During a previous lifetime I shared an apartment for a couple of years with my brother. I moved to Greensboro, NC in 1985, and he joined me a year or so later. We lived in self-created squalor, and drank an unreasonable amount of alcohol every day.
My parents were fairly strict when we were growing up, and their houses are always like museums; nothing is out of place for long, believe me. So, I guess we felt the need to take it all in a new direction? I don’t know. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it was a purely organic exercise in not giving a shit.
It was a period of my life when nothing – except my job… I always protected my job – was taken seriously. Our apartment was constantly filled with empty pizza boxes and beer cans, and the kitchen was a crime against humanity.
One time we went in there to try to tackle the mountain of dirty dishes, etc., and unlocked a stink so breathtaking and pungent we were near tears. We didn’t smell it until we started moving things around, then it was uncaged.
We had a lot of Tupperware, and Tupperware knock-offs, that had absorbed that awful stench, and we were forced to throw all of it in a dumpster. It felt like I could still smell it, weeks later – like it had attached to my nose hairs, or something. It was a bad situation.
Our long distance phone bill was rarely paid, and for a long time they didn’t hassle us about it. Then they started calling, demanding cash, and, of course, we had none. So, as a stalling technique, we asked for an itemized listing of all the calls for which we were being charged. And it was delivered in a box.
I remember us drinking beer, and laughing our asses off at the gigantic printout. We laid it on the floor, and stretched it across the living room, and way down the hall. Yeah, it was all fun and games until the phone was turned off.
One day my brother was eating lunch, and trying to get ketchup out of a bottle. He was having trouble with it, so he put the lid back on and attempted to employ centrifugal force. He stood in the middle of the living room, and began spinning his right arm round and round, with the bottle of ketchup upside-down in his hand.
When the lid flew off I started howling in protest. But he had trouble powering-down the flywheel, and did at least another one or two full rotations. There was a wide red stripe across the carpet, the couch, one wall, the ceiling, and another wall behind him. We tried to clean it up, but it left an oily stain that was still there when we moved out.
One of my favorite memories from that period was when my brother brought home a booklet he’d gotten at the mall. It was a survey, about toilet paper. Each page had two or three brands represented by a photo, and a space where you could write your feelings about each. He was supposed to fill it out, take it back, and receive a five dollar bill or something.
And we sat around making a joke out of every response. “It’s what I imagine wiping in heaven will be like,” and that sort of thing. For one of the cheap brands, my brother wrote, “I’d be afraid of splinters.” For another he said, “Would rather use a sock.”
It was a thing of beauty at the end, and we’d laughed for an hour filling it out. The next day he turned it in, and was paid, as promised. I have no doubt our comments were extremely helpful.
For a Question, I’d like to know if you ever lived in a state of extended, self-created squalor like that? If so, we’ll need some stories. Use the comments link below.
Also… the wiping with a sock thing. Have you ever found yourself in a situation where you were forced to go with a non-paper wiping tool? Like a sock, or perhaps a guinea pig? I can’t remember that ever happening with me. But what about you? Have you ever wiped with the shower curtain, or a rug or something? Please fill us in on the details.
And have a great weekend, my friends!
I’ll see you again soon.