A Better Understanding of the Female Psyche; or, Nyuck nyuck nyuck!
It's a cliche that all men love watching The Three Stooges
, and that all women can't understand what's so goddam funny about three schmucks thwacking each other over and over again. Until today I didn't understand this evolutionary blind spot in the fair sex, but after the day I've had, I've come to see the light.
When we bought our house the building inspector took a quick look above the drop ceiling in the den. And got hit on the head by an empty wine bottle stashed in the space above the acoustic tile. At that time the den served as the bedroom for the seller's teenage son, and the seller was actually there with us at the time and was understandably embarrassed and upset at what took place. He apologized, we said the "kids will be kids" thing, and we bought the house.
It's four years later, and today I spent five goddam hours replacing the tiles. Not all of them, either--the support strips don't quite
match the tiles I bought, requiring me to trim a half-inch off most of them. And then I had to cut to fit tiles around light fixtures, heating ducts, bookshelves...great way to spend a beautiful Sunday afternoon.
Oh well, the joys of home ownership, blah blah blah. But what happened after I removed the first tile isn't going to appear in a Home Depot commercial. I slid the tile forward and back, angled it to slide it through the opening...and got hit in the face by a bottle.
It caught me right on the kazoo, it hurt like hell, and I actually made a sound like "Whoo-woo-woo-woo!" before I detonated and started firing the F-bombs. I bent down to find an empty bottle of Jaquin's Lime-Flavored Vodka. Now THAT'S a premium liquor, that's some classy booze, lime-flavored
vodka. You can almost imagine James Bond walking into a casino, sitting down at the baccarat table, and telling the buxom waitress, "A lime-flavored vodka martini, shaken, not stirred, served in a Dixie cup."
I took down another tile, carefully, and no hidden surprises. Took down another and there were 2 Coors Light cans. Just about every other tile I removed revealed a long-forgotton artifact of budding teenage alcoholism. An empty 2-liter Coke bottle with a greenish residue at the bottom. An empty bottle of Gordon's gin. More Coors Light cans.
I got lucky a few tiles in a row and got careless. So when the wine bottle fell I took it literally on the chin. A 1 1/2 liter bottle of Arbor Hill Strawberry Zinfindel--I must admit, I forget what vintage it is. While getting bonked on the face would probably be really funny to a neutral observer, I wasn't neutral nor an observer. I REALLY got pissed off. The people who previously owned our house moved only a few doors up the street and I damn near marched up there with my garbage bag full of bottles and cans to ask what the fucking fuck was the big deal?
Because here's what really pisses me off--so the kid was having a little secret drinky-drinky. No big deal. Happens every day. And it's not like I'd expect a teenage boy to have developed his palate so that he'd prefer, say, a Ravenswood Red Zinfindel (which I had over Matt's house Saturday night and which rocked) to an Arbor Mist Strawberry Zinfindel. No, what really got me fired up is that the kid hid all that stuff up in the drop ceiling, and then left it up there when he knew they were moving.
And moving just up the street. Wasn't he the least bit concerned that I might show up a few days later with a bag full of his empties and get him grounded until 2009? His dad was pissed when we found the one bottle, and we didn't close on the house for a month after the inspection, so he had plenty of time to go back, clean up his mess, and cover his tracks. He didn't. He didn't give a fuck. What's wrong with the kids today?
Well, just before I gave up for the night I might've found my answer. I did a quick peek above a few tiles, just to see if there were any other booby traps, and I found a book hidden up there. Mmm, maybe something interesting for a change. A teenage boy hiding a paperback, this has gotta be porn, right? From what I now know of him I didn't think it'd be Lolita
, maybe something along the lines of Hot Buttered Cheerleaders
No. What I found disturbed me. It was a copy of Self Analysis
by L. Ron Hubbard. There's a healthy combination, drinking and Dianetics. The book provides some sort of examination you take to...I don't know. I don't wanna know.
I still have half the tiles to replace, and I'm not looking forward the job. I've had enough of insulation dust, spiderweb residue, miscellaneous filth, and a neverending rain of empty liquor bottles. I am never, EVER, buying a used house again. I'm either having a house built for me, or I'm buying a house that's just been finished, or I'm living in my car. Because it seems like you never fully rid yourself of the previous owner's presence. They're still there, a spectral presence that manifests itself in painted-over light fixtures, incorrectly installed shower stalls, and Easter eggs hidden in the drop ceiling.