RL32 - Incidental Boners

This week, Merlin and John talk about:

The Problems:

  • visions of candy-corn antennae; °
  • the 4 kinds of kids; °
  • casual racism toward lions; °
  • John’s kosher ambulance conundrum; °
  • things that used to be other things; °
  • a misspent youth in pipebomb sales; °
  • sitting precariously on the sill of gay; °
  • John and Merlin find consonance in a dot-com incubator; °
  • the superiority of French «ordnance et matériel»; °
  • Mr. Shackleford gets an earring; °
  • hanky code culture jams; °
  • understanding dancing and spitballs; °
  • O’Look, a restaurant; °
  • Merlin’s grave discomfort with John’s copious bukkits of sexual Weltanschauung °

The show title refers to getting a boner without intention because of corduroy pants.

Raw notes
The segments below are raw notes that have not been edited for language, structure, references, or readability. Please do not quote these texts directly without applying your own editing first! These notes were not planned to be released in this form, but time constraints have caused a shift in priorities and have delayed editing draft-quality versions to a later point.

John finding one of Merlin’s songs (RL32)

When Merlin calls John he first had to figure out his audio situation and he didn’t think he understands computers anymore, but they can edit all this out. John starts the show singing ”I can find my place just fine!”, guessing the lyrics of one of Merlin’s songs that he discovered but had not actually listened to. Sometimes Merlin wishes there was a way to make sure there are certain things he has done that John will never be able to see. All he cared about is for John to see his effort because Merlin is not a professional. They banter for a while whether or not John enjoyed the song and Merlin claims he can hear it in John’s voice that he didn’t.

John claims that Merlin can’t hear anything in his voice although he might think he knew John. Merlin likes to think that he can make a dick or poop or Hitler related joke that John would enjoy and he hopes that John would tell him if he would not be entertained by that, but he doesn’t want John to hear anything he has recorded ever again. The first thing to mature as an artist is our critical sense. Long before we are good at making a thing we are good at knowing the difference between a good and a bad thing.

Then people have that faculty and make their first song and they know it is not good because they are already critics, and it keeps people from doing stuff and they stop doing it a long time before they failed enough to make something good. Merlin has a method for that that he has employed since 1987, which is that he has very low standards and he is very pleased with himself. He has a sense of things he likes and doesn’t like and he knows when somebody is trying to sound like the Buzzcocks, but don’t realize they are doing that.

Masturbating, John’s introduction to porn via the Visions channel in Anchorage (RL32)

Merlin essentially masturbates for a living and he is very grateful that he gets to mostly make things that hopefully turn out the way he himself liked. John wonders if Merlin’s company accepts applications because he has been masturbating for almost 30 years, whereof 15 years professionally. Merlin looked over John’s resume and found a hockey stick curve, but that is part of John’s technique, called The Hat Trick, according to Urban Dictionary. To Merlin it seems that a lot of John’s masturbation isn’t as public as it used to be. Is John storing up? He is, and when he starts back again, it is going to be like the Sherwin Williams logo (Cover the Earth).

Merlin thinks that a lot of the Internet cum seems like stagecraft. He didn’t expect they were talking about porn now, but he was the one who had mentioned cum on the Internet and John wonders that if Merlin is not talking about porn if he is just going to bukkits-of-cum.com that is just shots of warehouses of 50 gallon drums, like the scene at the end of Raiders of the Lost Ark. Merlin always spells bukkake wrong. John didn’t even know what blumping was and now they are talking about bukkake.

Merlin wants to start every aspect of this over because there is no way this is going to turn out well. He had Skype problems, he had a 31-track song that John didn’t like and now they are talking about bones, boners and jizz bones. Jizz Bones is a great band name! Merlin checks that jizzbonez.com is still available, just as bukkakebucket.com, and he thinks they could penetrate that vertical space deep inside of the porn sites with lots of ”z” and ”k”.

They will just be sitting on all these great names and when the culture turns their way, when the ship of culture docks at the dock of jizz buckets. Merlin is probably going to spend the rest of his day finding combinations of "z” and ”k” that involve cumming and boners. When Merlin tried to go to jizzbones.com he was asked ”Did you mean: jazzbones.com” because apparently in Tacoma there is a place called Jazz Bones.

John’s first introduction to porn was a massive over-cum (the German phrase is Uber-cum). He was in 5th or 6th grade and didn’t even know what porn is and the only boners he ever had were incidental boners because of corduroy. In Anchorage before there was cable TV there was a thing called Visions, where you had an antenna on your roof that was shaped like a giant candy corn pointed at a central location where they would broadcast one channel that had movies and stuff. If was a short-hand class indicator: People with a Visions antenna on their house had a little bit of money to spend on extra TV.

Having cable in the 1970s was a big deal and it was expensive. Having HBO and Showtime was a really big deal, it was like having a BMW parked in front of your house. This was back when class and status were more… like everything in America. When they were in High School there were only 4 kinds of kids: The rockers, the preps, the jocks, and the losers. Now there are 450 different kinds of kids and you have 75 different permutations of Rockers and how would you even be in High School now? ”I am Swedish Death Metal” - ”I am Belgian Death Metal” and they don’t talk to each other.

John did not have Visions, but at one point he was clicking through the channels on his dad’s old TV, which had a knob that you turned the channels with, it was 2-13 and then there was UHF. John got in between two channels and on the screen came a ghostly, shadowy image of another channel. They had channel 4, 7, 11, and 13, but all of a sudden there was this 5th mystery channel and when John turned the knob between those two channels he was getting Visions from some neighbor, and it wasn’t scrambled at the time.

John had heard from kids on school that they had dirty movies on Visions late at night he stayed up late to watch his first porno. We could hear his dad 4 blocks away when he snored, so he knew that he was safe. John had never seen any of these things before, he had never seen a penis or boobs, and here were these people having sex. This 1970s porno movie was probably shot on 75mm film and had a plot about a princess that was fighting some ogres and there was a pizza delivery guy and it was Corvette Summer starring Mark Hamill, it was all these things.

In the big climactic scene the woman starts having an orgasm and they must have rigged a landscaping hose, some plastic tube that you would use to water your ferns, in a way that John’s knowledge of anatomy didn’t enable him to fully grasp, and she started to have an orgasm and this foaming shaving cream lotion started fountaining out of her. She was a space princess or something and she had this foaming orgasm, but to John’s 5th grade eye it was the most horrifying thing that he had ever seen because clearly if you had sex with a girl you needed a hazmat team to come in afterwards. She was buried up to her ears in this stuff!

It traumatized John for years afterwards and ever since then every time he has sex with a girl there is a part of him that thinks: ”Is she one of these girls that is going to have this foaming orgasm?” They must have rigged up something because it was like a Rolling Stones video with guys in sailor suits and all of a sudden it was a foam party on Ibiza. John was not sure what he was seeing, frankly, because it was coming through a grainy TV channel.

Merlin thinks that about sandwiches, that the people who make sandwiches have never eaten a sandwich. John thought Merlin was going to say that lady parts resemble a sandwich. Some people say that a lady’s downside basement tastes like a 9V battery. It does look a little bit like a roast beef sandwich on its side. Sometimes when you get a sandwich at a grocery store it is like a food Merlin has never had in his life, and there is no intention for this sandwich ever being eaten. They would never make themselves this fucking holocaust of a sandwich. In the same way the people who work at a bank and have lots of money will probably never use their own website because it is so unusable and you would never in a million years trust that organization.

Merlin thinks that a lot of people who make pornography do not even masturbate, but they have some kind of artistic vision, or autistic vision, because what the fuck? Why would you want to have foam coming out of her? John doesn’t know her background, but she seemed green and orange, they had a color TV, but she could also have been a space princess and that was the makeup she was wearing. John was never able to go back to find out why she had shaving cream coming out of her vagina.

This episode has been hard for Merlin, it was awful and John made him tweak or squick and he will have to take a cold shower and scrub himself with a Luffa. Merlin wonders if there is a hanky for ”I don’t want to talk to John about sex!”? John doesn’t know what is going on with him, maybe it is because it is spring and he is full of beans or maybe because of the BibiCaffè, like the first time somebody gave Merlin an Adderall, the scales fell from his eyes. John has never had an Adderall, and he should stay away from that.

Bone-shaped bass (RL32)

Last night they were talking about why John has never seen a bass guitar shaped like a giant bone. It seems like a natural thing that somebody would have done years ago. They were having a little part and went online and were looking for bone bass, but they couldn’t find one anywhere on the Internet. If Bambam from the Flintstones was playing bass in a 1960s cartoon Archies style band, or why doesn’t Mike Anthony (from Van Halen) have a giant bass that looks like a cartoon bone? Or Les Claypool (from Primus)?

Chain restaurants, places that were something else (RL32)

Merlin used to be fascinated by places that used to be something else. There used to be a website of photographs of things that used to be different things, like all those Thai food restaurants in old A&W Root Beer drive-ins. You could tell what used to be popular by what kind of Asian restaurant or dentist is in it now. It is a Pizza Hut or an urology clinic, we are not sure. An International House of Pancakes (IHOP) has a pretty distinctive architecture style, a blue roofed Bavarian shack, and it is totally House of Hong now.

There is a chain of not very good diner-style restaurants like Denny’s, but it wasn’t really a diner, but a family style restaurant called the Clock restaurant and their hook was that every sign had a literal working clock on it, which is kind of cool. Down the street from Merlin’s house one of them went out of business like most of them and some jackals took the place over and they didn’t feel like putting a lot of dough into creating new brand equity, so they went out with some black paint and changed it to the O’Look with an apostrophe, which is probably Irish cuisine.

There is a restaurant by Boeing field that they go to all the time, right next to the Boeing black-ops area where the engineers are making airborne space lasers and from where John lives he can look down into their black-ops area where they are killing squirrels to fight the Soviets. This restaurant used to be a Sambo’s and then many years ago a guy named Randy must have bought it. It still has the orange naugahyde seats and the ceiling is covered with model airplanes of different sizes, and he changed the sign to say Randy’s, but at a certain point there must have been a hard wind and the top of the ”d” fell off and now it says Ranay’s, which is great.

Merlin always thought that Sambo’s and Denny’s were exactly the same restaurant, except one of them had a racial slur and a little Coolie Boy riding an elephant. Denny is a denigrating term for lions. It is not family-friendly for lions because they live in dens. That was ping pong and Merlin had to walk John through it until he got it.

John building pipe bombs at school, being a pyromaniac (RL32)

Recently John had a memory of the same era, watching a movie called The Great Texas Dynamite Chase, the plot of which was that two girls in halterneck tops and Daisy-Dukes shorts hooked with a young cowboy and went on a cross-country crime spree where they were using dynamite to blow up banks. John saw it when he was young at a time when he was a tremendous pyromaniac, and all he wanted in life was to have dynamite. If he had a box of dynamite all his problems would be solved, he would never be bullied, certainly, but what could you not get if you had a box of dynamite? As a kid, if he had money, he would have used it to buy dynamite.

It is the same era where John would pick up the explosive things around the railroad tracks called Torpedos. He had fireworks catalogs, he was put on emergency suspension in 9th grade because he was making pipe bombs and selling them to other kids a the school, like an elementary school Tony Stark, an ordinance selling munitions and materiel to people, and he was making suggestions to the other kids, like they should light it and then flush it down the toilet, because that would be hilarious.

First of all, there is no safe way to make pipe bombs and John knew enough not to try to tamp down gunpowder with a metal spoon, but beyond that he was not handling this materiel in a safe way, and on top of that he was not even trying to be secretive about it, but he was like: ”Get your pipe bombs!” and in High School there were all kinds of creeps. This was before Columbine, obviously, and there was a lot more creativity. There are a lot of reasons why a 9th grader would want a pipe bomb other than hurting his class mates and blowing up the school. Just throw it in the woods and watch the trees fall!

The put John on emergency suspension, which meant you could be put on immediate indefinite suspension and John was in trouble, he had to meet with the police, and his mom was a good sport about it and she had him sit at the table in the kitchen for 9 days with his books open in front of him and she would come home from work and give surprise inspections and she wanted to see at the end of the day that he had done homework assignments and she would measure the stack with a ruler, which was just pure punishment and nothing to reform him.

The rookie mistake was that John had a locker full of pipe bombs and his favorite teacher and mentor who later became the principal of the school Don Shackleford caught wind of it and was the one who ratted him out, John might have even mentioned it to him that he had these pipe bombs. He stood there, calling John an asshole, while the security guards emptied his locker and led him from the school. ”Bombs? In your locker? You brought bombs to school? You asshole!” and John felt really betrayed: ”Don? Shackleford? You are my guy!” - ”No when it comes to bombs!”, but later he realized that Shackleford was absolutely right.

Merlin’s mom being worried not about Merlin, but the other people on the streets (RL32)

He wasn’t worried that John was so dangerous as much as he was selling these things. Merlin’s mom would say that the reason he can’t leave the house is not that she is worried about him, but about the rapists in the woods. She was not worried about him driving, but about the other people. There are those bicyclists that bust through STOP signs because that is just a special thing you get to do. Some people like skateboarders are really good at it and they know to at least turn their head slightly to the left and the right to see if they are about to hit anything.

Merlin has the two-asshole theory: One asshole is probably going to be fine. If one person is blowing through a STOP-sign like a fucking sociopath, endangering Merlin’s and his child’s life, that is a problem because he is looking for them. It is like people who don’t stop for ambulances, they should just be put somewhere because like a gentleman you fucking pull your car over and you sit there and you don’t get mad! Merlin’s biggest fantasy is for 4 bicyclists doing this at an intersection at the same time and to make some kind of keystone cops and it is all just ironic mustaches and fixies everywhere, messenger bags flying through the air.

Hasidic ambulances in New York (RL32)

Do they have hipster ambulances? In Brooklyn there are Hasidic ambulances for the Hasidic Jewish community in New York that has their own ambulance service and their own special Hasidic police. On the side of the ambulances it says ”אמבולנס” in Hebrew and John’s question has always been that if one of those was driving down he street, not on their way to an emergency but just driving by eating a pastrami sandwich, and they see John have a heart attack, are they going to pull over? Have they sworn the hippocratic oath? That is Greek, that is the New Testament.

Amish and Mennonite color codes, hanky codes (RL32)

There is a subset of porn now about Arab women wearing hijabs. There are also Indian ladies with the dots, that is sexy. It means something, like when the Amish paint the door red it means that they have a marriageable daughter. There is a whole code in Amish culture about what color your front door is that indicates to passers-by whether your daughters are courtable. Maybe it is a blue door. (not actually true).

One time John was on an Amtrak train up in North Dakota and every time the train stopped some Mennonites got on, wearing lavender and shades of green and blue that were so beautiful. They would ride the train two stops to some different town and then other Mennonites would get on. Amtrak was running a Mennonite taxi service across the Northern plains because that was the only way they could get between those different villages, probably putting their marriageable daughters on those trains and sending them two villages up.

John didn’t figure out what their colors meant, but it is probably a hanky code. The hanky code is very complicated. Merlin read about it once, but then he had to put it away. The problem is that if you put it in the wrong pocket it gets everything wrong because then you send the wrong message. You might be saying you are the rider and not the lady horse (see RL21), and if you put that in the wrong pocket you end up with something else. There was a while in the 1990s when John would walk around on Capitol Hill, Seattle’s gay neighborhood, with an assortment on hankies in his back pocket, just to scramble the air waves, not knowing what it actually meant.

The first message it sends is that it is okay for you to come talk to me about it, not like in San Francisco where people are walking around with two large dogs, but they get mad when you ask about them, which is fucking ridiculous. When John was walking around with those hankies, people surely had questions, but he never slowed down, he was like a Blue Angel coming right down over the surface of he lake, just strafing the gaze, and people would think that he was into a mucusy lady horse, but he was already gone two blocks away.

Gayness among young boys being acceptable in culture (RL32)

By the time Merlin got cable it was getting very mature as an industry and his friend had cable that was scrambled. Watching porn with your friends was a thing that in retrospect is weird. You should do that in your garret! It would have been good if the culture when John was a teen would have been a little more accepting of more gayness than it allowed for. When he was about 13-14, there was a window of gayness and he wished he had sat on the ledge of the window of gayness, the sill of gay, with his feet dangling out, a little bit longer than he did.

Now if you are sitting around with your friends watching porn as a teenager, and somebody says something kind of gay, you might be a little bit more accepting of it in the full flush of that moment. At the time when John was a teenager you had to maintain a rigorous separation and you had to say disparaging things about the people, like: ”This is gross! Why are we even watching this?” Merlin was always changing the subject in moments like that, like that would not have been the kind of tool belt that the cable guy would actually wear.

Looking back at that time, there were a couple of different episodes when John was 13 years old and there was another 13-year old and after school they were playing stick ball, or whatever it is that kids do, and the other guy would insult John so they would start wrestling, John would grab him, and what are you wrestling about at 13? They were not really wrestling. The other kid had taunted John just because he wanted to wrestle and they would get all tangled up with each other, but looking back they were experimenting being gay with each other, and if they had had a little bit more freedom in those moments they would have been able to be full-on gay about it.

Merlin thinks it falls somewhere between Ballroom Dancing and spitballs. Obviously dancing is an opportunity to be very close to a woman in a way that would hopefully not be very threatening to her. Merlin remembers finding it so disorienting because it is pretty intimate to close-dance with somebody. Then you got spitballs when you are a little bit younger and when you want to get a girl’s attention you would throw things at her, and it becomes an acceptable form of intercourse to throw things at her. You have to tip her pig tails in your ink well and you get hit with the ruler, the hickory stick, and there is probably a handkerchief for that.

John’s fear at the time was that if you went too far and wrestling turned to frottage and you exhibited actual sexual interest in another boy, even though that was clearly what he was doing, you could never go back, but you would have it in your mind that you were a perv or you were gay. It would flip a switch and once you had done it you could not take it back, like a homosexual Rubicon. Now as a fully-grown person John realizes that you can cross this line freely and it is not a Rubicon, it is not even a guarded border, but just a path in the forest. Even now there is a lot of pressure on guys to not be gay.

Down Low, on the border of gay culture, sexual culture (RL32)

Merlin mentioned the term Down Low, which is how African Americans get to suck each other’s cocks, and it is absolutely a thing, and it is believed that getting your dick sucked by another man does not mean you are gay. It is the source of one of the Long Winter’s favorite memes from the early days, which was ”I am not gay! I just can’t keep this faggots from sucking my cock!” There was a headline in The Onion long ago, saying: ”Why do all of these homosexuals keep sucking my cock?” that Merlin still laughs about whenever he thinks about it. It seems like it is all a Bill Higgs routine. Down Low is very much in American black culture, but that attitude pervades in Arab cultures where men are able to be physically affectionate with each other, all the way up to and including having sex with each other, and it is thought of as a fraternal bond and much less as an aberration.

There is also the understanding in African American culture that cunilingus is frowned upon. Also the Blacks can’t swim. John just went super-ping pong! Talk about compartmentalization! Just because you are having oral sex as a recipient that makes you a top-ish person, the receiver of pleasure, the one who is running the show. John has never fully understood the blow-job politics of the gays. There is definitely a giver and taker of the butt sex and it does not seem like doing the dishes where you do it alternately.

In heterosexual sex for 1000 years, when John was a kid, sex seemed like something that happened like in The Handmaid’s Tail, through a hole in a sheet and you never saw the other person and you don’t exchange kind words with them, but it was strictly a missionary position type of thing, and there is a dominance and submission play that is not overt, but as soon as you introduce an awareness that those are things that are in play in sex… it used to be kinky to even use the words dominant and submissive, John would never had used those when he was 21 because it sounded a little tweaky, but as you get older you realize that in every…

let’s say you are having sex with somebody for 45 minutes concurrently, including drinks, dinner and apologies. In John’s case that is just enough time, because he likes to take the panties off very slowly and the clock starts running when he touches the panty and the panties hit the ankles 45 minutes later. The idea that in this 45 minute period both of the partners are going to be dominant for a little while back and forth until ultimate one of them is more dominant. Merlin guesses that a lot of ladies probably don’t get to push you around and say: ”Take a walk downstairs!”, but John thinks they do, it is part of healthy sex, and at the most vanilla it is just the question of who is on top. As you get more and more serious about it, maybe one is restraining the other.

Merlin would rather not talk about any of this, but there are two different: On one hand there is a BDSM community where it is a thing that you like to dress like a cowboy or be a lady horse, but there is a big difference between having a little play and both agreeing what the script is vs choking people. John’s point is that people being out on the fringe has been introduced to American mainstream culture, maybe because John is living in the city and he is a Rock musicians and he was the pinky up the butt and sometimes he wears different colored handkerchiefs in his back pocket, unaware of what it means, and then he follows people based on what signals they give him.

Dan Savage’s column has introduced a lot of these words and concepts into mainstream culture and you can no longer say with a straight face that you don’t know what a Dirty Sanchez is where 25 years ago nobody knew what that was. Merlin wonders if that actually ever happens, but everything happens. Part of dealing with kinky culture people feel like it is a question of their needs and their rights, but from without kinky culture people ask: ”What happened to you that you can’t enjoy normal sex? Why do you have to get poop on your face?” Merlin doesn’t think that too many people outside of Germany actually enjoy that.

The problem is that being an asshole is not the same as being dominant. Being an asshole is just being an asshole, and when you are introducing that kind of terminology, Dan Savage not withstanding, you are telling a lot of people that there is a fancy upscale urban name for being a dick. Dominance and submission is just natural, and every interaction has an unequal power component, and part of the problem with John’s generation is that they were raised to think that any exercise of power over another person is undemocratic and bad. It is not! It is one thing to consent, but it is another thing to reflexively require consent for everything you do. Merlin thinks they are about two paragraphs away from: ”Just look at what she was wearing!”

The influence of the French language on English (RL32)

Why are materiel and ordinance deliberately spelled wrong? It is French and comes from when the French were the great war makers. Even in the United Kingdom after the Norman Conquest the royal family in England spoke French for many years after and there is a thing in English law where the lawyers and the courts continued to speak French all the way into the 18th century and there are all these terms in the English law that are spoken in French still. That is also true in war making and terms of art in politics. Also what French in sex means surrendering.

Merlin not wanting to talk about sex (RL32)

If Merlin and John are going to be in business together, he cannot think of a single thing in the world he wants to know less than the color of John’s hanky and there need to be some fucking ground rules: He doesn’t want to talk about sex or about power, and he doesn’t want to wrestle or rassle, he doesn’t want to talk about politics except for Hitler or the Cold War, he is living in a stockade where he doesn’t have to think about John having an orgasm, and that is a happy fucking stackade. John has orgasms like a girl, not fake, but long.

John drinking BibiCaffè Italian Soda (RL32)

Bibi Caffè is an Italian mix of coffee and fizzy water together in a bottle. Merlin thinks it is like Christmas porn: Why would you fuck up two good things? It is concentrated and you pour it over ice and add a little cream to have it turn into fizzy coffee milk shake super santorum foam girl jizz and it is incredibly. John used to drink it all he time years ago, but they stopped importing it into the United States, probably because it is like Heroin.

The other day a close friend found John a bottle of Bibi Caffè and instead of his regular coffee before their podcast John has been drinking Bibi Caffè instead. John used to buy it by the case, but now you cannot find it anymore. The espresso almost gives you synesthesia, where you can see colors when people play notes. Merlin thinks it has been discontinued as a brand, even. If there is one place you should be able to find it in America it is be San Francisco. They love weird drinks and they are the single largest consumer of Fernet Branca in North America.

The Comet Tavern selling record quantities of Port wine (RL32)

For years Seattle had this tavern law where you could have taverns or bars. In a tavern you could sell beer and wine and you could have windows in the place and you didn’t have to see food, but in a bar you couldn’t have windows and you had to sell food. Merlin loves laws like that. So there were all these taverns because having a bar was a big operation, and the tavern John used to drink at was the Comet Tavern. They sold all different kinds of beer, not much wine, but they started selling Port wine and with a shot of that you could help your beer buzz bloom.

Porto is a European brand of Port wine and it is something for discerning tastes, something you have after dinner with a cigar, and the story is that the company in Portugal that makes Porto noticed that there was this place in America that was selling more Port than anywhere else in the country and they had to send a representative there to see what this incredible fern bar was where they must be sitting around smoking cigars, drinking their beverage. This guy showed up and it was this fucking wino bar full of Grunge Rockers throwing back the Porto and he was horrified and ashamed and was running out of there. They wanted to give them a plaque, but there was just a scrim of vomit on the floor and the ceiling was covered with dollar bills where people have written ”Fuck you Can Tan” (?).

At the Comet Tavern they do give you free Turkey Dinner on Thanksgiving, which sounds like something Richard Hugo would write about, and it is actually right around the corner from the Richard Hugo house where John’s band used to practice. There is a Kapowsin Tavern named for the Richard Hugo poem The Death of the Kapowsin Tavern.

John missing all the symbols that people are showing (RL32)

John got in touch with Don Shackleford recently. He is living in Alaska and ever since he retired he got an earring, and depending on which ear that symbolizes something, too. Merlin got his in the left! John never notices if someone is wearing a wedding ring or what ear is pierced, all those flags that people are flying. For years guys would walk around with leather jackets with cock rings hanging off of the epaulettes and John had no idea what it was and thought it was plumbing supply.

John graduating last in class (RL32)

Don Shackleford came down to Seattle and John took him around one night and they hung out. He was a great teacher and he was definitely John’s favorite teacher in High School and ended up as a good mentor. He was the one that after he had become the principal of the school called John into his office right before graduation and sat him down and put a stack of computer printouts in front of him with a list of all the graduating seniors in order of grade point average and he wanted John to find his name.

John started at the top, but he was neither first nor second, and Shackleford said: ”Let me help you out!” and flipped to the last page where John was last in his class. The pipe bomb incident always comes up. John has seen him a few times now and he is very unapologetic and says straight up: ”You were an asshole and if I could have busted you twice I would have busted you twice for bringing pipe bombs to school!”

John has come around to that point of view. It is a miracle that he lived to adulthood for so many reasons, and there were surprisingly few people who stood in between him and he blowing himself up, but the few people who did probably saved his ass and Don is one of them. A lot of other times what saved his ass was that he did not insert the fuse properly or the lighter he was using was something he found on the ground and it didn’t have any fluid in it. There is a big part of John that if he had to do it over he would definitely blow himself up.

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