12: “Don’t Start None, Won’t Be Done!”

I spent Friday lying in bed, blowing my nose, and watching bad television. Oh damn. I hate being sick. It’s magically tragic. I’m completely useless when I have even so much as a wee sniffle. Which is why seeing St. Etienne Friday night was merely okay — I slumped on a stool and had a seltzer. Kevin wasn’t in the best of spirits, either, so we grooved as best we could in a venue full of surly teenage punks (fans of the opening act, Kill Hannah — pop-punk? band whose lead singer bore a striking resemblance to Alan Cumming of “Cabaret” fame, but with Meg Ryan’s haircut) and yuppies. It wasn’t until later when we were in Hyde Park that things picked up.

In case you didn’t know, Ciral’s House of Tiki closed Friday night after 40 years of Zombies, shrimp, and blowfish. Mr. Yarbrough invited me and Kevin down for some dinner and one last hurrah at the Tiki. So we go and the place is full of U of C students, old folks, couples out on dates. They’re out on the curb, hanging out, and inside, nursing their beers while trying not to get crushed. At some point, a fight between two women broke out, so I and my companions beat a hasty retreat.

Why must there always be drama? Can’t we all just get along? The world may never know. What I found impressive is that one of the combatants managed to defend herself while conducting a completely separate argument on her cell phone. Yeah, she was fighting two people at the same time! What concentration! What skill! The US women’s gymnastic team could learn something from her. I’m sure she could stick her landings and not go down faster than a preacher’s daughter. Just save the drama for your mama, that’s what Celi says.

Up to Friday, my week hadn’t been nearly as racy. I met Kevin’s downstairs neighbor Daniel when he locked himself out of his apartment. I was making dinner for me and Kevin, so he joined us for fried rice (which I made myself — see below). Daniel’s got bright red hair, is an actor and works with little kids in Lincoln Park. He teaches them to tumble.

Jalissa has these cool limited edition packs of Camel cigarettes that had been designed by famous artists. Out of the three she had, I really coveted the Nan Goldin and the Damien Hirst packs. Apparently, you can buy them at the club Red No. 5. It’s a lot for cigarettes, but a Nan Goldin or a Damien Hirst for $21? You can’t beat that price with a stick. How hip would that be?

Nadine’s boxes are still sitting in my living room. I’ve decided to buy some fabric, mold it around the pile, and start selling admission to “a real, live Claes Oldenburg”. Or I’ll just wrap it in parachute material and tell my friends and neighbors that it’s an early work of Christo’s. I am such a genius.

So I made fried rice from the recipe posted on ethnicgrocer.com. I could feel my ancestors hovering over my shoulder as I chopped the scallions and sauteed the pork. “Jusmeen,” they hissed. “Don’t forget the patis!” It was pretty yummy, but not as savory as I would have liked. It didn’t look like my dad’s, but then, Daddio puts hot dogs in spaghetti, so what does he know? I know it’s supposed to be, like, the Filipino way or something, but Oscar Mayer wieners sauteed with tomatoes, ground beef, onions, and garlic is like some sort of bad joke. I should probably like it, but I don’t. And it’s not like Spam burgers, which are actually quite good.

I, with my cast-iron stomach and adventurous eating habits, have eaten some pretty nasty things in my time. Balut — a duck egg which has been incubated for 17 days, then boiled for consumption — is possibly the worst. But it’s full of salty goodness. It’s an aphrodisiac, like oysters or spanish fly. Of course, I’ve had no use for aphrodisiacs ever, so if any of you would like to try the egg out with your honey and let me know, I’ll buy the egg.

I think that adults need something like the Tooth Fairy or Santa Claus, a mythic hero to believe in and make life more magical and booty-licious. Specifically, the Booty Fairy can make our lives better by making sure we get laid as much as we can stand it. The Booty Fairy would look like Rupert Everett or Blair from the “Facts of Life”. Just leave a condom under your pillow before you go to bed at night and you’ll wake up to a lovely specimen of your preferred gender and sexual orientation waiting at the foot of your bed, attractively dressed (if at all) and holding a breakfast tray laden with the New York Times, croissant, coffee, freshly squeezed juice, and a few Nat Sherman cigarettes to smoke after the morning’s activities. Once you say the magic words — “You can’t go home, but you can’t stay here!” –your bed will be made, the breakfast dishes will be washed, and the specimen will be gone until the next time you need them for a quick pick-me-up.

But I digress, as it were.

I helped Jacinda move on Saturday. I had a really good time — between stuffing my face with pastries and chain-smoking on the back porch. Eating junk food and smoking are actually not good for you if you’ve been sick. Any sensible person will say so. But those doughnuts looked so good, and there was so much cherry 7-Up.

I tried to take a nap using Jacinda’s dog, Isabella, as a pillow. This arrangement worked very nicely for about 10 minutes until the dog went begging for crumbs. Well, better that she beg for crumbs than the No-Doz she craved last year. Yeah, the dog loved that No-Doz. I have to admit I kinda liked it, too, as Isabella would spend a few hours acting insane, then pass out for four hours. You can get a lot of housework done in four hours.

Jacinda’s new place is a lovely one-bedroom apartment with a backyard, a *huge* porch, and yuppie neighbors. I quite covet the place as it’s cheaper than mine and her building allows dogs. She and Isabella should be very happy.

I’ve discovered that Kleenex-brand Cold Care tissues are utterly wonderful. My nose isn’t red and raw like it is with other tissues, so I now carry a box of the stuff around. I dispense them to co-workers and passersby, Curtis Mayfield’s “Pusher Man” playing in my head. It’s so nice to be wanted.


“I’ve never been this drunk before. The problem is, with Fred no longer drinking, I can’t pace myself.”


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