slowly scraping away at the chipped layers to see what exists beneath…

Oh, Shit!

I have developed a sixth sense for spotting shit, animal shit, to be more specific.  I haven’t always had this ability; it came after years and years of always being the one to somehow come into contact with undetected shit and wind up with it somewhere on my clothing or body.  Honestly, I had to develop this “super power” as a means of social survival.  People don’t typically clap or congratulate you for sitting or stepping in shit.  It’s quite the opposite, actually.  The worst part is that I’ve always been the first person to smell it, probably because it’s always on me, and then I force everyone to check their shoes like a total asshole.  When the person who announces that somebody stepped in shit ends up being that somebody… well, I’m sure you can imagine how that goes over.  Ever heard the saying, “whoever smelled it dealt it?”  There’s got to be some sort of equivalent for having shit on your shoes and being the first to point out the odor.

The first incident of note occurred when I was in sixth grade.  I got my first job as a dog sitter for a couple that lived in our neighborhood.  They went out of town pretty often, so I walked, fed and played with their dog, Twinkle, while they were away.  Twinkle was a big, beautiful golden retriever and a total pain in the ass.  Anytime we went outside I had to keep her on a leash or she would run away, and unfortunately her owners’ yard was un-fenced.  She had favorite areas of the yard where she would do her business, and since she was leashed I had to venture into those areas with her.  School days were tricky because my dad and I almost always stopped at 7-Eleven to get giant french vanilla cappuccinos before he dropped me off.  That meant leaving the house super early so I could walk and feed Twinkle before getting coffee.  On one such morning, I accidentally stepped in an ant pile while I was outside with Twinkle.  Fortunately I realized it pretty quickly and managed to escape with only a few ant bites on my left ankle.  While Twinkle was sniffing around and preparing to poop, I was furiously scratching my left ankle through my pant leg with my right foot.  We were running a bit late that day so I was trying to rush Twinkle and wasn’t really paying much attention to anything else.  Finally, Twinkle finished up and I took her inside.  I hopped in my dad’s truck and we headed towards our favorite convenient store.  On the way there, I started to smell something foul and immediately accused my dad of farting.  He laughed and denied it, and then accused me of farting and blaming the smell on him.  We both rolled our windows down and continued to laugh and carry on.  We got our coffees and he dropped me off at school.  It wasn’t until I reached my first class that I realized the smell had followed me.  By that time, I was already sitting at my desk and kids around me were starting to notice the stench.  A sick feeling washed over me as I looked down at my feet and discovered that the lower half of my left pant leg, the top of my left shoe, and the bottom of my right shoe were completely covered in dog shit smears.  Unfortunately, I wasn’t the only one that noticed.  Of course my teacher was really sweet and let me go to the office immediately so I could call one of my parents, but I’d already earned myself the nickname “dog shit shoes.”  To make matters worse, my dad came to pick me up so I could go home and change and he made fun of me the whole way.  I’ll admit, I totally deserved it.  I mean, who does that, seriously?  In my defense, I hadn’t had my coffee yet.  And luckily for me I had a great sense of humor even in sixth grade, so I was more entertained by the mishap than I was embarrassed, but still…

My second major shit encounter happened during the summer between 8th and 9th grade.  Our family took a vacation to Boone, North Carolina, and spent two weeks there.  We all love hiking and spent the entire trip exploring different trails and visiting all the parks in the area.  On one such excursion to Grandfather Mountain, we came upon a downed tree and my mom saw this as the perfect photo opp.  She had me and my brothers sit next to each other on the tree trunk so she could take our picture.  I started complaining immediately because the tree trunk was damp and made the back of my shorts wet.  Despite my disdain for sitting on the fallen tree, I smiled a sweet smile and my mom snapped the photo.  As we got up to continue our hike, I noticed a nasty smell and immediately checked my shoes.  They were clean.  Feeling triumphant because I had not stepped in animal shit, I saw an opportunity to redeem myself for stepping in Twinkle’s shit and smearing it all over my leg several years earlier.  I was dying to pass the “shit shoes” nickname on to someone else.  Feeling cocky, I made my family aware of the horrid stench and demanded that they all check their shoes.  I watched as my two brothers, my mom and my dad all thoroughly inspected the soles of their hiking boots, and was deeply disappointed when they all came up clean.  My mom assured me that the smell must have come from a nearby dung pile left by a wild animal and suggested we all watch where we step until the smell was behind us.  So, we continued on.  After about five minutes of hiking, I realized that the odor was still quite strong and again, demanded that everyone check their shoes.  Right after I issued my second complaint, one of my brothers pointed out that there was something on the back of my shorts.  My hands went to my butt immediately.  As I pulled them back in front of me to inspect them, I realized in horror where the smell had been coming from: me.  I sat in shit.  The dampness on that tree trunk wasn’t dew, it was shit, and it was all over my shorts.  My family collectively laughed at me; some of them laughed so hard they had tears in their eyes.  My dad even went back to the fallen tree to inspect the poop so he could determine what kind of animal it had come from.  Naturally, he did this so he’d know how to alter my nickname.  He ended up finding evidence of berries and assumed that a black bear had left the mess.  For the rest of the trip, my name was “bear shit shorts.”  Of course I was furious.  Not only had I not rid myself of my “dog shit shoes” nickname, I’d earned myself a new one!  Plus, I had shit all over my hands and on the back of my shorts.  Thankfully, we found a little creek and I washed off my hands and cleaned off my shorts the best that I could.  I was freezing and wet but at least I smelled better for the remainder of the hike.

Years went by and eventually I allowed myself to forget those shitty experiences.  I went off to college, made new friends, and my nicknames faded into the past.  You’d think perhaps I had started paying closer attention and had somehow overcome my tendency to step or sit in shit.  You’d think this, but you’d be wrong…

One evening during my sophomore year of college, I went over to a friend’s house for a party.  It wasn’t a big, crazy party by any means, just a small group of friends eating pizza, drinking beer and watching TV.  We were all congregated in the living room in front of the TV, when suddenly I smelled that familiar stench: shit.  I was sitting on the couch next to my friend, Melissa, who was throwing the party.  Melissa smelled it too and enlisted me to help her figure out where it was coming from.  We had everyone check their shoes but found nothing, so we decided to go sniffing around the house to see if we could determine the source of the smell.  No sooner had we reached the bedrooms, we heard Amanda, Melissa’s roommate, yelling from the living room.  We went back to the living room to find out what was going on and discovered why Amanda was so upset.   Someone had left a series of big, brown smears all over their beige carpet.  The messy marks started in the kitchen, lead to the couch, went all around the living room and continued down the hallway towards the bedrooms.  At that point I realized that I hadn’t checked my shoes.  I slowly lifted each foot, one after the other, to take a look at the soles.  Sure enough, I had tracked shit all through their house.  Someone’s dog must have taken a dump in their front yard and I was the poor sap that stepped in it. The entire group erupted in laughter, including me.  How stupid could I be?!  Although they were laughing, Amanda and Melissa were annoyed by my idiotic oversight and sent me outside to clean my shoes.  As I sat on the front steps picking shit out of the bottoms of my shoes with a stick, I was cracking up.  The situation was beyond ridiculous; I couldn’t help but laugh at myself!  Once my shoes were clean, I made my way back inside but was sure to leave my shoes on the porch just in case little poo remnants were still stuck anywhere.  I apologized to Amanda and Melissa, who had been cleaning up the shit smears I left on their carpet, and helped them finish removing the stains.  Once the carpet was clean, I went to the kitchen to grab another piece of pizza and a beer.  Jeff, another friend of mine, was sitting at the kitchen table and invited me to sit with him so he could make fun of me while I ate my pizza.  Before I grabbed my food and sat down, I went to the kitchen sink to wash my hands.  Jeff, out of nowhere, started laughing uncontrollably.  I asked him repeatedly what was so funny but he was laughing so hard that he couldn’t talk.  Melissa and Amanda came in to see what was so funny.  All Jeff could do was point at me and say “pants” over and over again while choking back laughter.  Finally, after several minutes of this, he managed to say, “Look at the back of her pants!”  Amanda and Melissa instructed me to turn around.  When I did, Amanda yelled, “Dude!  You must have tracked that shit up our front steps!  Then you sat in it when you were cleaning your shoes!  Don’t you dare sit down anywhere in this house”!  Holy shit!  First I had stepped in shit, then I accused everyone else of doing it, then I tracked shit all through the house, and finally I sat in shit that I, myself, tracked up the front steps!  I had reached an all time new low.  This was bad.  It took me a long time to live it down, that’s for sure.  Fortunately, I wasn’t given a new nickname, but for a while there my friends loved to remind me that “shit happens.”

I haven’t had another encounter with animal shit since that legendary episode in college, knock on wood.  I’ve definitely developed a poop paranoia, though.  I am constantly watching where I step, especially if I’m walking on grass.  Living in Colorado has made my paranoia/shit spotting “super power” far worse because everyone has a dog.  Who am I kidding?  It’s only a matter of time before I let my guard down and find myself with a sole full of stinky shit.  Hopefully, if and/or when this does happen to me, I’ll have the sense to keep my mouth shut and check my shoes and pants before I open my mouth!  Knowing myself as well as I do, I’ll probably make an announcement about the smell and once again find myself the butt of endless shit jokes.


The Little Mermaid: So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed

Once upon a time I found a hilarious article by Adam Finley in an issue of IMPACT Press.  I’ve been saving said article since 2004 and read it to myself every now and again to give myself a little giggle.  I had forgotten about it for a while and just came across it again the other day.  Yes, I read it to myself and had a good little laugh, and then I decided that it needed to be shared.  So here it is, “The Little Mermaid: So Round, So Firm, So Fully Packed.”  You’re welcome.

Apparently, actors are smoking too much in movies these days.  You might not be aware of this, but the University of California released a study that claims not only does smoking occur in many films, but those films glamorize the act in such an alluring manner that every child who leaves the theater immediately breaks into a 7-Eleven, steals every tobacco product, then hordes it inside a cave and guards it for the remainder of their lives with a non-functioning musket.

Many films, no matter what the rating, have at least one character who smokes.  In Mel Gibson’s “The Passion of the Christ,” Jesus spends the last twenty minutes of the film unwittingly trying to grasp a cigar between his lips, which has been callously placed in his left hands, which in turn has been nailed to a two-by-four.  As anyone can tell you, craning your neck in one direction for a long period of time can result in nasty muscle spasms.  Believe me, I’ve had muscle spasms, and there’s no pain worse than that.

The study recommended that the Motion Picture Association of America should treat smoking the same way it treats swearing and rate each movie accordingly.  Therefore, a movie such as Disney’s “101 Dalmatians”—whose nefarious villain Cruella De Vil smokes a cigarette from a slender holder—would be rated NC-17, whereas “The Texas Chainsaw Massacre,” which features no smoking at all, would be rated G and shown to preschoolers during church functions.

What this study failed to conclude was that the problem isn’t how movies are rated, but the ubiquity of product placement.  If a character in a movie lights up a cigarette, it’s most likely because Phillip Morris reached deep inside its pockets and gave the producers a hefty amount of money to have that cigarette glowing on screen.  Many people found this difficult to believe until this 1988 transcript of conversation between the CEO of Phillip Morris and Howard Ashman, the producer of “The Little Mermaid” was leaked to the public:

              CEO: Okay, now the scene where Ariel emerges from the water onto that rock?

Ashman: Yeah, my animators spent months on that.

CEO: Right, right.  I love that scene.  Absolutely love it.  She just needs to be smoking.

Ashman: You want her to light up a cigarette after she comes our of the water?

CEO: No, she should have the cigarette in her mouth when she comes out.

Ashman: Of the water.

CEO: Well, yeah.  This is a fairy tale, right?  We’ll say it’s a magic cigarette that can be lit in water.  We’ll probably need a subplot for that.

Ashman: Uh huh.

CEO: And make sure the cigarette is big.  I’d say it should cover about ninety five percent of the screen.  Also, she should have it in her mouth for the remainder of the movie so that all action on screen is obscured by this fantastic magical cigarette.  In fact, just chance the name of your movie to “The Fantastic Magical Cigarette.”

Ashman: I wouldn’t want to glamorize smoking, though.  I mean, kids will see this movie.

CEO: Look at it this way: Is it better for a kid to smoke a cigarette, or to fall face first onto a cordless drill?

Ashman: What are you talking about?

CEO: I’m just saying that cordless drills kill more people every year in my mind than cigarettes give people cancer in real life.

Ashman: Do you even know what you’re saying?

CEO: I know that you can’t set a cordless drill on fire in a swimming pool.

Ashman: I have to go now.

Rather than feign concern for the public, the tobacco industry would probably do much better if it took over the movie industry completely.  Essentially, every actor in a film would be smoking non-stop.  In addition, all inanimate objects would have cigarettes and tobacco pipes epoxied to them to give the illusion that they are also smoking.  It’s important to remember that smoking, just like drinking or spending valuable time writing up an idiotic study on smoking in movies, is a personal choice.

Marijuana smoking, however, should never be shown in movies marketed to children, as it will cause them to actually cook and devour their siblings.  I don’t think any of us need a study to support the veracity of that claim.

What’s this? I have a blog now?

Typically I would be more excited about something like this and would most likely have much more to say… but I’m so tired right now that I am literally hallucinating spiders.  I think that means it’s time to call it a night.  Sorry for the extremely lame content of this very first blog post.  I’ll try harder tomorrow, but I’m not making any promises.  Fucking spiders!  I swear I see you, you disgusting little…

xxx – J