I had my finger up my nose for a big one. I had it cornered, just above the right index finger nail. My left hand had my itchy balls covered and my crotch was spread out over a hundred teenage males and females in psychology class.
Then this girl a few seats down and to the left raises her hand for the teacher. The teacher’s asking why girls usually become more emotionally depressed.
“We’re more complicated!” The girl says. Another girl agrees a few more flights down. They looked exalted about it. What’s better than being complex? More intelligent? Able to compute algorithms of emotions at the speed of light? Nothing's better than that. The guys looked defeated and stupid.
Girls are smarter.
I was thinking about beef ramen.
And about my old dog, Gussie. She was a mutt, a hairy mutt with a bony snout, wet nose, and scrappy paws. And she loved everyone. She used to pop two paws on my bed and sniff at me in the mornings. She knew when she wanted to eat, and she would dance around the living room for my mother’s attention. She’d always follow my mom around. Everywhere she’d go. If my mother left the house, Gussie wouldn’t move from the front door until my mother returned. It was Gussie’s mother too. Gussie was family. We never referred to her as a dog. But she was a humble bitch. She’d sleep on a large square step between hallways on the second floor. Whenever someone would come by she would get up and stand aside for them.
Gussie ate her own shit in the backyard and would lick my face. I’d let her. Then I’d make a claw with my right hand and scratch her left thigh until she collapsed and started kicking out a long stretch and stay there until I worked her whole stomach. At night when I would walk up the stairs she’d see me coming and start to get up. “It’s okay, Guss,” I’d say, and start petting and talking to her for an hour, almost falling asleep on all that brown hair. I’d move my hand away to get up and she’d bring her head up and lick it with that long thin pink tongue of hers.
One day when I was scratching her thigh, and working up her belly, I caught a lump. It got bigger as the weeks went by. She started biting at it, and it would bleed. My mother and I would take her to the back yard in the summer with warm soap and some old towels to clean it out for her the best we knew how. It went on for a year.
She lost her sight and began walking into walls. She seemed to laugh about it with us. She still danced in front of the living room every day, at 5:00pm, her dinner time, and we’d open up another can for her. We’d watch her eat it. Then we watched her eat only half. The lump was getting big. And heavy. We’d joke with her in our arms about how she was becoming a male.
She stopped shitting one day and I noticed immediately.
It was getting rough.
I’d walk up the stairs to pet her and she didn’t seem to notice me anymore.
“It’s okay, Guss,” I scratched under her ears and kissed her goodnight.
I stayed home and my parents took her out to the vet. They came back and told me she went out, peacefully. My mother was crying. My father cried too. And then my brother. And then my sister. She was my Gussie. And she wasn’t going to lick me anymore.
That girl in psych was wearing a lot of makeup, complex colors around her face and lipstick with a satisfied smile. All the guys were looking equally stunning, looking at the girls. I was wearing the same underwear from two days ago. Then, I finally got that booger between my fingers. Victory. I flicked it behind me and spread my legs a little more. Beef ramen. I never had that kind before. It’s gonna be good.
When the class ended I was too busy thinking about where the boogie landed, or how good the ramen is gonna be, to watch my step, and my two feet fell and slid into the folding chairs. Stuck. A couple girls to my back giggled. I took my time. I pulled one out, looked at the other. I always buy running shoes because it’s easiest to kick in them. Recently I’ve been working on a new jumping hook kick. I got the other one out after a few moments.
I left the big room with all the complicated people. Walking out I held an argument with myself over if the great Bill Cosby and the late Bill Hicks would have been good friends.
Yes, probably. Both are equally cool.
I hocked one and let loose on some ice outside the student union building, then fixed the sweatpants falling from my ass. My next class starts in fifteen minutes. There’s a twenty dollar bill in my wallet because my grandma sent me it. She’s a small lady who cooks a good turkey, and makes the best stuffing in the world.
When look in the mirror, I don’t understand what I’m looking at. I shit and masturbate more than I shower. I don’t clean the bowl I put a cornucopia of food in until the next meal days later. The most complicated feat I can do is use double nunchucks. I probably crack my neck too much. I tell people not to write poetry, then spit haiku at them. This morning I had Cab Calloway replaying the same song for a half hour straight, ‘dug it each time like it was something new.
Why would anyone want to be complex? Is there a hidden advantage to that? To perceiving your own death? To worry about death? To worrying about anything? To have a need to pray to god for salvation? To have to lie to people you care about because they’ll become offended if you told them what you really think? To have manners? To have a cell phone and a separate list of acquaintances and friends? To be human? To feel special about it? About having problems? Have you checked for HIV lately? What’s your favorite brand of lip gloss? What magazines are you a subscriber to? Do you work out enough to get the fat off your ass? How many albums do you own? Do you read The New York Times? Do you have life insurance? Are you warm enough in the winter time? How soft is your toilet paper?