It's all about the journey.
My quest for authenticity through my writing has required me to reveal quite a bit about myself. Some may say a little too much. Believe it or not, there are a few more things you ought to know or be reminded of before reading this post:
- I love creating awkward situations for my own enjoyment and the discomfort of others
- I have a very sophomoric sense of humor (this may not be a new revelation)
- My family is convinced that I currently have a nasty medical condition
Last week I discovered a product on the internet that’s so completely AWESOME I almost wet myself with anticipation of the possibilities for creating some aforementioned awkward situations. I eagerly read the detailed description of the product, the multitude of glowing customer testimonials, and even watched an amazing home video demonstrating the effectiveness of this item. I was hooked like a bullfrog at the end of a gig pole. Like a caffeine addict with a year’s supply of free Starbucks. Like a flamboyant Apple fanboy with a ticket to the latest Launch Event.
I placed my order on Amazon and scored free 2-day shipping. Then I started some wild and crazy planning for its arrival. Unfortunately, Steve Martin wasn’t available to help. That would have been cool.
So, are you intrigued? Are you crossing your legs in anticipation of the big reveal? Can you even imagine how amazing this product must be to have achieved the coveted Authentic Ramblings “Shut Up You’re Awesome!” award, sight unseen?
This 8th Wonder is called…Liquid ASS.
The website describes it as “an overwhelming, stinky, funny prank product. Once unleashed, this power–packed, super–concentrated liquid begins to evaporate filling the air with a genuine, foul butt–crack smell with hints of dead animal and fresh poo.” Just…awesome!
Two days later my package arrived and I was literally light-headed with giddiness. I had already decided that my family would be the ones to experience this “overwhelming” product. Other people can unfriend me. My family is stuck with me.
Without further ado (or adieu), here’s how it went down.
My wife was out late with some friends while my daughter was at a sleep-over, so my son and I were home alone. He’s created his own entertaiment mecca upstairs in the Game Room, complete with 48” TV, DVR, game consoles, etc., and I could hear him cackling to some adolescent TV humor. I stuffed a bottle of Liquid ASS in my pocket and made my way to his man-cave, where I plopped myself (uninvited) on the sofa directly behind the La-Z-Boy where he was sprawled.
“Not much, just seeing what you’re up to.”
“Just watching Family Guy.”
I silently extracted the bottle, pulled the cap like the pin on a hand grenade, and pumped the nozzle five or six times directly behind his chair.
“WHAT is that smell?!” He whipped his head around the edge of the chair to glare at me. The aroma was rising, and oh my gosh it was shocking.
“Ummm…it might be me? Mom and I ate Mexican for dinner and I had some really funky tasting charro beans.”
I could barely contain my immature giggles, but he wasn’t the least bit suspicious. Is there any teenage boy who can resist the humor of a farting scenario? As the essence increased in intensity, however, he found it much less humorous.
“You need to quit eating that stuff that makes you stink like that. Seriously Dad, it smells like a squirrel crawled up your butt and died. Uggggh! I need you to leave. Now! I’m gonna barf.” (You know it’s rank when this comment comes from a kid who relies on Axe Body Spray as a shower alternative.)
When I realized he was ready to forcibly remove me from the room, I got up, fanned my butt in his face as I walked by him, and went back downstairs.
My daughter got home late from a school band trip. I saw my window of opportunity as she chattered non-stop to my wife about her day. I pocketed the bottle of Liquid ASS and stealthily made my way upstairs. Once outside her bedroom, I pumped a few liberal sprays in her doorway and in her bathroom. I retreated down the back stairs as she began to head up the front stairs to get ready for bed. I hid in my bedroom because I knew I couldn’t remain composed and I’d give myself away. Almost immediately the mayhem began.
“What do you need?”
“You gotta come up here! It smells like poop all over!”
“Dang! What did you do?”
“Mom – I didn’t do anything! I haven’t even been here! Ugh. It smells like cat litter. Without the litter.”
“Well it smells fine down the hall there where we keep the cat litter box. It’s coming from your bedroom.”
My wife came down, grabbed a can of Lysol, and went back up to spray the funk away. What she was unaware of was one of the unique properties of Liquid ASS: you cannot disguise that smell with any amount of disinfectant spray, air freshener or perfume. Liquid ASS is large and in charge and it, and it alone, decides when to recede.
“Gak! Now it just smells like butt-flavored Lysol!”
“I’m doing the best I can, honey!”
My son became aware of the stenchy situation as my wife flew into our bedroom to consult with me, and he followed her in.
“Jon, I really don’t know what to think about this. It smells terrible up there. Like really bad. Worse than that time we went on vacation for a week and left a chicken carcass in the trash under the sink.”
“It’s Dad! It’s Dad! He’s farting! He did it to me last night!”
I couldn’t control the grin that began to spread across my face, and my wife began the third degree.
“It’s you? Have you been in or near her bedroom?”
“Well, I had to put some laundry away in there.”
“Oh my lord!”
“It may have been something I ate. Not sure.”
My daughter finally settled down and went to sleep an hour later, although still indignant, as the smell finally began to dissipate.
While my wife was upstairs making sure the kids were up for church, I sprayed some Liquid ASS around our bathroom and then hopped in the shower. She came in to do her make-up, walked through the room, and sort of stumbled as the reek hit her nostrils. She grabbed her make-up kit and blow dryer and hustled to the powder room next door to finish getting ready.
She never said a word to me or displayed her disgust with the smelly fumes (allegedly) coming from my butt. Bless her heart. She must really love me, for better or for worse.
The wife and I had dinner by ourselves at one of our favorite Mexican food restaurants. When our food arrived, she sighed.
“This isn’t really what I wanted, but my stomach’s been upset so I needed to get something without beans.”
“Me too! I do not need any more beans!”
“Are you sure it’s beans that are causing your problem? Cause it seems like this issue goes way beyond anything even beans would create. Oh. My. Gosh. I’ve never smelled anything like that. Wow. I thought something had died in the attic above the girl’s bedroom.”
Later Sunday Night
On the way home from dinner, we stopped at Kroger to engage in our ritual Sunday-night grocery shopping soiree.
“Ooh! I need to get some more of that soy milk to use with my protein shakes.”
“Wait – how do you know that’s not what’s causing the smell?”
“Hmmm…my parents gave me that as a baby because I was lactose intolerant. It’s got to be okay.”
“Well, we’ve got to figure it out. Because truly, I’ve never smelled anything as foul as what’s coming out of you. And we’ve been married a long time.
We got home, unloaded the groceries, and collapsed. My wife commented, “Is it just me, or is it really hot in here?” My son didn’t waste the opportunity to jump in with, “It’s probably just the heat from all that methane in the air from Dad.”
So, Dear Family. Surprise! You’ve been authentically pranked!
What’s the most awesome practical joke you’ve played on somebody?
Walgreens has annoyed me for years with their cute names for generic products that all begin with the prefix “Wal-“. I know you’ve seen them: Wal-Tussin (Robitussin), Wal-Fex (Fexophenadine/Allegra), Wal-Mucil (Metamucil), and the list goes on and on. I think somebody at corporate headquarters is a little too proud of their generics. In my mind, this is more than a marketing misfire, it’s a full-on backfire. Now we can way too easily identify the inferior off-brand by the odd and kitschy house-brand names. It seems counter-intuitive to a world-class marketing scheme, but whatever.
There are several categories of products that Walgreens has yet to place their ubiquitous “Wal-” brand label upon. The geniuses in HQ Marketing seem to be missing some huge opportunities for cheese, so here are my suggestions for some even cuter names, and accompanying slogans with sharp-cheese edge. You’re not likely to see these on the local shelf any time soon, so enjoy them here. And put in a good word for me at Walgreens headquarters.
“Conquer your unwanted hair problems and your lice infestation with one great product! Depilatory of choice for Britney Spears and Howie Mandell.”
“At last, the two-in-one product you’ve been waiting for: Sunscreen + Germicide. Spray this where the sun shines and you’ll not only be germ free, but avoid the inconvenient pain of melanoma.”
“Number one contraceptive choice of the Kappa Alpha Psi fraternity at LSU. For those times when low cost and urgency trump quality protection.”
Menopausal Feminine Products
“The only feminine deodorant product containing concentrated spearmint and peppermint essential oils. Guaranteed to cool you down when your hormones heat you up.”
“Unstoppable help for your gastric discomfort. Also try our Little Squirts, travel sized for on-the-go evacuations.”
Note: Walgreens actually does carry a generic enema product, but they’ve not branded it with a snappy “Wal-“ name. And even if they did, mine will always be much snappier.
“Safely and easily remove those unattractive layers of dead skin from your neck, thighs, and back. Includes DIY instructions and patterns for creating your very own personalized purse or European Man Bag. They’ll be as unique as your DNA!”
Did I miss any products from the line-up? What would you suggest for the big-wigs at Walgreens Headquarters?
My church hosted a leadership conference last week called Catalyst. The “main” Catalyst conference is a yearly event and features renowned Christian speakers and authors such as Andy Stanley, Dave Ramsey, Francis Chan, and Blake Mycoskie (founder of TOMS Shoes). Between the yearly main conferences, the Catalyst team takes the show on the road to various cities across the nation, with an event called Catalyst One Day. These one day events (duh) feature Andy Stanley (lead pastor of Northpoint Church in Atlanta, son of Charles Stanley, and author of Next Generation Leader and The Principle of the Path) and Craig Groeschel (lead pastor of LifeChurch.tv and author of It: How Churches and Leaders Can Get It and Keep It, and Chazown: A Different Way to See Your Life).
When my buddy Peyton (our church staff organizer) put out the call for volunteers to help host the event, I was quick to say “Yes!” I had grand illusions of meeting and hanging out with Andy and Craig, or at least indulging in some up-close stalking. Peyton assigned me to the Resources Team with my friend Josh and our job was to stand by the book table and direct attendees to purchase books, CDs, and magazines.
“Hi! On my left, your right, you’ll find all of Andy’s books and CDs. On my right, your left, are Craig’s products.”
All of this accompanied by wide sweeping arm gestures and a Crest-White-Strips smile. It didn’t take long for this routine to get really old for me. I do like some variety in my work. So, I made the leadership decision (see what I did there? It’s a leadership conference?) that two of us were not needed to direct traffic so I bailed on Josh to assist with a really important crisis: we had run out of bottled water. Our Pastor of Operations quickly dispatched me with a credit card to Sam’s Club to buy 30 cases of Ozarka so our church didn’t earn a city-wide reputation as a poopy host. We wanted to be known as the Martha Stewart of Church Leadership Conference Hosts, not the Russell Brand of Conference Hosts.
I grabbed two other lackeys and we headed to Sam’s in a borrowed (not stolen ̶ as far as I know) pick-up truck. We worked our biceps, triceps, and sweat glands slinging cases of water onto some flat-bed carts at the back of the store. None of us have mad math skilz, so we actually pushed 34 cases through the check-out line instead of the mandated 30. I wasn’t worried or plagued with guilt – it’s summer in Houston (a/k/a the Surface of the Sun) and that water wasn’t gonna collect dust.
The three of us crammed ourselves back into the cab of the pickup and proceeded to have some interesting and controversial conversation on the way back to the church.
“Dude – stop it! I don’t want your sweaty armpit touching me anymore.”
“Do you want me to use the steering wheel or not? Cause we can just pretend this 2002 Chevy has auto-pilot.”
“Hey, no need to get snippy. It’s just really awkward.”
“Guys. Quit the petty bickering. We need to just love one another and build each other up. That’s what Jesus would do…blech! Which one of you smells like feet and rotten chicken?”
We arrived back at church in record time and unloaded the 34 cases of water. Before I had even dumped the third case on the water table, the conference attendees were ripping into them like ravenous hyenas. I have a claw mark on my upper thigh to prove it, and I’m not afraid to show you.
About this time I confirmed a suspicion about myself I’ve been secretly harboring for a couple of years. I sweat more than the average man. We’re not talking a few moist spots in strategic places after a workout. Oh no. My Catalyst volunteer shirt was soaked (i.e., really, really wet) from above my nipples down to the front hem, and from the neckline in back all the way to the bottom. The only dry spot (i.e., not really, really wet) was a place 3” in diameter around my belly button. I have this dry spot in the same place every time I leave the gym, so there’s obviously some medical or genetic issue that needs investigation. Or else I’ve been unconsciously swiping my antiperspirant stick across that particular patch of tummy. Who knows? The other thing you should know about me is that once I get overheated I have a very difficult time lowering my body temperature. Which means I continue to sweat even in air conditioning.
After we unloaded that last case of bottled water, break time was over and it was time for Andy Stanley to speak. I wandered toward the book-signing kiosk trying to cool off and dry off when I noticed Craig Groeschel desperately attempting to untangle himself from a very chatty hipster worship pastor. It’s not hard to identify a worship pastor these days. Throw a pair of skinny jeans, a purple deep V-neck shirt, and a sport coat from Express into a dressing room and out will swagger a worship pastor, complete with a Pete Wilson doo.
Now I’m nothing if not opportunistic, so I jumped in to rescue Craig. After helping him to disengage from a swirling cloud of hair wax and Axe, I walked him back to the Green Room so he could prepare for his next talk. I have to say Craig is a class act. He patiently answered my litany of questions delivered rapid-fire, while enduring the aura of my physical presence – heat waves radiating from every sweaty pore of my body, my moist (understatement) Catalyst t-shirt, and my very own distinct aroma.
My campus pastor walked by us and I grabbed him to take a picture of me with Craig. I was all smiles as I reached over to engage the Sideways Bro-Hug and Craig returned the arm across my (moist) back. When I look at the picture now, I see that behind that Disney Princess-perfect smile of his is a decided “Ewww.” Just before he disappeared into the Green Room, he leaned over and quietly asked, “Dude. Have you heard of Axe Body Spray?”
What’s your most embarrassing brush with fame?
- Most of my work is done from home
- I can stay unshowered and in my PJ’s until noon (or later unless I’m expecting a delivery from Papa Johns)
- My dry cleaning bill has gone from $65 a month to zero
- I can listen to my “Rapilicious” playlist on Spotify with wild abandon and absolutely no fear of humiliation or ridicule (check it out if you’re connected to me on Spotify)
- I can gag the cat with duct tape when it makes catty remarks about my rapping, and there’s nobody here to call the ASPCA (Oops – did I just give myself away?)
- I can insensitively and with no guilt refer to the cat as an “it” because it’s been spayed and is now neither a “he” or “she”
- I have unlimited access to all the yummy Dunkin Donuts coffee I can drink, with no one here to criticize when I suddenly jump out of my chair to break dance ̶̶ or to power-walk from one end of the house to the other while singing the new Luke Bryan song in a twangy falsetto
But, along with all these great Jonquinox benefits, there are some challenges:
- There’s no one here to annoy when I’ve completed my fifth cup of Dunkin Donuts (annoying the cat is no fun once the gag is in place)
- An odor of onions and feet seems to follow me wherever I go in the house, and I’ve not been able to locate the source
- I’m beginning to OD on peanut butter and butter sandwiches (we ran out of jelly and I just didn’t feel like getting dressed to go buy some more)
- The exercise of clarifying my career goals, defining my passions, and researching opportunities has led me down some very interesting paths, some of which are probably not practical (such as cruise director and personal trainer)
What name would you give to your current season of life and why?