Apples to Apples: A Segmented Essay on Thought Process

FUZZY: Downy, Unclear, Furry

I wonder if I must be crazy, allowing my hand to hover over card number three.

~~

BILL CLINTON: 1946-  , popular, yet embattled, 42nd president of the United States.

“I did not have sexual relations with that woman.”  He said it with such assuredness, such finality.  But wasn’t there proof? It was a rumor. Didn’t she confess? She only said it for the attention. Their careers are forever tainted and he won’t even say he’s sorry? You can’t be sorry for something that didn’t happen.

The accusations come to nothing and life goes on—at least that is what the media tells us.  The newscasters say that the polls are in; no one really cares, and so he mustn’t have actually done it.  They fed us the opinion of the majority and we were satisfied.  But we are the majority, aren’t we? Why do they need to tell us what we already know?  I do not recall ever being asked about my opinion on the matter, and I don’t think that is my opinion.  In fact, most of the people I talk to say he did do it, that it is a travesty that he is getting away with it.  Are we the minority?  Does our opinion not matter at all?

The times have passed us by.  Now his proclamation is in a cloak of fog, his answer is distant, distorted, scripted.  He said it with such finality.  So why do I still doubt?

~~

COCA-COLA: A popular soda drink, originally developed as a medicine in the 1880’s.

Krrsh goes the can as we sit by the pool. The summer air is tantalizing, although we would both admit to missing the dark embrace of winter. It’s nice to see him just in his swimming trunks for a change. His t-shirts are all wolf heads and melting faces against black fabric, which is just fine with me.  Half of my own wardrobe is the same thing, give or take a couple graphic t’s he wouldn’t be caught dead in.  But still it’s nice to know I’m not the only reason he’s taken his shirt off.

“Coke has a prickly liquidfuzz feel,” I say as I pull my first swig.  The bubbles stick and prod the esophagus, but they are small things, too miniscule to seem painful.  They are as a puppy’s teeth, gnawing on the master’s fist—far too cute to be a threat.  A sharp but almost creamy taste bursts forth from them, bringing a tingling, giggling smile.  A refreshing exhale finishes the experience, allowing their last will and testament to join the summer breeze.  But there is still a comfort there, that fuzzy tingle, held back for an extended enjoyment that no other drink could give to me.

He snags the can and takes his own gulp of fizz, only to begin choking into his towel.  He finally settles down, still rubbing at his nose.  “The prickly I will agree with, but not too sure fuzzy is the right word,” he manages, handing back the Coke and walking to the edge of the pool.  I set the aluminum on the table and sneak behind him, testing the blue-clear liquid, and we go tumbling through air and water, bubbling with laughter.

~~

A now-empty space between cards two and four.

~~

CLEANING THE BATHROOM: It’s YOUR turn!

It always manages to pop up somewhere.  No matter how many hours of scrubbing, spraying, buffing you manage to get into a day, it is guaranteed that the next morning, there will be mold in the corners of your bathroom.  It is a fact of life, and possibly the fact most denied by people.  I scowl at those who would judge a person by the state of their bathroom. “Well if you think their bathroom is so dirty, let’s see yours.”  There is no such thing as a clean bathroom.  I suppose people would say it is a health issue, but at this point the health of my back is starting to take priority over the health of my lungs.  I feel worn, battle-scarred, and even though they are the ones emerging from the edges of the bathtub, I am the one backed into a corner.

I loathe them, those fuzzy little monsters creeping along the grout, sapping the radiant shine of the tiles from my before-dawn shower.  It is the faint green glow which catches my eye, convinces me this is not a dream.  The water is too harsh to be my wakeup call, the gleam of the lights in the mirror only beg the question of why I am up at all.  Even the towel’s soft embrace is stifling in the groggy morning hours.  The tiles were all I had, and now they are taken from me.  My bathroom is now a white-room, bare and emotionless, thanks to those microscopic fuzz monsters.

~~

CREATE YOUR OWN CARD: …comfy sweaters?

It seems like such a contradiction, like that new Skittles ad campaign.  Why does everyone think of a living room with the fire roaring and a hot cup of chamomile when the sweaters come out of the winter storage anyway?  Hauling a forty-pound tub out of the attic and trying in vain to find the room for those ten bulky fluffs in the dresser, finally realizing the pointlessness of the situation and having to go buy fifty hangers—since you know each sweater will claim the lives of at least four of them—and finally shoving them all in the closet.  And lets not forget the actual reason for this whole escapade; the stinging ice-wind whipping the pink from your cheeks.  Isn’t that what the sweater is really about?  The bitterness of winter at its peak, that is what those stuffy things are really about.

Any time I find myself grabbing for one of my red knits, all I can hear is, “I can’t put my arms down!”  And that is what a sweater really is, isn’t it—being crammed into four layers and then a thick coat, swaying your weight back and forth so you can actually make progress as you trudge through waist deep fluff, and only realizing after you have strapped in and made it out of the driveway that choosing cashmere as your bottom layer was a very bad choice.  That damn fur-laced knitting brings an itch to your skin like no other, and in all the furthest places.  Doesn’t seem like a very warm and fuzzy place to be if you ask me.  I’d rather be in a t-shirt and jeans sipping hot chocolate in front of the fireplace.

~~

The back of card three mocks me as I set it down among the others.

ADOLF HITLER: 1889-1945, turned Germany into a militarized dictatorship and launched World Was II.

Charlie Chaplin has been lost to the world of comedy.  A mention of his name brings only a second or two of a smile, only to fade upon the actual image of his face coming to mind.  It’s not because he wasn’t funny; oh, he was plenty funny.  “A day without laughter is a day wasted,” as he would say.  No, it was his appearance.  And that’s not to say he didn’t look the part of the comedian.  We all know the bowler derby, the cane, those lined eyes, and it still makes us chuckle to picture him… until we see his lip.  It was his upper lip which betrayed him to history.  I can picture the marker of his grave: “Death by association” it would read in cold grey stone.

I have to wonder if it was fuzzy, that little tuft of black facial hair.  It almost plagues me to know.  After all, it’s not like there are men just walking around with that particular ‘stache for me to feel up.  I recall a photograph of a man in uniform, black and white and grainy on the glossed paper; a scene painted by some god somewhere for just such an occasion.  The man looks over the precipice to the vast Bavarian mountains beyond.  Beside him, a German shepherd also looks on with her master.  The man is not so grim as you would expect.  It’s odd to see a smile touching such a noticeable face, such a feared face.  And to see the dog’s excitement and happiness, it is like a photograph from another world, an alternative timeline.

But it’s not.  He loved dogs, that murderer of millions.  Hell, the man was a vegetarian!  He loved the little fuzzy creatures of the world.  But God forbid you were pink, hairless, and wore a six-pointed star.  I wonder if that shepherd ever had a sense of who he really was.  I would assume not, although some dogs do get a sixth sense about these things.  She seems too relaxed, too genuinely happy in those photos to know just who that man is, that man with the toothbrush mustache across his lip, an eagle on his hat, a swastika on his arm.

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