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Hello, my name is Judas Gutenberg and this is my blaag (pronounced as you would the vomit noise "hyroop-bleuach").


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   early stories involving poo
Friday, August 24 2007

When I first met Gretchen back in the Fall of 1988 she looked like little Miss Wholesome Jewish Hippie Chick:

From left: Terri's father's boyfriend, Gretchen, Gretchen's friend Terri, and me, in Cleveland, Ohio, November 26th, 1988. After our big falling out in Februrary of 1989, Gretchen cut me out of her copy of this picture.

Some things were not accidental about this look, and one of those things was the kinky quality of Gretchen's hair. It was still the 1980s and she was in the habit of getting her hair permed.

Fast forward to today: Gretchen and I are married and living in Upstate New York and Gretchen, trying to get away from all the haircuts that I have disparaged as looking "housewifey," has allowed her hair to grow long. But for Gretchen there has always been something unsatisfying about her hair when it gets long, and today she decided to do something about it. She got it permed. In 2007 it's still possible to get perms, they're still called perms, and people are still asking for them by name. People just aren't drawing as much attention to them and they've definitely cut back on the hairspray factor that played such an enormous role in making yearbooks from the period such an embarassment to those of us who lived through it. (Even if, like me, your picture never actually appeared in a yearbook, you're still embarassed by the look of the girls you thought were hot back then.)
It took some getting used to, Gretchen's new perm, but when I thought it looked rather fetching if pulled back with a clip or smooshed down a bit.

This evening Gretchen and I took our friends Penny and David out to dinner at the Reservoir Inn to celebrate Penny's 41st birthday. Strangely, I found myself having a little problem ordering a beer I liked there. I started with a reliable brand (Brooklyn) but ordered an unfamilar model, their Pilsner. What is a Pilsner? Not even David, something of a fine living expert, knew. I suspected something was amiss when we all ordered different beers and they all looked exactly the same. I moved from my Pilsner to another reliable brand, Saranac. But again there was a problem; it was one of their fruity girlish seasonal brews. So finally I ordered a Becks, a brand of beer I used to like back before the microbrew revolution. But I've had too much good beer in my life to find that skunky schwill acceptable, particularly after spending two weeks in Scotland, where even the shittiest beer is fairly good.
Later, back at our house, the others ate pieces of a birthday cake that Gretchen and baked. Also, two of us smoked some marijuana. You may not be shocked to learn that I was one of those marijuana smokers, but I found the schwaggy stuff to be "all cough and no get off."
At some point Penny asked us all to tell the tale of our earliest memory, so Gretchen and David told tales from when they were three or four. My memories reach back a bit further; I remembered being helpless in a crib and having my diapers changed at nursery school. I also clearly remember my habit of standing in front of one of the headlights of my father's '57 Chevy every time I felt the need to shit my pants. Penny's earliest memories also included a shit-related incident, one where she crapped her pants and then her father changed her in a bathroom within view of several bedrooms that shared doors into it. She'd been so humiliated by this experience that the memory had stuck with her to this day. Of course, at the time her father hadn't thought twice about it; cleaning up your kids' shit is one of those things one does as a parent, and there's nothing particularly embarrassing about it.

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