This story comes with a message. It is one to take to heart. So there I was, knee deep in New York City. To say that I was a little out of my element would be like saying that Hitler upset some people. They say you can do anything in New York, but the problem is, the things an old country bumpkin like me likes to do are the few things that you really cannot do in New York. So, I figured Iï¿½d best make myself as comfortable as possible in my home…after all, it was going to be a long few years.
The first order of business was security. Security gates for the windows that were on the fire escape with locks you could use to hold down your house in a tornado, and the mother of all dead bolts for the door. External doors in New York are not made of wood, they are steel. Whenever you see some television show where somebody in New York kicks in the door in an apartment building, itï¿½s FAKE. These things are HUGE, but the dead bolt I got was bigger. The hole in the door had to be widened, so after considerable drilling by the locksmith, I had bajillions of these hot little twisted SHARP metal slivers all over everything. Yep, even found them in my underwear. You MIGHT think this was unpleasant…
With security is taken care of, Iï¿½m STILL sleeping on the floor. Furniture is imperative. So I call up this company, ï¿½This End Upï¿½, that makes all pine furniture in a design reminiscent of packing crates…very cool, very TOUGH furniture. Also, all wood, so now not only do I still have the STEEL slivers, but I have pine splinters everywhere.
Now, Iï¿½m single. Iï¿½ve lived alone for many many MANY years. When youï¿½ve lived alone as long as I have, there are certain, uh, customs, shall we say, that one begins to question. There is no doubt that these are important in a social setting, but when youï¿½re alone, and there is nobody around to be offended when you break these rules, whoï¿½s gonna care? So, as a single man, I tend to spend a lot of time, oh, how can I say this gently, er, BUCK NAKED!
So, Iï¿½d get home, get BUCK NAKED, shower BUCK NAKED, prepare dinner BUCK NAKED, eat BUCK NAKED, clean the dishes BUCK NAKED, watch a little late-night TV or do some reading BUCK NAKED, and go to bed BUCK NAKED. Why not? It saves a step, although, I HAVE since learned that one OUGHT to put on clothes whenever preparing dinner involves any stir-frying. When you stir-fry BUCK NAKED, then certain body parts tend to get splattered with hot grease that, er, shall we say, are best left unsplattered.
To save splattering on this particular day, as I had already showered, I decided to have a simple, easy lunch. Usually I donï¿½t eat hot dogs, but I often have a few stuck up in my freezer along with buns because I make Cincinnati chili, and my favorite way to enjoy Cincinnati chili is on a cheese coney. Since Iï¿½m broke anyway what with my new locks and furniture and whatnot (what exactly is whatnot anyway) I decided to have a couple dogs. So I start up some boiling water for the hot dogs, but what to do about the buns?
I had tried nuking them in the past, and it worked great. I had bun crispies. Couldnï¿½t open them to put a hot dog in them, but they crunched better than any potato chip Iï¿½d ever had. What would have been ideal is a bun steamer, but, Iï¿½m a man, what are the odds that I would have a bun steamer? Itï¿½s a miracle I even know what one is.
Being a chemist, I decided to improvise. I happened to have oven-safe Pyrex mixing bowls. In the lab, Pyrex glassware is always put to all kinds of torture. If it endures direct flame for a while, it glows, for crying out loud. Now, I knew they were oven safe, and I knew they were microwave safe, so I thought they must be stove top safe! Yes, I knew I was mistreating them, but whatï¿½s the worst that could happen?
So I take the large mixing bowl and put a little water in the bottom of it. Then I take the medium sized mixing bowl and put it inside the larger one. I place the buns in the middle mixing bowl, and a glass lid from my large pot on top of it all. It was just perfect. The lip of the lid just barely fit down around the outside rim of the large mixing bowl, and the entire thing was clear so I could see EVERYTHING happening on the inside.
I set it on the stove. I turn on the gas as low as possible without causing the flame to go out, and watch the ballet of matter and energy. The water began to boil on the inside, and steam began to circulate around the edge and into the middle mixing bowl. It was beautiful. And as much as I enjoyed watching it, I didnï¿½t want the buns to get soggy, so I figured Iï¿½d best lift the lid off and let a little of the steam escape. Carefully I lifted the lid, and as soon as the lid was a couple inches off of the bowl something happened.
The large mixing bowl had EXPLODED! Not just cracked, not just broken, but exploded with a tremendous noise, throwing glass shards all over the apartment. It disintegrated so completely that the medium mixing bowl was now sitting on the burner, which no longer had a flame, as if I had placed it there myself. The largest glass pieces were about a quarter of an inch in length.
And there I stood…shocked. Holding the lid still where I had lifted it, wide-eyed and completely stunned. As reality began to invade back into my mind, I looked down and saw that I was not bleeding. I closed both eyes in turn and realized that I could still see.
Of course, not only did I have metal splinters and wooden splinters, but now glass splinters as well. I eat, I clean up, pull out the sofa-bed (which Iï¿½ve since decided is even less comfortable than the floor), and Iï¿½m lying there watching a little TV before bed BUCK NAKED. Iï¿½m lying with my legs sort of flung over backwards, and Iï¿½m, er, again I have to be tactful, FONDLING MY OWN ASS I think is the way to put it. And sure enough, right there in my right cheek, I feel it…a SPLINTER!
So, I start picking at it. Iï¿½m thinking that if I can just get hold of it, I can yank it right out, but, you see, I like to pretend like I play guitar. Not that I really DO, mind you, I just run the pick over the strings and make a dreadful racket! Anyway, since I pretend like I play guitar, my fingernails are almost always extremely short so as to avoid their interfering with chords, and since I had very short nails that night, I couldnï¿½t get hold of the splinter. What I need, I thought to myself, are tweezers.
Now, my mother bought these tweezers for me. Theyï¿½re not your typical flat rounded tip tweezers, Oh NOOO! These things have to come to a POINT, the likes of which you can find on the tip of almost any new hypodermic needle, and they are SHARP! So now I have an instrument that, if I can only find it, it could easily grasp hold of it and yank that splinter out. The problem is, see, I canï¿½t see my own ass, regardless of where many people claim my head to be. So instead of finding the splinter and pulling it out, Iï¿½m poking myself in the butt and beginning to draw blood.
Like any other man, I have no mirrors that can be used below shoulder level, including, of course, hand-held mirrors. I do, however, have a toaster with a shiny surface. So, I set my surface up on my counter, hike my buttocks up into the air and try to find that splinter. By the way, my toaster MUST be distorted, there is NO way my ass is that big! So, anyway, now here I am, BUCK NAKED, buttocks in the air, poking myself in the ass with razor sharp tweezers and contorting myself to see a splinter in my toaster.
Now it is serious…it became infected. Now it HAS to come out. To say that I didnï¿½t know anybody in New York isnï¿½t ENTIRELY the truth. I knew my boss, of course, and several people who worked in our department, although still relatively few since I was still so new. In addition, I knew the head nurse at the employee health service. She gave me my check-up before I could begin working. So I sort of knew her, and since she is a nurse, sheï¿½s not allowed to laugh when I tell her that I have a splinter in my butt.
So the next day, I give her a call. I make a little small talk, and in a rather bashful manner, I mention that I have a minor problem.
ï¿½Whatï¿½s the problem?ï¿½ she asks.
ï¿½Well, I have a splinter that I canï¿½t get to.ï¿½
ï¿½Well…itï¿½s, well, itï¿½s in my butt.ï¿½
ï¿½Howï¿½d you get a splinter in your butt?ï¿½
Now, a problem presented itself at this point in time that I had yet to consider. What would I say as people asked me how this should happen. I could hardly say ï¿½I was sitting BUCK NAKED eating dinner and SAT on it!ï¿½ So my mind started to race. In a brief time, I shot back an answer that would have made any man proud.
I said, ï¿½I donï¿½t know how it got there.ï¿½ Brilliant. ï¿½But itï¿½s infected now and it has to come out.ï¿½
ï¿½Sure, we can take care of that there,ï¿½ she squeezed out between snickers. ï¿½Just get the health form and come on in.ï¿½
I get the required paperwork from work, and, after answering the same question with the same brilliant answer bajillions of times I end up at the hospital. I walk into the waiting room. I walk up to the receptionist and hand her my papers.
ï¿½Why are you here?ï¿½ she asks.
ï¿½Iï¿½ve already spoken with the head nurse, so she knows what itï¿½s about, and Iï¿½d rather not say.ï¿½
At this point, every single good New Yorker looks up over their magazines straight at me, as the receptionist says ï¿½I have to put you down for something or I canï¿½t let you in.ï¿½
ï¿½I have a splinter in my butt,ï¿½ I blurt out.
ï¿½Howï¿½d you get a splinter in your butt?ï¿½
ï¿½I DONï¿½T KNOW! But itï¿½s INFECTED, it has to come OUT!ï¿½ So, laughing, she writes my name down and tells me to have a seat. I go to one of the unoccupied seats and sit down. The two people on either side of me IMMEDIATELY stand up and move to the other side of the room. Well, at least itï¿½s finally over. Iï¿½ll get the head nurse and get it taken care of. Eventually they call my name. Iï¿½m waiting for the doctor. In walks this one hundred nineteen year old man.
ï¿½Why are you here?ï¿½
ï¿½Doesnï¿½t it say in the chart?ï¿½
ï¿½My eyes are shot, Iï¿½d rather hear it in your own words.ï¿½
*sigh* ï¿½Fine. I got a splinter in my butt.ï¿½
ï¿½Howï¿½d you get a splinter in your butt?ï¿½
*searing glare* ï¿½I donï¿½t know,ï¿½ through clenched teeth, ï¿½but itï¿½s infected, it has to come OUT!ï¿½
ï¿½Well, lemme see.ï¿½
So, I drop trou for this one hundred and nineteen year old man. ï¿½Yep, itï¿½s in there,ï¿½ he agrees. ï¿½Itï¿½ll have to come out.ï¿½ The next thing I know, heï¿½s standing over me with the BIGGEST damned needle youï¿½ve EVER seen!
ï¿½Well, Iï¿½m going to take this sharp end here and cut a little hole in your butt.ï¿½
ï¿½Thereï¿½s already a hole back there, buddy!ï¿½
ï¿½No, Iï¿½m going to cut you a new one and take out that splinter. Iï¿½d use a scalpel, but that would constitute surgery and Iï¿½ve lost my license.ï¿½
Now Iï¿½m praying that the holes that are supposed to remain open remain open and the holes that are supposed to be closed will be closed. Sure enough, he tears me a new one and takes it out. ï¿½Wanna see it?ï¿½
It was my hope that, this embarassing procedure over, I’d never have to talk to anyone about this ever again. I have, however, chosen to tell my story once more, for you people. Remember the dangers inherent in living BUCK NAKED. This whole incident could have been avoided if I had worn the same dirty, wrinkled clothing I wear to work. Let this be a lesson – stay clothed. Also, do not try to steam your own buns.