Monday, March 24, 2014

Blue Balls

Mark thinks I should eat more fruit so he buys fruit when he's out shopping, lots of fruit. The problem is that I never get around to eating it. So much of that fruit sits and rots. The other day I was cleaning the house and I came to the big bowl we have in the dining room. There was an odor, so I started digging down through the bananas, apples, and oranges in that bowl. Sure enough, at the bottom was a fuzzy blue ball, a rotting orange. The smell immediately transported me back to my youth, back to Saint George grammar school. It was the aroma of my book bag. Often times my mom would think she was packing little Alan a healthy lunch. Besides the peanut butter and lettuce, or the brown sugar and margarine sandwiches, she would stick an orange in the brown bag that I schlepped to school. Knowing that the nuns frowned upon us kids throwing food away, I would take the unwanted orange out of the brown bag and drop it down into the bottom of my book bag. There it would lay and fester for weeks until the nun or my mom couldn't stand the stench anymore and investigated the source. Besides the rotting fruit at the bottom of my book bag, I'd also stuff unwanted fruit far back into my little wooden school desk. The swarms of fruit flies and other vermin eventually gave me away. When I left Saint George and started going to the public school I was able to purchase my lunch, so I had no need to squirrel away rotting produce anymore. That didn't mean the smelly haze of laziness didn't follow me. Public schools required us to take gym class, and in that gym class we all wore our little shorts, tee-shirt, gym socks, and of course our jock straps. I think the record for not taking my gym clothes home to wash was one entire school year. By January the gym locker room would gag most people, and when I opened my gym locker for the last time in June of that year, my socks stood up and walked out on their own. It was so bad that when we divided up the gym class into two teams, skins and shirts, I always volunteered to be on the skins team just so I wouldn't have to wear my tee-shirt. Not because it smelled so bad, but because it was so stiff from months of sweat that it chaffed. I can't even describe to you how bad the jock strap felt.

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