I stare into the abyss, my soul a smoking ruin of what I thought it once was. I have transgressed every boundary, indulged in fiendish taboo, and done things which will haunt me the rest of my days. Truly, I have no need to search out any longer the heart of darkness, for it beats within my breast and fills me with revulsion.
I had thought myself a man, but now must confront the terrible reality that I am little more than a frothing beast.
The day started inauspiciously when the boy awoke me at 7 AM. On a Saturday morning. I mean, really, isn't there a cartoon or a gun or something to distract him somewhere?
"Daddy, I have something important to tell you," he said. "Wake up."
"Is there a fire?"
"Is it wild animals?"
"Is it a zombie attack?"
"Then go back to bed or go play or something. Daddy's tired."
"Daddy, listen to me. It's more important than all those things."
Now, that got my attention. More important than a zombie attack? Really? So I pulled myself into that region of semi-consciousness where you hope to be able to flop right back to sleep, but you can still carry on a conversation without snoring through the important parts.
"Daddy, I wanted to warn you that somebody pee'd all over the floor in the bathroom."
Okay, let's review: it's seven in the morning and only one person is out of bed, the seven-year-old boy. The other child is a girl. The floor was dry when I left the bathroom last night.
Can even Columbo crack this crime?
"Can you clean it up?"
"I think so."
"Good. Go do that."
So he left, and somehow I managed to go back to sleep for a little while longer. When I woke up, I of course went to the bathroom, hoping that the conversation had all been just in my imagination.
Sadly it was true.
You know what was just my imagination, though? The idea that the boy would do a half-decent job of cleaning piss off the bathroom floor.
Wifey bitches about this all the time, but I pretty much play it off. I mean, good aim comes with time. You can't just command a little guy to shoot straight, particularly in the morning.
I'll be damned if I didn't think about putting him in diapers, though, as I stood there with piddle soaking through my socks.
After I'd cleaned the bathroom it was time for us to have breakfast. Only, supplies were running low. Which is to say that supplies are out. Apparently Wifey left us food only for seven days. That, or somebody had several breakfasts in one sitting. Personally I suspect that the family member who gets out of bed far earlier than everyone else has been having two breakfasts.
After breakfast it was time for us to go to the electronics store, the happiest place on Earth. As a bribe, I told the kids that on the way home we'd pick up McDonald's, and their attitudes went from sulky to smiling in 0.2 seconds. See how easy that was? I got to go to the electronics store, and they never had to know that I'm totally out of anything to feed them.
I won't brag about my trip to the electronics store other than to say that it was everything I'd hoped it would be, and more. If you really want to start a store that will lure in men, you'd have bikini babes strutting around on high heels with a bar in the corner and row after row of cheap electronics while all of the giant flatscreen TV's played video highlights of the previous week's touchdowns, home runs, and injuries.
So you can take that in your feminism pipe and smoke it.
At McDonald's, I ordered the M. I don't know if you guys have this in the US, but if you do, I highly suggest that begin consuming them in large quantites before health nuts ruin this like they did the caramel milkshake. It is the best McDonald's sandwich I have ever eaten, and it almost ruined my marriage once.
We were at McDonald's a few years ago, and they were doing a survey of women to see how they liked the M. So they gave one to Wifey, and she tried it, and she didn't like it. So she rated it poorly, even after I'd tasted it and gone into heaven and punched my own daughter to keep her away from it and eaten the entire free sample that Wifey had received.
She rated it poorly! Now really, outside of the bedroom I hask Wifey to do anything for me. Is it so hard for her to lie on a survey to McDonald's in order to get them to come out with the greatest sandwich ever? They didn't release the M for years after that, and the whole time I was mad and I let her know about it.
She'd say "can you hand me that, please?"
And I'd say "I would, except you torpedoed the greatest sandwich ever invented, you bitter old harpy. Your palate is as refined as a hobo who's been subsisting on shoe leather and dog vomit."
Not coincidentally, I rarely got laid during this period, too. But finally McDonald's released the M and our marriage was saved.
What was I writing about again? Oh, yeah, lunch.
So after lunch (which was awesome. I'm salivating just thinking about it) we went out to test-fire the catapult. I had a variety of objects to throw, from a bowling pin to a toy car to a tennis ball. I'd worked quite a bit on the basket and the pivot, and all was in readiness. We drove out to the school's football field so we could test its accuracy under a variety of circumstances, from using the bungee cords to hand-firing it.
We set it up. The kids fell silent. I decided that for the first test-fire I'd hand-fire it, since in my preliminary preparation the bungee cords seemed kind of wussy, and I wanted the first shot to be impressive.
I slammed down on the counterweight, and POW!
My catapult exploded in my face. Shards of PVC rained over me. The children laughed like drunken hyenas.
I'd broken my catapult. I could have cried.
Now, feminist theorists will tell you that a man's attachment to weapons and guns is a method of overcompensation because he has a below-average endowment, but I can assure you that this is not the case. I am still hung like a donkey on Viagra. I even checked my pants later to make sure, becuase I did get showered with PVC, and everybody knows that's a chemical name that means Penilius Varicosilius Chemicilium which is latin for "Dangerous Chemical Substance that Probably Cuases Erectile Dysfunction."
Nevertheless, and all Freudian significance aside, I have a broken catapult.
I spent a few hours back at home on the couch, in a daze, mourning my broken catapult. It really wasn't fair. All I wanted was to be able to launch rotted fruit at the retirement community across the way, where they often come out on their balconies in see-through too-small bathrobes and nothing else. Is there something wrong with that?
But I couldn't fix it, because the children simply wouldn't hear of going to the hardware store and the electronics store on the same day. Stupid wiener kids.
Eventually they started agitating for dinner, which is what kids will do, which is why the Donner party ate them first. So I went to the cupboard and, like Mother Hubbard before me, found it bare. So I searched and I searched and I searched and I found two things: some hot dogs (in a jar, like those aborted baby pigs you see pickled in science class) and a can of haggis.
We're not Scottish. Why in heaven's name do we have haggis? I vaguely remember trying some at a store once; did I actually buy a can? Was I mentally ill at the time?
I checked the ingredients, trying to work up the courage to eat it. Here's what it said: "Sheep Lungs, 45%. Sheep intestines, stomach, other parts: 25%. Some filler."
What the hell do you use as filler for a mix of lungs, intestines, and stomach?
So I looked over at the jar of hot dogs, which was written in Dutch, which meant that it contained "zeilieberstregensgkreeftdravenklaspfaffer."
For all I know, that's their word for "stuff so disgusting that Scottish people wouldn't touch it with a ten foot pole."
"Hey kids," I asked. "Hot dogs or haggis?"
"Famine," the girl said.
"Hot dogs," the boy said.
So I fed them hot dogs, and I had haggis. I mean, how bad could it be?
Well, when it was ready it looked like somebody'd taken maggots and seaweed and mixed them up with some really old sausage. And you know what? I've developed the theory that the smell of a sheep's breath isn't because of it's mouth, it's because of it's lungs.
Then you eat it, and you discover that its appearance and malodor is only the beginning of haggis' charm. It tastes awful. And it lands in your stomach gently, like a cloud.
Well, a cloud of bricks falling off of a skyscraper.
It's hours later and I'm still tasting it. No wonder William Wallace didn't mind being disemboweled. It's probably the only way to get haggis out of your system.
Wifey can't come back soon enough. I was just pondering that when I got a phone call from her just after I put the children to bed. She was distraught.
"I missed my plane this morning!" she said in a panic. "I swear to God, the way this trip's going I'll never make it back East in time to catch my plane back tomorrow."
"NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!" I said. "You listen to me and you listen to me good! You catch a plane, or a bus, or a car, or a fast mule, or whatever and you get your ass to the airport and you get your ass on a plane and you get your ass back here! I have had enough of this!"
There was a long pause, and she finally says "Jesus, what did you eat? I can smell it over the phone."
Nine down, two to go.