That's Something You Don't See Every Day, Chauncey

Watch me pull a rabbit outta my hat!

Gold stars. Alone with his dead.

Posted by kozemp on September 28, 2009

My desk is pretty awesome.

As bedroom furniture goes for the most part I am very lame. My bed is just a box spring and a mattress on a metal frame, my chest of drawers is a hideous old hand-me-down I can’t bring myself to get rid of, and my bookcases are Ikea standard issue. Until a few years ago my nightstand was – I am not making this up – an old Tandy XT monitor jammed into the top of a white milk crate. For the longest time I figured “oh, well, this monitor-stuck-in-a-milk-crate keeps my glasses and whatnot off the ground just as well as a fancy-schmancy ‘night table,’ so why shouldn’t I have this next to my bed? Oh, how droll and utilitarian and twentysomething I am!”

Of course, at some point when I was 28 or so I realized, as all intelligent folk do, that utilitarianism is a joke and John Stuart Mill is a fucking dickhead. I threw out the monitor-stroke-milk crate and resolved to keep my essentials on the corner of my desk. People like me who are largely blind without their glasses will recognize the need to place them, Leonard Shelby-like, in the same place every night. So now I keep my glasses and wallet and phone and whatnot on this one corner of my desk.

And this isn’t just any desk, mind you.

From the time I was approximately seven years old until about two years ago my desk was this ancient, mirror-topped mahogany behemoth I assume was scavenged from one of my mother’s dead relatives. This was how we obtained just about all of our furniture back then. Now bear in mind two important things at that time: 1) My parents were literally the age I am now, but with two kids and a mortgage living on the salary of a schoolteacher and a part-time optometrist. 2) In the entirety of my mother’s comically-abundant extended Irish family, by some cosmic demographic hiccup we were the ONLY new family with young kids. So every time someone died – which was quite often given the sheer quantity of family members – my parents would end up with their furniture because, “oh, John and Teresa need it.” This is why my father didn’t have a reliable car until he was 40 but we have three complete dining room sets, and why as a third-grader I was given a gigantic antique for a desk.

Over the next twenty years or so I would proceed to beat the living shit out of this desk, and when I started going back to school a couple years ago I realized I needed a place to both put my computer and do homework and that my desktop wasn’t big enough for that. (The lack of such realization perhaps explaining some of my poor academic performance beforehand.) I also realized that the mirror that was the top of my desk was sufficiently cracked and broken such that if I slipped while typing my hands would be sliced off at the wrists.

So with much sadness I disposed of my old desk. My sadness ended when I proceeded to replace it with something that looked like it came from the bridge of the JJ Abrams Enterprise. This desk DOES NOT FUCK AROUND. It is acres of polished glass held up by gleaming black metal in a way that at first glance seems to defy the laws of physics. It is awesomely L-shaped so that I have, essentially, an entire desk for my computer and another entire desk for homework and reading and whatnot, with a third smaller desk in between usually reserved for laptops of dubious purpose. It has got LEVELS: one side of it has an entire second story. My desk is what you would get if you force-fed mescaline to Frank Lloyd Wright and then chained him to a drafting table and held a gun to his head while shouting: “a desk, Frank, MAKE US A FUCKING DESK!”

At the moment a significant portion of it is covered with half-painted Space Marines and a forest of medicine bottles.

For the longest time I tried to keep some order to the medicine bottles, to maintain a sort of straight line that I could go down as I needed to, but as I grew more and more resentful of the fact that I take so many goddamn pills every semblance of order faded and now there are just bottles all over the place. For the back: Neurontin, Vicodin. For the liver: Vitamin E, Milkthistle, Ursodiol. For emergencies/special occasions: Dilaudid. Now that one, that’s special. Dilaudid is what your body turns morphine into. It is wicked bad juju. When I first got the prescription my pharmacist told me, “okay, basically, never take this stuff. It will erase the world.” Since then I’ve taken it three times when the pain in my back flared to a point where I was unable to successfully prosecute my day to day life. My pharmacist’s warnings were not inaccurate. I’m going to hold on to the rest of it and give the pills out as Christmas presents; the nicer you are to me between now and then the more you’ll get.

This weekend I was down with a cold and added some NyQuil to the menagerie. My love of NyQuil borders on abuse, and not even for its alcohol content: taken at half-dosage it is the only medicine I have ever found that actually relieves my symptoms when I have a cold, and as a sufferer of chronic anxious insomnia a full dose is one of the few things guaranteed to put me to sleep. At one point this Saturday I was sitting at my awesome desk, taking my NyQuil, and as I put the bottle down it landed next to the Dilaudid. I thought, “I wonder what would happen if I mixed them,” and then realized that thoughts like that bring me dangerously closer to being a character in a James Ellroy novel. The fact that I am currently reading a James Ellroy novel probably contributed to that realization, but I stuck with that line of thought for a little. Well, let’s think, what would that be like?

I mentally composed a list of pros and cons.

Pros: an authority figure of some sort (police, FBI, etc). Get to hobnob with interesting underworld types and make lots of money. Get to experiment with heretofore unknown combinations of drugs and alcohol. Get to have sex with (inexplicably lots of) interesting women. Free to regularly indulge darkest, basest, vilest desires. Witty yet realistic dialogue.

Cons: complicity in most heinous acts of the 20th century. Tendency for every associate to be evil scumbag. Utter moral bankruptcy.

As I sat there at my awesome desk, I felt the delicious warmth of red NyQuil seeping into my tissues and I thought, “tough call, tough call…”

JLK

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One Response to “Gold stars. Alone with his dead.”

  1. slerock said

    “NyQuil is the 13th f**king step.”
    “NyQuil, NyQuil, NyQuil – we love you! You giant f**king Q!”
    -Denis Leary

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