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Monday, 18 December
Casineaux Night

Well, at least one of my tens of readers has declared my last couple posts about our trip to Italy "boring," so NO MORE FOR YOU! Not even that unforgettable night when Monica Bellucci gave my nuts a bit of a fondle and then enigmatically licked my eyeball.

This Saturday, the wife and I took a drive up to Shoreline--We Have Car Dealerships!--to our friends C. and L., for L.'s 40th birthday. As the wife and I approach the big 4-0 ourselves, we were interested in finding out how one goes about properly celebrating such an event. The answer, as it turns out, is that everyone acts like teenagers. Hooray!

C. and L. take frequent trips to Las Vegas, perhaps out of some sort of self-flaggelation kink, or possibly because they genuinely enjoy it; it's hard to say. (C. loses his fucking shirt every single time he goes. It's a running joke at this point. "You didn't bet on the Seahawks, did you?" I asked. "No," he replied gloomily. "I bet on the Sonics.") At any rate, they had decked the place out in finest casino style. Shrimp cocktails were served, and C., resplendent in a red bow tie, gleefully pointed out the blackjack table, the craps table, and the roulette table. There was even beer on tap! (In a fashion. C. has this terrible device that looks like a big blender with a central cylindrical chamber; he pours Bud Light into the thing, and the inner chamber contains ice. Then there's a little spigot to dispense the beer. It looks like something from the Sharper Image catalog, but what it really resembles is a giant urine dispenser for those emergency visits from a probation officer when your urine really has to be its cleanest.)

Presently, all those fabulous game tables got fired up. Everyone was given their own bag of gambling chips, and we crammed ourselves at the tables, elbowing each other roughly with our drink hands. Just like Vegas! And also just like Vegas, where good judgment goes to die, we were all soon making the most deranged bets possible (but unlike Vegas, this was because of the worthlessness of the actual chips). At the Texas Hold 'Em table I was stationed at for a bit, my friend L. raised a $200 pot with one of her $5000 chips (I know); she was immediately rewarded with an all-in bet from a competitor. (She was called, of course, and instantly lost when a nasty pair of sevens beat her queen-high, or something equally dumb. Somewhere in the world, Doyle Brunson whimpered in his sleep.)

I took a turn at spelling C. at the blackjack table, taking over dealing responsibilities for a while, and amused myself with the glistening "gamblers" who were doing wonderful things like splitting fours and hitting on A-7. "You have eighteen," I'd say. "But I also have eight!" came the crafty reply. "You have eighteen. I'm showing a five." "I have an eight or an eighteen," said the wily bettor. "I'm hitting my eight." I shrugged and dealt the player a card; it was a five. "Now you have thirteen," I said neutrally. She eyed the cards as if they were pet rats that had suddenly gone feral and shat in her socks. "Hit me again," she said, fingering her bag of chips as if they were actually worth something. I turned up a face card and she bit her lip as she busted.

Just like Vegas!

People were really into the blackjack table, weirdly, since the frisson of gambling with actual money was absent, but whatever. Meanwhile, at the "keno" table, things were similarly lively. C. did not have anything like a keno board or anything, so it was really bingo. Bingo took all of about five minutes to morph into what was swiftly dubbed "Drink-O," where anyone who had a number that was called was obligated to immediately take a drink. This is the sort of game that makes the venerable Quarters seem like a real test of skill and dexterity. "G-29!" someone would call, or something, and then moans of despondency would erupt from the unlucky people who did not have G-29, as if there were some genuine reason why they shouldn't pick up their drink and have a slug if they fucking well felt like it. Similarly, excited cheers came from the "winners" who were able to slam down a glug, as if there were any earthly reason not to any time they felt like it. But it was kind of fun to see people enter into the spirit of the whole thing, really.

And everyone was enjoying themselves. I certainly was, alternating beers with sips of whiskey. At one point, I was smoking a cigarette in the "fireside lounge"--an outdoor courtyard with a little Coleman wood-burning stove--when C. appeared, his red bow tie askew, and announced, "I don't want anyone to worry: I'm getting drunk." What a relief! And then I suddenly realized that it was time for that most interesting part of any evening at someone else's house: I had to take a crap.

"I have to take a crap," I announced, and then dashed off in search of the bathroom. Oh boy! For me, there's nothing like experiencing other people's bathrooms. Bathrooms are ubiquitous, of course, but they are all different, and exploring a new bathroom is, for me, a sort of anthropological fantasia.

I mean, I'm not crass. I don't rummage through people's medicine cabinets; I don't care. No, I immerse myself in the bathroom experience. What's the shower curtain like? Is there a candle? I examine the little soaps that people only dig out for parties. I seat myself reverently on the toilet. This toilet is similar to my toilet, I think, seating myself. But this is not my toilet. (My toilet, the one in my home is, frankly, an appalling relic. It has an old wooden seat--wooden!--that, it must be said, can sometimes pinch. C.'s toilet was refreshingly pinch-free, and I patted it affectionately.) More questions. Is there any reading material? Or shall I simply examine the style and quality of the hand towels?

I finished up in there with approval: C. and L.'s bathroom had passed muster. It was homey and accomodating, and the toilet wasn't finicky or goonish about doing its job; it flushed with a workmanlike roar without any extraneous steps like handle-jiggling or such nonsense. As a final test, I cautiously licked the shiny floor, and noted with approval the presence of ammonia. They mopped, I thought, and smiled at a job well done. I opened the door to let in the next partygoer, and quietly said, "It's all right. It all checks out. You should smell my tongue."

"You're drunk and creepy," said the woman as she slipped inside. Just like Vegas! C. and L. should be proud.


P.S.--If you've made it this far, then you might be interested to know that this December marks the four-year anniversary of this humble blog. So thanks for reading, each and every twenty-six of you or so. For those of you who are new here and shaking your heads in a horrified daze and wondering, "Did he just spend all that time talking about the bathroom?", well . . . hi. Yeah, that's kind of how it goes. Welcome. Hope you stick around. I won't blame you if you don't, but all I'm saying is, you can take a dump in my bathroom any time you want. Yeah, the fucking toilet seat pinches you every now and then, but we use only the decent kind of toilet paper--the kind without actual wood chips in it--and our hand towels have Vargas girls on them.

It isn't Vegas, but it's what I call home, and you're welcome any time.


Note: Comments are closed on old entries.

Comments

You've got a rampaging open italics tag somewhere around 'eight'. And welcome back, from one of your tens of readers! I forgot to come looking before today, so as far as I'm concerned, you're just off the plane.

Comment number: 009960   Posted by: pi on December 19, 2006 06:30 AM from IP: 129.252.164.27

"Vargas girl" looks like "Vegas girl" if you read fast enough.

Comment number: 009961   Posted by: Kate on December 19, 2006 08:17 AM from IP: 70.132.6.124

One of Skot's favorite topics of discussion at the casino event was how he'd received "BORING!" comments or emails or something in re his Italy posts. C'mon, people, you're breaking his booze-soaked heart, here!

I would also like to say that as the roulette dealer, I was pleased to see Skot plonk down $10 worth of chips ("It's C & L 'Birthday Money!'") on 29. I looked up at his face, which was weaving slightly, but he had a steely glint in his eye, daring me to spin the terrible little ball into the plastic roulette wheel. "Place your bets!" I called, one last time. There were a scattering of chips across the table. A brace of excited patrons looked on, nervously wondering if their bets on red or 1-18 would pay off.

I gave the little wheel a twist, setting it to gyrating like an ex-Russian gymnast turned exotic dancer. I locked eyes again with Skot, and tossed the miniature ball into its opulent faux-wood bowl. I called, "Betting is closed!" and everyone fixed their eyes on the glittering, wobbling plastic wheel. The ball rolled noisily in its orbit, eyeing the counter-rotating wheel warily, dreading the wrenching moment of contact.

Finally, the whole works shuddered to a halt, and my voice rang out, "29, black!" Skot and I locked eyes again over the table, and I said, "29 pays 35 to one." His face crumbled into despair. "But I was trying to get rid of chips!" he said. Undaunted, I started counting out $350. He morosely shoveled them into his little Ziploc bag, defeated.

For some reason, roulette wasn't a very popular game that night.

Comment number: 009965   Posted by: IanJ on December 19, 2006 10:21 AM from IP: 192.150.22.5

Happy Blogiversary, Skot.

And you feel free to talk about your vacation all you want. Someone doesn't like it, fuck 'em. They can click on over to eatabagofturds.com.

Comment number: 009971   Posted by: Joe on December 19, 2006 01:03 PM from IP: 68.164.201.33

Nothing much going on at eatabagofturds.com so I came back.

Comment number: 009973   Posted by: bo on December 19, 2006 01:22 PM from IP: 169.137.218.33

Hey, eatabagofturds.com is where I just came from! I heard there were some great tales of a trip to Italy here so I came to check it out. I would read more about your trip if you so chose to share.

All these years, I thought I was the only person with interest in bathrooms of other people. It's nice to know there are kindred souls out there.

Comment number: 009982   Posted by: Christina on December 19, 2006 04:57 PM from IP: 66.93.37.2

Do I want to know how (and where) a toilet would pinch?

Comment number: 009987   Posted by: Kirsten on December 19, 2006 10:34 PM from IP: 24.151.53.53

Glad to see you're back on track with the booze-sodden ramblings and (dare I say) painfully-detailed lavatory anecdotes; I was afraid you'd gone all rosy on us. Waaay better than eatabagofturds.com.

Comment number: 010008   Posted by: Auntie Maim on December 20, 2006 06:18 AM from IP: 137.99.84.206

Okay - Drink-O? That *kills* me dead! That, in its brazen simplicity, is the single thing that makes me absolutely WEEP TRAGICALLY that I missed this party.

People kept asking me if I was going, and then there was this inevitable awkward conversation ... "No, I didn't know about it; I guess I wasn't invited." "Oh, ummmmm ... but I'm sure your name was on the list! Maybe they have your email wrong!" "Maybe. Anyway, have fun. Wish her a happy b-day for me. "

It secretly delighted me to have these conversations, because I know I would have been welcome with drunkenly open arms and too-long hugs, but it's fun to make other friends uncomfortable!

Comment number: 010014   Posted by: (egg) on December 20, 2006 10:42 AM from IP: 128.95.169.35

YOU WERE SO INVITED! I just don't have a current email address for you...instead the evite just sat there...unopened (sniff)

And skot, I don't remember giving you crapper privileges.

Comment number: 010020   Posted by: cory on December 20, 2006 12:29 PM from IP: 167.88.201.100

Happy fourth!

I wanna hear more about the vacation too.

Comment number: 010039   Posted by: Frida on December 21, 2006 06:42 AM from IP: 74.32.224.233

Skot,

I've been reading your site for three and a half of your four years, but I'm always hesitant to comment, a trait that does little to endear me to writers. I found your site in 2003 through a link from Lia and for every post since then, your writing about dreadful movies, trips to the doctor, fantasy sports, etc., have been a been a bright spot in my week. Laughing out loud at work is a special thing and for that gift, I thank you. I have enjoyed your writing about everything and I was delightfully surprised by the serious moment before your trip when you contemplated the beauty of David. I guess what I'm try to say is, thanks for sharing.

I'm also prone to awkward bouts of sincerity, but you've already seen that.

Comment number: 010057   Posted by: Lincoln on December 22, 2006 07:31 AM from IP: 204.136.114.11

"You're drunk and creepy," said the woman as she slipped inside.

OK, there's the opening line for your Great Estonian Novel.

Congratulations on four years of indecent exposure here on teh Intartubes. You are well and truly one seriously disturbed individual; thank you for sharing with the rest of the world.

Comment number: 010121   Posted by: Dr Paisley on December 23, 2006 03:38 PM from IP: 65.26.97.216

"You're drunk and creepy," said the woman as she slipped inside.

OK, there's the opening line for your Great Estonian Novel.

Congratulations on four years of indecent exposure here on teh Intartubes. You are well and truly one seriously disturbed individual; thank you for sharing with the rest of the world.

Comment number: 010122   Posted by: Dr Paisley on December 23, 2006 03:39 PM from IP: 65.26.97.216

Yay! I number one of 28! So good to be in such a select group of cool people.

Comment number: 010222   Posted by: Shelly on December 27, 2006 11:20 PM from IP: 72.134.37.128

Happy Blogversary, from another bathroom anthropologist.

Comment number: 010529   Posted by: Spike on January 5, 2007 04:40 PM from IP: 121.79.65.27

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