Recent news. My accountant presented me with my tax bill today. I had received an extension past the first deadline and now it was time to face the facts. Not a good way to end a week. He sent it by messenger, so he wouldn’t have to see my reaction. Good news, it was for barely four digits. Bad news, at the moment I only have three digits in my bank account.
The actual good news is that while I’ve been skimming along completing this last teaching semester, with lots of renewed creative energy being transmitted from excited university students just getting their first introductions to the craft of cinema, I find that I may actually be able support myself with this writing nonsense as it translates to film, and staying home more.
And so, I should write, record everything, even this, another gross body function episode. Who needs such things, you might say, after all the wretched pre-pubescent and puerile comedy attached to such awkward human moments in film after film after film. Who is interested in exaggerated body functions, except 15-18 year-old males?
I admit that all this narrative criticism is true and aesthetically correct, but actually these things do happen. And the fact remains that my own life – or at least its equivalent in embarrassment and injury – was saved by gastric distress this past Saturday night.
I was walking back alone from Tujague’s Bar after having watched several much-anticipated sporting events in the company of my bad bookie-&-gaming friends. Gambling is one of the few vices that I personally do not enjoy, preferring rewards more concrete for the expenditure of cash.
But the milieu of these folks is a bonanza for an observer of human nature. It was a great scene, anyway, with hordes of touristas traipsing through on their ways to the dining room, all wondering at the strange activity along the bar ‑‑ cellular phones, pagers, adding machines, dice, large‑breasted Mediterranean women, guys with dense forests of chest hair, polyester shirts, and ultra-shiny bad‑taste jewelry. Baseball on one screen and the ponies on the other.
The odds on the longshot at the races peaks at 33:1 just before horses at the post, and the dishwasher from the Café du Monde across the street comes running in still wearing his apron with his entire week’s wages – almost $300, he said he’d had lots of overtime – and puts it all on the longshot. Wonderful scene.
So, of course amidst thunderous yelling and screaming and beverage consumption, the underdog beats the number one rated horse in the country, the dishwasher comes running in just at the finish line, sees the win-place-show board and faints. $8,520.
He bought us all rounds before he was even fully conscious.
So I’m hyped and happy and on my way home at 9pm, trying to calm down from all the excitement of the dishwasher’s wonderful story, and I pass by Washington Square, two blocks from my house.
It’s Gay Pride weekend, and the square is packed with the rainbow crowd. There’s a band playing in the Square, and lots of omnisexual bun‑squeezing going on. I’m in a hurry to get home, and try to avoid a half dozen very very butch babes hanging out on the bordering sidewalk drinking Budweiser longnecks, filling the entrance to the festivities. As I walk around them I nod and say – in typical polite Southern Gentleman fashion – “Good evening, ladies.”
I mean, folks, I was just being nice. WRONG.
“Who the hell you calling a lady, boy?”
“Something wrong with you, son?”
“You got eyes, asshole?”
They were more than a tad drunk and looking to pass on a little sisterly aggression to vent against my perceived un‑PC remark. I didn’t even get that they were talking to me until I heard the rapid footfalls of one of them running up behind me. The next few seconds happened very quickly. Keep in mind that I had gone to the bar early, and hadn’t eaten anything except a seriously greasy handful of homemade pork rinds at Tujague’s to go along with a couple of iced Wild Turkeys. Hot pig fat and cold bourbon. A volatile combination.
I was grabbed by the arm and spun. I tried to regain my balance and see what was happening, looking past the aggressive woman who had grabbed me, only to spy the other five big girls coming up on me, fists balled, shoulders set, and lips snarling. All were considerably taller, and weightier, than I. Two now carried beer bottles by the neck, in weapon mode.
They came right up in my face, two of the largest and surliest of my attackers actually chest-bumped me backward and forwards between them, while two others grabbed my arms on both sides and held me. Bottles were being raised. And just then – I have no idea why other than the combination of pitched nervousness and the aforementioned consumption of multiple bourbon and pork products – I passed gas. Loudly.
The half-dozen burly women stopped dead in their tracks, mouths open.
Finally almost as a unit, they said, “GaaaaAAAHHHH!”, turned around, and walked off in disgust. Speaking in loud voices about the inherently despicable nature of men.
And thus was I saved from a drubbing at the hands of another disadvantaged minority.
So, since I’m still alive, I’d better go figure a way to pay my taxes. After all, the Gay Pride Fest was funded in part by my tax money.
Maybe they’ll take my payment in pork rinds.