I Need to Stop Swallowing Things

December 2014. ‘Tis the night before Christmas and about twenty bacon-wrapped scallops rest menacingly on a white porcelain serving tray in the buffet area of a festive celebration. They appear to be delicious. Succulent. I love succulent. I grab one with my dirty Christmas-Eve fingers and quickly pop the whole thing into my mouth, enacting a sort of self-inflicted reverse five-second rule. And, oh! It is delicious. It is succulent.

At first.

But then I notice that the bacon is extra, extra tough. Jesus, I think to myself as I vigorously chomp my way through the remaining shred of it that just won’t budge. Is this bacon or is this, like, really fucking old beef jerky?

Jesus doesn’t respond, presumably because it is approaching midnight on his (His?) birthday, which means he’s probably busy pre-gaming with some sheep/shepherds/disciples and is drunk on homemade wine/Fireball shots/whatever the good shit is that they only serve in heaven.

So I finally get that last piece of extra-hard bacon down a few minutes later and go back to enjoying the company of family and friends. Some time passes before I return to the scallop tray. They still look delicious and succulent, but are now tainted with the recent memory of having had to chew on a single piece of stubborn-ass pig for minutes on end, so I’m almost like, Ugh, not worth it. But then I’m like, Eh, fuck it. It’s Christmas and I should be grateful to have a bacon-wrapped scallop in the first place, even if the bacon is absurd and requires inordinate amounts of chewing.

As I reach for the new one, I notice something I didn’t before. The scallops all have TOOTHPICKS in them! Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks that barely peek out from the hors d’oeuvres in which they dwell. Short, inconspicuous, bitchy little toothpicks, ONE OF WHICH I have most likely just EATEN!

But I have to be sure. So I remove a toothpick from a new scallop and eat it, and guess what? The bacon is as tender as a fucking Babyface song from 1996. It goes right on down with minimal chewing effort, thereby confirming that I currently have a chewed-up toothpick wreaking havoc inside my fragile little 6’3” body.

toothpick

In the past, if someone were ever to have asked me how I’d react if I found out I’d just accidentally ingested a toothpick, I’d definitely have said, “Well this is an irrelevant question; only a total dumbass would accidentally ingest a toothpick.” But I can now say that a) I am a total dumbass, and b) my natural reaction to finding out I’ve just accidentally ingested a toothpick is to freak out in the car with my mom as she treats the whole thing with an alarming amount of nonchalance.

  • Me: “How are you so calm right now? Your son just ate a piece of fucking WOOD! What is this going to do to my insides?!”
  • Mom: “First of all, it’s not wood. And second of all, you’ll be fine.”
  • Me: “How do you know I’ll be fine?”
  • Mom: “It’s a toothpick! People have shit out diamonds before and survived.”
  • Me: “Have you ever shit out a diamond?”

And then I realized that I had just asked my mother if she’d ever shit out a diamond, which is usually a pretty clear indicator that a conversation has gotten a little off track. (For the record, though, she never has shit out a diamond. Though she did give birth to me, which I’d like to think counts for something since everybody knows that I shine bright like a diamond and also am many a girl’s best friend.)

I texted my boyfriend (of three months; I promise I’ll post something with more details for you guys REAL SOON because he’s amazing… but right now this story must be told) when I got home and explained my dilemma to him. He too was convinced that this was not a big deal, saying that he swallowed much worse than a toothpick during his wild college days, and for a second I wanted to be all, “TELL ME EVERYTHING,” but then I was like, You know what? I actually don’t wanna know.

So I just went to sleep.

The next morning the BF and I talked a little more about my situation and then I sent him a bathroom selfie in which I stood sexily in front of the mirror in my cute little boxer briefs, with the caption: “About to confront my toothpick problem!”

And then I realized that I had basically just sent my boyfriend a selfie saying “GONNA GO SHIT [OUT A TOOTHPICK] NOW,” which is always a great way to set the mood with your significant other on Christmas morning.

He didn’t respond for about fifteen minutes, during which period I wondered if I had officially crossed the gross-line with him, but then he responded with the IPhone poop emoji and a thumbs up, so I figured I was fine.

So anyway, enough about poop! The moral of this whole story is that I survived. The toothpick came, the toothpick went, and now my life has resumed to normal and I’m blogging about having eaten and digested a toothpick on Christmas Eve, and I’m pretty sure this is the “Circle of Life” that Elton John sang about in The Lion King. Happy 2015.

 

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This is What Happens When I Best Man a Wedding

Yes, I just used “Best Man” as a verb in the title of this post. It’s a thing now, and you’re welcome.

So. After throwing an epic three-night, thirteen-man bachelor party at a rented house in Vermont last fall (the details of which I can’t get into for legal reasons), getting fitted for a tux while awkwardly asking the salesman, “So, what’s your perspiration policy?” (he just looked at me weird and said, “We clean them”), and sneaking my way into my now-sister’s bachelorette party in December by flashing everyone with my GC (Giant Co.. Gay Card) – my brother got married a few weeks ago. And! It was the best day.

Like, ever.

The fun started the night before at the rehearsal, where this conversation took place between two bridesmaids (whom I will refer to as Hilary and Amy) and myself:

  • Nic: Hey Hilary, wanna hear something hilarious? My aunt told my stepmom earlier that she thought I “had eyes for you.”
  • Hilary: Ha! Wait. Your aunt doesn’t know you’re gay?
  • Nic: I mean, it’s not like I hide it. I just don’t think she realizes that gay people exist in real, everyday life. Like, she’ll probably find out about me when we’re at my wedding.
  • Amy (joining the conversation): Oh hey, you have one too?!
  • Nic: What? No. I don’t. I’m not getting married. [Laughs uncomfortably.] I mean, I am getting married. I hope. Eventually. Just not any time soon. Gotta find the right guy first. All the ones I meet seem to fall short in one way or another, and I’m at the point where’s it’s like, I’m not in a rush to meet The One anymore, because where’s the fun in that? Plus I don’t wanna settle for less, y’know?
  • Amy (pointing to my left ear): I was talking about your cartilage piercing.

So that was awesome.

The ceremony the next day was also awesome, although there was a minor debacle when I went to deliver flowers to the bride in her dressing room and was cornered by the photographer, who asked to borrow the rings – allegedly for the purposes of taking artful pictures, but probably more so because she gets some kind of twisted joy out of making other people anxious – and then disappeared.

After five minutes passed, I started slightly freaking out at the realization that it was twenty minutes to showtime and my brother was waiting for me. So I bid adieu to the bridal party and luckily was able to find the photographer in a hallway, regain possession of the rings, and step outside to get back to the main church.

Except now it was raining and I didn’t have an umbrella, so I was like, “SHIT.” I went back inside and asked the photographer if there was an indoor route to the church that I didn’t know about and she was all, “I dunno.” So then I was like, “SHIT,” again, and just decided to run the few steps there.

And then, as I was approaching the entrance to the church, I slipped.

AND I PLUMMETED.

I was clearly touched by an angel, though, because I managed to make my hands hit the ground first. So it mostly just looked like I was doing a spontaneous and highly awkward military pushup (on a rainy church sidewalk, in a tuxedo) for a second. I also managed to quickly retrieve the rings (which, by the way, had also plummeted and were dangerously close to a sewer… I know. Can you IMAGINE?) and put them safely in my pocket.

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One would never know I had just almost ruined the entire wedding (and my ruggedly handsome face) with a single plunge.

And after that, everything went smoothly.

I pranced into the reception to En Vogue’s “Free Your Mind” while the Maid of Honor whipped me (literally), I rocked the Best Man speech (by “rocked,” I mean I got up in front of everyone and went on a long-winded verbal tangent about how my brother is a guy who exemplifies love and I am a guy who spent most of the nineties making Mariah Carey-themed scrapbooks), and I made sure everyone got really, really drunk – which, given our network of friends and family, didn’t actually require too much effort on my part, but still.

The whole thing was one of those once-in-a-lifetime experiences that make you stand back, look at your life, and say, “Holy shit. This is it. This is what matters.” It’s like, we can get so caught up in our daily routines – coffee, soul-sucking jobs, petty arguments, super important life-or-fucking-death (just kidding, I mean petty again) arguments, social media, Mariah Carey’s mental health (okay, maybe that’s just me?), the fucking weather, etc. – that it’s easy to start believing that the stuff that doesn’t matter, matters. But then something reminds you that it doesn’t.

Over time, I’ve found that meditation and books and — frankly — wine are good at helping me get to that place of transcending the bullshit. Celebration and love and family are even better.

And Best Man-ing is, of course, the best.

 

Keep Hating, Pope — and I’ll Keep Loving

Moments before digging into our Christmas Eve feast this year, my mom suggested that I lead the table in saying grace.

As the recognized wordsmith of the family, I typically agree to perform this task with no qualms — spouting off whatever cliché, prayer-ish things I can think of, while maybe injecting a modicum of nonsensical humor into the mix (i.e. “…and bless my non-existent husband, and please remove all the calories from the meal we’re about to eat so that he may one day become a real boy, like Pinocchio? Like Pinocchio. Except a grown man, and without the nose situation. Amen.“).

But this year, I decided to push buttons and be all like, “Well, I called the Pope an asshole on Facebook the other day. So maybe I’m not the best person to be leading our Catholic family in prayer right now?”

And then we had a brief discussion about homophobia and religion and Italy and love and being human — and we all agreed that the Pope kind of is an asshole for calling me less than human in his annual Christmas speech.

And then we laughed. A lot.

And then I realized how grateful I am for my family.

And then I said grace.

 

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