Alleviate

I tried to kill myself last night. At least, I think I did. I swallowed a handful of Aleve I figured
would do the trick, or at least give me a nice change-of-pace coma, but I just threw it all up in the middle
of the night. And now my stomach is churning like I just ate bunch of McDonald’s.
Wait, that’s not fair. I shouldn’t disparage a product like that. I’m sure Aleve COULD kill you, I
just didn’t have enough.
Aleve: when your drop ceiling can’t support a rope.
I think I’ll try my hands at a shower today. I know, I know. I said that for the last three days, but I
really mean it this time. My head has got that permanent sweat thing going on right now and it’s
starting to get annoying. I could do that head-sliding breakdance move right now for thirty feet right
now, without the beanie.
But first, I’ve got to get out of bed.
***
I feed my cat and know I’ve got ten minutes before she slaps down a beaver tail, so I grab some
Cinnamon Chex. I’m flipping through US Weekly – somehow my wife is on a subscription for them – and
land on a page dedicated to celebrities yawning in public.
Aleve: when you don’t feel like making a mess of your wrists.
No, I can’t let that one go without addressing it more. A nationally published magazine (which,
by the way, I never know if it is Us Weekly or U.S. Weekly) printed a full page dedicated to celebrities
yawning in public. Several pictures with trite captions. Leo Lets Out A Lawn At The Park. Tracy Morgan

Shows His Yawn Face. Billy Bob Yinny Yawns. And it’s got a writer! Printed at the very bottom is “By
Meghan O’Donnell.”
“Nice work on the Yawn article, Meghan!”
“Where do you get your ideas, Meg?”
Slow clap as she walks through the office.
Right on Cue, Penny’s rancid butt pulls me from the pulse of entertainment. I remove the lid to
her dump hut and get chopped in the throat by its pungency. Propped up on a mini mountain of litter is
Penny’s latest offering to me. I shovel it, bag it, and look at her when I am finished. She smugly slow
blinks in return. “Kitty kisses.” That’s what I was once told they are called.
“Kisses,” I whisper to her and steam her face with a fart. Her eyes go wide and mouth agape. If
this were a cartoon, one of her whiskers would have caught a spark and burned down to the root.
***

It’s amazing what a shower can do for your spirits. For a few minutes after stepping out, I feel
invincible. Partially because the heat of the water has dampened the pain receptors in my skin. But
today is also the perfect storm. Not only did I shower, but I clipped both my finger and toe nails. The
stars have aligned, my dear friend. Pure ecstasy strikes me.
And what is this??? Oh my. My big toe had some lint embedded underneath the edge of the
nail. I close my eyes with anticipation, whip out the digging apparatus on the clipper, and remove the
lint. I look over each shoulder, shifting raised eyebrows as I do so. I’m alone, but I pretend I have to do
this surreptitiously.

I bring the digging tool and lint close to my nose and take a whiff like some slicked back 80s
lackey taking a bump of cocaine. The smell of it gives me odd satisfaction. Like gasoline.
Mind you, I don’t snort it. Oh, no. I am not some sort of freak. I just let the aroma fill my nose
like an expert sommelier.
Aleve: Because, c’mon, it’s all downhill from here.

***
My great plans of writing and working with animation today still seem feasible, but the task
feels way too daunting at the moment. In fact, everything does. Everything except…
Duh duh duh duhhhhhhh! Bum bum, bah bah! Duh duh duh duh duh duhhhhhh! Ah, Madden,
my old friend.
I don’t usually boast like this, but Paolo Piangere is simply a force of nature and having himself A
SEASON. Leaving after his second season at Catawba College (the Fighting Muskrats, I want to say?), he
fared fairly well in his rookie season, posting 40+ TDs in the air and another 10+ on the ground, but his
sophomore year in the pros is stellar. Breaking nearly every single season record by his 10 th game, this 7-
foot tall, 400lb, pock-faced, balding quarterback just seems built for the game.
I drop some dimes, abuse the truck stick, and then find myself squarely in the midst of late
afternoon. My, how time flies.
But after running for hundreds of yards and playing in back to back to back to back professional
football games, I’ve suddenly become bedrowsled and decide to shift my position 90 degrees on the
couch and nap.

***
I wake up and find Penny staring at me from inches away.
“You farted on my face, you bastard.”
She kitty kisses me and then bolts away like she left the oven running in the other room.
She’s hungry again. Because it is 5:30 now.
Aleve: Because you’re worthless anyways.
The front door opens and my wife heads in.
“Hey. Oh, you showered!”
“Like what you see?” I say as I sit back up, a massive tuft of hair created on the side of my head from the
couch cushion. A “ciuffo,” we call it. Which is Italian for “tuft of hair.” So it fits, you see.
“Always.”
And like it always does, the sledge hammer of emotion drops on me when I see and hear her. I
am, without a doubt, worthless and have zero prospects in front of me. And yet here she is, this perfect
creature that loves me and finds something useful in me.
(But I play it real cool).
“I love you so goddamn much and you’re the only good thing in my life.”
(Cool, baby. Real cool).

***

We’ve finished our late-night dinner and watched a movie – I pushed hard for TimeCop, but did
not succeed – and turn to bed. She has to wake up in the morning for work and I have the very
important task of driving her before returning home to another meaningless day.
Penny dashes into the room and jumps on the bed, dragging an teddy bear by her mouth like
dog. She’s been doing that lately. She lays on my chest and tucks all her appendages underneath her, fat
cascading over her limbs leaving her looking like a stick of half-melted butter.
I hear Jess’ breathing pattern change and I know she’s already sleeping. And that’s when I catch
whiff of Penny’s latest tribute to the litter box.
Aleve: Not just for humans.