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My girlfriend (we’ll call
her “M”) needed to start cleaning out her office last weekend. She’s taking a
new job after ten years with the same company—using the same office the entire
time—and clearing out a decade’s worth of shit isn’t the easiest thing to do.
Unless, of course, you’re accompanied by an irritable, impatient, profusely
sweating prick who has no emotional attachment to anything in your office—and
who yells at you whenever you take more than three seconds to decide whether to
throw something away.
When M finished cleaning off
her desk, she went to a utility closet and brought back a product called
Dust-Off, which she sprayed on her laptop and desktop keyboards. Dust-Off is a
can of air that you shoot at your keyboard through a small straw. It blows all
the dried chewing tobacco flakes—sorry, dust—out of all the little crevasses in
your keyboard. It’s very effective.
I switched to a MacBook Pro
a few months ago, and I’ve been trying to keep this thing in virgin condition.
Finding Dust-Off that day was a very exciting thing for me. I watched M spray
down her keyboards, and I fantasized about all the nasty shit that would fly
out of my MacBook Pro when I applied my own can of Dust-Off, which I vowed to
find and purchase as soon as possible.
I could have swiped one from
M’s building, but M is paranoid about shit like that. She gave me a hard time
when I asked her for a pack of legal pads, so I assumed there must be some
angry logistics and supply clerk somewhere in the building who would track the missing
can to her and, perhaps, take legal action. I didn’t want to risk M’s
illustrious career like that, so I left without my prize.
A few days later, I went to
Office Max to look for Dust-Off. It wasn’t in the cleaning supplies aisle,
which I found strange because Dust-Off can be found in that category on the
Office Max website. I asked a guy in a red polo shirt what the deal was, and he
told me they have to keep Dust-Off locked up because too many people were
spraying it up their noses in the store. This happened so frequently that it
became store policy to keep Dust-Off off the shelves—despite the fact that it
now contains a “bitterent” designed to deter people from huffing it.
This reminds me of something
that happened back when this blog was getting shitloads of attention and people
were inviting me to parties in Manhattan. I was in a bar with a bunch of people
I didn’t know—but who all seemed to know me—when a girl asked me if I’d go
outside with her while she smoked a cigarette. She was very pretty, so I went.
She smoked, took her last puff, threw the butt on the sidewalk, then said
“That cigar store across the
street has whippets. You wanna do some?”
No. Thank you, though.
This was kind of like the
girl who wrote me and said, without irony, “Hey, I love your blog! You’re an
awesome writer! Can you come over and fix the lock on my apartment door?” Maybe
this was a ruse and she wanted something else. Probably. I never wrote her
There was a time in my life
where I knew about all the shit in the supermarket that you could sniff,
swallow, and smoke to get yourself high. I never actually did any of it—really, I didn’t—but I grew up with, hung
out with, and am related to, people who did shit like that. I preferred to just
sit and consistently drink, i.e., while everyone else was wasting time rolling
joints and snorting Reddi-Whip at 7-11, I continued to observe my
one-drink-every-ten-minutes rule, which meant that no matter how much they all
smoked or huffed, I’d still be more polluted than the entire room combined by
the end of the night.
That’s kind of still my
deal, even though I haven’t had a drink in a while.
But Dust-Off? I had no idea,
and I don’t like that I had no idea. I suppose I’ve graduated, life-wise, from
knowing what 16-year-olds are shoving up their noses, but it still makes me sad
that this was news to me, as though I’ve lost touch with a whole body of
knowledge I’d developed and maintained for the first thirty or so years of my
That, plus I think it’s
fucking pathetic that I have to ask somebody to go in the back and get me my
Dust-Off because the general public can’t be trusted with it, but that’s far
too easy of a target. Fuck people anyway.