The sock on the doorknob is covered in spit up

Posted by jdg | Thursday, March 13, 2008 |

My freshman roommate was in an a cappella boyband. This was 1995, so they didn't yet have In*Sync or the Backstreet Boys to aspire to, but make no mistake, it was a boyband. They were sort of an a cappella Color Me Badd, but with more fat white guys. There were seven vocalists contributing to the group's signature R&B harmonies, so they brainstormed for a week and eventually came up with the name "Seven." But they wrote it with a Roman numeral VII. Before creative differences splintered VII (if I recall correctly, one guy left to focus on his beatboxing, then the members who were devout Christians refused to sing anything but Take 6 covers, while the other half wanted to be "the next Rockapella" or something like that) for a few months there they had a pretty good run of dorm rec room performances, intramural hockey national anthems, talent shows, and shotgun weddings. I only went to one performance, where it quickly became clear that my roommate was "the cute one." At the crescendo of the most romantic song in their arsenal of Jodeci and All-4-One covers, with his bandmates harmonizing softly behind him, my roommate would pull one girl from the audience and sit her on his knee and sing directly to her. To my amazement, the girl he chose didn't laugh right in his face. She seemed to actually be moved by the lyrics to "I Swear." A few hours later, I walked into a darkened dorm room to a shout of "No! Wait!" and then I saw her underwear on the floor. This set of incidents merely confirmed to me that there was a lot I didn't understand about girls.

The boyband performances proved to be a rich source of one-night stands for my roommate, who swore by the old sock-on-the-doorknob cliche, giving me endless opportunities to wander around to figure out my own way to snare a female. I usually ended up reading Whitman or writing in my journal alone in the forest behind the dorm, hoping that some other free spirit would just happen across me and think I was deep and romantic and not some kind of sexual predator. The one time a girl came over to the edge of the woods, she only did so to vomit. I do give my roommate a lot of credit for showing me how attractive the life of a swinging bachelor can be. For one thing, there were his sheets. I won't get into too many details, but let's just say if you were planning to be "the cute one" in an a cappella boyband in 1995, it would have been a good idea not to buy black sheets. His black sheets were so streaked with the DNA evidence of his voluptuary activities, they looked like you could ice skate across them. If you turned on the black light in our dorm room, his sheets lit up like Las Vegas in the desert night. I don't know if it says more about his skill in seduction or the standards of the seduced that he ever managed to convince anyone to climb in there with him in daylight. I swear, his blankets had stalactites.

I have been thinking about my old roommate a lot these days, particularly those sheets. You see, our newborn son is a lot like a drunk coed. He whines a lot and is an extremely sloppy kisser. He drinks a lot and passes out all the time. He throws up whenever he drinks too much, which is pretty much every time he drinks. He throws up ten times as much as his sister ever did. An hour after we wash our bedsheets, they are covered again in his milky spit up, which dries to a glossy stiffness that brings me back to my dorm days. And that's only from what comes out of his mouth (there's a whole other end). Anytime we wear black clothes (and duh, we are yuppies, so we have lots of black clothes), after a few minutes holding our son we end up looking like my old college roommate has been dryhumping us. I can't imagine what early parenthood must have been like for Johnny Cash. I have reached into coat pockets to find several inches of spit up, but my wife still gets the worst of it. I can't tell you how many money shots she's had right down her cleavage. That's where we are these days, wading around in slightly-curdled breastmilk and stomach acid. So what did we do yesterday? We grabbed our wellies and took a trip to the dairy farm that provides all the non-breastmilk to our household:

Because nothing makes you feel better about the sanitation of your own home than seeing buckets of freshly-pumped bovine milk speckled with hay and cowshit.