Tag Archives: the aristocrats

2013: Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?

Well, you know those grandiose plans you make toward the end of the year, swearing that this time, you’ll get everything done and you’ll be able to celebrate the new year in peace? Yeah. Where to begin?

Firstly, you may note that for all of the promises to keep going with the Post-Nuclear Family Gift Suggestions, the world intruded. Specifically, the latest stomach virus came through. The nicest thing that could be said about this is that at least when Stephen King wrote the novel The Stand, he had the decency to make his killer virus a respiratory flu. If it had been the stomach bug that went around last week, his editor would have read about twenty pages in, attempted to beat him to death with a pool cue, and then gone after his agent with a bowling trophy. The moans of misery, the hallucinations, the house looking as if Hunter S. Thompson had camped out in the living room for a month…when friends asked afterward what happened and I simply said “We call it…’The Aristocrats‘!”, they understood.

(A very disturbing point that came up when discussing this was how many people mistake the documentary The Aristocrats for the Disney animated film The Aristocats when getting a copy for their kids via NetFlix. Truthfully, I’m not surprised: nearly 30 years ago, when Don Johnson’s star was on the rise with Miami Vice, I was told over and over by Johnson groupies about how badly they wanted to see his first starring role in the adaptation of Harlan Ellison’s “A Boy and His Dog.” To an individual, they were certain that this was a Disney film, too, based on the title.)

Anyway, the flu is banished, the house is relatively clean (the bathroom is literally clean enough to eat in, and that’s after a week of it looking like a location set for Apocalypse Now, and then disaster struck again. Thumb drive insanity with the new Web site update, with no possibility of getting it fixed on a holiday week. At this point, it’s time to call it quits, because it ain’t getting any better between now and midnight.

And so I wish all of you a good year in 2014, because we deserve at least one good one in a string of duds. If you’re in Dallas over this week, use the weekend as an opportunity to view the Chinese Lantern Festival in Fair Park before it goes; if not, have fun wherever you are. Me, I’m planning on hunting down Old Man 2013 and giving him quite the sendoff. If I time it just right, I might need a new left boot to replace the one I left with him, too.

Personal interlude

North Texas is not a good place to get sick, and the end of May is a good time if you really feel like taking out your nasal passages with muriatic acid and ice picks. It’s bad enough that the local plants respond to impending blast-furnace temperatures by spreading pollen across the countryside in a desperate hope of reproducing their genes before they die. (In many ways, plants in North Texas are like the attendees at a comics convention.) It’s bad enough that prevailing south winds blow up Austin’s, Houston’s, and San Antonio’s respective fugs and drop it right atop Dallas. (When friends ask me if I want to come to Austin, I tell them all I need to do is inhale deeply inside of a hipster bar while its patrons cough and sneeze in my face to catch the whole experience.) It’s bad enough that more sensitive co-workers adjust to the increasing heat by turning down the air conditioning to liquid-nitrogen superconductor level, which leads to a much larger shock when they finally step outside during the worst of the heat at closing time. It’s bad enough that all of the children in the state grab souvenirs from their classmates on the last day of school in the form of exotic and horrible diseases and share them with everyone in the neighborhood. Combine all of these, and you understand why I was afraid the neighbors would hear my influenza-inspired coughing and sniffling, chain the front door shut, and write “DON’T OPEN – DEAD INSIDE” on the front of the house. And I wouldn’t have blamed them.

The Czarina is doing her best to assist with getting me back to full form. Decent food, herbal teas, generally checking up to make sure that my skull hasn’t filled with phlegm. Of course, I know that this won’t last, because she’ll want to go to bed soon. At that point, she’ll crank the AC down to “comfortable” levels, meaning that she’ll sleep soundly but I’ll be pulling ice crystals out of my gums. The only time she ever freaks out over cold is when it’s outside, and I suspect that she fills her pillows with dry ice when I’m not looking.

Being this ill, though, does a wonderful job at preparing me for my impending mortality. I know now that my last moments are going to involve yet another flu-instigated bout of pneumonia, three bouts of which have nearly killed me in the past. It’ll be when the doctor comes into the hospital room to check on me and charge my bill for another “consultation” that I’ll finally go. That’s at the point where I start coughing. Then retching. Then performing a perfect recreation of John Hurt’s final scene in Alien, with my spleen baring sharp teeth, hissing, and running across the room. I’ll be coughing up blood, coughing up urine, coughing up xenon gas (my favorite after-dinner tipple), and you don’t want to know what’ll be coming out of my tear ducts. I’ll finally flop back on the bed, bile and insulin and navel lint dripping off the ceiling, before rising slightly as the doctor screams and runs away like a little girl and the nurses ask “What the HELL happened?”

At that point, I’ll gasp “We call it…(wheeze) ‘The Aristocrats’!” *thud*