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Tuesday, April 18, 2006


The Passion of the Snagglepuss

I am awash in shame. I can barely hold my head up. I cannot look at myself in a mirror. I have disgraced myself, my family and my country.

My wife and I went to Brooklyn last night to join a work friend of hers for trivia night in a neighborhood bar. I was doing fairly well, contributing to the team. I remembered that Caesar Augustus was ruler of Rome when Jesus was born. I knew that Dolly Parton sang "Islands in the Stream" with Kenny Rogers. I was feeling good about myself.

They say that pride goeth before the fall. (Which has always confused me just a little. Setting aside the word "goeth", which I just can't say with a straight face, you're left with the question of what exactly they're saying pride's role in this whole fall is. Does it mean that pride goeth away and then you fall? Or are they saying that you've got this massive thing of pride you're carrying around and you can't see where you're going and you trip on a tree root and fall? I'm just not sure.)

Anyway, a question was asked that went something like this: "What '60s cartoon character's catch-phrases included 'Exit, stage left' and 'Heavens to murgatroid!'?" I grabbed the pen and smugly wrote down my answer. I hastened to assure the team that, even if we got no other questions right in that round, I at least knew for a fact that we'd be getting a point thanks to my keen memory.

When they read the answers back a few minutes later, I let loose with a scream that mixed agony, rage, frustration and a dash of picante sauce. I had, you see, mistakenly written that the character was named "Snaggletooth".

Snaggletooth? Fucking Snaggletooth? Why? Why on earth would I make a mistake like that? How the hell many episodes of Yogi's Ark and Laff-a-lympics did I fucking watch when I was a kid? I dishonored every hour of shitty cartoons I ever watched. I might as well have made reference to "Quick Draw McPervis" or "Guava Ape". I have disgraced Hanna-Barbera.

I was unable to shake my shame for the rest of the night. (I wish that was part of the joke, but it's absolutely true.) I just kept thinking, "Snaggletooth? Fuck!" I walked back to the train from the bar shaking my head and stifling the instinct to literally kick myself. I just knew that Huckleberry Hound was rolling over in his grave that very moment. The whole thing might have tortured me all night if my wife and I hadn't stepped onto the subway train and into a nightmare straight out of Hieronymous Bosch.

We forgot, you see, the cardinal rule of the New York City Subway system: If a car is empty, there's a damn good reason. We were tired, wanted to sit and saw a car positively full of available seating. As we stepped on board and the doors closed behind us, we were subjected to a full olfactory assault. A guy was sleeping on a seat toward the front of the car, a rather ominous trail of semi-dried liquid of some sort running from him to about the middle of the car. And he was exuding the most horrific poo smell I have ever come in contact with. And I worked in nursing homes for six years. Wow.

We beat a hasty retreat to the next car, meeting the knowing smiles of fellow passengers who'd done the same thing at the previous station. We sat down and only then did it hit me that I hadn't even checked to see if the guy was alive. I wasn't moved to go back in and take another look or anything, 'cause damn, that was some stench. Instead, I just sat and watched all the way from Borough Hall all the way to 135th street as groups of people fled the poo car. It's a uniquely New York form of entertainment, watching the mad scramble to get away from a hellacious stench.

Anyway, it put my shame in the whole "Snaggletooth" fiasco out of my head until this morning, when I woke up crying. I might have to commit hari kari. Or ritualistic disembowelment, even. Exit, stage left!

Oh the humiliation. I'm so very sorry.

Bar trivia competitions seem to bring out the worst aspects of my personality, I'm afraid. Unfortunately, I also love them so...
But wait ... that guy could've been dead.

Then again: poo smell.

Poo smell or death? Quite the problem you had there.
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