I Am My Own Stunt Double

Holidays in the sun. Smashem-crashem. How not to waterski. Gaytastic thirtysomething moments. Half a moose. My three-toothed Doppelganger. How they pronounce it in France. Cheeseburger 2.0.

My holiday will turn out to be a little longer than anticipated, because I tried to waterski. The weather's great.

I report to you from the back seat of my Volvo, parked by the side of a dirt road in the shade of a copse of something wild overlooking rolling fields where several large robots are rumbling around picking vegetables. The robots have little Mexicans inside of them, and when they come out to smoke they tie their flannel shirts around their waists like grunge rockers.

A turtle is crossing the road. I'm rooting for him. So far so good.

It can be challenging to find the space and time to write, and it can also be challenging to find the space and time to be married. This is why I didn't take my laptop away to the cottage: I booked wall to wall wife time. We had dispersed both children to secure facilities for the duration, so it was a unique opportunity to give Littlestar maximum attention.

Now that we're back in our neck of the woods, however, my fingers itch to knit. I tried cutting myself off mentally from the exterior environment to create a bubble of writing space, but I got in dutch for being too inered so that's why I'm out here. I'm watching the timer tick down on my battery's life expectancy, writing under the lithium ion gun.

(The turtle is making excellent progress. No sign of traffic.)

In an ideal world I'd lean forward into the front seats and turn up the radio a bit, but doing so would result in spasms of pain ricocheting up my spine and radiating across the left side of my body. So I'll live with quiet music. And remind me about this next time I try to waterski.

Tomorrow morning I'm going to physio instead of work. Word on the street is they have a dented garbage can there that can work wonders if you fall over it backward. I'll do whatever they say. Anything is better than spending your days walking like C-3P0.

(A motorcycle gang just chortled by, but they all deftly steered around the turtle. Bless their little heroin-dealing hearts.)

Where was I? Oh yes. Cottage holidays. Our drive up north couldn't have been more delightful. Littlestar and I were giddy with the weightlessness of being child-free. We played loud music and took off our shoes. We kissed and teased. We stopped for chips and gravy and watched Ontario go by as a mottled green smear with sunshine on top.

The cottage wasn't our cottage, so when we got to the landing we were obliged to wait for our hosts. Through the magick of digital cellular telephony we learned that just behind us the highway had been shut down for seven hours by a messy accident. Our hosts were just ten cars behind the accident site itself. They were chatting with the off-duty nurse who had held the hand of the smooshed up girl as she died in the grass. A motorcycle, a Mack truck and an outcropping of jagged rock were also involved, though nobody seemed to know quite how or in what sequence.

Littlestar and I cracked open some drinks and settled in to wait. We moved the car to a shady place and fooled around.

Our hosts were the Scotch Museologist and his wife, whom I have previously called Mistress Bengal but whom I shall now call Sunshine Anderson in homage to a particularly creative mangling of her proper name that was left on her voicemail at work. When they managed to arrive after a long and looping detour we motored across the west arm of Lake Nippising and husband-freighted our kipple to the house on quaint and shady Something Island.

(When the Scotch Museologist's cousin and his cousin's wife-like yin-unit arrived later that same night they told us about how they had waited on the closed highway chatting with folks, watching kids play ball. When the highway opened again they surged through and immediately came up against a second accident: someone overzealous after being set free to drive had struck a moose, restricting the highway to a single lane.

(When the Scotch Museologist's colleague and friend arrived the next day, she reported that someone had cut the moose in half, and dragged away the rear-quarters for a barbecue.

(When Littlestar and I drove home the moose was gone, but we did see a dead baby bear.)))

The Scotch's Museologist's cottage is an acme of conscientious upkeep, standing in some contrast to our own. It's a self-built A-frame with a long tongue of floating dock, decks front and rear, trees all around, benches and sunbrellas galore, a decent stereo and a non-nature raping toilet system. (It isn't winterproofed but neither am I.)

Like all good cottages there is a refrigerator dedicated to beer, and we worked hard to empty it. The girls had their beers with limes in them and boys had their beers with unpronouncible names. We played bacchi ball and horseshoes and swam and smoked prodigious amounts of marijuana, hashish and tobacco. We barbecued a positively retarded amount of beef, and speculated about Creutzfeldt-Jacob disease becoming a new national sport.

Somebody had left up at the cottage a bushel of trashy celebrity gossip magazines about who was thinner than whom, but these were poor competition for the first-hand celebrity stories from Sunshine Anderson (who, as mentioned previously, works for a Monstrously Large Media Concern). Equally colourful but considerably less ludicrous anecdotes were shared by Lady Showboat (again, an appellation derived from a mangling of her proper name), a sort of real-life Laura Croft character tempered by charm and humility -- born in Africa, growing up in a five hundred year old English mansion, falling victim to bizarre and horrifying parasites while going on archaeological digs around the world...that sort of thing.

(The best thing about Lady Showboat was that she was the polar opposite of a woman Littlestar and I met several months ago who tried so very hard to make herself sound like a truly sophisticated citizen of the world. She exploited every opportunity to inject into any conversation mention of Madrid or Cape Town or Paris, mad to impress upon anyone and everyone who cool she was. In our subsequent social debrief Littlestar and I wondered whether that particular tit had rubbed us the wrong way because we were jealous of her cosmopolitan lifestyle, but I argued that someone who truly was as cool as the idiot had been pretending to be wouldn't have worked so hard to impress us. Lady Showboat was just that -- grounded, affable, attentive. People who genuinely lead fascinating lives don't feel the need to advertise.)

We also got to enjoy one of those classically gaytastic thirtysomething moments when a group of diverse friends sits down to table together over fine meat and plentiful wine. These are the moments banks and auto manufacturers and vintners attempt to simulate in their television commercials. Lots of spontaneous laughter, stimulating conversation, a warm glow of unmuddied togetherness...that sort of thing.

I was introduced to waterskiing, and I introduced waterskiing to my particular concentration of deftlessness. By synergizing our offerings we were able to produce an impressive back injury in fairly short order.

This was on my second attempt to become upright while being dragged behind a speeding motorboat. I realized things were incorrect in my body even before I splashed down. The most fun part was swimming back to the boat with only my right side responding predictably to locomotive command. I was wearing a life-jacket, however, so I didn't drown.

Back on land it was established that a dizzying array of different kinds of motion made me feel plenty bad, but that once propped up in place somewhere I could drink and smoke and sass on with only minor assistance.

(The big upshot, of course, is that I didn't have to help make the beds before we left.)

My back felt considerably better after Littlestar gave me a massage, and then considerably worse after we had sex. Littlestar felt guilty for not having been more sensible considering my injury, but I had no complaints. Sensible people have blue balls.

Fifty percent of the women felt too fat. The boys compared beer guts, where applicable. The brown made fun of the white for turning red. We played a game of charades in which we wrote our own person/place/thing/phrase on scraps of paper in two hats, which degenerated over a course of hours into toilet humour and sexual themes. I performed my charades sitting in an easy-chair, making affirmative and negative beeping noises like Captain Christopher Pike.


"Does this look like cunnilingus to you?"

"Shush -- you can't talk!"

"Cheeseburger keeps making grunting noises like Charlie Brown's teacher! I call foul!"

"Charlie Brown's teacher getting cunnilingus?"


In the mornings I stood on the end of the dock, eating an apple and thinking about stories. I am considering new strategies for deploying my writing output. We stand at the cusp of CheeseburgerBrown 2.0, almost ready to roll. I just need the bank to issue me my new credit card so I can buy a fresh domain.

I chewed and paced, watching ripples and mist, ruminating over what it is I am for, with respect to writing. I am close to another good guess. I can feel it.

When we got home Baby Yam had sprouted two additional teeth, now making for a grand total of three. He desperately wanted me to pick him up and I desperately wanted to oblige him, but hefting around a twenty pound sack of squirming baby meat just isn't a legal operation in my current condition. I require our Swiss au pair girl, Mademoiselle J., to hold him up so I can snuggle him.

"Bah!" says Baby Yam. "Zeeeeee!"

(Speaking of which, we have recently come to winch out of her how she'd best like her name to be pronounced -- and it's a far cry from the gum-chewed interpretation passed on from Beurre d'Arachide, who met her first. Now we have everybody practicing. By the time she leaves we'll have it just about right.)

Young Popsicle is still away at a different cottage with Aunt Xena. I very much look forward to and very much dread how she will catapult herself at me when she gets home. "Let's play rough!" she'll cheer, and then ask me to take her to the beach at the end of our street.

"Mercy, child -- have mercy!"

Okay, the turtle has now cleared the road and disappeared into the high grass. I should probably take that as a sign. My time is up. Best go home and face the music for taking off.



Simon said...

Just a little while longer and then my wife and I can start to think about potential weekend excursions away from the spawn and a slightly increased amount of 'us' time as well as cunnilingus. Instead, we just split a bottle of red out by the fire pit on Sunday night and I followed her in to bed to take advantage.

Carlie said...

Cottage sounds great! We're hoping to try a weekend in Maine sometime this month.

I liked the periodic turtle updates.

Mark said...

Glad the turtle made it. I must confess that I would have rushed out (after looking both ways) and moved the little straggler to the side he wanted. Or, maybe I would have been interrupting a suicide attempt.

I'm sorry. Sex? What the hell is that? I guess Canada is for lovers.

Moksha Gren said...

Sounds like the weekend was wonderful for everyone. Well, everyone except the moose, your back, and the smooshed up girl. But everything else made me envious. We're currently on day 11 of new parenthood. And while it is a wonderful experience...the idea of an escape to a wooded cabin is sounding more and more glorious every day

Cheeseburger Brown said...


Good work, man. Red wine and fire make for a solid strategy. When you do get away do keep in mind: you may have to spend the first twelve hours assuring your wife that the kid is in good hands. Push for nookie on Day 2.


I've visited Maine, and I declare it one of the most Canadian places in the whole of American America. Eat a lobster for me. (Goodness knows I wouldn't do it myself, so if any lobster are going to be ate I'll need help.)


Living rurally means taking a philosophical attitude about the life and death of animals -- it's not a rare event to see someone or something lose the race. Never the less, I respect your feeling of compassion and your will to act.


In my experience the first three months are the thickest. Once you're cleared of the "fourth trimester" you'll definitely get some of your life back.

As for the smooshed up girl, I mention such things because they profoundly disturb me and yet are very common. I bet she had a nice weekend planned, too.


adam said...

Another typically invigorating read. boy I miss canada. boy I miss weekends away, cabins and marijuana. Boo is almost two. Ready for a weekend away surely. Not certain I could handle it. Panic. Maybe nookie would help. I also miss my motorbike, until I read stories like the poor girl. Then I miss it not so much.

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