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Ten years

Hijacked on September 11, 2011.

While noshing upon some caterpilled meat Friday morning (made from real caterpillars!), I remembered that it had been ten whole years since the Spice Girls had released their last album. The lack of any new Spice Girls music for the past decade sent me into a glibbering fit of writhing, caterwauling rage that lasted until Saturday afternoon. I huffed and I puffed, I stomped and I glomped, and I even threatened to blow Mr. Van der Woobie’s house down. I called my congressman and demanded to know the next time the Spice Girls’ ten graceful feet would ever grace an album cover, but all he did was mechanically thank me for calling him about his new economic stimulus proposal and drone on for another seven minutes about creating thousands of jobs with the opening of the new dog-boxing plant in town. I then called more people at random (woe be to those whose names start with D this week!), but got similarly useless answers from each of them. Finally losing steam after the fifty-ninth call, my fury came to a hoarse, whimpering close around 12:00:01 PM, give or take a femtosecond… but only after all my provolone ended up all alone in Provo, Utah, and I couldn’t afford a bus ticket home for the cheesy little discs.

I ended up having to make my heart pastrami sandwich without any provolone—just bread, mustard, and two hearts from a pair of pastrami-beasts I hunted and slew myself on Tuesday. Sullenly I ate the sandwich while listening to “Spice Up Your Life” for the 2,977th time. It sure didn’t spice up my life today.

And then Saturday evening brought me another stark revelation. (Technically, it was Shnarkey screaming at me from beneath my cerebellum that revealed the following to me, not the day itself, but that’s not nearly important enough to mention except perhaps in an easily overlooked parenthetical such as this one.) As of Saturday, it had not only been ten long years since the nefarious Charles Ingram cheated his way into winning one million pounds on the British version of Who Wants to be a Millionaire?, it had also been ten years since my neological self first used the word “bergrumptuous.” I had done so, if my bovinely spongiformed memory serves me correctly—which it rarely does, to be honest—in the midst of expectorating epithets at a gaggle of brain doctors trying to shove a handful of purple pills down my throat. They had told me that the porphyrious little ellipsoids were really very good for me, but I didn’t believe them; I knew it was a plot by the nefarious Samuel Dreckers to clandestinely poison me. Despite my protestations, the doctors succeeded in medicating me, and the rest of that day—and in fact most of the subsequent days right up until January 23, 2005—passed like a hazy dream.

I spent the remainder of Saturday reminiscing to myself about a pair of mouse turds—which I had found a day later, behind the padded wall of the single-room apartment in which those brain doctors had domiciled me—and the hallucinatory images of Alyssa Milano dancing barefoot on my nose that followed the coprophagy in which I had (naturally) engaged within minutes of finding those rodential feces. Zippy narrated for me while Flabbley provided the background music.

Then Sunday arrived in all its sunny horrors, and those memories of Alyssa’s toes upon my nose were violently torn from my addled little pate as a new revelation of yet another decadal anniversary splashed across the sodium ion channels in my neural cluster that some mistakenly call a “brain.”

Ten years ago today, while I squatted ape-like upon that padded floor and noshed merrily upon the mustard substitute that I had so happily discovered in the wall, Jimmy the Hobo, my town’s favorite shiftless bum, hijacked a taxicab from its Arab mushroom owner and drove it into a towering pile of empty buttwash crates in the alley behind Crunkner Boulevard. The resulting crash is considered by some to be the worst disaster the United States has endured, at least since 1880, when that fat, lasagna-guzzling cat from that silly comic strip was elected president. The drunken hobo attack was even worse than that buggy-whipping accident in 1902 which prompted the quick adoption of the automobile, and even worse then the hamburgling catastrophe in 1955 that nearly shut down America’s favorite deep-fried hamburger restaurant before they had even really gotten started.

Jimmy spent the next four years in the room next to mine, growing his beard to elephantine lengths and figuring out new and inventive ways of using the combination of his forehead and the doorknob as a percussion instrument. And most important of all, between alternating bouts of foaming at the mouth and simply drooling from it, that hairy, hairy hobo taught me everything I’ll ever need to know about gnomes, gnome avoidance, gnome care and feeding, and the coming gnome apocalypse. (The gnome calypso I learned from Ravna Olegg-Thorssondóttir, if you’re wondering.)