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Small Matters

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Last Wish

I first posted this essay five years ago and I’m posting it again, as this day marks the 25th anniversary of the death of one my closest friends at the time.  It’s hard to believe so much time has passed – a quarter century.  Now my father is gone, and my mother may not be far behind.  Other people – friends, acquaintances, coworkers, etc. – have come and gone as well.  That’s to be expected from living more than fifty years on Earth.

There are those moments or events that settle into our lives, take root in our minds and never leave.  For me this is one such event.

 

autumn-leaves

September 12th fell on a Sunday in 1993, and I was sick.  I lay in bed that night, listless and fatigued, when the phone rang at 10:12 P.M.  Curiously, I hadn’t turned on the answering machine, as I always did before going to bed.  But, I knew who lingered on the other end – even before I answered.  It was Linda*, the mother of one of my best friends, Daniel.

“He’s gone,” she whispered, her voice raspy and quivering.  She’d walked into his bedroom earlier that evening and found him with his eyes half-open.

We talked for quite a while, although I don’t remember all that was said.  But, I do recall telling her, “It’s over.  It’s finally over.”  Then, I went to sleep.  But, I wasn’t sad.  In fact, I was – not happy – but relieved.  Daniel had stopped suffering – and maybe so would his mother.

That night, though, I wondered why I was so sick.  Just allergies, I kept thinking; that’s all it was.  I’d realized years earlier how my allergies usually coincided with the Atlantic / Caribbean hurricane season, becoming most severe in August and September.  In reality, it’s the change from summer to autumn, when mountain cedar and ragweed blossom with impunity.  But, I have this obsession – almost a fetish – with tropical storm systems, so I make that odd comparison.  Yet, that year was different.  The infection seemed to have settled in my stomach, instead of my sinuses.

I’d felt fine the preceding weekend.  I’d visited Daniel and Linda that Monday, Labor Day.  I gave Daniel a much-needed bath and shave, trimmed his nails and put him back to bed.  I also vacuumed and mopped the kitchen floor.  I chatted with Linda for a while.  Her hands trembled, as she sat on a couch; as much from growing arthritis as dealing with Daniel.

“I don’t know how much longer I can go on,” she mumbled, staring at the floor.

“You’ll make it,” I said, trying to reassure her.  What else could I say?

I’d met Daniel at birthday party for a mutual friend four years earlier.  We were two completely different people, but had a few things in common: dogs, cars and rock n’ roll.  Like me, he also had been born and raised in the Dallas area.  He was the third of four children to parents who were mixed Irish and Cherokee Indian extraction.  He didn’t have a happy home life.  When his father wasn’t working, sometimes six days a week, he was drinking booze; occasionally, he’d burst into drunken rages, a stereotypical drunk-ass Irishman or Indian and lash out at anyone nearby.  Linda often bore the brunt of his attacks, until the night her oldest son lunged into his father.  For Linda, that was the proverbial last straw; the catalyst that prompted her to pack up the kids and leave.  By the time I met Daniel, his father had died.

As I’d planned, I took the day after Labor Day off from work.  I visited my gym to lift weights, worked on a short story and partook in a Tae Kwon Do class that evening.  The Tae Kwon Do session exhausted me, even though it wasn’t particularly intense.  I thought nothing of it until the next night, when I returned to the gym and left after less than an hour.  Fatigue settled over me like a ton of hot, wet blankets.

I awoke the next morning feeling awful; body aches and chills and a stomach that was churning like – well – like a hurricane.  My supervisor sent me home just after noon.  I sat near the building, waiting for the bus.  The late summer sun warmed me up, and I stopped shivering.  I felt well enough to stop by a fast food place on the way back to my apartment – and regurgitated the food that night.  I stayed home the next day, but returned to work on Friday.  I spent most of Saturday in bed; no energy, no strength.  Damn allergies, I kept telling myself.

On Sunday, I visited my parents for lunch as usual.  My father grilled steaks – their thick, juicy aromas wafting throughout the house, intermingling with the scent of the butter-saturated mashed potatoes my mother made.  But, I couldn’t eat.  I was still nauseous.  My dad suggested I visit their family doctor, if I didn’t feel better by the next day.  He even offered to pay, since my finances were strained at the time.

I had just purchased my truck six months earlier and was still paying off credit card bills for repairing my previous vehicle.  I had health insurance at work – with a $1,000 deductible.  I told them I’d be fine.  It was just those goddamned allergies.

I had been anticipating that call from Linda for months.  I knew somehow it would come at night.  She called me because I was one of the last friends Daniel had remaining; one who didn’t turn his back on him.  That’s just not my nature.  I didn’t have many friends back then and I still don’t.  But, the people I do consider friends mean a lot to me.

It’s amazing, though, the number of friends people lose when they fall on hard times – even when they become terminally ill.  Some time in the 1970s, my mother’s hair dresser became seriously ill and had to be hospitalized.  When my parents visited him, he mentioned they were among the few who’d made the effort.  All the people who were quick to accept his party invitations where mounds of food and alcohol would be served were curiously absent as he lay in a hospital bed hooked up to an IV.

I think Daniel had known he was HIV for at least two years, but he didn’t start getting sick until the spring of 1992.  By then, he was unemployed and uninsured; he could no longer afford his suburban Dallas apartment.  In May, I and another friend moved him back into his mother’s home in another Dallas suburb.  Daniel’s health deteriorated throughout that summer, but unexpectedly – almost miraculously – began rejuvenating by fall.  He gained weight and color returned to his face.  He actually looked pretty good when I spent Christmas Day with his family, including his two older siblings; younger sister, Andrea; sister-in-law; and a niece and nephew.  I took a photo of them as they gathered around a couch; one that Linda placed on her refrigerator, beside another picture of her beloved mother.

We all thought – if only for a moment – he would make it.  In less than six months, however, Daniel’s health began crumbling again.  And, one by one, his gallery of friends slipped into anonymity.

I took my father up on his offer.  After a cursory exam, the doctor stepped back into the room and asked, “Have you ever had hepatitis?”

“Hepatitis?  No.”

“Well, I think that’s what you have.”

Hepatitis!  If he had told me I was pregnant, I would have believed him sooner.  Hepatitis!  Wasn’t that an old world disease – like small pox or typhoid?  No one got that shit anymore.  But, that’s what I had – Hepatitis A, the contagious kind, and a particularly vicious strain of it, too.  The doctor hospitalized me – almost against my will.  I stayed there through the following Wednesday – the day they buried Daniel.

“Where’d you go?!” Linda cried that Wednesday night on the phone, a sense of betrayal coating her voice.

I told her what happened.

Her anguish shifted to empathy.  “Why didn’t you call me?!  I would’ve come visit you!”

“But, Daniel had just died, Linda.  And, I was in the hospital.”

“But, you’re my other son!”

I had helped Daniel pick out his burial suit in the spring of 1992.  He hadn’t bought a new suit in years.  He must have scoured through a hundred of them before he latched onto that one.  He zipped it up and stored it in the back of his closet, complete with a matching tie and a new white dress shirt.  He was proud of the ensemble; he wanted to be buried in style.

“You are going to be a pallbearer,” he asked me, “aren’t you?”

“Of course,” I said.  What a silly question.

Watching a loved one die and not being able to do anything about it is the most frustrating emotion anyone can ever experience.  I’d seen cancer consume my Aunt Mariana, my mother’s older sister, a few years earlier.  It just wouldn’t let her go, until one rainy Tuesday morning in June of 1989.  She’d already known tragedy.  Her first husband died in a freak car crash in 1968; practically leaving her to raise their six kids alone.  In January of 1983, one of her daughters took her own life.  Mariana had entered into a brief marriage with a man who – later on, as she fell ill – didn’t seem to understand she was in no mood for sex while undergoing chemotherapy.  What, I beseeched God, did she ever do to deserve all that?

I asked God the same of Daniel and Linda.  What did they ever do to bring this upon themselves?  God remained silent.  He / She always does.  But, it made me angry nonetheless, and I finally just blurted out, “Fuck you, God!,” into my darkened bedroom.

Daniel was especially close to Andrea who’d completed nursing school about two years before he passed away.  She had moved into an apartment complex across the street from him and became involved with a truck driver named Jimmy.  Jimmy was part Cherokee, too, and unfortunately, fed into the stereotype of the same drunk-ass Indian as Daniel’s father.  One night Jimmy returned to the apartment he shared with Andrea and attacked her.  She managed to call Daniel before Jimmy snatched the phone from her.  Daniel had been asleep, but donned a pair of exercise shorts, charged across the street and barreled into his sister’s apartment – where he beat Jimmy into a bloody, shriveling mess.  The police took both of them to jail, but released Daniel almost immediately.

Recollecting what his father did to his mother, Daniel was unrepentant about Jimmy.  “Now, he’s going to have to tell the guys in prison that an AIDS-infected fag beat his ass!”

In November of 1992, I happened upon the obituary for a guy I’d known in grade school.  He was 29 and had died after a “brief illness” – code words, a friend told me, for AIDS.  I revealed the true nature of Daniel’s death to only a select few people.  Even in the early 1990s, the affliction bore a terrifying stigma.   I told most everyone else – my parents, my colleagues – he’d succumbed to cancer.  I just didn’t want my folks to worry anymore about me than necessary.  My workplace, on the other hand, was populated with evangelical homophobes – the kind who preach forgiveness and compassion, but practice hate and bigotry.

Daniel always introduced me as a “true friend” to people he knew.  I was embarrassed, since I felt I was doing nothing extraordinary.  But, to Daniel, I was someone who gave my compassion and generosity, asking for nothing in return except trust and respect.  I promised him I would stay with him through the end.  And, I did – until the night he died.

For anyone who’s ever lost a relative or friend, there’s always something that triggers thoughts of that person; something relatively small and insignificant – a color, a sound…something that literally makes us stop and think about the better times we had together.  In 1992, a group called Snap! came out with a song entitled “Rhythm Is a Dancer.”  Both Daniel and I really liked that tune.  We’d visited a nightclub together in late 1992 where the deejay played it.  I don’t know what it is about that song, but it bridges a connection to Daniel and how good life was for me in the early 1990s.  So, I listen to it now, and all the feelings of  friendship and those carefree days flood my subconscious.  It’s just one of those things that transport me to ‘Way Back When.’

Daniel had two dogs when he returned to his mother’s home – a male named Alan and a female named Veronica, both Lhasa Apsos.  The male was fiercely protective of him.  The female was spoiled; Daniel had the habit of carrying her wherever they went, instead of letting her walk.  As Daniel’s health waned in the summer of 1993, he and his mother made the painful decision to turn them over to the local animal shelter.  Two years after Daniel died I seriously thought of purchasing a dog and just happened to peruse the ads of the local newspaper for animals, when I saw a blurb about an “adorable white Lhasa Apso named Alan.”  I almost fell off my easy chair.  Is it…no, it couldn’t be!  Surely, it’s not… I didn’t know what to think.  I realized, though, that I couldn’t afford a dog at the time.  I could only hope some good families adopted Alan and Veronica.

We measure the important events of our lives in the increments of time we know: one week, one year, five years, ten years.  Seven weeks after Daniel died I turned 30.  My colleagues at the bank bought me an ivy plant – which I still have – and treated me to lunch.  They also bought me a mechanical red crab emblazoned with the words ‘30 AND STILL CRABBY.’  You wind it up and it marches along the surface in the standard sideways crab walk.  I still have that crab, too, buried among my slew of possessions.  In seven weeks I’ll turn 50.  Life keeps moving, no matter who lives or dies.

I’ve always wondered why I never dreamed of Daniel.  I didn’t expect his ghostly apparition to appear before me one dark and stormy night – albeit something like that wouldn’t have frightened me.  But, I kept thinking he should at least visit me in a dream to tell me he’s alright.  Or, I hoped he would – just for my own peace.  Is he mad at me?  Did he think that I’d abandoned him at the last moment?  But then, I realized I’d never dreamed of my Aunt Mariana either.  And, we were family.  When I was a child, she’d sit me down at her dining room table and feed me.  Was she mad at me, too?

No – of course not.  I finally understood that I’ve never dreamed of them because they didn’t need me anymore; me or anyone else.  They’ve gone on to another and hopefully better life.  My job was done, as far as they’re concerned.

I did for Daniel what few people – friends or relatives – would do: I took care of him at the worst possible moments of his life.  I bathed him, I fed him, I took him shopping for that suit, I gave him all the undivided love and attention I could muster.  I even cared for his mother because her own body – racked with arthritis and emphysema – allowed her to do only so much.  Some people do good just to send a get-well card.

September 12th fell on a Sunday in 1993, and I was sick.  I couldn’t do anything about it then and I can’t do anything about it now.  I did what I could for my friend – the first friend I’ve ever had who died.  My last wish for him and everyone else who has gone before me is to know that they’re safe and happy.

I’ve finally convinced myself they are.

*All names have been changed.

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My Whorish Spirit

I wrote this poem in the summer of 1986, just as things were getting better for me, and I began to have more confidence in myself and my abilities.  By then, I had asserted my desire to become a professional fiction writer – much to the chagrin of my parents who still saw me as a computer geek.  But that’s when I first began to affirm that goals for my life must be made and pursued by me.  And I conceded I would also stand alone in accepting any unfortunate repercussions from those decisions.

I no longer feared life and he people who occupied it.  My desire for learning more about the world around me exploded, as did my passions for reading and writing.  I’d always loved the latter two, but they took on new levels of importance by 1986.  Some of my closest family members and equally close friends may have a different understanding when they hear me speak of my “whorish” nature.  And they are more than welcome to keep their mouths shut.

 

Pardon me,

If I may sound critical of I.

But I realized once a short time ago,

That I’m a whore.

A whore of the spirits.

My mind and body and everything in between are open to everyone and everything.

It’s not that I have no moral turpitude.

I’m a glutton for emotion.

I’m a fool for curiosity.

I’m in need of knowledge.

And the people who possess it.

People like you.

I’m a whore of the spirits.

Your spirit and mine.

The spirit of anyone who’s lived in this world,

And wants to share their ideals.

I’ve let myself be used for good and bad.

For all others to enjoy.

Now I demand to enjoy myself.

And be a whore for my brain.

I have no more qualms of life.

I don’t fear mysteries of the human creature.

I frolic with my pod of friends,

In orgied lusts of the good.

Beneath a midnight sky or a crystal sun,

Call me as you please.

I gleefully admit,

I’m a whore.

Because I understand my true soul.

I’m in need of company,

But only to learn.

Always and forever.

I feed from that.

I must nourish from a bountiful mass of gray matter.

It’s my blood.

It’s my breath.

Shout at me, “You whore!”

And I laugh.

“Thank you, my friend!”

Because I know who I am.

One of the spirits.

Hungrier and thirstier,

For a tapestry of brilliant introspection.

 

Image: Harvard Gazette

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While Fatigued

This is something I scribbled down on night in the spring of 1985, shortly before college spring break.  That year would turn out to be the single worst in my entire life to date.  Just about everything went wrong.  It was already starting to go wrong when I wrote this.  I was failing academically; trouble with a stupid fraternity; problems with my parents; and a dog in faltering health.  For me, the only good thing about 1985 was that it ended.

 

 

Almost midnight as the clock digitals glimmer,

And my arm has ceased to quiver.

Stopped for this moment to scribe this passage.

I want to relay a beleaguered message.

This day has run the gamut of my emotions.

They’ve slipped from private moments of joy,

To contained anger like silk lotion.

I feel a perverse love of this mixed décor.

It’s a delighted passion of my own soulful heart.

A concert of charms and spirits.

I grope in the dark amidst wrongs and rights.

Wondering if I serve purpose on this Earth.

Thinking my impact may be a single laugh.

Tired.

Hungry.

Eyes pleading for justice.

I overreact?

Underestimate?

This is the kill holding my fate.

 

Image: Christine Deschamps

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Lady Rock n’ Roll

Continuing with my poetry streak, here’s a piece I composed in December 1984.  Like “Coal Black” hints at my obsession for women with long black hair, this speaks more loudly of my love for women who play guitar – either professionally or as a hobby.  Part of the inspiration springs from my admiration for one of my favorite rock bands, “Heart,” founded by sisters Ann and Nancy Wilson more than four decades ago.  Together the duo carved their own unique path through the male-dominated world of rock music; shattering the bodice-tight image of female-as-ornament, and proving – along with a handful of similar contemporaries – that women can be both assertive and feminine.

But it also describes how emotions are often stretched in a relationship – a common theme in any genre of music – and the reality that true love, albeit subtle, is eternal.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I know so many secrets that you hold.

By chance, you remember me?

I’m the man who cut you free.

I loved every ounce of your soul until you stood on your own.

Then you dropped me like a crinkled bone.

Now I’ve returned to set myself back into your mind.

And I can see that small light of love still shines.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I recall a time when you weren’t so bold.

Wordless memories that were no mere charity.

Now that love has warped into a sense of disparity.

A split between your mind and your voice,

A painful note of distrust and noise.

I cried when I saw your spangled skin.

I felt you’d charred yourself with sordid sin.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I pray your emotions are not forever cold.

Why you’ve slipped into a neon aura is beyond my thoughts.

I remain silent, my heart bound by locks.

Please look at my face.

I can tell if you have anymore grace.

Music and emotion bring out such joy.

My eyes should tell you I’m no toy.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I know you can’t be sold.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

My senses have yet to fold.

Oh, my Lady Rock n’ Roll,

I still wish to be part of your soul.

Images: Fotolia

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Lightning Angel

This was a poem I wrote in July of 1986, when I was on a poetry kick.  My inspiration was – would you believe? – lightning in the night sky.  My father induced respect and admiration for lightning in me when I was little.  Like most small children, I was terrified of lightning and thunder.  But my father picked me up one night and carried me to a window.  He pulled open the drapes and yanked up the blinds – and told me not to be scared.  Lightning and thunder were just part of nature and nothing to be feared.  Respected, yes, but not feared.  They were born from the hands of the Great Creator.  From then on, I was never afraid of lightning or thunder again.

My father had acquired veneration for all of Earth’s natural forces from his own father who would open the drapes as a lightning storm rampaged overheard.  By contrast my grandmother was terrified and ran around the house clutching a rosary, lighting candles and ordering everyone to pray; that this is how the world will end: lightning, thunder, wind, rain – all at once and merciless.  Of course, that may be true.  But who are we to tell the Earth what to do with its tools?

My grandfather apparently displayed a sadistic streak, as his frazzled wife scampered from room to room.  “Yes,” he’d tell her.  “I just heard a report on the radio that a tornado is headed this way and sweeping up all women over age 40.”

 

Oh lightning angel.

Please smile at me.

Crackle in the caverns of that purple-black sky.

Glisten your rods of orange fire,

Whisper to me amidst vicious winds.

Please smile once more at me.

I hear your softened sensations,

And cower against your powerful heart.

Sweep my soul and steel my lungs.

Lightning angel.

Favorite of all our elements.

Looking at you from this shrinking Earth.

To your crystalline patterns.

Designs of your own creation.

Yes, lightning angel.

Gentle and sweet.

Yet you display your might.

Flashing over the silhouettes of quiet plants.

Cover my meager form on this deserted road.

Breathe your whiteness through the swollen clouds.

I reach out to you.

And wish you could take me,

Retreating back into this clouds.

But you’re alone,

In your own dimension,

In your own universe.

So I beg you please,

Just bless me with one last flare,

Before you melt,

Into that sky,

Oh lightning angel.

 

Image: Colt Forney Photography

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Closest Confidant – Or 30+ Years of a Schizophrenic Friendship

Ever have one of those curious friendships with someone where primary interaction – besides making dinner or bar-hopping plans – is ladled with trite insults and creative name-calling?  I have just such a relationship with one of my closest friends, Pierce*, whom I’ve known for some 30 years.  People who don’t know us very well often say Pierce and I sound like an old married couple and / or wonder how we could possibly be friends.  The reactions of the unfamiliars is funny in and of itself.

For one thing, Pierce and I are devout movie buffs, each having studied filmmaking in college.  He actually earned a B.A. in film and produced an extraordinary short film for his final thesis.  Sadly, despite many years of hard work and “paying his dues” – whatever the hell that’s supposed to mean! – his dreams of building a career in the personally brutal and emotionally unstable film industry disintegrated faster than foreskin-laced pizza rolls at a bar mitzvah.  Feeling somewhat dejected, Pierce returned to Dallas in 1996 and tried getting into the local film and TV business without any luck.  He worked in the marketing field for a bit and now labors over a hot p.c. for a company that’s as equally brutal and emotionally unstable as any cinematic enterprise.  But he also concentrates on his own personal screenplays.  So, like me with my writing, he hasn’t abandoned his dreams altogether!  Dreams, after all, keep you moving forward – especially if you’re trapped in an ergonomically-designed office chair alongside people whose ambitions usually mean just getting from one weekend to another without hurting a constituent or ending up homeless.

We’re both fans of one of the campiest films ever made, “Whatever Happened to Baby Jane?”  Starring Bette Davis and Joan Crawford, the 1962 black and white classic was intended to be a psychological drama, but turned out to be a desperate attempt by two aging Hollywood film divas to remain relative in a rapidly-changing American culture.  I place it in the same realm as “Barbarella” (1968) and “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975) – it’s so deliciously crass and gut-wrenchingly entertaining.  All three of those movies are hysterically bad and wrong on so many artistic levels that present-day viewers have to wonder how the cast and crew of each production managed to stay focused enough to get through the madness every day.  I’m certain surviving cast members are reluctant to admit their involvement, while remaining perplexed how such crap could metamorphose into cult classic status.  Jane Fonda usually dismisses her title role in “Barbarella” as if she was kidnaped and drugged by communist sympathizers, before being hustled off to Europe; much the same way Linda Marchiano explained her oral escapades in “Deep Throat.”

But they’re just too good to pass up!  I’ve watched them again and again for the same reason I used to watch the “Jerry Springer Show”: they’re brainlessly funny, and you just know that shit’s not real!

When I worked for a bank in downtown Dallas in the 1990s, there were two receptionists in the department whom no one really liked.  One was perpetually constipated, while the other (I’m sure) waited anxiously for the day the “Mother Ship” returned.  The cranky one elicited the most vile reactions from people, especially the women.  I jokingly referred to them as “Blanche” and “Baby Jane”, after the main characters in the aforementioned movie.  Soon, most everyone else in the department began doing the same.  I never thought sweet little me would start such a trend!

But Pierce and I often jokingly refer to each other as “Blanche” and “Baby Jane.”

“I’m like Blanche,” he tells people, “the desperate, victimized and more intelligent sibling.  He’s the tired, washed-up, alcoholic skank!”

“She may be a tired alcoholic,” I say, “but that bitch could belt out a tune like no one’s business!”

And so it goes.  He’s always mocking my appearance, and I’m always making fun of his weight.

“Mexicans who come across the border in the middle of the night, hot, hungry, thirsty and covered with burrs don’t look as half as bad as you do by 5:00 on Fridays!” he once told me.

While standing on a second-story veranda at a bar outside of down Dallas during a Friday happy hour, Pierce asked me to take a photo of him for a dating web site.  “Make me look thin,” he said.

“Oh, well then, let me drive over to Fort Worth (some 50 miles west),” I replied.

After a Friday dinner, we stepped into a curio shop where a display table overrun with stuffed animals sat in the back.  Pierce found a critter that, when wound up, would bounce around to a musical piece.  “Look!” he loudly announced to me.  “This one’s like you!  It does tricks!”  Whereupon he burst into a maniacal bwah-ha-ha type laugh.

I picked up a dachshund replica perched on its hind legs.  “And this one’s like you – it sits up and begs for it!”

Pierce and I attended the same parochial elementary school in Dallas and were altar boys at the accompanying church.  We didn’t know each other back then, but he often would tell people that we were sent there together by our frustrated parents, calling it “Bad Boys Reform School”; where he barely passed with a D-, while I ended up in a sanitarium because of my pornographic writings that involved lesbian nuns and the Mexican mafia.

Over the years I’ve cobbled together a number of the barbs Pierce and I have slung at one another.  On the surface, they may come off as a ‘Jokes for Beginning Comics’ cache.  But I it all makes for the type of goofy friendship that’s often hard to explain to outsiders.

A classic scene from a classic camp fest.

 

Pierce:  You’re so ugly, if you get lost in the woods, they just have to look for the vultures circling overhead.

The Chief: You’re so fat, if you get lost in the woods, they just have to follow the sounds of flatulence.

Pierce:  You’re so ugly grocery stores ban you from the dairy aisle.

The Chief: You’re so fat all-you-can-eat Chinese buffets turn off the ‘Open’ sign when they see you drive up.

Pierce:  You’re so ugly you scared Bigfoot.

The Chief: The last time you stepped on a scale, it said ‘Oh Jesus Christ!’

Pierce:  You’re so ugly a group of kids saw you sunbathing on the beach and said, “Look!  A dead octopus washed up!”

The Chief: You’re so fat, when you were last on the beach, Green Peace tried to drag you into the water.

Pierce:  You’re so ugly your own hands won’t masturbate you.

The Chief: You’re so fat you need two office chairs – one for your mouth, the other for your ass.

Pierce:  Your own mother denies she was there when you were born.

The Chief: How many times have you walked down the street and people ask, “Have you named the quintuplets yet?”

Pierce:  You walked into a doctor’s office and they said, “The vet’s next door!”

The Chief: People look at you and say, “Global warming is worse than I thought!  There goes Rhode Island!”

Pierce:  People see you and say, “He must have gone through hell surviving that chemical plant fire.”

The Chief: When you visited the zoo, someone announced over the loud speaker: “We found the lost elephant seal!”

Pierce:  When you took your dog to the vet, they tried to neuter YOU.

The Chief: When you ask for a seat belt extension on an airplane, they hand you a 20-foot rope.

Pierce: When you visited a plastic surgeon, they gave you a chain saw and some Super Glue®.

The Chief: Last time the Houston Ship Channel flooded, they paid you to do a cannonball into the west side of the floodwaters and force it all into the Gulf.

Pierce: You wanted to be an organ donor, and they said, “We don’t accept zombies.”

The Chief: Last time you asked someone to have sex, they said, “Great!  An orgy!”

Pierce: When you made funeral plans to be cremated, the funeral home offered you a fruit jar and a box of matches.

The Chief: Instead of a coffin, the funeral home offered you a piano case.

Pierce: You’re so fair-skinned you can’t go shirtless in the gym because people will think they’ve gone blind.

The Chief: Skin from your fat reduction surgery helped 1,000 burn victims.

Pierce: You accidentally fell into the recycle bin, and the city didn’t realize it until after they’d dragged your ass all the way to the dump.

The Chief: When you told some contractors your house had foundation problems, they said, “Move into a concrete bunker.”

Pierce: Every time you walk into a new gym, trainers say, “I don’t deal with abortion refuse.”

The Chief: Jenny Craig took one look at you and said, “Well, you win some; you lose some.”

 

One of my favorite scenes in “Barbarella” – the title character meets the “Black Queen” (Anita Pallenberg):

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