>>> Bang for Your Buck
By staff writer David Nelson
October 30, 2005

I consider myself a pretty easy-going guy. I'm not hard to get along with. I've only been truly angry twice in my life; the first time when my parents sold my autographed Mickey Mantle baseball to buy heroin, which they then secretly put in my insulin needle, and the second when they cancelled The A-Team. I loved that show, even if the villains would occasionally lock the team in a warehouse full of tractor parts and welding equipment, facilitating their escape by means of a cabbage-firing tank.

But even though I'm so easy to get along with, I seem to have recurring roommate difficulties. If you've never had a roommate, I can simulate the relationship for you. Just look at a married couple and subtract the sex. In fact, subtract all sex altogether, since your dumb roommate's ass is either too needy, too boring, or too oblivious to leave so you can get your swerve on, as they say. If you have a roommate now, you probably still won't know what I'm talking about, because he’s probably a cool guy who would loan you beer money if you needed it. That's the kind of roommate I've missed out on.

“Slowly but surely, I noticed kitchen utensils start to disappear. Yes, gentle readers, my roommate would rather sleep with a spatula than allow me to use it.”

After college, a guy I used to work with invited me to replace his roommate, whose departure I really should have looked into, in retrospect. Anyway, this former coworker always seemed like a good guy. We used to ogle women at work, even going so far as to devise a hand signal rating system so we could surreptitiously communicate our desire to hump said women. We were frequent strip club patrons. One time, we even wound up in a hot tub with a couple of girls (and we weren’t even on reality TV), but that's a long, expensive story for another time.

Anyway, he lived in a crappy basement apartment below an optometrist. To call this apartment a dump would be an insult to the bowel movement I'm making as I write this. It was small, dirty, and housed enough bugs to fill out the cast of a delightful children's movie. I didn't even have a bed in these years, I just threw a mattress onto the ground. It's a good thing I'm so good at blackmail, or else, I never would have gotten laid. I should also mention that this place was in a very Jewish neighborhood, which, in this case, meant that most of my neighbors were bagel shops and kosher butchers. I may have been miserable, but at least I was cutting down on the pork.

I guess I never really knew how much of a loser this guy was, and it's my fault for not picking up the signs. First of all, when not hovering around the apartment in his bathrobe, which I’m pretty sure was made from compressed hair, he would often be found wearing a black shirt with wrap-around dragons, flames, and skulls. This tragic attempt at stylishness should have been my first warning. I don’t generally care what anybody wears, but I didn’t need my neighbors, God’s chosen people, thinking that I lived with some kind of developmentally-delayed headbanger.

He was dating a big fat beanbag of a girl, and from what he told me, he was quite active with her in the local bondage scene. This should have been my second warning, but I will confess that I had a morbid curiosity about the whole thing. I don't know how he managed to buy restraints that fit her water-retaining limbs. And forget about leather. After a woman crosses the 250-pound barrier, she pretty much spends most of her time shopping in the elastic section. I was warned by the optometrist who worked above the apartment, that she had an unsettling habit of walking around nude. Naturally, I suspected this was behavior was encouraged by the optometrist as a way to cause blindness and provide him with more business. I would have called the Better Business Bureau from the sanctity of my room, but who are we kidding? If this girl had wanted to, she could have eaten the door and sat on me before help arrived.

Finally, this guy was into something called live action role playing, which is apparently similar to goddamn Dungeons and Dragons, only more fruity. It’s a “game” that combines the geekiness of a fantasy setting with the gayness of improvisational theatre. Well, if that keeps you up at night, this guy would be your worst nightmare: like the Bible-thumpers always said it would, the game finally made him go crazy, dress up like an elf, and go on adventures where other nerds, presumably, played the parts of enemy monsters. All this would be fine if he were in the third grade. When an adult does it, it’s entirely possible that his mother smoked crack while being impregnated by a +3 Minotaur.

About halfway into our tenancy, he lost his job. Like any sane person, his response to this was to hang out in internet chat rooms all day. I swear, I would leave for work in the morning, and upon returning at night, the empty Dr. Pepper bottles would be the only clue that he moved at all during the day. Seriously, he was living in a pile of his own filth, which I dubbed the Spooge Pit™. I'm not exactly Mr. Clean, except for the bald head and muscular build, but this guy was a slob by any standards. You know how sometimes, you don’t have a Kleenex handy after masturbating, so you just mop yourself up with an old sock? Um, neither do I. But this roommate would have to bathe twice in scalding-hot vinegar just to be on an even keel with hypothetical-sock-guy.

One day, I got a call from a couple of good friends who were looking for a third to join them in renting a house. Knowing this guy was out of work, I couldn't in good conscience walk out on him, leaving him to pay the entire rent. A few weeks after that, he announced he'd found a job in another city and was leaving me to pay the entire rent. Jerk.

I had higher hopes for my next roommate, a guy I went to high school with. Not exactly a scintillating personality, but quiet and stable, which is all I cared about. We actually lasted a good long time, with no problems. Well, the only problem was, he's a bit of a mumbler. I'd be in my room, silently kicking ass with a book, when I’d hear strange noises out in the hall. Eventually, I'd piece together that he had been having a conversation with me for twenty minutes.

But that was okay; the apartment was nice, in a good area, and he furnished most of it. All was well. He wasn’t too bright, but I never minded doing things like rescuing his dumb ass from pyramid schemes. Then he met this Japanese girl, and things started to go downhill. This girl was a real drag. We would go out in a big group, and after one drink, she'd be asleep on the table. She claimed she was in her early thirties, but unless they count in base six in Japan, it was obvious that she was pushing forty. Then there was her voice. Japanese women always sound so cute and demure, at least in the pornography I’ve seen, but when this girl spoke, it was like taking a ringing alarm clock, shoving it up a howler monkey’s asshole, then scraping the whole thing down a chalkboard. Positively horrifying for those of you who haven’t tried.

When they started dating, she would spend a lot of time at the apartment. Four or five nights a week. What's more, they would come in pretty late, slam all the doors, and take six showers a day between them. My bedroom, incidentally, is right next to the shower. I can put up with a lot, but when you start cutting into my sleeping time, I begin to go batshit crazy.

After a while, her own roommates must have figured out what a pleasure this girl was, so my roommate came to me and pleaded for me to let her stay on a permanent basis. It was the dead of winter, and she had no place else to go. Cursing my benevolence, I acquiesced, and it wasn't long before my life was a total nightmare. She had an awful habit of leaving the tap running. One time, I called her out of her room to demonstrate how to turn off the fucking faucet, and her face was covered in green goop and weird tinfoil horns. I knew, mostly from pornography, how messed up the Japanese could be, but I’d never seen it firsthand. Was this some demented form of bukkake, or some other incarnation of evil? Naturally, I screamed and leapt behind the sofa until the Ghostbusters could show up.

Even worse than any of this was her effect on my once-decent roommate. At some point, she must have convinced him that I was after his food; maybe she misinterpreted a commercial for Trix or Lucky Charms or something. In any case, whereas we once shared cupboard space, they were now divided, like some predictable episode of I Love Lucy. Even worse, they started putting a rubber band over the knobs of their cupboard. This is a huge fuck-you for two reasons; First, it implies that I want to steal their food, or had done so in the past. Second, if I wanted to steal their food, they're not giving me very much credit. They don't think I'll be able to overcome the great elastic band line of defense?

Sometimes I would leave my stuff out on the counter, like a box of sandwich bags, only to find it in front of the door to my room. At this point, I realized that the crazy bastard was just trying to get offended. I have other friends with normal roommates, and if this sort of thing ever happened, someone would get his ass kicked. But, since attacking a mongoloid idiot would be a nightmare for my publicist, I held my anger in check.

It gets worse. Slowly but surely, I noticed kitchen utensils, items that we used to have no problems sharing, start to disappear. Through my keen observational skills, I soon deduced that he was keeping them in his room. Yes, gentle readers, my roommate would rather sleep with a spatula than allow me to use it. Technically, he did buy it, I guess, so he can do as he pleases. I can buy another spatula; I make that kind of money. His room's not that big either, so I imagine storing the can opener, slotted spoon, spice rack, etc. was kind of a burden to him.

A lot of you will ask why I don't just strike out on my own and leave behind the roommate years forever. Well, a few weeks ago I would have said “Fuck you, I don't make enough money as the world's sexiest Bill Cosby impersonator.” But all that has changed. I got a new job and just last week I put a down payment on a bachelor apartment for me and me alone. Now I can fry bacon in the nude with absolutely no fear, minus the unfortunate grease splatter. I can watch Jack LaLanne hawk his damn Juicer at 4:00 am. And, knock on wood, I can have girls over without having to invent a cover story involving my retarded cousin. If I ever go back to having a roommate, you’ll know I fucked up pretty bad. But if you happen to be the one who answers my ad, please be a rich blonde who enjoys giving massages, doing laundry, and making sandwiches.

Essential New Word of the Day:
biomist \baj’o’mIst\ n:

The resultant bowel movement from a suspended period of poisoning oneself with liquor and exotic or greasy food, such as those occurring at a cottage or on vacation. This bowel movement is explosive to the extent that the fecal matter is no longer a solid, or even a liquid, which is still pretty bad, but a fine vapor expelled by the buttocks. Like a visible fart, only worse. Biomist turns bathrooms into Class A uninhabitable biohazard zones for a period of twelve hours.