There’s No Way to Explain Cheese Falling Out of Your Armpit

I will have you know, Mr./Ms. Holier-Than-Thou, before you cast judgment on me for that time I stole cheese in my armpits, you should know that it was really fancy cheese – and not fancy as in “Kraft Singles versus store brand”.  Fancy as in fancy.

I know, again with the cheese!

It was my first real office job, and we’d received a particularly fancy holiday gift basket from our biggest client.  Co-workers snatched up chocolates and cookies, and that one weird lady grabbed an apple and said, “Dibs!” like anyone wanted it, and then we all looked at her like she was the saddest person on Earth.  Not because she liked fruit, but because she was such an obvious phony.  Who’s excited about the apple?

If you’re unfamiliar with office gift basket etiquette, it’s suitable to take things from the basket at-will, but it’s expected that any items you take will be consumed ON PREMISES ONLY.  Try walking up and sticking even one item into your bag at the end of the day – in front of people – and see how well that goes over.  Even if it’s the stuff nobody wants, you’re not allowed to just take it home with you.  It could be a year-old summer sausage that the janitorial crew now uses as a door stop.  Doesn’t matter.  It ain’t leaving that office.

Offices have unspoken rules in these situations, and all of them are ridiculous and make no sense at all, which is why you might recall they made a hit TV show called “The Office”.  That show was 98% accurate, by the way.

This basket had two wedges of cheese in it – one cave-aged blue and one goat gorgonzola – and they were from a boutique cheese-maker that was also my favorite craft beer brewery.  Not only was this cheese fancy, but it wasn’t even sold in stores in my region of the country!  Even if I had wanted to be an “honest person” and “buy it” or whatever, that was not an option.

I eyed those cheeses like they were wedge-shaped dairy diamonds.  I checked the fridge every day – no takers.  At the end of the week, both of the wedges were still there, untouched.

My plan was to steal the cheeses, which was going to work out great, because I spent all of my formative years being a thief.  I was counting on my thieving skills to burst back onto the scene like high-waisted jeans and Electric Slide me to cheese theft victory.  It would be like going to back to middle school, but knowing everything I know now.  I was hoping that after so many years of being “a law abiding citizen” (BOR-ing!) that I still had it.

If I had walked into the kitchen with my bag at the end of the day, that would have been a dead giveaway, so I had to pull this off by being quick and light, like a cat burglar.  I waited until the coast was clear and crept away from my desk into the kitchen, but didn’t turn on the kitchen light.  I quietly opened the refrigerator, holding down the button so that the fridge light wouldn’t come on, picked up the cheeses, and closed the refrigerator door.  I was going to just creep back out to my desk and put them into my bag, but then I heard my boss coming down the hallway towards the kitchen.

I was standing there, halfway out of the dark kitchen, holding a wedge of cheese in each hand.  I had no excuse for why I would be doing this, but I had about five seconds to figure out what to do.

I heard my boss’s steps grow closer.  I was wearing a sleeveless dress with a little cropped cardigan sweater over it.  I looked around in a panic and shoved the wedges of cheese under my cardigan, one into each armpit, and walked out of the kitchen.  I crossed paths with my boss, who now decided that rather than stay in the kitchen, he would walk back to my desk with me to discuss some reports.  Goddamn it.

I walked back to my desk with him, arms glued to my sides, holding the cheese wedges against my now very cold armpits.  I stood at my desk, nodding my head and making small talk.  Today was the day the boss apparently felt chattier than he’d ever felt before.

He asked me to hand him the reports that I had on my desk, and I must have looked like a T-rex when I did it, forearms sticking out at 90 degree angle from my body, stiff, with my upper arms still glued to my sides.  I handed him the reports…

…and that’s when one of the cheeses started to slip.

It started sliding eeeever so slowly out from under my arm and down the side of my torso.

The cheese was falling.

Oh my god.  The cheese was falling.

The cheese was falling and my boss was standing three feet away from me and there was absolutely no chance I was going to be able to finesse my way out of a wedge of cheese falling out of my armpit onto my desk.

Even with years and years of reflection, I still can’t think of any level of finesse that would have stood a chance of getting me out of this, besides busting out some disco moves and singing, “It’s raining cheese!  Hallelujah!  It’s raining cheese!  Amen!” and then claiming I had planned the whole thing as an elaborate joke.  The problem is that only a gross weirdo would play that kind of joke, and I had “conveniently” left the fact that I was a gross weirdo off my job application.

There’s no way to explain cheese falling out of your armpit.  There just isn’t.  I’m thinking about it right now and I’ve got nothing.  If you’ve got a plausible explanation, please, by all means, feel free to share it in the comments.  (Keep it clean, you filthy animals.)  You never know –  you may save some other person with cheese in their armpits’ life.

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As luck would have it at that moment, as the cheese was slipping closer to the bottom of my cropped cardigan, my boss closed his eyes and put his head down on top of my counter and said, “I’m so tired of dealing with these reports.”

As he put his head down, I realized this was my only shot.  In one quick motion I lifted my arm, caught the falling cheese, and threw it into the wastebasket under my desk.  Then I created a distraction by shoving some papers off my desk.  I wish someone had been rolling film, because this was the most “I Love Lucy” moment of my entire life.

My boss lifted his head and said, “What was that?”

I said, “I’m just an idiot.  I dropped all these papers.”

He continued the conversation and eventually went away after what felt like three freaking hours.  I retrieved one armpit cheese from the trash, removed the other from my now-frozen armpit, and hid them both in my bag.

Later that night, as I was stuffing my face with stolen armpit trash cheese, doing the Electric Slide across my kitchen, the middle schooler in the high-waisted jeans winked at herself in the reflection of the glass door and thought, “Yep.  Still got it.”

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“And as we say at W.O.B., don’t get any on ya.” – Mike Seaver, Growing Pains

How To Succeed in Acquiring 5,000 Kittens (Without Really Trying)

Nearly all of our family pets growing up were found in a ditch.  In the rain.

There were so many pets found in ditches in the rain, you would think our neighborhood was a Serbian battlefield in World War I.

Now, it’s important to know that “ditch in the rain” was really secret code for “not actually a ditch in the rain”.

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I can assure that this little loverboy, Oscar, snuggling with me in my acidwashed jeans, was found in neither a ditch nor the rain.

“Ditch in the rain” could mean many, many things.  It could mean that a guy outside the grocery store had a box of kittens with the word “Free” written on the side of it.

It could mean that your friend’s mom told her she had to get rid of her pet rabbit because the new baby was allergic.

Most often it meant that your friend from a few blocks over had a cat that had kittens and her father told her if she didn’t find homes for all of them by the time they were eight weeks old that he’d take them to the pound.

I’ve gotta tell you, as sad a story as the truth may have been, it wasn’t usually going to get the job done with my mother.  If you had the audacity to show up at home one evening with YET ANOTHER kitten, that kitten better have one hell of a backstory.  You damn well better had found that kitten in a ditch in the rain.

This kitten?  This kitten was no ordinary unwanted kitten.  Hell no!  This was a lone, abandoned kitten with no support system, no one to care for it.

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Gorgeous and sweet Fujita, also not found in a ditch in the rain.

This was a wet, orphaned, shivering cold kitten wandering the night alone, frightened and helpless.

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K.C., also not found in a ditch in the rain.

This kitten had been through hell, and all it wanted was to be warm and dry and held.  Isn’t that what we all want?  Just to be held and safe?  Isn’t this kitten really all of us?

This kitten was part of the huddled masses, yearning to be free as its Trans-Atlantic ship approached Ellis Island in the 1800s.

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Although one of these cats was found outside a Wendy’s, and we therefore named him “Wendell”, none of these cats were found in a ditch in the rain.

This was:

The Saddest Kitten in The World.

As Mom said, “Nope.  No more.  I am not taking in one more damn kitten!  End of discussion!” you’d hold it up to her face until it let out a teeny, tiny kitten meow.

Then the promise went as follows.  Let’s all say it together:

“Please let me just take care of her tonight, and I promise I’ll find a home for her tomorrow morning!”

This is why it’s important to bring the ditch rain kitten home in the evening.  If you brought it home at 10am, you’d have plenty of daylight hours left to pretend you were trying to find it a home.

But it’s late!  It’s dark out!  This kitten needs to spend the night!

So without fail, within a few hours and when you were getting ready for bed, you’d peek around the corner from the hallway in your Rainbow Brite nightgown to see your mother holding the kitten on her chest, petting its tiny head with her thumb and whispering, “It’s okay, little one.  It’s okay.”

Then you knew that kitten was IN.

There was no way that kitten was leaving for at least the rest of its natural life, and it would be lovingly buried in the backyard eighteen years later after a long and happy life.

The only other way you acquired pets was when your own existing ditch rain pets gave birth.  This was because most people in our neighborhood were really, really, tragically terrible about spaying and neutering.

(As an adult, I used to trap the strays in my old neighborhood and take them to the nonprofit vet clinic in our area and have them spayed or neutered, dewormed, vaccinated, and microchipped for fifty dollars a pop, but fifty bucks to anyone back then in the neighborhood may as well have been a thousand.  It’s terrible, I know, but it’s the way it was.  I’m such a big supporter of low cost spay and neuter clinics, it absolutely guts me when I think of the animal situation in our neighborhood when we were kids.)

So when you were a kid and your own cat had kittens, you had to sort of work the ol’ “ditch in the rain” in reverse.

Your mom would say, “You said you would find homes for all of these kittens!”

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Yeah, right.  Like I was giving up these kittens.

Then you would just answer, “I went door to door ALL DAY asking if anyone wanted one!  I even put up a sign down at the pond!”

You did none of these things, of course.

“I don’t know what else to do!  I think we may have to just keep them!”

Then she would say, “No.  Absolutely not.  End of discussion.”

Then you would scoop up all of the kittens, hold them towards her face in a chorus in teeny, tiny kitten meows and say, “What should I do?  Put them all in the ditch??  And I heard the weather man on the news say it was going to rain tonight!”

A Day in The Life of Filthy Mouth and Smart Mouth

Jenny and I were on the swings down at the park one afternoon, doing what most kids did on the swings, which was swing as fast and as hard as possible to see if we could go higher than the bar at the top.  The only thing that set us apart from most kids you’d typically find on the swings was that we were shouting obscene song lyrics the entire time.

Warning:  This post contains explicit lyrics.  Dun dun DUUUUUUUNN!!!!

We couldn’t help ourselves.  Jenny and I were 12 and 11, respectively, and the most exciting musical group of our young lives had broken big in South Florida, and was about to break on the national stage.  A musical group so exciting, in a couple more years the government would actually briefly ban the sale of their album in the United States.  That group was Miami’s very own 2 Live Crew.

(I could spend three or four paragraphs describing the events surrounding the rise of 2 Live Crew, but you’d do much better to look it up on Wikipedia.  That shit was crazy!)

Jenny and I, and all the other delinquents we knew, were obsessed with 2 Live Crew.  It wasn’t because we were superfans of the group; if anything, we were solid hair metal fans and we merely dabbled in what was called “rap music” at the time.  We liked LL Cool J and RUN DMC just fine, but we weren’t completely nutso over them or anything.

We were obsessed with 2 Live Crew for the same reason any kids our age were obsessed with them:  Because their songs were filled with dirty words.  Super dirty words.  Jenny and I sang those songs constantly and relentlessly.

That particular afternoon, Jenny and I had been loudly singing call-and-response rounds of, “Heeeey we want some puuuu-ssay!” from the swings for a few minutes or so before Jenny said, “Whoa, whoa, whoa.  Wait.  Stop.  Stop swinging.  Stop.”

I dragged my bare feet across the sandy gray dirt back and forth a few times to slow myself down and came to a stop.  I looked at Jenny, concerned, and asked, “What’s wrong?”

Jenny looked puzzled and leaned the side of her face against her hand on the swing-chain.  “Do you think we should change the words since we’re into dudes?” she asked.

I pursed my lips to one side, chewing on the inside of my cheek in contemplation over the very important question Jenny had just posed.  Changing song lyrics was serious business.  All song lyrics had to be sung with exact precision or else someone might accuse you of not knowing the words, which was an unforgivable offense.  Not knowing the words meant you were a poseur, and nobody would ever let you live it down.

I replied, “Well, it’s not like we’re not taping it or anything.  Everybody already knows we know all the words.  I’m cool with changing them if you are.”

Then we started swinging again, pumping our legs as hard as we could to get back to our previously lofty heights, now singing rounds of, “Heeeey we want some DICK!”

We were charming little girls.

The flow was all wrong on the song now, though.  I looked over at Jenny and yelled, “Stop!  Hang on.  Stop swinging.”

We both slowed to a stop again.

I said, “The words don’t sound right with the melody now.  It cuts off too soon.  I think we need to add a word or syllable or something.  I mean, ‘pussy’ is two syllables.”

Jenny agreed.  We tried out a few filler words over the next couple minutes and finally came to a decision on one.  Then we started swinging again, hard and fast as we soared skyward, this time singing, “Heeeey, we want some biiiig diiiiiick!”

We had only gotten a few rounds of our new, improved song lyrics shouted out when a woman marched up next to the swings, planted her hands on her hips and yelled, “Hey!  I need to talk to you!  Both of you, get off those swings NOW!”

Jenny and I gave each other the “Uh oh” look and slowed our swinging to a stop.  We sat on the swings with our feet in the dirt, scrunching it between our toes while we sized this woman up.  She was probably around 35 years old, had a full-on lady mullet haircut, and was wearing peach stretch pants and an oversized Tweety Bird t-shirt.  She looked like every 35 year old woman in our neighborhood, except that we had never seen this particular 35 year old woman before.

Let me just interrupt for a moment here to tell you what it meant that we had never seen this woman before.  In our neighborhood everybody knew everybody, which meant that if we didn’t know you, you must be new in town or just visiting someone, and probably didn’t understand the kind of neighborhood you had just walked into.  Dirty words were going to be the least of this woman’s troubles.  Hell, the first time I was held at knife-point by a group of teenage boys I was 6 years old.  Had she ridden a bike to come and confront us that day, it would have been stolen before she even got off the damn thing.

Jenny, the braver of the two of us, spoke first.

“Can I help you?” Jenny said, as snottily as any tween girl could because, oh my god, nobody does “snotty” like tween girls.

The woman’s eyes narrowed.  “Oh, you can just hold your smart mouth right there, honey,” she replied.  “I can hear you two spouting off that filth from four blocks over!  What on God’s green Earth is wrong with the two of you?!”

I piped up, “We were just singing a song.  We didn’t write it.  Well, not most of it, anyway.”

(Look at me, age 11, already trying to finagle a writing credit for changing ‘puuuu-ssay’ to ‘biiiig diiiiiick’.  Typical.)

The woman took one hand off her hip and pointed her finger at us.

“I don’t care who wrote what – it’s FILTH!  IT’S ALL FILTH AND YOU BOTH NEED TO SHUT YOUR FILTHY MOUTHS RIGHT THIS MINUTE!!”

Assuming incorrectly that we must have been sisters (another clue that she wasn’t from our neighborhood, my sisters were notorious), she continued, “How would you like it if I go tell your mother about what you’re doing right now?  That her little girls are yelling such filthy things and have a couple of real smart mouths, too?  You know what?  That’s exactly what I’m going to do!  Where do you live?  Tell me your address!  I’m walking over there RIGHT NOW!  I bet your mother will be VERY interested to know what her little girls are doing down here, spreading filth with those filthy little mouths.”

I pointed towards the north and sheepishly said, “We live on Cheshire.  Two blocks that way.”

She said, “Oh, that does me a lot of good.  So I guess I should just go walking up and down the street to try and figure out which house?  What’s the house number, smart mouth?”

Jenny’s tone softened as she said, “It’s 4275.  We’re sorry.  Please don’t tell our mom.  Can you please, please not tell our mom?”

Jenny worked up some light, convincing tears.

“Please.  We don’t want to get in trouble.  We were just messing around.  We won’t do it again, we promise.”

The woman smirked at us and haughtily said, “You should have thought of THAT before you ran your filthy little smart mouths,” and then marched off in a huff towards Cheshire Street to rat us out.

As we watched her walk away and fade into the distance, Jenny smiled.  She lit a cigarette and said, “Pffft.  Let’s get out of here.  I’m bored.”

We shared the cigarette as walked south, in the opposite direction of Cheshire Street, to our separate homes that weren’t on Cheshire Street, neither of which were numbered 4275 (there were no houses numbered 4275 in our neighborhood).

The irony, of course, was that even if we had given that woman our real addresses, neither of our mothers would have given a rat’s ass about our shouting obscenities from the swings.  Anything less than being brought home in a police car was considered “kids just being kids” and was no cause for concern.

Before parting ways down my street I took a drag off the cigarette and passed it to Jenny.

I exhaled the smoke.  “Adults are so dumb.  What was that lady’s problem?  It’s just a song.”

Jenny took the last drag, flicked the cigarette into a canal and said, “No shit, huh.  Tomorrow we’ll sing “Throw The Dick”.  Later, filthy mouth!” and took off towards her street.

I gave her a small salute and replied, “Later, smart mouth!”

And I turned out JUST FINE.

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Prologue:

It took everything I had to not title this story “Pussy Is Two Syllables”.

You’re welcome.