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I drive home late at night, deep in thought: Should I go to the Middle East for vacation next week? I do have a ticket. But if I get caught in a hostage situation, my eyebrows will grow together and my acne will flare and then I’ll be the Monkey-Leper Hostage from Arizona on the news when they finally release us, the ugliest hostage ever. I don’t want to disappoint my friends over there, but my reflux gurgles at the very thought of angry crowds and burning buildings. I don’t care if the bullets are rubber. Bullets put a bad taste in my mouth, like blood.
I walk into a dark house carrying mail and schoolwork and a bag of samples from the dermatologist. I go back to the car for five pairs of new shoes I didn’t need but bought anyway because two orphaned and heartsick friends needed some retail therapy and who am I not to support that. Once I have everything inside, I get in the shower and start thinking again. Why must my face break out? I’m 42 years old; when will this horror end? And when will my school start requiring some admissions standards? Why are we expected to help students pass classes and complete their degrees when they come to us unable to write complete sentences? That kid told me last week, “My grammar sucks ass.” Why must I hear these things? Where are the parents? Where is my acne scrub?
My mood foul, I towel off and get into my night clothes. I’m so late that there’s no time for cat-cuddling in front of the TV; they’re getting back at me for being gone all day, knocking my polished rocks off the shelf and nibbling the lucky bamboo. I deserve it. I feed them and lock them in the dungeon, then look at the calendar for tomorrow: termite inspection. Excellent.
Before turning in for the night, my eyes slits and my throat constricting, I check my e-mail one last time. A friend has written, mentioning Alec Baldwin’s Schwetty Balls skit on Saturday Night Live. I have to smile. Why can’t Charlie Sheen be funny like that? Charlie Sheen is in the way of everything good and interesting. Go away, Charlie Sheen, and come back, Steve Martin. I walk down the hall towards my bedroom and say out loud, “Do you mind if I smoke?” I pause and reply, “No, do you mind if I FART?"
I laugh and go to bed; there's funny in my house. Bring on the termites.