I have a paper route. Boy it sounds stupid when I write it out, like I’m 12 again delivering the daily to get enough money to order some sea monkeys and x-ray specs from the back of the Daffy Duck comic book. Alas, I am not 12, I’m 46 and need the money so I deliver papers in the morning as a second job and the repetitive motion of wrapping the rubber bands around the papers is wearing the skin away from several of my fingers. They hurt enough I wrap them in first aid tape. I’ve grown really tired of having my fingers taped up so I went to my medicine cabinet and got out the Neosporin to hopefully heal things up.
After a few applications I inspected my dried out skin for progress and . . . nothing. They looked and felt the same. But then I noticed other changes. When I swore under my breath it was in Norwegian. I spoke louder, doing the soliloquy from Macbeth in a Scandinavian dialect and a voice deeper than Barry White. My brain was swirling with strange images I couldn’t explain nor deny. Picking up a sharpie I inexplicably began covering my walls with the multiplication tables and recipes for potato pancakes. I knew I was in serious trouble when I started not singing the songs of Tom Jones, but mooing them like a cow. Then in the middle of the bridge for “She’s a Lady” I called a friend and told them “I have superseded ultra-consciousness and passed on to the realm of the blue ocean sting ray dream.”
I must have passed out at some point because the next thing I remember is waking up on the floor under the end table having a conversation with a lamp cord that graduated from
I found another half-full tube of Neosporin and you would think that after my experience I would check the expiration date, but I didn’t. I lathered it onto my hurting fingers as though it were Lorenzo’s oil then sat back and waited for the healing to begin.
Now, I don’t know where the marching band came from, but I do know if they had played the Broadway medley one more time I was going to let the beavers out of the cage. There’s only so much “Pirates of Penzance” I can take. Also, the state of
After applying the Neosporin, things got . . . hazy. Colors called out my name and asked me to dance. There was an antelope in my living room doing stand-up and I’ll be damned if he wasn’t a funny son-of-a-bitch. I found the end of the rainbow but instead of a leprechaun and a pot of gold it was Danny Devito and a cardboard box of tangelos. I’m not sure how or why but my living room was filled with water and I was playing Marco Polo with a basking shark. I called that same friend again to let them know that “the seventh dimension of free-falling dementia is a pale rider for the blowing breeze of Pluto’s ascendancy.”
Here’s the thing about waking up in a kimono with baling wire wrapped around your feet and wearing a necklace of Ritz crackers: You don’t want to remember how you got that way but man does the silk feel good against your skin. When I was fully sane again I checked that tube of Neosporin and it had expired in 2004. Yeah, that’s right. I had a tube of antiseptic cream lying in my medicine cabinet for over 7 years. Go ahead, top that. I dare you.