I go to the skin surgeon for round two of my showdown with basal cell carcin….
You know, I don’t even want to say the word.
In round one, I went to the skin doc who, having detected that something looked a little suspicious, cut out a sample and sent it to a lab. Then just like that — botta bing botta boom– the report comes back….
Basal cell — as suspected.
So here I am with the skin surgeon — an aimiable young man, who, it turns out, shares my admiration for Louis CK. More on that later….
He sits me in a chair and explains how the deal works….
“I’m gonna cut off the lesion,” he says.
“Then I’m gonna put what I cut off under a microscope….”
“And if think there’s contamination that I didn’t get — I’m gonna cut out more stuff until I got it all. Okay?”
Louis CK is a very funny guy….
So he makes me put on a hospital gown and lie on the operating bed while he goes after my forehead with a pick axe.
Then he sends me to the waiting room, which is filled with other old farts, who’ve reached that age of life known as….
Shit, there’s some weird thing growing on my forehead!
Not long thereafter, they take me back to the operating room to announce….
There’s still more contamination.
Only this time the doc’s got a coeterie of young residents, watching his every move, so they can learn from the pro.
Between me, the doc, the residents and the nurse, it’s like a party in the room. Rock on!
I haven’t had this much fun since I got my teeth extracted.
They put me back on the bed and this time the doc brings out the heavy duty earth mover. It’s like he’s digging for coal.
Later that day, my wife comforted me….
As he digs deeper, he starts telling me about this bit from Louis CK’s latest HBO special.
“It’s called `of course, but maybe.’ Have you heard it?”
“Oh, my God, you have to hear it. It’s hilarious!”
Next thing you know, one of the residents goes over the computer and finds the bit on youtube. While the doc’s hacking at my head, I can hear Louis CK in the distance.
And it is hilarious. He’s got this line where he goes — “there’s no end to what we can do, when you don’t give a fuck about people.”
Here, watch it yourself.
I’m howling. The doc’s howling. The residents are howling. The nurse’s howling. I’m telling you — I really should stop by here more often.
Anyway, the doc sews me up, puts a big bandage on my forehead and sends me home. My wife sees the bandage and says, “Oh, poor, Benny, let me make you a bowl of soup.”
You know, so far this lesion-cutting thing’s working out all right.
It’s the end-of-the-season banquet at the bowling alley, and though I’m a notorious non-drinker, I tell the barkeep….
“Scottie, gimme a beer.”
I call the barkeep Scottie cause that his name. Hey, some readers are a little slower than others.
“Oh, big drinker,” Scottie says.
Then I wander over to where the championship’s being rolled. It’s a monumental showdown pitting the Hawaiians, who earned their name cause they wear Hawaiian shirts, versus the High Rollers, who have earned their name cause….
Well, I think even our slower readers can figure out how the High Rollers earned their names.
Normally, I’d root for the High Rollers. On account of the fact that if they win the championship there’s a longshot chance it might lead to saner marijuana laws.
Okay, it’s a very longshot chance. But, still – if notorious reefer heads can win the bowling championship it must say something positive about the drug.
I was playing the guitar like Hendrix….
On the other hand, the Hawaiians feature several lovers of the Blackhawks, who have just lost to Detroit. In particular, Pat the plumber looks like he might cry.
So out of sympathy to Blackhawk fans everywhere, I decide to be neutral.
Plus, I’m keeping score — an important task that I don’t take lightly. Actually, I’m not the official score keeper. The Young One is the official scorekeeper. I’m Tonto — his faithful sidekick.
A role I take no more lightly than if I was keeping score myself.
By the way, the Young One earned his nickname cause he’s young.
“Benny, tonight’s the night we get you drunk,” the Young One tells me.
“Great!” I say. “Order me Jack `n Ginger!”
“Fuck that — tonight, you will drink like a man!”
He goes to the bar and returns with a glass of Coke and something. Not sure what that something is, but there’s definitely a lot of it in the glass. I’m also not sure why Jack `n Ginger is less manly than Coke `n something else.
But I’m new at this drinking game.
And dancing like the Four Tops!
Within a few minutes, I’m feeling no pain. Jimi Hendrix comes on the jukebox and I start belting it out.
“Hey, Joe — where you goin’ with that gun in yo’ hand?”
Then I start playing air guiatar.
“Wrong hand,” says the Young One, who’s also playing air guitar.
Oops. I was using my right. Everyone knows Jimi was left handed.
Immediately, I switch to my left.
Hey, ma — I’m an ambidextrous air guitar player!
On come the Four Tops.
“Sugar Pie, honey bunch….”
I start to air dance.
At some point, the Young One gets me a refill. Whee!!!!
The Hawaiians win. Miraculously, we didn’t make any mistakes in the scoring.
Scottie — another round!
I must have made it home cause I wake up in my bed — with a pounding headache.
Shit. From here on out, I’ll leave the drinking to the pros.
See you next year, fellow bowlers!
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Walking the dog. Head in the clouds. Not really minding where I’m going. When….
I look up to see a weasley looking schmuck in a bathrobe standing on his front porch.
“Yeah?” I say.
I look at the dog. She’s doing her business.
“She’s peeing on my lawn….”
I don’t know what to say. Yes, that’s true. But — so what?
“Move her,” he says.
The guy’s starting to irritate me.
“I don’t care where — just not on my lawn. I pay taxes….”
I could have done this to the guy….
Now he’s really irritating me. “I pay taxes too….”
“What about squirrels — can they pee on your lawn cause you pay taxes?”
“Don’t be an asshole….”
“I’m an asshole? You live in a city and you don’t want dogs to pee on your lawn and I’m the asshole?”
“I’ll call the police….”
The dog’s done so I head off. Pisses me off. Keep thinking about the guy as I walk along. Always meeting jerks on the walk — this neighborhood’s crawling with them…
My day goes on. Do this do that. Hours pass. It’s nearly midnight. I’m taking the dog on her last walk of the day. My mind’s on a million different things. The leash tightens. I look over. The dog’s going into her squat. You know, she’s gotta take a crap.
Only — get this. She’s crapping on the lawn of Mr.-I-Pay-My-Taxes. That’s right. I know, Freud would say I subconsciously steered the dog to this lawn. But, I swear, I don’t control the dog’s bowels….
The dog’s taking her freaking time. She’s walking in a circle. Like she does. By the way, what’s that circle walking all about?
I’m thinking: What if the guy see us? What if he comes out of his house? Will he call the cops? Maybe I should tug the dog to another lawn? But, then, why should some other guy pay for his neighbor’s jerkishness? Plus, you gotta take the dog’s feelings into consideration. How would you feel if someone dragged you by a leash just when you were all set to take a crap?
So I let her do her thing on the guy’s lawn. I get out my plastic bag. All ready to scoop it up, when I have this thought….
Fuck this guy.
I mean, really. There’s no better revenge then leaving a big pile in his yard. With any luck, he’ll step in it….
Then think: Ah, two wrongs don’t make a right. So I pick up the crap, throw the bag in a garbage bin and go home.
But the dog still has to pee. And, get this — she’s pissing on douche bag’s lawn! Out of all the other lawns on the block. Is this dog smart or what?
“Good dog,” I tell her. “Good dog….”
She looks up at me. I swear to God, she’s smiling.
Editor’s Note: Jon Randolph — aka, Chicago’s greatest photographer — is indisposed at the moment. He called to say he was “lost in the rain in Juarez and it’s Easter time too.”
Then he said: “my gravity’s failing and my negativity’s not pulling me through.”
“Don’t worry cause — I won’t put on any airs when I’m down on Rue Morgue Avenue. They got some hungry women there and, man, they really make a mess outta you.”
Whatever you say, Jonny. Meanwhile, enjoy some of his great work, everyone….
Riding in the rain….
Growing on trees….
KMA — Mayor Rahm!
The time has come for the editorial board of The Third City to officially congratulate the Miami Heat ….
I can’t stand the fucking Miami Heat!
They won won last night’s ball game.
Or, for that matter, the entire state of Florida.
And the playoff series against our beloved Bulls.
With the exception of my in-laws, of course.
As we all know, good sportsmanship entails learning to lose graciously.
Fuck the Heat, fuck the Heat, fuck the Heat…..
And winning graciously.
When are we ever gonna win?
As always, the Heat’s resilience under fire was admirable.
It’s really hard to lose when you get all the calls.
They hit big shot after big shot.
Half of which came after uncalled charging fouls.
And they played tenacious defense down the stretch.
Which generally meant riding Joakim Noah like a horse or hacking the hell out of Jimmy Butler, like on his last three.
No foul here — huh, refs….
Our Bulls played fearlessly, though they were just not up to the match.
Cause half our team was in the fucking hospital!
We not only went without Kirk Hinrich and Derrick Rose, but Luol Deng, our all-star forward.
Cause someone thought it was a good idea to give him a spinal tap for the flu.
I think we speak for all sports fans when we said it would have been a more entertaining series had Deng been able to play.
Who gets a spinal tap for the flu?
We’d like to congratulate all the Heats great players….
How come their doctors don’t give them spinal taps when they get the flu?
Oh, why, oh, why didn’t you come to Chicago, LeBron!
If I have to watch Wade whine after getting called for a foul, I’ll need a spinal tap!
for their excellence.
I hate the Heat, I hate the Heat…
Just wait till next year, Miami!
In addition, a shout out to coach Eric Spoelstra….
Speaking of whiners.
and general manager Pat Riley.
I’ve didn’t like Riley when he played for Kentucky….
He put together an awesome team.
Or coached the Lakers…..
We know we speak for Chicago Bulls fan everywhere when we say — congratulations, Pat.
And I really, really, really didn’t like him when he coached the Knicks….
And good luck in the next series.
I never thought these words would come out of my mouth but — go Indiana Pacers!
We look forward to playing you next year.
Yeah, when D Rose is back!
Editor’s Note: Sorry, readers. Apparently, a hacker snuck into our computer system and added some disparaging comments about the Miamia Heat. Our IT department’s investigating this matter. We’ll keep you posted.
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I’m walking the dog late at night after a Bulls playoff loss to the Heat. Not sure which loss — there have been too many.
I bump into Sam, a 20-something-year-old pal. He and his friend, Kevin, are heading to a local tavern to drown their sorrow in drink.
“Tough game,” says I.
“I know,” says Sam.
There’s a melancholy in his voice that’s deeper than any one Bulls loss.
“What’s wrong, Sam?” I ask. “You can tell me.”
He shakes his head. “I don’t know, Benny,” he says. “It’s just that I feel so alone. Like I’m a Bulls fan in a Blackhawks town.”
“What are you talking about Sam,” I say. “No one gives a shit about the Blackhawks.”
“No, Benny, you’re wrong. You live in your own little Benny ghetto where everybody loves the Bulls. But in the larger world — this town’s crawling with Hawks fans. At least on the north side, where no one gives a shit about the Bulls.”
Back in the day, Simon was the kind of kid who loved the Bulls….
“Don’t say that!”
“Its true. Go to a north side bar on the day of a Hawks game and they have the sound blaring. But for the Bulls, you have to ask them to turn the sound up.”
“I wish — remember Simon?”
I flash back to 1990 something. Simon was a 13-year-old kid with bushy red hair — the son of some friends.
“Sure. Great kid. And a huge Bulls fan.”
“Not anymore. He’s all Hawks.”
“It can’t be!”
“But, but — Simon used to play basketball in his driveway….”
“I know — I played against him….”
“As I recall, he had a pretty good shot….”
“Let’s not get carried away.”
“He loved Michael Jordan! What went wrong?”
Now — oh, it’s too painful to say….
Sam shrugs. “Hard to say. You know how it goes. It starts with them reading the Red Eye. Then they move into rooting for the Hawks. Next thing you know, they’re voting for Rahm.”
“He didn’t do that — did he?”
“Don’t know — we’re all afraid to ask.”
“Don’t tell me he’s one of those goofs you see wearing the Pat Kane replica jerseys?”
“It’s worse. You know the song — Chelsea Dagger — that Hawk fans sing after every win?”
“It’s Simon’s favorite.”
“He knows the words by heart.”
“What words? All they do is go dah, dah, dah. dah, dah, dah….”
“I know. But, Benny, that’s a lot of words for your average Blackhawks fan to master.”
I turn to Kevin and ask: “Is this true?”
He solemnly nods and says: “I wish it weren’t, but….”
“Face it, Benny,” says Sam. “Simon’s gone to the other side.”
“Nooo!!!!” I howl. “Where did I go wrong?”
“I hear you,” says Sam. “We’re all asking ourselves the same thing.”
The dog hairs are starting to drive my crazy, so I get out the vacuum cleaner and start vacuuming the living-room rug.
I’m working my way up the stairs, when I stumble over the shoe my younger daughter left on the floor. Its shoelace gets stuck in the vacuum cleaner. The machine makes a screeching sound. Like it’s in pain. Then it stops.
I rip the shoelace out of the suction tube and flip the on-switch. Still doesn’t work.
Oh, well. Start watching the basketball game.
My wife comes home.
“The vacuum cleaner’s broken,” I tell her.
“I just bought it….
Which sounds like she might be blaming me. So I quickly shift the blame.
“Yeah, well — your daughter left her shoe out in the open and….”
There’re few things cooler than a woman who can fix stuff….
She’s not listening. Instead, she’s staring at the vacuum cleaner.
This is serious stuff. My wife’s got a gift for fixing things. She’s like a horse whisperer with broken gadgets. She’s got the healing touch.
Her specialty is vacuum cleaners. One time years ago I was watching a football game at my ex-brother-in-law. And his wife, my sister-in-law, comes in to the living room to say the vacuum cleaner’s broken.
As in — fix it!
So he gets out of his easy chair and lumbers over to the den. Gets on his knees, grunting as he squats, and he plays with this and fiddles with that. Then says the vacuum cleaner is broken beyond repair.
As in — fuck this shit. I wanna watch the game!
“Can I look at it?” asks my wife.
He scoffs. As in — girl, if a manly man like me can’t fix it, there’s no way a chick like you can do it….
So he returns to the living room. I stand back to watch my wife. She’s staring at the vacuum cleaner and then she starts taking it apart. I’m thinking — she’s lost her mind.
I go back to the living room and sit next to my ex-brother-in-law, and we’re staring at the boob tube and the next thing you know from the other room we hear….
As in — my wife fixed the vacuum cleaner!
My ex-brother-in-law doesn’t say a word. Won’t even look at me. Just keeps staring at the tube, like he doesn’t hear a thing. I swear, he’s grinding his teeth….
Anyway, here she is, approaching yet another broken vacuum cleaner. She goes into her zone. Just stares at it. I’m staring at it too. But I don’t see anything. Cause there’s nothing to see.
But it’s like she goes to another place. Into the inner dimensions of the vacuum cleaner, tracing it’s working parts to the source of its pain.
I go back to the game. When….
“It works!” she exclaims.
The legend grows….
Happy Mother’s Day, to all the Super Mamas everywhere!