Friday, October 20Lost Friday - "Further Instructions."
Season 3 - Episode 3: "Further Instructions."
Another Lost Friday is upon us; we have much to discuss. For example, my urine has turned a shade of neon green.
Let me back up for a second.
I'm taking a new multivitamin that's supposed to rid my body of various toxins, along with whatever horrible things I expect it to digest and convert into waste matter. The side effect has been bright green urine, arriving about 10 times a day. If anyone out there wants to fancy a guess as to what's going on with me, I'd be glad to hear about it in the comments section. It's starting to bother me, as you would assume.
Now we can move on.
Well, we got our first Locke episode of the season. Finally, we got the answers to some of the more biting questions like...wait a minute... we got nothing! What did I just watch? An infomercial for the Juice Tiger could have gotten me more answers than "Further Instructions."
Okay, so we got to see how the beach was doing after the capture/implosion, and we got to (sort of) find out the fates of Locke, Eko and Desmond, but the reassurance was far from rewarding. Throw a CGI-polar bear and a greenhouse full of weed into the mix, and you've got something far from what's expected of this show. I'm not complaining (I am), I'm just wondering if the writers know that viewers are losing faith in the product.
The Skinny will make me feel all better.
("I've got a truck full of guns and a greenhouse full of weed...life is good.")
The episode opens with a shot of Locke's eye, and then a shot of the jungle (in a manner very reminiscent of Pilot, part 1). He sees Desmond running naked through the jungle, and is nearly hit on the head by Eko's stick when it falls from the sky. Locke gets up and returns to camp.
For the time being, he is mute and communicates with Charlie using a pad and pen. Locke creates a hallucinogen and has a vision in a sweat lodge he just constructed. In the vision, Boone appears as his guide. At the end of the vision, Boone tells Locke that he has to "clean up his own mess." After the vision, Locke is able to speak.
("Look Charlie, British or not, I'm cutting off that mullet.")
Locke and Charlie go in search of Eko and find that the hatch has imploded; Locke, Eko, and Desmond, however, were apparently blown out of the hatch. Tracking Eko, they find a boar freshly killed by a polar bear and then meet Hurley who is on his way back from the confrontation with The Others. They warn him about the polar bear, and tell him to return to the beach and deliver The Others' message. Locke and Charlie discover that Eko was dragged into a cave by a polar bear. Locke rescues Eko using hairspray and his torch as a makeshift flamethrower, and he and Charlie take him back to the beach.
("You've got to lift it up, brother.")
While Hurley is wandering back to camp, he comes across a naked Desmond. Hurley gives him a tie-dyed shirt from his backpack and brings him back to camp. Mysteriously, Desmond mentions a speech that Locke will give later on.
The episode ends with Locke giving said speech, telling Claire, Paulo, and Nikki that he is going to find Jack, Kate and Sawyer. Hurley realizes that Desmond might be able to see into the future. Nikki is impatient, and asks Hurley when he was going to tell them that Jack, Kate and Sawyer were taken, even though he just got back to the beach.
("Hi, I just wanted to pop in and let you know how sexy I am. All right, carry on.")
The episode's flashback concerns Locke when he worked and lived on a rural commune. After picking up a work-seeking hitchhiker during a rainstorm, Eddie, Locke brings him to the commune, and tries to integrate him into the community there. Locke feels connected to the commune because of the sense of family and faith it has, something John is desperately lacking.
Eddie soon gains his trust, and Locke is about to tell him what is in the mysterious, guarded commune greenhouse. However, before he can reveal the secret, Locke learns the leaders of the commune have discovered that Eddie is an undercover cop; Eddie has seen massive amounts of fertilizer being unloaded off trucks and brought into the greenhouse. He thinks that they're planning to use it in a bomb (also implying that they're a militia), when in fact the greenhouse is filled with marijuana. The leaders are concerned that Eddie is going to blow the whistle on their sticky weed situation.
("Locke took matters into his own hands after Eddie swindled him out of his second kidney.)
For fear of losing his new family, John takes Eddie hunting, with the idea that he will kill him to "cover up his mess," a problem John is also dealing with on the island. In the end, John can't pull the trigger, and Eddie walks away.
Well, there you go. You know what? I take back all the mean things I said about this episode. It was okay. Make with the numbers.
(Gratuitous shot of Sun, who was only on camera for a tenth of a second this week.)
4 - It seems like they cut a few minutes from this episode. The TiVo had it scheduled until 9:03c, yet it was over by 9:00c. I noticed a few things from the promo (Locke talking to his knife; drawing the weird face in the notebook) and a few things from the episode description (Nikki & Paulo having sex in Jack's tent) were cut. Perhaps they cut a couple minutes at the last second for no reason? Beats me, but things were clearly cut. I'm just sayin' is all.
(Years too late, Locke comes up with the perfect quote for his Senior yearbook.)
8 - Locke's flashback ended abruptly. Apparently, we're supposed to believe that John instantly jumped ship on the granola community when they got busted, got paralyzed and started working at a box company. For as rushed as this episode was, not too much was advanced as far as plot. Furthermore, has there ever been a more betrayed character in television history than John Locke? He's the Julius Caesar of the 21st Century.
In a parallel to last week's episode, Eddie tells Locke that he's not a murderer and wouldn't shoot him. Only this time around, Eddie was right and didn't get capped by a bloodthirsty Sun.
(I didn't know they hired undercover cops directly out of middle school.)
15 - The hitch-hiker was wearing a Geronimo Jackson shirt, which the commune leader immediately recognized. At first, this seemed like a cheap in-joke to me. But once I realized that the hitch-hiker was actually a cop, it was pretty funny to realize that he was wearing the shirt solely so the hippies would accept him as one of their own. Hippies are dumb like that; as long as there's pot around, they'll be friends with anybody.
(There's no caption that could possibly make this photo any funnier.)
16 - Desmond can predict the immediate future now. Good for him! Clearly, something specific happened to each of the 3 people involved in the hatch implosion. Hopefully, we'll get to the bottom of that soon enough. I saw a theory that perhaps time is screwed up for everyone on the island, so some people are seeing flashbacks and others are seeing flash-forwards. If this is determined to be true, I'll murder someone.
However, I can't help but notice that Desmond has a lot more facial hair now than when the hatch imploded; lots more than Eko or Locke. Also remember that whenever The Terminator time-traveled, his clothes wouldn't make the journey. Food for thought.
23 - Speaking of Desmond, can someone get this guy a pair of pants? We can't have him walking around in a XXXXL tye-dye for the rest of the season...or can we?
(He was only captured for a few hours, but Eko managed to eat 29 people during this time.)
42 - There was a skeleton in the polar bear cave that had a DHARMA 'Pearl Station' outfit on. This plays into the theory that not only is The DHARMA Initiative out of commission, but something went very wrong at the onset.
Again, forget every negative thing I said about this episode. It contained more questions and mythology of any episode so far this season, and for that I am grateful. It's preview time.
(This episode will be rated TV-14 for 'Excessive Sodomy.')
- Episode 4 will be titled "Every Man For Himself."
- It appears to be a Sawyer-centric episode.
- The official press release reads as follows: "Sawyer discovers just how far his captors will go to thwart any plans of escape he and Kate might have, and Jack is called upon to scrub up in order to save the life of one of the Others. Meanwhile, Desmond's behavior begins to perplex the survivors when he starts construction on an unknown device."
(One way or another, the Others are going to get that stool sample from Sawyer.)
- Taken from E! Online: "Sawyer will flashback, and we'll learn something about his role in this world. Sawyer is going to have a very bad day (as you saw from the promo), and Kate will be mostly clueless as to why. Jack will start to play Julia. Niki will talk to Desmond. (If it doesn't get cut out.) Henry will have a bizarre reveal to Sawyer that, if true, will change what we know about Lost island.
- Episodes 5 & 6 (before the winter break) will be Eko and Kate-centric, respectively. They both look amazing.
Well, that closes the book on yet another Lost Friday. Sound off in the comments section or send an e-mail to email@example.com. If you feel like giving me money, make a donation or buy some merch by clicking the links at the top of the page. In the meantime, check out The Coconut Internet and tell them the CDP sent you. Have a good weekend.
Thursday, October 19Trilogy Of The Mediocre.
Here's 3 quick tidbits for you, thus finally cleaning out the CDP's backlog of mediocre posts. Thanks for sticking it out with me; a great Lost Friday arrives tomorrow, better material arrives next week.
Tidbit #1 - "$40 In 14 Days."
(Originally written in mid-September.)
I haven't been this broke in years.
I work a white-collar job, so I've grown accustomed to getting paid every two weeks. This translates to 26 checks a year, depending on when or if I get fired. If you're like me, you rely on these 2.17 checks per month to handle your bills and living expenses, keeping you out of hock (and your wife's purse) for another few days. I've adjusted my living and bill-paying schedule to work around these two checks per month, and it suits me just fine.
However, because I get paid weekly and not monthly, there are those two times per year in which I get three paychecks in one month. These are what I like to call "free money checks," or "super terrific happy checks," and I look forward to them like I do Christmas or a brand new season of Yes, Dear. It's a chance for me to see what it's like to have an extra thousand dollars in my wallet to spend completely as I please.
As luck would have it, one of these "super terrific happy checks" fell into my lap in the midst of our move to the new place. This could not have come at a better time, as there were a lot of household things I needed to buy that I wouldn't normally be able to afford. So I blew that check faster than a drunk on payday, purchasing a new bed, computer desk, bookshelf, barstools, video games, DVD's, CD's, escorts, smack, midgets and other various wears that I absolutely needed to survive. I completely obliterated that bonus check, like it wasn't even there.
In the end, my place looked pretty nice because of it, but it came back to bite me in the rear.
You see, while I was carelessly spending and adjusting to the new Headquarters, the bills started piling up. Because the Post Office was forwarding our mail, they were hanging onto a lot of our mail to send at a later date. On the surface, It looked as if I had no bills to pay. In reality, I was about to receive about a dozen of them at once, and they all needed to be paid NOW!
The day I got my next paycheck, I went out to the mailbox to find over a thousand dollars worth of bills staring back at me. Because of the afformentioned address change, they were all sent to me late, and needed to be paid instantly. I went in the house and wrote many a check, watching my bank balance dwindle out of control. When the dust settled, I was left with $40.
Five minutes after I got paid, I was already down to $40, plus whatever meager scraps I had in my savings account. I had to make this money last two weeks, and God help me if any other bills showed up between now and then.
Granted, I was responsible enough to pay all of my bills in advance, but still, two weeks on fourty dollars? This was simply not going to happen. What about my 4 lunchtime martinis? What about that sushi place I attend on the weekends that lets you eat salads off of naked asian women? What about my secret shadow family?
I was in a lot of trouble.
I knew I was going to have to go into a spending lockdown for the remainder of September, so I decided to maintain a diary to keep me focused. Here then, the results.
Thursday, September 14:
Packed a lunch for work. Already down to 3/4 of a tank of gas. If I have to fill up soon, I'm screwed. Went home instantly after work, didn't even bother to check mail. Missus went out for dinner with a friend. Laid on floor and watched Hogan Knows Best for three hours.
Friday, September 15:
Packed a lunch for work. Didn't check gas gauge; too scared. Also due for oil change; will have to wait a few weeks. Went home instantly after work, ate some veggie corndogs, watched Dateline and went to bed by 10.
Saturday, September 16:
Went to Cheese Days festival in Monroe, Wisconsin. The Missus drove and paid for lunch. Sticking to just the essentials, I spend $8.39 on a bottle of Cherry Tart beer from the New Glarus Brewery.
My balance is now $31.61.
Sunday, September 17:
Needing (not wanting) a set of drum kit silencers, I put $60 on the credit card to obtain them. The Missus orders a pizza for dinner, and I purchase WWE Unforgiven on Pay-Per-View for $40. That bill will come later, therefore it does not really exist.
Monday, September 18:
Packed a lunch for work. Went straight home; almost out of gas. Refused to leave the house for the remainder of the evening, despite the Missus' insistance.
Tuesday, September 19:
Bought a 16" sub for lunch, go straight home on gas fumes. I'm now down to $23.61.
Wednesday, September 20:
Call in sick. Must use $20 to buy gas. Eat nothing until dinner. I'm now down to $3.61
Thursday, September 21:
Packed a lunch for work. Went straight home, spent nothing.
Friday, September 22:
Packed a lunch for work. Went straight home, spent nothing. I'm dead inside.
Saturday, September 23:
Walked around local stores, looking at things to buy once I get paid. Went home and watched Wrestlemania DVD's until midnight while the Missus was away. She's presumably spending time with a guy who has money.
Sunday, September 24:
Watched football and went grocery shopping. The total at the supermarket was $218. The Missus paid for everything and I broke my 3-day fast. Instantly threw up and passed out.
Monday, September 25:
Packed a lunch for work. Went straight home. Thought about all the disappointing and overrated CD's I wasn't buying.
Tuesday, September 26:
Packed a lunch for work. Went Straight home; Missus ordered a pizza and didn't share.
Wednesday, September 27:
Paycheck arrived in mail. Resumed life of excess and folly.
Not only did I survive, I actually had a few bucks left over. It made me realize that I was more than capable of saving my money for things like vacations, student loan payments and returement.
Screw it, I've got 14 albums to buy.
Tidbit #2 - "The Electric Green Routine."
Every day, I work harder to better resemble the man that my wife wanted to marry (Johnny Depp). Failing that, I simply try to keep a good routine for myself as to not get stale (read: fat). Here's an example of what I typically do during the week:
6:00am - Wake up and get ready for work. Shave, brush, wipe, pick and scrub as needed. Repeat.
6:30am - Eat a small breakfast of cereal and toast. Milk, juice or booze is optional. Watch news.
7:00am - Leave for work. Sing loudly and constantly forget to use turn signal. Terrify pedestrians.
7:30am - Arrive at work. Sit in dark; as office doesn't officially open until 9am. Take first nap of day.
9:00am - Work. Organize paper clips by varying size, shape and taste. Do the same for all pens.
1:00pm - Eat lunch. Fruits, carbs, veggies and pudding are all for the taking. Eat a sub instead.
1:45pm - Continue to work. Re-arrange cubicle for the hundredth time; order new ergonomic stapler.
4:00pm - Leave work. Sing even louder and attempt to pull wheel from column. Succeed and crash.
4:30pm - Get home. Clean lightly, feed the cats and check the mailbox. Throw out any bills and cats.
4:45pm - Exercise. 20 minutes on arms, 20 minutes on abs, 20 minutes on treadmill. Repeat until sexy.
5:45pm - Wife arrives home from work. Jump into shower and change pants. Don't reverse order.
6:30pm - Eat dinner in front of television. Watch TiVo'ed shows from last week. Converse with Missus.
8:00pm - Freestyle. Usually consisting of leaving house and spending money on something I don't need.
9:45pm - Wife goes to bed. I continue to watch TV in rumpus room while writing my next awesome post.
11:00pm - Go to bed, feeling dirty, sad and confused over what just transpired. Forget to set alarm.
The exercise portion of the routine was just added after a two year (and 15 pound) absence. The primary goal being that I'd look a lot sexier in t-shirts if my arms were bigger and my gut was smaller. Done. My limbs are hurting right now, but I'm hoping to see results in a few weeks.
Part of this routine has me eating a daily multivitamin that's roughly the size of a child's shoe. This multivitamin is causing me, for some reason, to urinate 8 times a day in a strange shade of electric green. However, if that's the price to pay for larger arms, I'm standing firm, green pee and all.
Tidbit #3 - "Let's Get Charitable!"
Never let it be said that the CDP doesn't care about the little people. Not dwarfs, though; they scare the crap outta me. Here's what I've done since the birth of the CDP in 2004:
In 2004, the CDP donated over $100 to Planned Parenthood of Wisconsin.
In 2005, the CDP donated over $150 to HospiceCare National.
In 2006, the CDP will donate at least $100 to a chosen charity. But which one?
I'm not asking you to donate money (any money donated to the CDP goes directly into my pockets, no questions asked, so go up to the sidebar and take care of that, won't you?), I'm asking you to tell me who to donate to. Give me suggestions in the comments section or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thanks much.
Lost Friday arrives tomorrow. I feel cleansed and ready to tango.
Wednesday, October 18The Final Survey.
(Day 3 of 'All Posts Must Go!' week continues. Thank you for your patience while I clean out the archives.)
The following survey was in the CDP Inbox last week. Instead of tossing it, like I toss all of my fan mail and 8x10 glossy requests, I filled it out in the hopes of never receiving one again.
Enjoy, I suppose.
Survey: Tell Me Everything!
Full Name - The CDP.
Birthday - February of 1982.
Age - Twenty-Four (far too old for this).
Height - 5'10".
Weight - 160, pushing for 250.
Hair Color - Blonde; currently dyed 'Cinnamon Brown.'
Eye Color - A boring shade of Hazel.
Where were you born? - Neenah, Wisconsin.
Do you have siblings? - Yep.
How many? - One.
Their ages? - Nineteen.
Genders? - Female.
Names? - The Sissus.
Color - Black; it goes with everything.
Movie - Pulp Fiction.
Book - Johnny Got His Gun, By Dalton Trumbo.
Song - 'Holiday' By Weezer. It changes on a weekly basis, however.
Music Style - Drums, Guitar, Bass and Vocals always does it for me.
Band - No band has done more for rock music than the Beatles. Sorry.
Actor - Samuel L. Jackson in Pulp Fiction.
Actress - Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction.
TV Show - Mystery Science Theater 3000 & The Simpsons.
Animal - The Domestic Cat. Preferrably Siamese.
Food - Pasta Alfredo. Don't skimp on the Alfredo; I've got weight to gain.
Director - Christopher Nolan; I'm seeing The Prestige on Friday.
Author - I'm a fan of the Disinformation collective.
Hobby - Writing about my hobbies.
School Subject - Music Production.
Flavor - Flav'.
Day of the week - Sunday.
Store - I spend way too much money at Best Buy and Express.
Restaurant - Fyfe's in Madison. I like the Olive Garden, as well.
Sport - Professional Football; College Basketball; Fake Wrestling.
Cartoon Character - Hank Scorpio.
Perfume/Cologne - Swiss Army.
Word - Cacophony.
Candy - Krackel.
Shape - The Right Angle.
Pizza Topping - Spinach & Mushrooms.
Clothing Brand - Express, OBEY.
Shoe Brand - Skechers have been good to me recently. I used to wear Airwalk.
Teacher - Mrs. Broderick; Kindergarten.
Instrument - Percussion is the only real instrument.
Number - Zero. It goes with everything.
Car - MINI Cooper.
Month - October.
Season - Autumn. It's the most emo of seasons.
Theme - Hawaii 5.0. I'm not sure this was the question, but I'm going with it.
Holiday - Halloween; it's a holiday, turd.
Letter - W, because it's the only three-syllable letter.
Magazine - Entertainment Weekly, I guess. I don't read many magazines.
State - Wisconsin is the best state in the nation.
Country - Canada or England.
City - Madison, Wisconsin. I'm living the dream.
Dessert - Ben & Jerry's Mint Chocolate Cookie ice cream.
Sports Team - Packers, Red Sox & Kentucky Wildcats. It's been a rough year.
Place to Hang - My house. It contains everything I own.
Do you look for in a guy/girl? - Humor, good grammar, intelligence.
School do you attend? - I haven't attended school since January of 2004.
Qualities should your friends have? - They should make me less of an ass.
Is your earliest memory? - My Dad throwing up while changing my diaper.
Best memory? - The first time I smooched the Missus.
Worst memory? - I block bad memories from my psyche. Who are you, again?
Do in your spare time? - TV, music, writing, reading, eating grilled cheese. The usual.
Is/are your pet peeve(s)? - Driving whilst on the phone; the human race in general.
Do you like to learn about? - Science, Biographies, Psychology, How people work.
Do you Treasure most? - The Missus. Or my CD collection.
Do you Miss the most? - Unemployment.
Looks matter to you? - Not really, unless they're required for the position.
You get jealous easy? - Not anymore. I'm secure with being a complete failure.
You have a short temper? - I'll kill you! I'll kill all of you!
You enjoy music, theatre, culture? - Most of it. Perhaps not as much as I should.
You like to cook? - I love to cook, but I suck at it.
Can you cook? - Not at all. I should take a class or something.
You have bad habits? - Hundreds. Maybe millions.
What are they? - Typical OCD-related behavior. I've spell-checked this thing 29 times.
Do you have a boyfriend/girlfriend? - I have a wife. It's like having a girlfriend with money.
How many b/f or g/f’s have you had in your life? - Maybe a half-dozen. Not too many.
What's your longest relationship? - The Missus; almost seven years and counting.
Which do you prefer?
Black or White? - Color-wise or people-wise? I'm too afraid to answer.
Action or Comedy? - Good comedy always beats good action. It's much harder to do.
Fantasy or Non-fiction? - Non-fiction, all the damn way.
Fruits or veggies? - Veggies. I have scurvy.
Pop or juice? - Pop? You must be from Wisconsin. Where's the bubbler?
Pie or cake? - Pie-flavored cake.
Mountains or beach? - The Beach, although I cannot swim.
Country or city? - I prefer to work in the city and live in the country for now.
Classical or rock? - Rawk.
Rap or hip-hop? - Crunk.
Movies or books? - Books. Movies have really bored me lately.
Winter or summer? - Winter.
Spring or fall? - Fall.
Math or English? - Math; English has no rules. It's impossible, even though I'm skilled at it.
Do you believe in true love? - I don't know, but I definitely believe in false love.
Is love magical? - If you're married to Lance Burton, then certainly.
Can love last forever? - Absolutely, provided you're immortal.
Is fighting good for a relationship? - It depends on if it causes healthy progress or not.
Do you believe in love at first sight? - I believe in infatuation that turns into love, so yes.
Have you ever been in love? - Yep.
Are you in love now? - Yep.
Would you do anything for the one you love? - Nope. I'll shave when I want to.
Date - June 19, 2004. That was a great date.
Night out - Dinner, dessert, drinks and a designated driver.
Day - Waking up in a foreign hotel with the Missus and a trillion dollar bill.
Love - I don't understand the question.
House - Something so minimalist that I can't even get inside.
Dream - That one where I'm on the Japanese game show with Sara Rue.
Describe your personality as best you can - People-alienating; difficult.
Describe your love's personality as best you can - Unwavering and dependable.
Never send me these again; but please do send fan mail and 8x10 glossy requests to email@example.com. Thank you for your patronage; I'll see you tomorrow.
Tuesday, October 17Guitar Hero 2 Setlist.
Guitar Hero 2 will be released for the PS2 on November 7. Here now, the confirmed final setlist:
1. Opening Licks
Mötley Crüe - "Shout at the Devil"
Danzig - "Mother"
Cheap Trick - "Surrender"
Wolfmother - "Woman"
Spinal Tap - "Tonight I'm Gonna Rock You Tonight"
KISS - "Strutter"
Nirvana - "Heart-Shaped Box"
The Police - "Message in a Bottle"
Van Halen - "You Really Got Me"
Kansas - "Carry On Wayward Son"
Foo Fighters - "Monkey Wrench"
Alice in Chains - "Them Bones"
Iggy Pop and The Stooges - "Search and Destroy"
The Pretenders - "Tattooed Love Boys"
Black Sabbath - "War Pigs"
4. Thrash and Burn
Warrant - "Cherry Pie"
Butthole Surfers - "Who Was in My Room Last Night?"
Matthew Sweet - "Girlfriend"
The Rolling Stones - "Can't You Hear Me Knocking"
Guns N' Roses - "Sweet Child O' Mine"
5. Return of the Shred
Rage Against the Machine - "Killing in the Name"
Primus - "John the Fisherman"
The Sword - "Freya"
Thin Lizzy - "Bad Reputation"
Aerosmith - "Last Child"
6. Relentless Riffs
Heart - "Crazy on You"
Stone Temple Pilots - "Trippin' On a Hole in a Paper Heart"
Stray Cats - "Rock This Town"
The Allman Brothers Band - "Jessica"
Jane's Addiction - "Stop!"
7. Furious Fretwork
Anthrax - "Madhouse"
The Living End - "Carry Me Home"
Lamb of God - "Laid to Rest"
The Reverend Horton Heat - "Psychobilly Freakout"
Rush - "YYZ"
Avenged Sevenfold - "Beast and the Harlot"
Suicidal Tendencies - "Institutionalized"
Dick Dale - "Misirlou"
Megadeth - "Hangar 18"
Lynyrd Skynyrd - "Free Bird"
In addition, there will be 24 extra "indie" songs by bands such as Every Time I Die and Voivod.
You're welcome. Enjoy your day; here's your moment of zen:
Monday, October 16Why I Have A Mouth Full Of Fillings.
(This is the most bizarre story I could ever tell you about a Dentist. Take from that what you will.)
It was about two or three years ago. Me and the Missus were chatting in the living room like we normally do, taking heroic shots of Paint Thinner and watching an infomercial for the Miracle Blade 'Rock-N-Chop.' You know, just enjoying the afternoon.
Okay, let me stop right there; a lot of that isn't really true. For starters, it was much later in the evening. Also, due to my impaired mental state, the Missus looked suspiciously like a stick of butter. Let's continue.
Butter Stick starts talking about going to the Dentist for a cleaning, which was something we both were long overdue for. She gets into telling me about her previous Dentist, who didn't believe in painkillers and always drilled and filled without the aid of anesthesia. She claims he was a former Nazi that defected to the country with a bogus passport.
"Wow, sucks to be you." I said, as I dialed the number on the TV screen and looked for my credit card. "I've never had a cavity. Do you want to get the zesting tool for just five bucks extra?"
"What are you talking about?" she responded. "You have cavities. You have all kinds of fillings in your mouth. And no, we already have a zesting tool in the junk drawer."
"These aren't fillings; they're sealants. I got them when I was a kid."
"Dude, those are fillings. Go and look in the mirror."
We both toddled into the bathroom and I opened wide.
"All of your molars are filled in." she said, "Here, look at mine."
Sure enough, my sealants looked a hell of a lot like the Butter Stick's fillings. Something was amiss.
"Something is amiss," I said.
It was 1990. The small town I grew up in only had one dentist's office, so Dr. Armstrong was quite simply the only game in town. His practice was a hole-in-the-wall deal, nestled up against my family's old grocery store, also the only one in the town. Come to think of it, everything in my town was the only one in the town, save for the gaggle of taverns that littered the main drag. They never had a problem staying in business, however, and the suicide rate wasn't high enough to warrant an alcoholic recession.
My mom, who was around 26 at the time, knew Dr. Armstrong from when he would come into the grocery store. She tried to ignore the locals when they sniffed and gossipped about his lifestyle. "Him and his wife are swingers, you know?" said one older woman. "They throw wild parties every weekend!" chimed in another. Mom was never one to listen to rumors and hearsay, so she didn't think too much of it when Dr. Armstrong hired her to become his Dental Assistant later that year, after the grocery store closed down.
This was strike one. First off, Dental Hygienists need to be licensed through the state. Working with medical equipment, sterilized tools, blood and mouths all day require a certain amount of training and experience from the get-go. My mom didn't know this, and Dr. Armstrong didn't seem too bothered by it.
After a few weeks of this, it appeared that Dr. Armstrong wasn't too bothered by a lot of things.
(For the remainder of this story, I'm going to let my Mom take over. Here's the transcript of the e-mail she sent me concerning the matter; her story is in bold, my interjections are in italics:)
Not long after I was hired, the mention of this Christmas party came up. The people in town all laughed and said I should be careful, and me, being naive, thought that sort of thing would never happen because he hardly knew me. I was wrong.
(My mom isn't naive, so much as she trusts people far too much. For example, she trusted me not to turn this e-mail into a blog post, but here we are; mainly because I'm out of material.)
He asked me at the office what I drank so he could have it at the party; I told him that I didn't drink. He then told me to bring my swimming suit; I told him that I didn't swim. I was a little concerned about what could possibly happen, so I asked him how many people were coming. He said 20 couples. At that point I thought nothing could happen, since that was way too many people, and it was supposed to be every employee from the 3 offices he had.
(My mom doesn't drink, period. A few months ago, I bought her a bottle of wine from a beautiful place in southern Wisconsin. She was afraid to have a glass with us, for fear she wouldn't be able to drive. This is why I don't need therapy; I already know where all of my problems came from.)
On the night of the party, your dad and I showed up and there were 2 couples; Dr. Armstrong, his wife and 1 other couple (surprise). The second we got in the door, they asked what we wanted to drink and again I said that I didn't drink. Your father asked for something (of course) and I am sure it was mixed extremely strong.
(My dad, on the other hand, likes to drink. For the last 23 years, my dad has been picking up the slack for all of the drinking my mom didn't do. It's a fair balance, but it's probably something they should have worked out before the wedding.)
Then they said they wanted to play darts, and we should pick teams (our names were in a hat, already written up). Armstrong picked the teams, and of course we were all mixed up. After playing darts for a game or two (and them all drinking heavily), they decided we should go swimming.
(This is what us writers like to call a 'Major Plot Point.')
They had an indoor pool and a sauna. I again told them that I didn't swim, but they insisted. Your father also insisted, because he was drunk by this time (I honestly think they put something in his drinks). I told them that I didn't bring a suit, so Dr. Armstrong's wife said she had one for me. Of course, they had trunks for your father, which he was more than willing to put on.
(They probably did put something in my dad's drinks. Alcohol. Nonetheless, this is the point in the story where most women would take the keys and leave their husband for the buzzards to pick clean. Things are clearly going from bad to worse.)
The suit that they gave me was nothing but string and I was throwing a fit in the bathroom, telling your dad I didn't want to put it on, but again he insisted. So, stupid me, I put it on and we went out by the pool. After about 2 seconds, they decided to go into the sauna. We all went in there, but I couldn't breathe because of my asthma, so I said that I was going back out. Your dad, by the way, was sitting between Dr. Armstrong's wife and this other woman.
(Let it be known that my dad is not a domineering or demanding guy. It's just that my mom has this thing where she would rather live with shame for the rest of her life than to simply step out of an uncomfortable situation. I'm like her in many ways, although I still couldn't believe that she went through with this. It is pretty funny, though.)
I go out to the pool. Dr. Armstrong follows me out and says, "Lets go skinny dipping." I tell him no, and he says, "Why not? your husband is in the sauna making out with my wife." I was sitting on a chair at the time, and he took off his trunks, jumped in and came up over where I was sitting; jumping completely naked out of the pool. He said, "Let's have a drink," and I told him that I was going home.
(Finally! You know, me and the Missus aren't swingers, but you'd think that most swingers wouldn't assume that others practiced a similar lifestyle. Seems pretty intrusive, if you ask me. Swinger Rule #1 should state that you explicitly ask the new couple in question before you advance on them. It's just good business.)
I went and got dressed; put on my coat, gloves and scarf (it was winter), and went to get your dad. He was having a great time (not making out with anyone, by the way), but the girls were wearing less than him. I had to wait for about a half hour to get your drunk dad to leave. I didn't speak to him for a week.
(Yup, that sounds about right. My dad would have never cheated on my mom, but he was certainly likely to get drunk and make an ass out of himself. I'm like him in many ways.)
The next week, I told Dr. Armstrong that I was not coming back to work for him because of what happened, and he said that he would not pay me my last paycheck. I had to get a lawyer to get it from him.
As far as his shady business practices go, I saw him spank a kid who wouldn't sit still (that always makes it easier to get your child to trust the dentist). He also filled yours and you sister's teeth with fillings instead of sealants. He didn't sterilize his equipment sometimes and just used alcohol to wipe them off.
(Epilogue: Dr. Armstrong eventually got into more trouble for not keeping proper records and had to relocate his business to another city. A few years later, he administered a drug to a patient that was severely allergic to it and was stripped of his Dental license. A huge lawsuit followed with many former patients accusing him of neglect. He went bankrupt in 2003.)
Despite the nature of this story, my mom thinks it's quite funny nowadays. I never got my dad's opinion of it, but I'm certain he wouldn't remember anyways. Every year or so, I make her tell me this story again, simply because it's hilarious.
And that's why I have a mouth full of fillings.