Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The 5 Keys to Preparing a Successful Bath

1. Preparedness
First, and perhaps most importantly, make sure you have a towel in the bathroom with you before you begin to remove your clothes. You don’t want to step out of hot bath only to realize that you’re forced to hastily streak from the bathroom in search of something to dry and cover your skin. This is especially important if you share a living space with someone who does not regularly see you naked. That you know of. Bath success has a direct relationship to towel availability.

2. Gravity
If you’re a first time bath-taker, please take note. As you begin to fill your tub with water, keep the drain closed. This can be accomplished with a metal slider or switch built into your tub that changes your drain position from “open” to “closed” or with a standalone stopper (available in some older tub models). If you fail to do so, your tub will fill quite slowly, if at all, and once you turn the faucet to its “off” position, the tub will immediately begin to empty. Improperly closed drains are a leading cause of unsuccessful baths.

3. Temperature
Immediately after you turn your faucet to the “on” position, water will begin to flow into your tub. Many modern tubs allow you to select your desired water temperature with a color-coded dial on which blue denotes “cold” and red, “hot.” However, simply positioning your dial is not, in itself, a fail-safe method of temperature selection. You must continuously monitor your water temperature with your hand throughout the tub filling process. Remember, your water temperature will gradually change during the time it takes to fill your tub to it appropriate level (more on this later).

4. Level
As student of Advanced Fluid Mechanics 401, you have learned that displacement occurs when an object of measurable mass is immersed in a fluid. The fluid then rises within its container to accommodate the additional mass, allowing you to determine the object’s volume. Therefore, it should be no surprise that as you enter a full tub the water level will not remain constant. As stated, it will rise to accommodate your substantial bulk. This is why you should always leave room for displacement. Do not fill your tub to its capacity before submerging your body, or spillage will occur. As a general rule of thumb, leave at least 8 inches of vertical space between the water level at its highest point and the top of the tub. Hazards of overfill include post-bath bodily slippage and resulting head trauma. (See: Louganis, Greg)

5. Enjoy Yourself!
Ultimately, any bath should be a pleasant experience. But if you find yourself with nothing to amuse you, feel free to bring in a rubbered duck, plastic motorized boat or any brightly colored object fitted with a suction cup. Unless you happen to be washing off the shame of a lifetime of underachievement and rejected sexual advances, you should complete your bath feeling clean, refreshed and with the sense of accomplishment that accompanies a job well done.

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Pour Baby

Martina was frantic. Where was Ella? Her precious baby girl? The love of her life? One minute the two are enjoying a bath, the next she’s gone.

Ella had just begun crawling, so she can’t have just taken off. Besides, their studio apartment didn’t exactly afford a 6-month-old girl much opportunity to hide. All the closet doors were closed. The oven secure. The fridge door handle impossible to reach.

Martina tore open the cabinets, feeling more and more desperate as each second ticked by. Nothing. She struggled to move the futon away from the wall, one side at a time. Nothing but dust and a few ancient popcorn kernels. She stooped to peer under her computer desk. Empty CD cases, a fuzzy Cheez-It but no Ella. Where the fuck is she!?

Martina began to wonder if she was losing her mind. “Is this how it happens?” she thought. “Do you misplace something here or there and suddenly you’re insane?” Martina even briefly let herself entertain the thought that Ella never existed. That she was a product of Martina’s increasingly diseased consciousness.

Martina looked around the room. Ella’s toys were scattered about. A few brightly colored pieces of plastic designed by “doctors” to stimulate Ella’s intellectual development. The toys surely proved Ella’s existence. Right? Martina looked down at her midsection, pulled out her waistband and saw the C-section scar. “OK, so I’m not crazy,” Martina concluded.

But where was Ella? Where was she?

With a start, Martina made for the apartment’s lone window. En route, her foot caught under the lamp’s cord, causing her to pitch forward and take the lamp with her. Martina quickly recovered, leapt to her feet and bolted toward the open window, a light breeze ruffling the old beige curtains that had been hanging there the day she moved in and likely for decades before that.

Martina thrust her head through the window and looked down to realize what she dread. There, two stories below, was Ella, naked on the soaked pavement, a rubber duck in the grass five feet away and a tangled washcloth draped across the child’s legs.

Martina had thrown the baby out with the bathwater.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Conversations Between Gil and Cal

Gil: So I was watching Teen Wolf 2 the other day and I noticed something.
Cal: I didn’t watch Teen Wolf yesterday.
Gil: No, I know, I didn’t say you did.
Cal: You said “I was watching Teen Wolf, too, the other day…”
Gil: Yeah, Teen Wolf 2. Teen Wolf PART 2.
Cal: What do you mean “PART 2”?
Gil: What do you mean what do I mean. I mean the second Teen Wolf.
Cal: The second Teen Wolf?
Gil: Yes, the second Teen Wolf. Teen Wolf 2. Teen Wolf Part 2. What is so confusing here?
Cal: I don’t understand. They made Teen Wolf twice? Did someone remake the movie?
Gil: Ugh, no, it’s a sequel.
Cal: What’s a sequel?
Gil: You don’t know what a sequel is?
Cal: No, is it some kinda submarine?
Gil: Yes, Teen Wolf 2 is a type of submarine. That makes a lot of sense.
Cal: Hey, don’t get all bitchy. I’m not the one making up words.
Gil: I’m not making up words! Sequels are really common! Haven’t you ever seen Batman Returns?
Cal: Sure. With Christopher Walken, right?
Gil: Well, yeah, but he’s not really the main character. It was more a Michael Keaton, Danny Devito, Michelle Pheiffer vehicle.
Cal: Oh, I disagree. I think Walken’s character played a huge part in the plot. Without him, they never would have—
Gil: OK. Fine, Walken was important. But my point was Batman Returns was the sequel to Batman.
Cal: The sequel to a TV show?
Gil: NO! The sequel to the MOVIE Batman.
Cal: The one that came out in the 60s?
Gil: Jesus! No, the movie that came out in 1989.
Cal: I didn’t know a Batman movie came out in 1989.
Gil: What? It was one of the biggest movies of the 80s!
Cal: Well I don’t remember it.
Gil: So, you know every nuance of the plot of Batman Returns and you’ve never even heard of the original Batman?
Cal: The original Batman was in the 60s.
Gil: God dammit! I mean the 1989 Batman.
Cal: I didn’t know there was a 1989 Batman, and frankly, it sounds made up. Why would they name a movie 1989 Batman. Unless…ohhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhhh I get it. It’s a “sequel!”
Gil: Oh my god. I’m leaving.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

The Amputeens: Episode 1, Part 1

In one motion that was somehow awkward and effortless, Roger one-handedly whipped his messenger bag over his head and slipped it onto one shoulder. He exhaled slowly, raising his head to look at himself in the cheap frameless mirror bracketed to the inside of his bedroom door.

Hair: Stylishly messy with just the right amount of product.

Clothes: Crisp white button-down dress shirt with ragged jeans and white sneakers, a nice blend of new and worn.

Left arm: Still missing from just below the elbow.

As Roger took himself in, he thought about what his mom had been badgering him about the last few weeks. That this was a chance to start fresh. A new school. A new year. An opportunity to put everything behind him—the suppressed aggression, the violence, the incident, the trial, what began with exhilaration and ended in humiliation.

Roger thought for a moment and opened his bedroom door. He skipped down the stairs, but it wasn’t a carefree, whimsical skip. It was a hurried gate that was more out of habit than anything else. And he was determined to leave the house before his parents knew he was even awake. He didn’t want the questions. He didn’t want the encouragement. He just wanted to get this over with.

Roger slipped out the front door, careful not to make a sound. As the door softly clicked behind him, he sighed with relief at the avoidance of confrontation, no matter how well-intentioned it would have been.

It was August so the early morning air was still warning of the heat to that would come with the afternoon sun. A little more upbeat, Roger fished for his keys in his right pocket. Extracting them, he manually unlocked the door of his cherry red 1993 Nissan Sentra SE-R. He tossed his backpack onto the passenger seat, temporarily smothering a pile of fast food wrappers, ATM receipts, loose change and other useless odds and ends.

Pulling out into the road, Roger felt the familiar fluttering of butterflies. He’d spent almost an entire day at an orientation session at the school two weeks before, but he still hadn’t met anyone who didn’t fall into the “administrator” category. He wasn’t na├»ve enough to think that part of his past wouldn’t be waiting to greet him at the school’s entrance, but he was hoping to get through at least this first day without incident.

Unfortunately, hope is no match for destiny.