks up is batted at by the ineffectual stubs of a manboy

Well, you know how it is.

Sometimes you have to blow in some insulation.

I had to, and I didn't even know what I was doing.

I even had to go to one of those giant home repair stores that smell like screw driver handles and potting soil.

Ronnie told me about the horrible things that can happen when you blow in your own insulation without knowing what you are doing.

Then he said contemptuously, "Suppose you'll have to rent your own blower, huh?"

I knew it.

I knew I looked like one of those guys who doesn't have his own insulation blower.

All that wasted time.

All that manlife spent incomplete.

After showing him I could do twenty push-ups without sticking my butt in the air like a Sodomite, Ronnie released the blower and a mountain of insulation into my custody.

I knew you had to wear lots of protection around insulation.

What can I possibly say?

It was dark, cramped, itchy.

I couldn't see a thing up there, and I was all alone. 

The insulation sprayed out from that wild bucking machine in giant founts that covered over everything.

I felt like a man doing the work of men, doing the things that men are called upon, looked to, to do. 

Hairs sprouted all over me, muscles enlarged, bones thickened; my god I could have thrown a football into eternity.

Nevermind I sprayed it all in one direction.

Never you worry that I filled one end of the attic while forgetting to turn and fill the half behind me.

Years passed.

Now, in my middle age, I feel perhaps I should have hired someone to do it for me.

But that has its own issues.

I know that when men come to fix things at my house, they look around and think that I am not one of them.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Shoe Store the Musical (selected scenes)

This was a musical dramatization of this post.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

The Simple Couple

Wednesday, February 15, 2012


Lamont was a giant of a kid with one of the most spectacular cases of echolalia I have ever encountered.

Anything he heard came back out again, sometimes for days on end.

If something struck him as particularly funny or interesting, you would hear it for months.

You had to be real careful of what you said around him.

If something embarrassing came out of his mouth, you had to deny that you had said it in the same way you might deny being the person who farted.

Often Lamont would change your statement just enough after while to let you off the hook; he would drop letters or even whole words, still keeping the tone and cadence of your speech perfectly but rendering what he was actually saying indecipherable.

Lamont's bus drivers, two grandma-like African American women, had a terrible time getting him off the bus.

You could not move the mountain.

You had to use your wits.

Luckily, Lamont had a weakness.

Everyday, he brought in a cassette tape from home.

It was his security blanket, his totem against all the powers of darkness and education.

If you managed to procure that tape, you held dominion over Lamont; he would follow you until the end of time. 

My secret method for getting Lamont off the bus:

All the way to the classroom I would run, the pounding step of death ever at my back.

The spit of threats, the pleading for tapes, the mad mix of echolalic chorus and lucid rage; and if those fingers like King-size 3 Musketeers were to close around my body.......

Out, out, the light....

But I always made it, and once in class, I would return his Precious.

Without the dangerous but effective tape method, Lamont would only move when Lamont wanted to.

You could tell when someone had been strongly encouraging Lamont to do something, because he would
spend all day bellowing:

We shared building space with a daycare, a preschool, and a charter school.

I would lead Lamont through the halls, one of his hands on my shoulder, past little lines of children, and he would be barking that out.

Each word of the pronouncement he struck with particular emphasis, leaving enough space between the words to let them stand on their own.


As the day wore on, he would start dropping letters.

Sometimes his echolalia was like clues to a greater mystery.

One day, he said:

The next day:

And day number three:

Yes, good old Lamont had flushed one of his precious cassetes down his parents toilet.

My lasting memory of Lamont, though, is from when I was sitting at the computer during my lunch break.

I was intently buying things on ebay when I felt a breeze and sensed movement behind me.

Only a few inches from my back stood Lamont.

He had lifted his shirt halfway up his belly and was shimmying just enough to get some waves to ripple across his girth.

"Look at all that jelly," he mumbled.

"Look at all that jelly."


On a completely unrelated note, the very talented Stephanie at Clay Baboons has immortalized me in clay!

She said she ran out of red clay, so she could not make me as fat as I really am.

Thanks, Stephanie.


On the topic of off-topic things, THANK YOU to everyone who has donated to Gweenbrick!

You are so awesome and generous!