I’m swishing. Oh, you haven’t heard of swishing? It’s the latest craze with ne’er-do-well teeny boppers who spend most of their time making Facebooks and Twitters and listening to Justine Disney Beebs, apparently. All you do is take a big gulp of mouthwash, start swishing, and go about your daily routine. The trend is so hot that there have been reports of swishing sessions that last the course of an entire work day, leaving the swisher’s gum-lines shriveled and their head slightly buzzed from the low alcohol content of over-the-counter mouthwash. Of course, none of that is true, and is in fact the ramblings of a Manboy who has been swishing a little too much mouthwash lately. The irony is that the more I swish, the more addicted I become to the feeling of completely pulverizing your mouth with glorified nail polish remover. After all, that’s really what mouthwash is: a low grade, alcohol-based liquid stripper that should probably be used to polish hub caps, not sterilize our fleshy mouth parts. Then again, what kind of consumer would I be if I didn’t obey those Orwellian mouthwash commercials that demand you purge your mouth of invisible microbes with a tsunami of menthol bathtub gin? Exactly: a terrible one. So I will continue obediently swishing, until all the germs are extinguished and my tongue is a natural shade of neon green. By then I probably won’t be able to eat anything except soup, which is OK in my book. I love soup.
Pencil me in. I’m not trying to schedule a meet and greet or a meet and shame publicly, I’m simply expressing my appreciation for one of the simplest and most reliable instruments ever conceived: the pencil. Forget your dog, or the best man/maid of honor at your wedding – when it comes to Man’s Best Friend, the pencil stands alone. Or is it cheese that stands alone? Hmm. I really don’t want to offend any readers who happen to be Extreme Cheese Lovers, but then again, this blog was supposed to be all about pencils. As a compromise, for those of you who take your cheese very seriously, just replace the word “pencil” with the word “cheese” whenever it subsequently appears. That way you can have your pencil (cheese) and eat it too. See? It’s win-win. Back to pencils. Understated yet bold, durable yet precise, the pencil possesses a characteristic duality unmatched by any member of the writing utensil family. Think about it: you can bite, tap, pick and thwap that Number Two all day long and it’s not going to spring a leak and stain your new dress shirt like some instruments I know [cough] pen [cough]. Sure, pencils have a few shortcomings, like requiring constant sharpening and smelling faintly of dirty hamster cages, but these cons are overshadowed by the innumerable pros that make pencils the Writing Utensil of the People. Also, they wonderfully compliment any charcuterie or fruit plate being passed at a fancy cocktail party. That one was for you, Cheese Heads.
Pinch me. I’m having a nightmare and can’t wake up! Actually, this nightmare involves a lot of pinching, so forget the first thing I said. My nightmares tend to be quite textural. There’s a lot of scratching, and scraping, and chewing; none of that wimpy, I’m-being-chased-by-a-wolf-through-a-molasses-factory-and-I’m-wearing-high-heels stuff. That’s for little girls and over-worked molasses factory workers and diabetic wolves. No, I’m talking about the kind of nightmares in which you bite into a crispy french fry and discover it’s filled with hair, or your mouth fills up with popcorn kernels faster than you can spit them out. I guess the second one is my own fault, since I routinely shove as much popcorn into my mouth as humanly possible, and my subconscious is probably just trying to teach me a lesson about “having dignity.” But a french fry filled with hair? The horror! That’s way worse than dreaming you’re on top of the Space Needle and being robbed at Cars II DVD-point. And not only are textural nightmares horrifying and downright disgusting, but they are almost impossible to describe to another person, or group of people, without causing shame and embarrassment. “I had the scariest nightmare last night! I was eating marshmallows and all my teeth fell out!” [awkward silence, rest of football team stares at me in locker room] THEY MAKE YOU SOUND LIKE A FRUITCAKE, is what I’m trying to say. Therefore, I suffer in silence, and the world shall never know of the hair-filled french fries, the mushy popcorn kernels, and the bewitched marshmallows that relentlessly haunt my dreams. Or, wait: now it does. Nevermind.
About three years ago, Wife brought home an adorable kitten, who, for the purposes of anonymity, shall be heretofore referred to as “Cat.” Where did Wife obtain Cat? On a website. Did you hear that, Jules Verne, H.G. Wells, and Phillip K. Dick? We just cancelled our space exploration program, but it’s OK because mankind can purchase cats using an information superhighway that exists in the sky. I digress. Cat, who entered our world swaddled in velvet and rainbows and could barely fit in the palm of my sweaty hand, quickly grew into a large, predatory maniac who dwells in the under-realm and feeds on my ankles in the middle of the night. You see, much like a mosquito, or Vampyre, Cat seems to have developed an affinity for my blood. He cares not for the flesh of Wife or that of dinner guests; indeed, Cat refuses to dine on anything but the very choicest of Caucasian bone-in-ankle. This has proved bothersome because my feet tend to run hot at night, and I like to let them cool over the covers (Insolent fool! This is akin to dangling gleaming white tuna carcasses from a charter boat at midnight near Shark Island, which of course, is found in Nightmare Sea). If I listen carefully, I swear I can hear a German Witch chanting, right before a cross between a Dachsund and hyena leaps out of the shadows and sinks its teeth into my ankle-shanks. Sometimes, when Wife picks Cat up for a cuddly hug, there is a distinctive look in his lifeless doll’s eyes, directed over the shoulder of Wife and in my general direction. It is a look that says, “In time, mortal. In time.”