A VD clinic is like if you could take a standard elevator and stretch it in every direction. Chemical lemons accost the sinuses; every surface has been wiped down with a disinfecting alcohol solution. Light from above is light only in the letter of the definition, the oscillating current spun through the tubes hidden above and sent through synthetic squares ensures that the spirit of the light sits in the room as gray as illumination can be and tinctures the occupants below in a green, blinking bath. We, five of us, are all wearing sunglasses and staring straight ahead at a television. No talking to each other; no eye contact. The plastic card in my hand reads, "25."
Chairs, designed without hard angle, rounded in every way, and constructed of peeling chrome tubing and fabric pads so purple they're black, sit in a row. Directly opposed at the left and right walls are dented tan doors. The one on the left is where prospective patients come in; they get a number from the receptionist's counter behind the row of chairs. To the right, a woman doctor opens the door from time to time and calls a number ("23"). The person with the corresponding number then leaves the TV seating and disappears, riding the clean billowy coattails of the lab worker out of the space. CLACK, the metal door latch catches behind. "This is the worst movie I've ever seen," I blurt. Clanging two saucepans together would be a more-welcome clamor than the bleating of a human voice when in elevators, men's rooms, or VD clinics. My fellow waiting-room occupants turn in their seats, away from me, angling the tinted lenses of their eyewear at the crisp molding that runs along the top of the walls or the looped knots of the abstract patterned carpet. ("24." One escapes. CLACK.) "C'mon," I say, propping my shades across the crown of my pate. "Sure, we're stuck in here. We've probably all made poor choices, but this," I gesture to the tube, "this is torture."
Everyone spins further through their individual axes, turning their backs to me. "Look," I start in again, reveling in the inattention. "You, sir. What do you have, a slow drip in the pipes? And you, ma'am," my eyebrows "V" and I point to her. "Let me guess. You lit your basement couch on fire." Her sunglasses dip and dodge. "Is this punishment? What have we done so wrong that we deserve to sit here and be forced to watch The Nutty Professor 3 ?"
I am vapor. To them I do not exist in this dimension, and their jaws clench against me.
("25." The doctor at the door. My plastic card.)
Leaning into a good rant, I wave the doctor off.
("25, either get in here or leave. Stop harassing the other patients!")
"Eddie Murphy hasn't been funny since..."
WHAT I WILL AND WON'T WATCH THIS WEEK
Thursday, December 8
SCIFI 7:00 p.m.
When you're a billionaire and a fleet of your cargo ships goes missing in the Bermuda Triangle, what the hell do you do? You call Lou Diamond Goddamn Phillips and let his machismo do the talking. You got a problem with that? Speak to the ponytail, lady.
Three Wise Guys (2005)
USA 9:00 p.m.
Judd Nelson ( Breakfast Club ), Katey Sagal ( Married with Children ), and Tom Arnold (Roseanne's ex-wife), are caught up in a caper. A CAPER, I SAY! Oh, the zaniness that's to come. Oh. Brace for it. It's going to be a nipple-pinching spectacle of madcappery. Oh!
Friday, December 9
The O'Reilly Factor
FNC 8:00 p.m.
"Pork sword" is my new favorite euphemism for, well, you know.
Saturday, December 10
Technological Innovation and Globalization
K35DG 8:30 a.m.
If you leave me a voice message on my cell phone, be prepared for a hair-pulling, face-scratching roll in the gravel. If I have to take two minutes to dial out, punch in my PIN, punch in my PIN (AGAIN!) because it didn't work the first time, punch it in a third time and wait for that nasally bitch robot operator to cue up your voice saying, "Hey, it's me," followed by the clicking of your hang-up, I swear to whatever deity you bow to that I will bite the ever-loving bejesus out of your ear so hard it will turn purple.
Paris's Most Shocking
VH1 7:00 p.m.
Paris Hilton wrote a book. You can't see it, but I'm pointing to my right eye. WINK! Unless it's an instructional pamphlet on how to get your servants to clean blood, spit, and hepatitis C out of your hair, I doubt she had much of a hand in it.
Sunday, December 11
The First Wives Club (1996)
USA2 10:00 a.m.
If you're ever hunched over a toilet and can't get down to the business of sobering up, all you have to do is imagine you're licking the rim. It's not pleasant, but pretending to clean off the black-and-curlies from that yellow stained patch of porcelain behind the seat with your tongue bring up that beer, bourbon, and burrito you thought were such great ideas. BLEYACK ! In the alternative, you could watch this movie.
Monday, December 12
Tom Jones: The Legend
PBS 8:00 p.m.
Tom Jones stuffs one of those spun aluminum Starbucks travel coffee mugs into the front of his stretchy black trousers before he hits the spotlight. I'm not making that up. His name should be "Tiny Jones," if you know what I mean. You didn't hear that from me.
ESPN 6:00 p.m.
In the coming revolution, the knife-edge of your ice skates will serve well as a meat cleaver and as the brittle striker to a flint fire-starter. Until then I can't imagine one earthly purpose for them. Keep them keen, my rhinestoned prancers. Keep them keen.
Wednesday, December 14
Recipe for a Perfect Christmas (2005)
LIFE 9:00 p.m.
* 3 ounces gin
* 1/2-ounce dry vermouth
* 1 teaspoon peppermint schnapps
Combine in a shaker with ice. Shake, strain ice, and serve in a chilled martini glass with a candy cane swizzler. Woo! Merry Christmas! That's the good stuff.
Thursday, December 15
Geraldo at Large
KUSI 8:30 p.m.
He's out there. He's "at large." He's roving. Casting his gaze into the concealing shadows. Scratching his nails and sharpening his eyeteeth against the grit and stone of the sidewalks. Rolling manhole covers across his shins. HE IS GERALDO. And, ladies and gentlemen, beware. For he is AT LARGE!