America's Sweatiest Fatties

This is true. I know my reputation for oddball fiction and addled fantasy damages my credibility, but I swear, this is true.

A spider and I encountered each other in an unpleasant way. Last week, in the chilly foothills, I lay sleeping on my dad’s couch. Above my snoozing head, adventuring around the ceiling, a small black-and-red spider halted his travels. Why? No one will ever know. There are no little neon signs for spider cantinas along my jawline, no spiders of the opposite sex lounging in spider swimwear eyebrow-side. I can only guess that my friend the spider was a hobbyist spelunker.

For whatever reason, the black-and-red spider attached one end of a silk strand tight and started steady production of more silk in its little butt. Navigating currents and turbulence, the spider plunged the distance from ceiling to my head and stopped. Beneath him, I snaked my warm hand from under the covers and scratched my temple. My eyes blinked open and I awoke. I’m not sure why. Then the spider dropped into my ear.

For the next 45 minutes, I stood before the bathroom mirror, slapping my head and jerking around, unsure of what was in my ear but positive I wanted it out. My finger proved too fat, a Q-tip too short. It wasn’t until I twisted the end of a swab out into a long point and dug in there that I extricated the tiny wiggling spider. I’m not sure if the spider shrieked; he might have. I certainly did.

“What the hell is wrong?” my dad asked, appearing at my side. I showed him the live spider entangled in the stringy cotton. “Eee yee,” he said and backed away. “You all right now?”

“A freakin’ spider just fell into my ear while I slept. Define ‘all right.’”

Six hours later, my father woke up and came out into the front room. All the lights in the house outside of his room burned bright. He found me sitting in the center of the floor, watching an infomercial about car wax, my face in the blue TV glow. I wore a T-shirt tied around my head, covering the major orifices. I rocked back and forth. My weary eyes blinked. My mouth muttered the words, “Can’t sleep, spiders will crawl in my ears. Can’t sleep, spiders will crawl in my ears. Cant’ sleep, spiders will crawl in my ears.”


Thursday, March 20
Bigfoot Presents: Meteor and the Mighty Monster Trucks
TLC 8:00 a.m.

This is why foreigners don’t want to learn English. If you came to this country, acquired a little bit of the language, and then encountered this title, you’d throw your hands up in surrender. “It’s just too stupid and hard. I’ll make my churros on the street corner and have my kids translate. Done.”

Figure Skating
ESPN 4:30 p.m.

I have strong, complicated feelings about figure skating. I yearn for the sequined spandex jumpsuit. I fear the skates. I long to glide. I disagree with cold environments. I want to kick open my legs so millions of Americans can stare directly into my tightly wrapped jumbly bits as if they were scientists presented with astonishing things in a microscope. I do not want to see the scorecards. Oh, figure skating. Oh, you rascal.

Friday, March 21
Presidential Libraries: History Uncovered
CSPAN 8:00 p.m.

Philosophically, I disagree with most of what the current administration has achieved. However, I am really looking forward to the opening of the George W. Bush Paintball Park and Go-Kart Track and a Library Over There (there’s a book in that maintenance closet; it counts). Ah, that’s what America is really about. Plus, you get a free beer when you buy a case of motor oil at the gift shop. Oh, boy, I can’t wait.

Saturday, March 22
Strawberry Shortcake
CBS 7:30 a.m.

The reason you never see me in the Strawberry Shortcake movie is because my scenes were all cut out in the final editing. I got a little money from it, but it would’ve been better to have my face and name in the finished product. Oh, well, I guess the director and editors thought my character, Disagreeable Flan, the heroin-addict immigrant, was too “heavy” for a kids’ movie. I thought it added authenticity, but, what are you gonna do? That’s Hollywood for ya.

The Ten Commandments
ABC 7:00 p.m.

YES! This movie is so damn rad! They only play it once a year, so, I’m guessing we’re approaching Easter? Is that right? Anyway, the head of the NRA has a stick that turns into a snake and his hair turns white and there’s a pharaoh and hot chicks and the gun-president guy socks the pharaoh in the mouth and he yells, “Let my people go, you filthy ape!” and there are camels and Jews. Dude, it’s sweet. We’re totally watching it and getting drunk.

Sunday, March 23
FOX 9:30 p.m.

Stink! Don’t bother. I had to watch part of it the other night because Family Guy ended and my remote was on the floor and I was balancing a beer on my belly for time. This show was so awful that I cut short my attempt for beer on the belly balancing to change the channel. So, you know it’s bad. The way I see it, Fox owes me a world record and all the fame and money involved. Jerks.

Monday, March 24
The Bachelor: London Calling
ABC 10:00 p.m.

Oh, super. The London Calling album by the Clash, an artistic expression of dirt-poor British youth coping with addiction, economic despair, and racial conflict, has been repurposed to serve as a tagline for a generic, saccharin, slick, advertising vehicle involving an elaborate mating ritual for cash prizes. Finally, the connection between diamond retail and disadvantaged, inner-city punk has been made. I can die happy. Wait. No. ABC, YOU SUCK! There, that’s better. That’s what I meant.

Tuesday, March 25
Big Brother: ‘Til Death Do You Part
CBS 9:00 p.m.

They should combine The Biggest Loser and Big Brother. I want America’s Sweatiest Fatties in the hot tub without their shirts and the Bleached and Beautiful Dramatic Youth staring in horrified contempt from inside the glass house. Welcome to REALLY REAL REALITY TV, WHERE REALLY REAL THINGS HAPPEN!

Wednesday, March 26
Tyler Perry’s House of Payne
TBS 9:00 p.m.

I don’t understand how Tyler Perry is this successful. Not that I disagree with his success morally or anything like that. Good for him for finding some niche where he can make money. But, I truly don’t understand it. Like, if it were an algebra equation, it would read “X x Y = Ducks: (A) True (B) False” and I would pencil in along the margin “(C) Sasquatch.”

Thursday, March 27
Unnatural Causes: Is Inequality Making Us Sick?
PBS 10:00 p.m.

Unless this show features a Herpes Ninja, I’m uninterested in what PBS has to say on the state of health care in this country. However unlikely, if there is a shadowy merchant of infectious mouth disease who creeps through the night delivering his special form of venereal justice, I just found my new favorite show. Ah, that makes me happy. I’m singing the theme song to the PBS Herpes Ninja show. PBS HERPES NINJA! LA LA LA LA LA!

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