Tuesday, June 28, 2005

The Tube of Death, Part 1

Warning: This post is VERY LONG.

BF/R and I got along pretty much from the start. We don't always agree when it comes to things like religion or political beliefs or how much someone would have to pay you to chop off your pinky finger (me: no amount of money; her: I believe the figure was five grand and she'd do the chopping herself), but that’s never mattered with us. Our theory is, once you find someone who would hock her t.v. for you, you hang on to her. Seriously, I don't think there's anything she wouldn't do for me or RR. Personality-wise, we are almost the same person. For one thing, when it comes to action, in any given situation, we’re liable to do something just because it annoys somebody else. For example, when we lived in the dorm, we had THE tackiest room ever, due in part to the string of Christmas lights with empty cigarette packs on the bulbs, the collection of empty dr. pepper cans on top of her shelves, and a good half of our wardrobe hanging from the ceiling. Our suitemates snuck in our room once while we gone and hung the top layer of clothes from the floor on the ceiling. We left them up because it made it easier to pick out what we were going to wear that way. We could just lie on our respective beds and say “let’s see, I guess I’ll wear *that* today.” I think that they were trying to make a point, but we missed it, whatever it was. The tackiness was not helped by the piñata hanging from the ceiling. BF/R bought the piñata to spite me because when she’d brought it to me in the store to show me, I’d said “oh, you’re not buying that.” She looked me dead in the eyes and put it right in the cart. What can I say? I’d have done the same thing. And it served me right; I knew better.

I’d found out that she was like that (that is to say, just like me) on our first bonding experience, a trip to New Orleans that we’d decided to take after knowing each other for just a few days. We were giving a ride to a guy (we’ll call him Mark) who was meeting up with some friends. We stuck him in the back seat with sis (RR—I’m so sorry), and he kindly volunteered to drive. Over and over again. And again. “Hey, you know, if you get tired or anything, let me know, I’d be happy to drive.” Because if she got tired, naturally she’d turn the driving over to the man in the car. To this day, I cannot stand that guy. Not just because of that weekend. About two years later, a mutual acquaintance called me up to tell me he thought I’d like to know that Mark had told him that we made out once. Oh, we SO did not mug down. Ok, one evening I let him kiss me—briefly—because it became very clear to me that I was either going to have to beat him off with a stick, let him kiss me, or continue to look at the ground for the rest of the evening. I took the path of least resistance. But I wouldn’t brag about it if I were him. Besides, you do not accost someone and then claim it as some kind of victory. Where have all the gentlemen gone? Anyway, by the time we were halfway there, when he again volunteered to drive, I leaned over and said quietly to her, “Please don’t let him drive.” She said, “Don’t worry,” punctuated with a tone in her voice and a look in her eyes that added “I’ll die a natural death before I let that happen.” I knew then, right at that moment, that we’d be friends. So I should have known better than to tell her she wasn’t getting the piñata.

He was not the most obnoxious person ever to sit in a back seat on a road trip to New Orleans. That dubious distinction is shared by BF/R and RR, who got bored and set on fire the little plastic Barbie that had come in one of their happy meals. I don't know if you've ever been trapped in a car with the smell of burning Barbie hair, but I do not recommend it. I guess that wasn't obnoxious so much as just noxious.

After we’d been roommates for about two years, one in the dorm and one in Big Al’s apartment complex, she started saving cardboard, mostly empty toilet paper and paper towel rolls. She’s very artsy, but not cutesy-artsy, so I couldn’t imagine what she was planning on doing with them. I asked her if it had a point. She laughed in the way that indicates that she knew that whatever she was doing, she didn’t have an explanation for it that would not provoke me to make fun of her, so she kept it simple, said she was thinking about doing something with them. I let it go at that. After all, I am the daughter of the man who would stop me at the trash and say “You’re throwing that out? That’s a perfectly good piece of cardboard!” Far be it from me to demand she throw it out. But I knew she wasn't going to get rid of them, because I'd called her on it, so she was going to keep them. And if I said anything again, she'd just keep them longer. This is the woman who made me her maid of honor so that I'd have to spend time with the best man who I cannot stand.

But after awhile, man, they were everywhere. So finally, I asked her if she was going to do something with them or no. I guess I caught her in the right mood, or they were getting on her nerves, too. She threw them all out, save one paper towel roll. I guess pride demanded that after saving them for so long, she had to do something. We weren’t sure what she was going to do with it, but she managed to make something unique.

“It’s the Tube of Death,” she said. I can honestly say I don’t think there’s anything else like it in the whole world. The Tube of Death (“TOD”) is a paper towel roll covered in a piece of white construction paper with the words “Tube of Death” written at the top in blue puff paint. Below that, written in pencil, are the following words:

This tube is dedicated to the thousands of poor souls who have had the misfortune of angering, upsetting, irritating, hurting, or in any other way tipping the balance of sanity in the abode.

So simple, yet so perfect. We decided to write on there the names of the people who were, forever after the inscription of their names thereupon, dead to us.

Now, I know that sounds harsh. A number of people have told us that it’s just plain cold. But you tell me which is worse: harboring resentment, hurt, or a grudge for years, or simply making the decision that you aren’t going to waste any more time or feelings on someone that just isn’t worth it? Keep in mind, we (usually) only put someone’s name on the list if the person did something pretty much unforgivable. Usually. I mean, there are rules. You have to think about it before you put someone's name on it, cause once it's on there, that's it. It's permanent.

Let me give you on example. There are a number of names on the TOD, but I’m going to tell you about one in particular. In a fit of charity and kindness, I’m going to give her a pseudonym. We’ll call her Lee . . . ann. Leeann.

Leeann was not the first person to go on the Tube. First was a floor mat boyfriend (not Joe) of mine, then a crackjass that RR dated, Marcel, the calculus teacher that BF/R swore was “spawned from the depths of hell,” and a guy who I thought was a true friend but wound up breaking my heart. Leeann’s boyfriend made it on the list pretty early. But she didn’t make it on the list until October 1997. That night. The night we walked home from the bar.

[end of part 1: stay tuned for part 2]

17 comments:

MsThang said...

I love your stories, they are so amusing :) Can't wait for part 2.

Kim Plaintive said...

oh the suspense…

so where do you keep the TOD now? What would happen if a friend came over to visit and thought it was just some kind of joke and autographed their name on it? Would you white-out their name, or would you just cut them off?

Ben said...

"Where have all the gentlemen gone?"

Well, most of us are already married... but there are a few remaining ones out there. I am sure of it. We like to hide from crazy people though... ;) (J/K)

JLR said...

msthang: thanks! :)

Ben: Don't I know it! RR and I always say that the good ones are issued wives at birth.

Kim: I keep the TOD at home, on top of my filing cabinet. I hope that a person would know better than to put his or her name on it. :) It's an interesting question. But really, I guess if you wrote your own name on the tube, are you saying that you are dead to yourself?

Katie said...

Oh My Word JLR you are a posting maniac. I come back after one day and it is like the posting heavens have opened up and little drops of comic genius have poured forth.

JLR said...

thanks, katie. :) I get "maniac" thrown my away a lot, but not so much "genius." I was once called "an evil genius," but they were joking. I think. RR calls me "genius" often, but she intends it to be ironic. So I'm taking that as a compliment, whether you meant it that way or not! :)

Ben said...

Katie- You could learn something from JLR. (Ben blows a big raspberry at Katie.) ;)

Amstaff Mom said...

I'm anxiously awaiting Part 2.

"Why is the car stopped?" "It's frightened."

JLR said...

Amstaff mom: "NO! . . . I mean, no thank you."

Katie said...

Benny boy you have now moved our fight to other blogs I see. Watch out buster JLR is a Texas girl and we get each other's backs.

Ben said...

What else would you expect Katie... "We're in a fight."

I told you that the other day. ;)

Amstaff Mom said...

"I had..to stop...her screaming"

RR said...

amstaff mom:
"He's on everyone else's [phone], why shouldn't be on mine?"

Amstaff Mom said...

RR-

CLASSIC line. I started to watch it last night, but only got to where the weapons are passed out. Man, that would be fun to watch together. I've been hoping we could have a blogger game night. Maybe we could have Clue playing in the background. Oh what fun.

RR said...

That *would* be fun! I think. It would kind of depend on the games we played. But I almost watched the movie last night, too. :) After all the quoting, I really wanted to see it!

JLR said...

Playing games would interfere with Clue watching. We should just have a movie night sometime.

Amstaff Mom said...

Sounds like a plan to me. From your previous postings it sounds like it would be a return to my old stomping grounds.