Thoughts Flitting Hither and Yon

Tuesday, February 22nd, 2005, 1:42 pm

I’ve nothing to write about, but I have 30 minutes to kill, so let’s see what happens. Oh, my 2nd article is up at PokerMagazine.com. I’ve been working on some poker-themed fiction that I haven’t worked on recently, and I may shift my attention from playing poker to writing about it more.

I did have a good night playing some limit last night, scoring a 20BB win, but alas I was only playing $.25/.50 in an attempt to cool my tilting mind and so I’m not out out buying a new suit or anything. Still, that won back to SNG buy-ins, making up in part for taking the worst beat possible in poker. I mean, if there are only 2 cards in the deck to beat you, and the other guy needs them runner-runner, and they hit…it can’t get worse than that, right? Statistically speaking?

I still feel lousy from the flu/cold whatever I had. I didn’t do much since Thursday night, when I played volleyball. And forgot to take my kneepads and sweaty clothes out of the bag I left on the front seat of my car. Which I haven’t driven since Thursday. Need I describe the odor that seemed to permeate every square inch of my car’s interior? My kneepads STINK. I didn’t know knees sweated so much, and the sweat they produce seems to be concentrated with the most noxious biochemicals. Yes, I wash them every so often, but even a double-run through the washer does nothing but free up stink-space for the next night’s exercise.

When I was in college I took a racquetball class, and as I’d played most of my life I was one of the better players. One of the other experienced players was a guy who, had he made the mistake of wandering around Iraq at the time of the invasion, would have been grabbed up by some strike team hunting WMD’s and paraded before the UN as proof of Saddam’s evil plans. Nice guy, good player, had body odor that could strip the paint off a pickup truck. Because we were pretty close in ability we usually ended up playing each other, and being cooped up with this guy, even in a space as large and high-ceilinged as a racquetball court, was like getting a sneak-preview of the gas chamber.

He didn’t look dirty, per se–he came to class looking like he’d showered during the last lunar cycle. Like I said, he was a nice guy, smart guy, majoring in some manner of engineering. And he stunk like a corpse. And for some reason, his was a stink that broadcast itself over a wide area. You didn’t have to be standing next to him to get your eyes watering. I’m sure there were folks in the bowling alley down in the basement sniffing their shoes and wondering, “Maybe a yeti wore these last class…”

I remember this one point, the guy hit a pinch shot in the frontcourt and I tried to pass him along the left wall. He got it and put the ball past me toward the back wall. I had to run past him to take the shot off the wall, and as I raced by I got hit with such a nauseating wave of BO that I whiffed when I swung. I swooned–the stink temporarily blinded me. I think that’s the only time in my competitive sports career that I botched a play because I was overcome by another player’s crippling stench.

One class we played cutthroat (3-man) with another guy. We had ourselves a good time, and afterwards hit the showers. As I got my towel from my locker I noticed the third player looking at me, but I could tell he wasn’t looking. He was smelling. Gingerly.

“It wasn’t me,” I said.

He tested the wind again and shook his head in agreement. “I didn’t think so. How do you play with him every week?”

“I try to stay upwind.”

He nodded and said, “I’m glad I didn’t eat breakfast this morning.”

The only stink in recent memory that could compare to my old RB buddy is my nephew Bryce’s shoes. Bryce is six, and he’s in a phase where he hates to wear socks. Typical pain-in-the-ass little kid. Anyway, he comes over a month ago, it’s like 13 degrees outside, we’re going to dinner in an hour, and he takes of his shoes and he’s not wearing any goddam socks.

“Where are your goddam socks?” I ask, and he says he hates wearing them, and I ask he’s learned how to spell “hypothermia” or “amputation” in his first-grade class yet. I look at his shoes. At the liners. They should be blue. They’re black. My nostrils involuntarily flare. Why oh why did God wire us so that, when we KNOW we’re about to be confronted with a really ghastly smell, we feel COMPELLED to lean it close and take a sniff? When I see a glowing crackly orangy thing in a fireplace I don’t feel the need to shove my hand in the middle of it. Just a quirk of evolution, I guess. Or intelligent design, if that’s your thing. Tho this doesn’t seem to be too intelligent…

I took in a thimbleful of the ambient air. And the world came to an end. I mean, it was like I was standing in the middle of some immense Gothic cathedral and someone slammed their hands down on every key of the hyper-amplified pipe organ. I reflexively pushed the shoe away from my face and twisted my head away. I was about to let loose a stream of expletives, but if I had I’ve no doubt that my lunch would’ve come pouring out instead of curses.

“What’s wrong?” my wife asked from the kitchen.

“Smell this” I gasped through clenched teeth and esophagus.

Hmm. I’m on my knees, green as pesto, with an expression on my face like I just french-kissed a zombie. Should I have been surprised when she said, “I don’t think so,” and went back about her business?

I brought out my arsenal of chemical weapons. First I tried Febreeze. Ha! Febreeze! Like pouring a Dixie cup full of lemonade on an uncapped oil well. I can’t use Febreeze without laughing because of a blurb that appeared on The Onion awhile back. They have these little teasers for the “articles” inside, and one read, “BLIND DATE REEKS OF FEBREEZE”. I’m sorry, that probably doesn’t seem funny to you, but I was on the floor.

As I was after smelling that shoe. I trotted out the Lysols. Why we have 4 different flavors of Lysol in our house I cannot say, but I blame my cats. There are times you want a nice, fresh bathroom smell from your deodorizer, and then there are times when you gotta get that catboxy funk outta the game room in 17 seconds because company just showed up. Different tools for different jobs.

I tried the smell neutralizer first. No good, as this was no neutral smell. I tried the industrial strength stuff, the one in the gleaming white can. For the first time we had results–I could get his shoe to within 12 inches of my nose without my gag reflex flexing. Then I tried the potpourri scented one–mistake. I needed to REDUCE the number of olfactory compounds at work, not add them, no matter how pleasing they might be on their own. The effect was like lighting a Yankee candle in a hole containing 500 recently exhumed trout.

I find it odd that I’ve just wasted all this time writing about stuff that stinks. Then I remembered how I’ve been playing lately. About as bad as Bryce’s shoes.

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One Response to “Thoughts Flitting Hither and Yon”

  1. Monica Says:

    I once had a boss that quit smoking, every time he watend a cigarette he popped a cinnamon jolly rancher in his mouth. He said when you smoke you get that burn and cinnamon will also give it to you. I quit smoking 4 years ago, after the doc told me that I had the beginning stages of emphysema, now every time I see someone on oxygen I think that could of been me. There is a lot of different ways to quit, you just have to have the want and the will. Take charge, cigarettes are very addicting, tell yourself I choose to not smoke, I am in charge of my life, that this one thing does not control me. I still tell others that I am a smoker that chooses not to smoke. Be strong and Good luck!

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